Small, thin, and sour-faced, Mrs. Ferrars is a most possessing woman. She keeps her sons dependent upon her and tries to rule their lives. A snob, she sends Edward to a tutor, rather than to school, to please her titled brother. She wants Edward to cut a fine figure in the world and marry well. When he falls in love with Elinor, she disapproves, showing her displeasure so strongly that Elinor sees "almost enough to be thankful for her own sake that one great obstacle preserved her from . . . any solicitude for her good opinion."
A stupid woman, she is quickly deceived by Lucy's blandishments. She is no judge of character and fails to perceive Edward's good qualities, only grudgingly taking him back into her favor after his marriage. She also soon forgives Robert and is easily won over by Lucy's false charm.