In the book, Pride and Prejudice, some themes are pride blinds our eyes when we judge, truth is not always apparent, and marry for love not wealth, which is Austen’s worldview as well. Austen showcases the first theme in Eliza and Darcy’s relationship with one another. Eliza is too proud to fully see the motive of Darcy’s actions and instead dismisses them before fully understanding.
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Secondly, the next theme perfectly describes Wickham and Eliza. At first, Wickham is this dashing solider who is generous and charming. However, Eliza learns more about him and his true nature, but he is still able to fool others, especially Lydia who becomes his wife.
Finally, Austen’s worldview: marry for love not wealth. While there are examples of relationships following that, Austen also includes the other side of the coin. The relationships in high standing of that are Eliza and Darcy, Jane and Mr. Bingley; however on the other side there is Wickham and Lydia, and Charlotte and Mr. Collins. Within the themes, Austen criticizes the way people act and their reasoning behind it. She also criticizes the time, poking fun at the social classes and the pursuit to find financial security, rather than love.
The novel is organized to show the chase beginning and ending with inconveniences in the middle. It follows a chronological order from when Mr. Bingley arrives at Netherfield Park, the estate next to the Bennets, to the end where Eliza and Darcy are married. The first sentence of the book lays out the terms of the chase: a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife (1). The terms show through the book with prime examples in Mr. Collins trying to find a wife to raise his status, Wickham to ensure that he will keep whatever money he has and that he will gain more money. Likewise, the women in the novel also partake in the chase, but they are not as vocal about it, they have to wait for what the man will do: propose or not. The novel shows the chase between Darcy and Eliza as well as Jane and Bingley. Pride and Prejudice ends with the chase over and Darcy and Eliza married.
The settings in Pride and Prejudice go from Longbourn, the Bennet’s estate, Netherfield Park, the estate that Mr. Bingley is renting, Meryton, where the soldiers are being lodged, Rosings Park, Lady Catherine’s estate, and Pemberley, Mr. Darcy’s estate. Hertfordshire is the county where Longbourn, Netherfield, and Meryton are, Hunsford is where Charlotte and Mr. Collins live, Brighton is where the solider move to after Meryton, and Derbyshire is where Pemberly is located. The settings create space and realism when the characters have to travel from one place to the next.
When Charles Bingley, a rich single man, moves to the Netherfield estate, everyone in town, especially Mrs. Bennet who wants to marry off her daughters”Jane, Elizabeth, Mary, Kitty, and Lydia, are overjoyed. The Bennet daughters meet Mr. Bingley at a local ball and are impressed by his personality and friendly disposition. However, when they meet his friend, Fitzwilliam Darcy, they are less impressed because of his pride and arrogant nature. Eliza dislikes him even more because she overheard him saying how she was only tolerable and not good enough to dance with.
Bingley and Jane, the oldest Bennet daughter, become very close quickly, but any serious relationship between the two would not work because Bingley’s sisters do not like that Jane is part of the lower class and Darcy believes Jane does not really like Bingley. Meanwhile, Darcy finds himself interested in Eliza despite his objections to her family. He is drawn to her wit and significant eyes. Caroline Bingley’s jealous criticisms of Eliza can do nothing to lessen Darcy’s admiration even though she wants to marry Darcy.
As Darcy grows more interested in Eliza, she continues to despise him and is instead attracted to George Wickham, a charming solider. Wickham tells Eliza that his father worked for Darcy’s father and that he and Darcy grew up together. Wickham tells Eliza that he was favored over Darcy by Darcy’s father and claims that Darcy disobeyed his father’s request to give money to Wickham so he could become a clergyman. Eliza fully believes Wickham’s story because of her already preconceived notions about Darcy.
During this time, Mr. Bennet’s cousin, William Collins, visits the Bennet family. Mr. Collins is a clergyman who will inherit Mr. Bennet’s estate when he dies. Mr. Collins informs the family that Lady Catherine has instructed him to marry and that he plans to choose a wife from the Bennet daughters. He settles on Eliza, but is dumbfounded and insulted when she refuses him. He quickly moves on to Eliza’s best friend, Charlotte Lucas, who wants to marry for security rather than love. The two are soon engaged and married.
At the same time, Jane is disappointed to find out that Bingley and the entire Netherfield party have left for London. Caroline Bingley writes to Jane that they do not intend to return. Caroline also predicts there will be a match between Bingley and Darcy’s sister, Georgiana, who is in London. Although Jane accepts that she can never be with Bingley, Eliza is outraged and suspects that Bingley’s sisters and Darcy are pulling the strings to make sure Bingley and Jane are kept apart.
Eliza visits Charlotte at her new home in Hunsford, Kent, and meets Lady Catherine De Bourgh. Lady Catherine is an overbearing woman who thrives on interfering with other people’s lives. Soon after Eliza’s arrival in Kent, Darcy visits his aunt with his cousin, Colonel Fitzwilliam. Darcy confuses Eliza with his behavior. He finds her for her company, but he does not say much. One day, he surprises Eliza by proposing to her. Still deterred by his pride and believing Darcy is responsible for Bingley’s separation from Jane and for Wickham’s misfortune, Eliza refuses him. The next day, Darcy gives her a letter explaining his role in turning Bingley away from Jane and gives an explanation of Wickham’s situation. After examining the letter carefully, Eliza concludes that Darcy is innocent and discovers how even when she did not like Darcy for his pride, she was just as proud.
After returning home for a month, Eliza goes on a trip with her aunt and uncle Gardiner to the Derbyshire County. While there, they visit Darcy’s estate, Pemberley. There they meet Darcy unexpectedly and are all surprised at how cordially he treats them. He calls on Eliza at her inn, introduces her to his sister, and invites her for dinner. Darcy is still in love with Eliza, and Eliza realizes that she has similar feelings for him.
During the situation, Eliza received letters from Jane informing her that Lydia has eloped with Wickham. Hearing the news, Eliza and the Gardiners left for home immediately. Eliza fears that Lydia and the Bennet family are permanently humiliated and that her newly discovered love for Darcy is useless. However, when Lydia is found, she and Wickham marry. After the wedding, Eliza discovers that Darcy was involved in arranging the marriage. In doing so, he saved the reputation and eligibility of marriage for the other Bennet girls.
Bingley soon returns to Netherfield and asks Jane to marry him. Jane accepts and Mrs. Bennet’s excitement is only diminished a bit by Darcy’s occasional visit. Meanwhile, Eliza’s happiness for Jane is interrupted by a visit from Lady Catherine, who has heard a rumor that Darcy and Eliza are engaged, which is not true. She rudely tells Eliza how the careless it would be for them to end up together. She tries to make Eliza promise to never marry Darcy and Eliza refuses. The refusal leads to Lady Catherine telling Darcy of Eliza’s impoliteness and warns him of how degrading a marriage to her would be. Still, her response gives Darcy hope that she feels the same way and when he proposes again, Eliza agrees to marry him.
Wickham’s character encompasses the theme truth is not always apparent. Before Eliza is introduced to him, he tried to run off and marry Georgiana. He also lied about Darcy’s nature to further convince Eliza that he was a bad guy. Finally, he ran off with Lydia with no intention of marrying her, but instead to have fun. He is a horrible man, but is cunning and convinces everyone that he is wonderful. Only a few people know his true nature. When Lydia ran off with Wickham, her judgment was misguided by his attractiveness and could not see him in the proper light. When he agreed to marry her he expanded the lie and ensured himself of gaining material wealth, which is all he truly cares about.
A symbol is the first ball. At the ball Bingley asked Jane to dance twice, which not only, in the moment, shows how much he admires her, but it also foreshadows to the two times that Jane and Bingley are together. The first time they are together is in the beginning, he asked to for the second dance, and the second time they are together is after being separated for a bit then coming back together, he asked her again during the fifth dance. The ball represents the push and pull of external forces and other people, and the growth of love.
The story is told through third person from Elizabeth. A way that this is effective is because we know everything that Eliza is thinking and her motivations behind her actions. The point of view being limited to one character allows for suspense, mystery, and personal epiphanies. The story becomes more personal because it is like being inside of Eliza’s mind. As the story unfolds and she is learning new things, it becomes more apparent. Yet, with the view there are disadvantages. The other characters motives are unclear and other characters private opinions about people are hidden. The whole story is not told because only one view is experiencing it rather than more characters.
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