Themes in Pride and Prejudice

There are many themes discuss in  Pride and Prejudice. This page explores those themes and explains in detail how those themes are related in the book.

Pride

Throughout Pride and Prejudice, pride prevents the characters from seeing the truth of a situation. It is one of the two primary barriers in the way of a union between Elizabeth and Darcy. Darcy’s pride in his social position leads him to scorn anyone outside of his own social circle. Meanwhile, Elizabeth’s pride in her powers of discernment cloud her judgment. These two eventually find happiness by helping each other overcome his/ her pride.


Prejudice

Prejudice in Pride and Prejudice refers to the tendency of the characters to judge one another based on preconceptions. Prejudice goes hand and hand with pride, often leading the heroine and hero into making wrong assumptions about motives and behavior. Faulting someone else for prejudice is easy, but recognizing it in yourself is hard. In the novel prejudice is presented as a stage in a person’s moral development. It is something that can be overcome through reason and compassion.


 

Family

Family is the predominant unit of social life in Pride and Prejudice and it forms the emotional center of the novel. Family provides the characters with education and manners. The social ranking of the family determines how successful they may expect to be in later life.


 

Marriage

Jane Austen portrays a world in which choices for individuals are very limited and based almost exclusively on a family’s social rank and connections. Being a woman born into this world means having less choices about whom to marry. The way society controls and weakens women helps to explain in part Mrs. Bennet’s hysteria about marrying off her daughters.


 

Class

Class is the target of much of the novel’s criticism of society in general. She make it clear that people like Lady Catherine, who are overly invested in their social position, are guilty of mistreating others. Other characters in the novel like Mr. Collins and Caroline, are depicted as empty and their opinions and motivations are completely defined by the dictates of the class system. To contrast them, Austen offers more positive examples in Bingley and the Gardiners.


 

Wealth

Austen describes people’s financial situations throughout Pride and Prejudice in terms of actual financial amounts. Mr. Darcy is not just rich; but he has 10,000 pounds a year. The value of one pound back in this day is approximately equivalent to 80 dollars now. This equivalency puts the sums that Austen writes about into perspective. This comparison of Austen’s pound with the current dollar not only clarifies characters’ annual incomes, but also exposes the level of certain financial transactions.


 

Love

Jane Austen describes love in away that is more complex and very interesting. Her characters personality’s for example  Mr.Collins and  Lydia,behave in a way that shows a strong push in comical romance, rather than your traditional romance encounter. Collins proposal to Elizabeth gives us a insight on  this comical matter which Austen incorporated throughout the novel.

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