Femme Fatale Fridays: Lydia Bennet

June 4, 2010 Whitney Femme Fatale 11 Comments

“A Femme Fatale, translating to “Deadly Woman” in french, is an alluring, seductive woman whose charms ensnare her lovers in bonds of irresistible desire. Often this leads them into compromising, dangerous, and deadly situations.” ~ Wikipedia

 I first discovered this class of women from 1930s and 40s film noir several years ago and was seduced by their charm and cunning minds.  I then began to see them popping up in novels I read, even my favorites like Gone with the Wind and Wuthering Heights.  This new weekly post is to highlight/celebrate/condemn these sultry and conniving ladies in literature.

Lydia Bennet is the youngest of the Bennet girls at the age of fifteen.  She starts off as one of the silliest girls but in time grows to be one of the biggest flirts, hitting on any officer who sets foot inside the town of Merryton.  Lydia is constently described as being headstrong and frivolous who goes about life as if it were one big party.  Lydia also has her sister Kitty following her around where ever she may go, while setting a horrible example for a role model. Excluding her mother who says she is a free spirited girl, Lydia is an embarrassment.  This doesn’t even cover her elopement (which is a civilized way of saying slept together) with Mr. George Wickham.

“My Dearest, Harriet,
You will laugh when you know where I have gone, and I cannot help laughing myself at your surprise to-morrow morning, as soon as I am missed.  I am going to Gretna Green, and if you cannot guess with who, I shall think you a simpleton, for there is but one man in the world I love, and he is an angel.  I should never be happy without him, so think it no harm to be off.  You need not send them word at Longbourn of my going, if you do not like it, for it will make the surprise the greater when I write to them, and sign my name Lydia Wickham.  What a good joke it will be!  I can hardly write for laughing.  Pray make my excuses to Pratt for not keeping my engagement, and dancing with him to-night.  Tell him I hope he will excuse me when he knows all, and tell him I will dance with him at the next ball we meet with great pleasure. I shall send for my clothes when I get to Longbourn; but I wish you would tell Sally to mend a great slit in my worked muslin gown before they are packed up.  Good-bye.  Give my love to Colonel Forster.  I hope you will drink to our good journey.

Your Affectionate Friend,
Lydia Bennet”   


11 responses to “Femme Fatale Fridays: Lydia Bennet

  1. Mrs. B.– I thought the pic best showed my reaction to Lydia's letter, no matter how many times I read P&P

    Kals– Lydia and Wickham are in my top 10 characters I love to hate.

  2. Juju– Not the most flattering picture is it? Then again it seems appropriate.

    Felicia–It all comes down to the parenting; Lydia is a twit like her mother and Wickham has that abandonment issue…

    Avid Reader– She was such a snob with the whole Jane I'm married therefore above you thing.

  3. That is a good picture of Lydia. Having just re read P&P I can appreciate just how annoying Lydia is. She makes a great Femme Fatale I suppose, at least as much as Regency England would allow 🙂 🙂

  4. Fun choice of Lydia for this! I wouldn't have thought of her as a femme fatale, but your argument is convincing. I would also list Mary Crawford from Mansfield Park as an Austen femme fatale!

  5. True, I think Caroline Bingley could also be a femme fatale. The way she tries to turn Darcy's affections and win his heart is just cruel. Although, she does have a redeeming moment when she warns Elizabeth of Wickham's conduct…

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