The plot of Jane Austen’s
Pride and Prejudice revolves around the lives of the Bennet family. It is set in Regency England in the late eighteenth century. The novel explores the themes of inter-personal relationships, love, marriage, family and social hierarchy.
The protagonist, Elizabeth Bennet is portrayed by Austen as an intelligent and sensible young woman. But Elizabeth lacks discernment and good judgment which causes her to be prejudiced towards Darcy. At the beginning of the novel, Elizabeth fails to discern that Darcy is a good man even though he is proud.
Austen critiques the social conventions and norms pertaining to marriage during that time through Elizabeth’s refusal to marry the unsuitable Mr. Collins, and also through the portrayal of the marriage of convenience between Charlotte Lucas and Mr. Collins which is based on mercenary motives. Austen emphasizes the importance of compatibility, and understanding and affection in marriage through the presentation of Elizabeth’s marriage to Darcy and Jane’s marriage to Bingley.
Pride and Prejudice is a must read for all those who would like to experience the world of Jane Austen during the Regency period in England.