Difference between revisions of "Pride and Prejudice"

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Mrs. Bennett has five daughters, all [[out]]. She's at her wit's end to get any of them married before her husband's eventual death leaves the family homeless. The estate on which they live a life of rural leisure is entailed to a cousin.
 
Mrs. Bennett has five daughters, all [[out]]. She's at her wit's end to get any of them married before her husband's eventual death leaves the family homeless. The estate on which they live a life of rural leisure is entailed to a cousin.
  
A wealthy man from London (and his wealthier friend) come a-visiting; and Mr. Bennett arranges a social call, which leads to parties and dances. He falls in love with Jane, the eldest Miss Bennett, and all seems well.
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Mr. Bingley, a wealthy man from London, and his wealthier friend, Mr. Darcy, come to live nearby; and Mr. Bennett arranges a social call, which leads to parties and dances. Mr. Bingley falls in love with Jane, the eldest Miss Bennett, and all seems well.
  
But he has an even wealthier friend, Mr. Darcy (a good man and proud of it), who intervenes to break up the couple since Jane seems so cool and reserved.  
+
But, Mr. Darcy, a good man and proud of it, intervenes to break up the couple and takes Mr. Bingley to London.  Darcy believes that Jane does not love Bingley, because of her cool reserve.  
  
Jane takes an instant dislike to Darcy for other reasons and soon encounters a dashing officer named Wickham. He cons her with a sob story of being cheated by Darcy to explain why he must (gasp) ''work'' for a living.  
+
Elizabeth, the second Bennet daughter and the novel's protagonist, takes an instant dislike to Darcy because of his seeming coldness and pride. Darcy is attracted to Elizabeth, although she does not encourage his attentions, but his friends take every opportunity to distract him from her, on account of her poor family.
  
Only half way through the novel do we discover Wickham's deception.
+
Elizabeth encounters a dashing young officer named Wickham. He tells her a false story about how Mr. Darcy has cheated him out of his living, and reduced him to a poor soldier.  For a time, Wickham and Elizabeth flirt with one another, until Wickham ignores her and pays attention to another rich young lady instead.
Between Mr. Darcy and Mr. Wickham, "One has all the goodness and one has all the appearance of it."
+
 
 +
During the summer, Jane goes to stay with her aunt and uncle in [[London]], while Elizabeth visits her friend Charlotte who is married to the vicar, Mr. Collins.  Mr. Collins nearly worships his patroness, the excessively rich Lady Catherine de Bourgh, who forces her opinions upon everyone.  Lady Catherine is a relative of Mr. Darcy's, and he is expected to marry her sickly daughter, Anne.  Mr. Darcy and a friend visit Lady Catherine during Elizabeth's stay.  Shortly before his departure, Mr. Darcy asks Elizabeth to marry him, remarking that he likes her against his and his family's better judgment.  Elizabeth is shocked, and refuses him scathingly, blaming him for ruining Wickham's fortune and Jane's happiness.  Darcy leaves the house in anger, but finds Elizabeth the following morning, and gives her a letter, which he asks her to read.  In the letter, Darcy explains that he separated Jane and Bingley because he was convinced that Jane did not love Bingley.  He goes on to relate that George Wickham is in fact a lazy scoundrel who cares only for money, and tried to elope with Darcy's younger sister in order to gain her large fortune.  Elizabeth is astonished by this letter, and goes home regretting that she was so harsh.
 +
 
 +
Upon reaching home, Elizabeth finds her younger sisters, Lydia and Kitty terribly upset by the news that the regiment is leaving the town for Brighton.  Lydia, a silly and headstrong girl finally gains permission to go to Brighton for the summer with her friend.  Lizzy, meanwhile sets out for Derbyshire with her aunt and uncle.  While there, they tour Pemberly, Mr. Darcy's home and estate.  Mr. Darcy returns unexpectedly during their visit, and they meet.  All of his former coldness has vanished, and he treats Elizabeth with amiable kindness.  Elizabeth's stay in Derbyshire is but short by the terrible news that Lydia has eloped with Mr. Wickham, and they leave in a hurry.
 +
 
 +
Back at home, Elizabeth realizes that she loves Darcy after all, but now has no hope of his ever loving her, especially now that her sister has disgraced the family by running away with Wickham.  Mr. Darcy secretly finds Lydia and Wickham and bribes Wickham to marry her.  Meanwhile, the Bennet family is excited by the news that Mr. Bingley is returning to town.  He visits Jane along with Mr. Darcy.  Elizabeth is disappointed to find that Darcy is cold and silent once again, nothing like the way he behaved at Pemberly.  Watching Jane closely, Mr. Darcy decides that she does love Bingley after all, and tells his friend of this.  Mr. Darcy leaves for town, and Jane and Bingley are engaged soon afterward. 
 +
 
 +
Assuming she has no hope of winning Mr. Darcy now, Lizzy is astonished by the arrival of Lady Catherine de Bourgh who has come fifty miles to find out whether Lizzy is really engaged to Mr. Darcy.  Elizabeth reveals they are not engaged, but refuses to promise that they never will be.  Lady Catherine is enraged, and goes to see Darcy, repeating to him with great anger what Elizabeth said.  Her endeavors to separate the two have the opposite effect.  Darcy's hope of Elizabeth's love are rekindled by Lady Catherine's news.  He returns to the Bennets home, and asks Lizzy whether she has changed her mind.  She tells him she has, and the couple is engaged.  
  
 
==Paired opposites==
 
==Paired opposites==
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The generous and genial Bingley contrasts with the grasping, hypocrite and social misfit, Mr. Collins.
 
The generous and genial Bingley contrasts with the grasping, hypocrite and social misfit, Mr. Collins.
  
The shrewd and penetrating character analyses of Elizabeth contrast with the trusting nature of her older sister Jane, who is determined to see only the good in everybody.
+
The shrewd and penetrating character of Elizabeth contrasts with the trusting nature of her older sister Jane, who is determined to see only the good in everybody.
  
 
Mr. Bennett is sensible and sensitive. His wife is flighty and thinks only of marrying off her daughters.
 
Mr. Bennett is sensible and sensitive. His wife is flighty and thinks only of marrying off her daughters.

Revision as of 10:43, 29 March 2008

Pride and Prejudice is an early 19th-century British novel by Jane Austen about a family with 5 marriageable girls living on their estate in the rustic English countryside.

Its two primary antagonists are the immensely wealthy Mr. Darcy and the middle-class Elizabeth Bennett. His pride and her prejudice provide the books theme and title.

Plot Summary

Spoiler warning
This article contains important plot information

Mrs. Bennett has five daughters, all out. She's at her wit's end to get any of them married before her husband's eventual death leaves the family homeless. The estate on which they live a life of rural leisure is entailed to a cousin.

Mr. Bingley, a wealthy man from London, and his wealthier friend, Mr. Darcy, come to live nearby; and Mr. Bennett arranges a social call, which leads to parties and dances. Mr. Bingley falls in love with Jane, the eldest Miss Bennett, and all seems well.

But, Mr. Darcy, a good man and proud of it, intervenes to break up the couple and takes Mr. Bingley to London. Darcy believes that Jane does not love Bingley, because of her cool reserve.

Elizabeth, the second Bennet daughter and the novel's protagonist, takes an instant dislike to Darcy because of his seeming coldness and pride. Darcy is attracted to Elizabeth, although she does not encourage his attentions, but his friends take every opportunity to distract him from her, on account of her poor family.

Elizabeth encounters a dashing young officer named Wickham. He tells her a false story about how Mr. Darcy has cheated him out of his living, and reduced him to a poor soldier. For a time, Wickham and Elizabeth flirt with one another, until Wickham ignores her and pays attention to another rich young lady instead.

During the summer, Jane goes to stay with her aunt and uncle in London, while Elizabeth visits her friend Charlotte who is married to the vicar, Mr. Collins. Mr. Collins nearly worships his patroness, the excessively rich Lady Catherine de Bourgh, who forces her opinions upon everyone. Lady Catherine is a relative of Mr. Darcy's, and he is expected to marry her sickly daughter, Anne. Mr. Darcy and a friend visit Lady Catherine during Elizabeth's stay. Shortly before his departure, Mr. Darcy asks Elizabeth to marry him, remarking that he likes her against his and his family's better judgment. Elizabeth is shocked, and refuses him scathingly, blaming him for ruining Wickham's fortune and Jane's happiness. Darcy leaves the house in anger, but finds Elizabeth the following morning, and gives her a letter, which he asks her to read. In the letter, Darcy explains that he separated Jane and Bingley because he was convinced that Jane did not love Bingley. He goes on to relate that George Wickham is in fact a lazy scoundrel who cares only for money, and tried to elope with Darcy's younger sister in order to gain her large fortune. Elizabeth is astonished by this letter, and goes home regretting that she was so harsh.

Upon reaching home, Elizabeth finds her younger sisters, Lydia and Kitty terribly upset by the news that the regiment is leaving the town for Brighton. Lydia, a silly and headstrong girl finally gains permission to go to Brighton for the summer with her friend. Lizzy, meanwhile sets out for Derbyshire with her aunt and uncle. While there, they tour Pemberly, Mr. Darcy's home and estate. Mr. Darcy returns unexpectedly during their visit, and they meet. All of his former coldness has vanished, and he treats Elizabeth with amiable kindness. Elizabeth's stay in Derbyshire is but short by the terrible news that Lydia has eloped with Mr. Wickham, and they leave in a hurry.

Back at home, Elizabeth realizes that she loves Darcy after all, but now has no hope of his ever loving her, especially now that her sister has disgraced the family by running away with Wickham. Mr. Darcy secretly finds Lydia and Wickham and bribes Wickham to marry her. Meanwhile, the Bennet family is excited by the news that Mr. Bingley is returning to town. He visits Jane along with Mr. Darcy. Elizabeth is disappointed to find that Darcy is cold and silent once again, nothing like the way he behaved at Pemberly. Watching Jane closely, Mr. Darcy decides that she does love Bingley after all, and tells his friend of this. Mr. Darcy leaves for town, and Jane and Bingley are engaged soon afterward.

Assuming she has no hope of winning Mr. Darcy now, Lizzy is astonished by the arrival of Lady Catherine de Bourgh who has come fifty miles to find out whether Lizzy is really engaged to Mr. Darcy. Elizabeth reveals they are not engaged, but refuses to promise that they never will be. Lady Catherine is enraged, and goes to see Darcy, repeating to him with great anger what Elizabeth said. Her endeavors to separate the two have the opposite effect. Darcy's hope of Elizabeth's love are rekindled by Lady Catherine's news. He returns to the Bennets home, and asks Lizzy whether she has changed her mind. She tells him she has, and the couple is engaged.

Paired opposites

The 'pride' of Mr. Darcy is opposed by the 'prejudice' of Elizabeth.

The generous and genial Bingley contrasts with the grasping, hypocrite and social misfit, Mr. Collins.

The shrewd and penetrating character of Elizabeth contrasts with the trusting nature of her older sister Jane, who is determined to see only the good in everybody.

Mr. Bennett is sensible and sensitive. His wife is flighty and thinks only of marrying off her daughters.

Elizabeth is determined to marry for love, and gets the intelligent, worthy and immensely rich Darcy. Her best friend marries for security, and get stuck with Mr. Collins.

Movie treatments

The definitive edition is the 5-hour 1995 miniseries starring Colin Firth. The star is really Jennifer Ehle, who shines (or glows) as Elizabeth.

External links