I've decided to make a series of the most ridiculous caricatures in Austen's novel's.
So, we come first to - Mrs Bennet!
She is one of the most ridiculous characters in literature.
"Well, well, and so Mr. Bingley is coming down, sister," (for Mrs Philips first brought her the news.) "Well, so much the better. Not that I care about it, though. He is nothing to us, you know and I am sure I never want to see him again. But, however, he is very welcome to come to Netherfield, if he likes it. And who knows what may happen? But that is nothing to us. You know, sister, we agreed long ago never to mention a word about it. And so, is it quite certain he is coming?"And the next time we hear of Mrs Bennet, she is trying to get her husband to visit Mr Bingley and announcing her intention of inviting him for dinner.
Pride and Prejudice, chapter 53
She is very comic, but just imagine all the trouble she caused.
If Mr Bennet's wife was a richer woman, without relatives in trade, who was affectionate and sensible, then:
1: The Bennets would be richer
2: They would not be related to people in an 'ungentlemanly' profession.
3: The Bennets would have been able to save money for after Mr Bennet died
4: The girls' mother would either have instructed them herself or given them a governess.
5: Mr Bennet would not be ignoring his family.
6: Mary's conceit would have been lessened and her abilities improved.
7: Kitty would have been less shallow and silly.
8: Lydia would not have run away.
Back onto topic: I think that in Jane Austen's novels excessive contradiction is a sign of especial silliness. Just consider the characters that are not really villains, but just really silly and stupid.
Still, Mrs Bennet is not always in hysterics contradicting herself.
Not always, but most of the time.