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Pride And Prejudice Analysis of Themes

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 1974 words Published: 3rd Jul 2017

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“An artist cannot do anything slovenly”, once uttered Jane Austen in articulating her perception of art and literature. Pride and Prejudice, a novel by Jane Austen, is undeniably a masterpiece that has astoundingly challenged the beliefs and virtues of its era. In the novel, Austen adeptly depicts the convictions of her class-bound society and targets those exceptionable virtues with universal themes in her piece of art. Equipped with alluring writing skills, Austen succeeded in signing off a genuine artistic piece, which, to the very least, struck the heart and soul of her society. For these reasons, Pride and Prejudice, a memorable composition of the 18th century, is indeed worth examining and studying in reference to two major aspects of the novel, characterization and themes.

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To begin with, characterization is one chief aspect worth stressing and studying. In the novel, Austen wittily employs characters and characterization in her composition to better convey her messages. The characters stand out stupendously as vivid, real, round, and dynamic. Furthermore, the interactions and relations between characters in the novel further add to their development and advancement in the course of the plot. Taking all aspects into consideration proves that Austen cleverly utilized characterization marking characters not only as portrays of the exceptionable society, but also as means of criticizing and perhaps altering such a society.

Initially, Jane, Elizabeth’s eldest sister, stands out as a shy, reserved, serious, and quite gentle individual. She is friendly, pleasant, considerate, and cheerful. Likewise, Mr. Bingley is portrayed as a wealthy, rich, friendly, good-natured, amiable, sociable, and affable person. Austen depicts both characters as similar characters, sharing their goodwill and compatibility. As they were similar, both Jane and Mr. Bingley are portrayed throughout the novel as a potential couple. In the novel, their relationship can be best regarded as that of love that is unhampered by obstacles between both lovers, but rather by external factors.

At the beginning, Mr. Bingley meets Jane Bennet at the public ball, where Mrs. Bennet introduces Mr. Bingley to her. There, they engage in a dance. Later, Jane visits Mr. Bingley’s estate in response to Caroline Bingley’s invitation. After catching a cold, Jane is looked after by Mr. Bingley for a couple of days in his estate. During this period, each develops feelings for the other, and Mr. Bingley’s affection for Jane becomes notable as well obvious. Later, Caroline’s efforts inspired by class differences along with Darcy’s efforts inspired by Jane’s lack of affection converge in attempt this set this relation to an end.

Accordingly, a letter then arrives from Caroline, Mr. Bingley’s sister, mentioning that Mr. Bingley and Darcy will be leaving back to Netherfield. Hence, Jane is torn apart as she comes to rationalize that Mr. Bingley might not have had any feelings for her initially. In accordance with Elizabeth’s advice, Jane heads to London to seek out Mr. Bingley. As soon as her attempt to reach Mr. Bingley is proven futile, Jane heads back home and utters that she is over with her affection for Mr. Bingley. Ultimately, Mr. Bingley returns back to town due to Darcy’s interference, which was sparked by his confrontation with Elizabeth. Eventually, Mr. Bingley proposes to Jane, and the couple is then set for marriage.

On the other hand, Darcy’s relation with Elizabeth is that of an utter significance as it lies in the core of the plot. In the novel, Elizabeth Bennet is depicted as the smartest and most intelligent daughter of the Bennet family. She is amiable, lovely, honest, outspoken, and clever. Elizabeth is also talented at verbal sparring and utilizes often her verbal skills to her favor. On the other hand, Fitzwilliam Darcy stands out as a rich, wealthy, intelligent, aloof, and detached individual. He is overly conscious and proud of his social status. Likewise, Austin portrays both characters as similar to some extent. For instance, both are smart and intelligent, and both tend to judge people too harshly. As they were similar, Darcy surprisingly stands out as Elizabeth’s male counterpart and ideal match. Most importantly, their relationship exemplifies that of sincere love that is hampered often by obstacles and predicaments between both lovers in addition to remote forces and factors. In spite of all predicaments, their relationship ideally thrives and survives.

In the novel Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth first confesses to her sister, Jane, at the public ball that she has no intention of ever marrying. At the public ball, she meets Darcy, which in contrast to Mr. Bingley, refuses to dance or talk with anyone other than his company. Elizabeth deliberately judges him as arrogant and unpleasant. She also overhears him saying bad remarks about her to Mr. Bingley; and thus perceives him as ill-mannered and haughty. Thereafter, Elizabeth encounters Wickham, a handsome lieutenant, who tells her about Darcy’s betrayal to him due to jealousy. This further exacerbates Elizabeth’s perception of Darcy as an individual.

Then, Elizabeth attends Bingley’s dance, where she engages in some verbal clash with Darcy as she dances with him. During her visit to her friend Charlotte, Elizabeth visits Lady Catherine DeBourg, who is also Darcy’s aunt. There, Elizabeth encounters Darcy and engages herself again in verbal sparring, so Darcy confesses that he is not that sociable and outgoing. After that, Elizabeth learns that Darcy was the one behind ruining Jane’s marriage from Mr. Bingley. This further exacerbates her view of Darcy. Later, Darcy meets up with Elizabeth and confesses his love and proposes to her. However, Elizabeth rejects Darcy’s proposal for his arrogance, and for what he has cost her sister as well as Wickham.

Soon afterwards, Darcy drops by Elizabeth and leaves her a letter justifying his actions. He mentions that Wickham’s greed was the reason behind his behavior with him. He also mentions that he aimed at halting Mr. Bingley’s relation with Jane as he thought this was better for him since Jane seemed not to be serious. Later during her visit to her uncle, Elizabeth decides to visit Pempberley, Darcy’s grand estate, where she learns about Darcy’s kindness from his servants. Here, Elizabeth begins to realize that she might have been erroneous about Darcy’s perception as an individual. Afterwards, Elizabeth learns that Darcy was the one behind covering up her sister’s scandal after escaping with Wickham. She also realizes that he was also the one behind getting Mr. Bingley back to town to propose to Jane. Eventually, Elizabeth recognizes that she has blindly misconstrued Darcy’s intentions, and consents his second proposal for marriage, yet out of her love and passion this time.

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In addition to characterization, the novel’s themes, which challenged the exceptionable convictions and beliefs of an entire era, are another aspect worth stressing. One significant theme addressed by Austen in her novel Pride and Prejudice is love. Simply, Austen conveys in her composition that true love is a titanic force that is capable of withstanding all obstacles and predicaments. Mainly, the novel deals with Elizabeth’s intricacies in finding and sustaining this true love. Throughout the novel, both lovers are confronted with myriad predicaments, which all fail to end their relationship. Obstacles include Darcy’s pride and arrogance about his social class and his prejudice against Elizabeth for her lower class. Likewise, Elizabeth’s excessive pride and her prejudice against Darcy as an arrogant and haughty individual also exacerbates the relation between both lovers. Still other obstacles include Caroline’s snobbery and arrogance, Lady Catherine DerBourg’s conceit and intervention, Wickham’s treacheries, in addition to her father’s detachment as well her naïve mother’s obsession with engaging her to whoever proposes and seems financially fit. In spite of all those predicaments, the couple’s love ideally thrives, burgeons, and is eventually harvested through marriage.

On the other hand, marriage is another aspect Austen targets via her novel’s themes. During the 18th century, marriage was regarded mainly as a means of attaining financial stability. In the novel, Austen wittily employs her characters to criticize this belief chiefly via two characters, Mrs. Bennet and Charlotte. Mrs. Bennet, as a mother of five daughters, sets high priority on marriage and is overly obsessed with the idea of getting her daughters to marry. She is absolutely not concerned with her daughters’ desires and is literarily ready to marry them to whoever is financially fit. An instance of this is Mrs. Bennet’s desire to marry Elizabeth to Mr. Collins regardless of his shallow, patronizing, boring, pompous, and conceited character. Surprisingly, Charlotte is another portray of Austen’s viewpoint on marriage during that era. The lady accepts Mr. Collins as a husband just to lift up to society’s standards and attain financial stability. She even mentions in the novel, “… it is better to know as little as possible of the defects of the person with whom you are about to pass your life.”

In Pride and Prejudice, the title itself stands out as another universal theme conveyed by Austen. First, pride was evident throughout the course of the plot. Darcy exhibited pride due to class and social differences. Elizabeth was also proud of her ability of perception. Hence, this pride hampers their relationship as Darcy’s pride blinded him from Elizabeth’s various charms at many instances, and Elizabeth’s pride made her reject Darcy’s first proposal. Mr. Collins in addition to Lady DeBourg also exhibited pride in the novel. Likewise, prejudice was also prevalent throughout the novel. Mainly, Darcy’s pride makes him misjudge Elizabeth as impolite and inferior. Correspondingly, Elizabeth misjudges Darcy as conceited, haughty, and arrogant due to his high social standing. Thereby, both Elizabeth and Darcy were pride and prejudiced.

Nonetheless, Austen also criticized the influence of money and social class on the society in her composition. In the novel, social class and money play a chief role in shaping the plot. It was Darcy’s high social class that made others misinterpret him as arrogant and haughty. Likewise, it was Elizabeth’s lower social class that forced the snobbish Lady DeBourg to interfere and try to oppose Elizabeth’s marriage from Darcy. In short, Austen wittily ridiculed her society’s regard of social class as the sole means of judging an individual.

Towards the end, Pride and Prejudice is one remarkable novel signed off by Jane Austen during the 18th century. Astoundingly, the composition utterly and effectively defies the dire convictions of Austen’s society. For this reason, the novel is regarded as one of the most eminent compositions in English Literature. Furthermore, characterization and themes are two chief aspects utilized by Austen and worth examining. Surpassingly, Jane Austen did not only succeed in leaving behind a memorable piece of writing, but also signed off an exceptional composition that helped revolutionize the society’s perceptions of marriage and social class amidst an era dominated by class and social discrimination.

– The End –


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