Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen: Summary, Characters and Themes
Pride and Prejudice is the most well-known work of Jane Austen and is certainly one of the most essential novels in the wonderful world of literature. Austen’s writing talent was praised by Walter Scott, Virginia Woolf, Richard Arlington and many more. Her language is smart and beautiful, the rural England of the XVIII century that hosts the events of this novel is marvelously depicted, and the relationships of the characters develop like an intriguing and graceful dance. The love story of Mr. Darcy and Miss Elizabeth Bennet, who managed to over come their pride and prejudice, is the story with a happy ending so many people crave.
Pride and Prejudice Setting: Cultural and Historical Background of the Story
Mcdougal doesn’t specifically divulge the full time at which the novel happens. Historically, it’s a known fact that Jane Austen had written the book between 1796-1797, however it was only published in 1813. The writer edited the novel before it absolutely was published, meaning that the book reflects the customs and traditions of the 1790s up until the 1810s. The events begin in September and unfold during one calendar year.
For the readers, it’s crucial that you keep in mind the cultural back ground of those times: this was the time scale when wealth was measured in estate, status was both a privilege and a duty to upkeep, and women enjoyed not as freedom than they do today. Female children were considered to be a burden, unless they could marry someone who could take care of them—and preferably their family aswell. The vicious cycle was manifested in the fact that, unless a girl comes into the world into a rich family, her chances of locating a rich husband were more or less nonexistent. Men often took advantage of their position and made nearly all of women’s decisions for them.
Pride and Prejudice Book Characters
The story develops around the five Bennet daughters and their friends, who've several candidates for their husbands, but not them all play a significant role in the text.
Despite his wealth, Mr. Bingley is just a quite simple man, who doesn’t like to brag about his status. He's described in the beginning of chapter 3 to be “good-looking and gentlemanlike; he had a pleasing countenance, and easy, unaffected manners. ” Bingley is definitely an open-minded and positive man who enjoys talking to and meeting interesting people. He's sincere and follows his feelings. His friend is very the opposite of him; Mr. Darcy has a lot of pride and is convinced of his uniqueness and importance. He keeps to himself and wants to be across the chosen circles. The nature of the relationships of the 2 young men reflect their personalities. Jane Bennet and Bingley are both simple and trusting; they like each other from the beginning and are clear about their feelings. Jane is the eldest of her five sisters, and is just about the most trusting and naïve. She is beautiful and sweet.
Darcy and Elizabeth’s relationship differs. They both have extraordinary personalities and chose to have a love/hate relationship. Elizabeth Bennet is really a bright young woman; she actually is independent, smart, quick-witted and true to herself. She actually is stubborn and persisted:
Chapter 20 “Though her manner varied, nevertheless , her determination never did”
Her elegance and tenderness appear, even when included in her pride. Darcy’s prejudice repels her and turns sympathy in to dislike. Their dialogues, initiated through mutual interest towards each other, quickly turn into a verbal duel between their two strong personalities. The couple will have to work-out their differences to finally be together in the end.
But character isn't the only thing that gets in the form of the couples reuniting. Mr. Collins takes advantage of the problem in which he'll inherit the Bennet's home, and really wants to marry Elizabeth to “save” her. William Collins is really a “tall, heavy-looking young man of five-and-twenty. His air was grave and stately, and his manners were very formal” (end of Chapter 13). He's a shallow and uninteresting man, who knows how exactly to please, but doesn’t learn how to be pleasant. Despite his downsides, that he gets to marry Elizabeth’s companion, Charlotte Lucas. Charlotte was “a sensible, intelligent young woman, about twenty-seven” (Chapter 5), and being single at that age put a lot of pressure on her. Mrs. Bennet even used to state that “Lucases are a very good type of girls... This is a pity they're not handsome! ” (Chapter 9).
The head of the family, Mr. Bennet, is recognized as to be a man of noble origins. He's solid, apathetic, tends to have a notably fatalistic perception of life, and is sarcastic towards himself and people around him. He is specially sarcastic towards his wife, Mrs. Bennet, who really can’t boast of either high intelligence, nor family orientation or looks. Mom of five daughters is silly, blatantly tactless, and overly self-centered.
Looking at older Mrs. Bennet, it’s no wonder Miss Caroline Bingley strongly protested her brother’s marriage with Jane; she only cared about her status and didn’t want to be of a family of such poor manners and origins. Another selfish personage in the story is lady Catherine de Bourgh. She's Darcy’s aunt and Mr. Collins’ boss— she “has very lately given him (Collins) a living” (Chapter 16). This woman doesn’t care about people’s feelings and only sees things at the surface value.
Aunt and Uncle Gardiner are relatives of the Bennet girls privately of their father. They are successful and well-educated. Jane and Elizabeth discover the support and advice they couldn’t find from their mother in Mrs. Gardiner. The sisters spend some time traveling around England with them — which allows girls to reflect more on the relationships in their lives.
Mary Bennet could be the middle sister of Jane and Elizabeth. She frequently likes to speak about morality, and lives mostly in her books. Younger Bennet sisters are given not as attention in the book and are portrayed as rather frivolous trouble-makers; Lydia Bennet and Kitty Bennet quickly fall for the uniform and arms of the officers, and Lydia even runs away with one of these — George Wickham. Mr. Wickham holds a grudge against Darcy and tells lies to shame her — when in fact that he was usually the one who tried to make a proceed Darcy’s shy underage sister, Georgiana Darcy. From Elizabeth’s example, Georgiana learns how to voice her mind and realizes that a woman can allow herself to speak with her husband in a way that no little sister can.
Full Summary of How the Love Story in Pride and Prejudice Unfolds
The story begins with Mr. Bingley getting into the most luxurious Netherfield Park mansion in your community — regarding his sisters and their friend Darcy. Bingley is young, rich and single. It looks like a perfect solution for the Bennet family, who have five single daughters and are preoccupied with getting them married to secure the financial wellbeing of these family. 1 day, Jane Bennet is invited over for supper, but she becomes ill once she arrives. Elizabeth comes to Netherfield to take care of her sister. That’s how the two couples – Jane and Mr. Bingley, and Elizabeth and Darcy – meet and develop an interest in each other. Later, Mr. Bingley and his sisters visit Bennet’s mansion to invite them to the ball they are hosting.
At precisely the same time Mr. Collins (Mr. Bennet’s cousin, and sole successor to your family estate—as you will find no male heirs to the Bennet family) concerns visit the family. He wrote a letter sometime before announcing his visit with the intention to choose one of many Bennet girls as his wife. That he selfishly expects that all of these will want to marry him to make it to keep their family mansion and is surprised when Elizabeth turns down his proposal at the ball. After that, determined to find himself a wife, William Collins proposes to Charlotte Lucas, who agrees, simply out from the social pressure, to get married.
The Bingley sisters realized that their brother might disgrace the whole family by marrying Jane, who is maybe not of their class. They do everything they are able to to separate the couple, and finally make him move away to London. After some time, Jane and Elizabeth Bennet also arrive in London. While visiting her friend Charlotte, Elizabeth meets Darcy again. They re-engage in sharp dialogues. Darcy confesses that he loves Elizabeth and proposes to her, but does it in such a snobbish manner that Elizabeth turns him down. However , his act did change just how she considers him, and the dislike she had for him changes in to something more technical and deep.
A day later Darcy writes a long letter to Elizabeth in which that he comes clean, sincerely explains why that he interfered in the relationship between Jane and Mr. Bingley (which that he sincerely regrets), and explains that the stories Mr. Wickham tells about him are lies. Elizabeth changes her attitude towards Darcy, but doesn’t initiate to tell him. The next time the lovebirds see each other is when Lizzy travels with her aunt and uncle to visit the Pemberley estate that belongs to Darcy. She hears people saying good reasons for him, and Darcy himself behaves quite gallantly around people. 1 day, Darcy sees Elizabeth in tears after she discovers that her younger sister Lydia had run away with officer Wickham. Luckily for many, uncle Gardiner was quickly able to get the lovers in London, and pretty easily managed to convince the child to marry the girl he'd seduced. Only later Elizabeth would understand that Wickham consented to marry Lydia because Darcy had reduced all his debts.
The story finishes with a happy ending when Mr. Bingley, combined with sisters and Darcy, arrive at Netherfield Park again. Darcy proposes to Elizabeth for the second time and she agrees, and so they move into the pompous Pemberley House. Mr. Bingley marries Jane and the two live happily ever after.
Pride and Prejudice Themes
Pride is the key theme that keeps the protagonists of the story from developing intimate connections. When Darcy proposes to Elizabeth for the first time, he's not shy to throw in several comments to show his superiority, compared to Elizabeth’s family. The girl’s pride wasn’t in a position to handle it, despite the connection the two had. Anyhow, the story also demonstrates that it’s possible to over come one’s pride. It took Elizabeth some time to start seeing the positive traits of Darcy’s character, but, sooner or later, she saw his true heart.
Prejudice is yet another obstacle in building loving relationships in the story. At that time, it had been more vital that you marry some body within your status than to marry some body you love. That’s why Miss Bingley insists that her brother shouldn’t marry Jane, despite the fact that both really like one another. That’s also why Darcy keeps demonstrating his superiority to the girl he loves. The right and honourable Lady Catherine de Bourgh may be the absolute depiction of the contrary of prejudice in her willingness to understand people because of their hearts.
The story centers upon the theme of family. To begin with, the Bennet girls come in desperate have to make groups of their own (at least so their mother thinks). Secondly, the characters are often connected by relatives, like Mr. Collin’s boss being the aunt of Mr. Darcy. At the same time, we see how much society undervalues the unity of family: British law at that time didn't allow females to inherit property, hence, the wife and daughters of Mr. Bennet face homelessness—as only their father’s closest male relative can inherit their house.
The role of women in society and family in this story deserves special attention. At that time it had been difficult to be always a woman, whether you were rich or poor. You could be from the noble family, but you weren’t protected in one day hearing that “my cousin, Mr. Collins, who, when I'm dead, risk turning you all out of this house as soon as that he pleases. ” (Chapter 13). Women also had little power over their future. It was more of an exception for Elisabeth’s father to support her decision never to marry Mr. Collins:
Chapter 20 “From this day you need to be a stranger to one of one's parents. Your mother won't see you again if you don't marry Mr. Collins, and I will never see you again should you choose. ”
It didn’t matter that the caretaker wanted the marriage to take place. Only if the daddy insisted, would Elizabeth need to spend the remainder of her life with the man she neither respected nor liked.
Love and Marriage
While Pride and Prejudice is frequently called a love story, and there's a great deal of love in it, there is little love in marriages in the 18th century. For example , Charlotte marries Mr. Collins because she is 27 years old and at that time it had been considered to be too old to hope for any better options. Lydia must marry the wicked Wickham to save her family’s reputation, despite the fact that Wickham only marries Lydia because Darcy repaid his debts (they consider Darcy to be always a hero as he coerces the drunk, lying man to marry Elizabeth’s sister! ). Marriage was essential, but it wasn’t a must to be cheerfully married. As Charlotte rightfully mentioned:
Chapter 6 “Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance. If the dispositions of the parties are extremely well known to one another or extremely similar beforehand, it does not advance their felicity in the least. They always continue steadily to grow sufficiently unlike a short while later to have their share of vexation; which is better to know as little as possible of the defects of the person with whom you're to pass your life”
Class was at the core of every thing people did and said around the time this book was written. The two sisters, Darcy and Bingley, resisted the possibility of tying their names to the Bennet family, specifically due to class issues: Elizabeth and Jane had no rich estate or inheritance to offer their potential husbands. Families did everything they are able to to be around individuals of high status and origin, or at the least not to destroy their existing reputation money for hard times. The fact that Lydia ran away with some officer might have put irreparable damage on Bennet’s family name. The troubled sister could have ruined the lives of all her unmarried siblings: such shame meant that Elizabeth would not have been in a position to marry Darcy, or any decent man, because their family name would have become tarnished.