Colonel Fitzwilliam

It can be postulated that Colonel Fitzwilliam served multiple purposes in Pride & Prejudice aside from his one, main, purpose: letting Elizabeth know that Darcy separated Jane and Bingley. These other function include:

  1. Fitzwilliam confirms Darcy’s statement about his sister, Georgiana, nearly eloping with Wickham. Although the actual confirmation is a slight reaction to Elizabeth’s teasing, Darcy’s willingness for Elizabeth to question Fitzwilliam offers further confirmation.
  2. He shows the reader that Darcy has relatives he need not be ashamed of. I don’t know if Darcy was embarrassed by Lady Catherine, but the reader doesn’t think highly of Darcy’s aunt or his cousin Anne.
  3. He shows that Darcy has a good relationships with a sensible person other than Bingley. There is an ongoing theme of judging people by the company they keep and Darcy keeps good company by choice.
  4. He show us that Elizabeth is attractive to a man of sense. From what we’ve seen in the novel, Elizabeth attracted Wickham, Mr. Collins, and a non-redeemed Darcy. That is not a very good collection of suitors.
  5. He shows that even a good man needs to consider money when marrying.
  6. He helps the reader realize how much Darcy is attracted to Elizabeth and sets up a nice scene where Elizabeth and Darcy banter entertainingly.

Colonel Fitzwilliam is an example of Jane Austen’s brilliance. He appears as almost a throw-away character, but manages to be very important to the story.