The novel ‘Pride and Prejudice’ by Jane Austen is a love story that is both serious and entertaining. However the story is not all about love, there are other themes that arise as the story develops. Some of themes that can be seen can be derived from love such as marriage.
To some extended one can say that Pride and Prejudice is all about love and nothing else. In the beginning of the story we are introduced to the Bennet, the Bingley siblings and Mr.
Darcy who play a key role in making this novel all about love.
During the first ball in the story where Mr. Bingley is introduced to the Bennet sisters, we see that Mr. Bingley falls in love with Miss Bennet, the eldest of the Bennet sister. In chapter three Mr. Bingley tells Mr. Darcy that Miss Bennet is the most attractive person he has ever seen, ‘”Oh! She is the most beautiful creature I ever beheld!”’ this statement shows how much Mr.
Bingley was captivated by Miss Bennet’s beauty and the exclamation marks shows how excited he was to tell his friend. We can see that this feeling is mutual as after the ball when Miss Bennet was alone with her sister Elizabeth, she praised Mr. Bingley and told Elizabeth how much she admired him. In conclusion we see that straight from the beginning of the story that an atmosphere of love is created hence the idea that Pride and Prejudice is about love and nothing else can be agreed upon.
As the story continues we see that Miss Bingley is attracted to Mr. Darcy, this gives as more evidence that Pride and Prejudice is about love. In chapter eight we are told that ‘Miss Bingley was engrossed by Mr. Darcy’ the word ‘engrossed’ conveys the idea that the whole of Miss Bingley’s attention was given to Mr. Darcy. Over the course of the next chapters we see that Miss Bingley is always trying to start a conversation with Mr. Darcy by asking what he is doing or she is trying to get him to agree to a remark that she made. In chapter eight after dinner we see that Miss Bingley starts commenting on the state Elizabeth was in when she arrived at Netherfield. She describes Elizabeth with total disgust and after she after which she says to Mr. Darcy ‘You observed it, Mr. Darcy, I am sure. This shows us how much Miss Bingley is attracted to Mr. Darcy as she always has a keen interest as to what Mr. Darcy is doing, when he was writing a letter to his sister she seemed very and she even commented on the way he writes letters.
Towards the end of the novel we see that Mr. Darcy declares his love for Elizabeth, this shows us that love seems to be the reoccurring theme in the book. During Elizabeth’s visit to her friend Charlotte at Hunsford Mr. Darcy told Elizabeth how much he loved her and that he could not hide his feelings in longer. In chapter thirty four Mr. Darcy comes goes to Hunsford where he finds Elizabeth alone and he tells her ‘”My feelings will not be repressed…. I admire and love you.”’ the word ‘repressed’ conveys the ideas that Mr. Darcy can no longer hide his feelings and that the feelings that he has for Elizabeth are very strong. Mr. Darcy then goes on to ask for Elizabeth’s hand in marriage to which she rejects. Mr. Darcy however continues to show Elizabeth that he loves and that his feelings haven’t changed towards her. Mr. Darcy pays off Mr. Wickham when he marries Lydia and before that he had helped Elizabeth’s Uncle search for them when they could not be traced. It is evident that this feeling mutual as Elizabeth’s feelings towards Mr. Darcy change. In chapter fifty nine when Jane learns that her sister is engaged to Mr. Darcy, she questions Elizabeth’s love for Mr. Darcy to which Elizabeth replies saying ‘”… I did not always love him so well as I do now.”’ This statement shows her change of heart.
Nevertheless it would not be correct to say that Pride and Prejudice is all about love and nothing else as in the novel there are many other themes present.
In the novel there was theme that was clearly depicted and that is class. Theme of class also comes with sub themes such as money and wealth. In this society we see that most women wanted to get married to a man of a large fortune in the hope of a good future. A man of a large fortune meant that he belonged to the upper class. In the beginning of the novel we see that Mrs. Bennet wants her daughters to get married to a wealthy man. When Mr. Bennet asks his wife if Mr. Bingley is married his wife replies saying ‘”Oh! single, my dear, to be sure! A single man of large fortune; four or five thousand a year. What a fine thing for our girls.”’ The exclamation marks convey the happiness that Mrs. Bennet has. By stating that Mr. Bingley has a large fortune shows that Mrs. Bennet is very interested in the social classes.
Another example of this idea of women only getting married for a good future and not for love is when Charlotte Lucas gets married to Mr. Collins. Towards the end of chapter twenty two where Elizabeth confronts Charlotte Lucas on her engage meant to Mr. Collins, Charlotte Lucas explains to Elizabeth why she accepted Mr. Collins hands in marriage. Miss Lucas says ‘” I am not romantic, you know; I never was. I ask only a comfortable home; and considering Mr. Collins’s character, connections, and situation in life, I am convinced that my chance of happiness with him is as fair as most people can boast on entering the marriage state.”’ By saying that she only asks ‘a comfortable home’ this statement conveys the idea that she is not marrying out of love but to secure a comfortable future. By talking about Mr. Collins’s ‘connections and situation in life’ we are introduced to the idea of social class.
The theme of gender was also illustrated in the novel. In the book Pride and Prejudice the society which is described is one where women largely did not inherit wealth nor were they openly allowed to find their own means and so marriage was one of the few options that she had to secure a comfortable future. This view can be seen again with example of Charlotte Lucas who is marrying for ‘a comfortable home’. Women lived in the shadow of men and were disempowered this is seen in Charlotte Lucas marriage to Mr. Collins. In addition to this women were expected to remain passive. Women were expected to be accomplished; they were expected to be able sing, play the piano, draw, read and dance. We can see that Miss Darcy is praised highly on her accomplishments; she plays a number of instruments and she can draw as well.
Elizabeth helps in portraying the theme of defiance and individuality. Elizabeth is witty person who speaks out her mind in every occasion. By speaking out her mind she portrays the idea that she is defiant as she doesn’t conform to her society’s norms which state that she has to be passive and submissive. When Lady Catherine de Bourgh first meets Elizabeth she says ‘”You speak your opinion very decidedly for a woman of your age.”’ Even when Lady Catherine de Bourgh came to oppose her engagement to Mr. Darcy she spokes her opinion decidedly. Elizabeth challenges her society’s expectations of her and this to some makes her a pioneer of sexual equality.
In conclusion Pride and Prejudice is not all about love there are other themes that are also the building blocks of Pride and Prejudice. Pride and Prejudice may seem like a novel about love and nothing else however other ideas tend to arise.
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