3. “It is a truth universally
acknowledged, that a
woman in possession
of a romantic heart,
must be in agony over
the fate of Darcy and
4. SOCIAL MILIEU in 19th CENTURY
•What is the name of the period we are studying now?
•What were the social realities during that era based on
class, property, gender, education, marriage, society?
Explain briefly in 2-3 lines.
•Is this novel only about Love??? If not, then what??
5. SOCIAL MILIEU in 19th CENTURY
The social milieu of Austen’s England was particularly stratified, and class divisions were
rooted in family connections and wealth.
Austen is often critical of the assumptions and prejudices of upper-class England.
She distinguishes between internal merit (goodness of person) and external merit (rank
Though she frequently satirizes snobs, she also pokes fun at the poor breeding and
misbehavior of those lower on the social scale.
She depicts is one in which social mobility is limited and class-consciousness is strong.
Austen was also concerned about appropriate behavior for each gender.
While social advancement for young men lay in the military, church, or law, the chief
method of self-improvement for women was the acquisition of wealth. Women could
only accomplish this goal through successful marriage, which explains the ubiquity of
matrimony as a goal and topic of conversation in Austen’s writing.
6. •The social milieu of Austen’s England was
particularly stratified, and class divisions were
rooted in family connections and wealth.
7. SOCIAL MILIEU
•Though she frequently satirizes snobs, she
also pokes fun at the poor breeding and
misbehavior of those lower on the social
8. •She depicts the social mobility in her society
which is limited and class-consciousness is
•Austen was also concerned about appropriate
behavior for each gender.
9. •WHICH OF THE ABOVE MENTIONED
•SOCIAL MILIEU IS A PART OF YOUR OWN SOCIETY?
10. Pride and Prejudice is largely concerned with the adventures of
the wealthy gentry.The social etiquette of the early nineteenth
century was very different from today's.
• Jane Austen was born on 16 December 1775 in Steventon, Hampshire.The
daughter of a clergyman, she was the seventh of eight children. Her formal
education ended when she was just 11 years old, but her father, rather like Mr
Bennet in Pride and Prejudice, had a good library and Jane used it well.
• Even as a teenager, her writing was lively and humorous. Although Pride and
Prejudice was published in 1813, she'd written an earlier version many years
before - it was refused by a London publisher in 1797.
• While Austen wrote a great deal about marriage, she never married or had
children herself, although she used to love spending time with her many nieces
• She died on 18 July 1817.
11. Marriage in the time of Austen
• The opening line of Pride and Prejudice is one of the most famous in English literature: "It
is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune
must be in want of a wife." This is typical Austen, who makes thought-provoking
statements tinged with humour.
• In the story, Mrs Bennet is determined to see her five daughters married off.The
more 'respectable' the match, the better. She despises Wickham when he runs off with
Lydia, but as soon as she finds out he's marrying her, her opinion changes completely.
She even remarks that it's a great achievement, as Lydia is only 16. Mrs Bennet hates
Darcy - until he proposes to Elizabeth.
• Miss Bingley is deliberately rude to Elizabeth because she fears (rightly) that Darcy will
marry her. Lady Catherine de Bourgh is horrible to Elizabeth for the same reason. Miss
Bingley even lies to Jane about her brother being engaged to someone else, as she feels
the marriage would reflect badly on her family.
12. Marriage in the time of Austen
• Mr Bennet realised many years before that his wife
was completely unsuited to him, but the question of
divorce would never have been raised. It was almost
unheard of and would have brought shame on the
• At the time, marriage was seen as a social
contract, often without the need for love. Lady
Catherine had planned for her daughter to marry
Darcy for many years, despite their indifference. And
Charlotte Lucas marries Mr Collins simply because he
can provide her with financial security. She doesn't
love him, or even respect him.
• By contrast, the couplings of Jane and Bingley and
Elizabeth and Darcy are sincere and heart-
• Class - your social rank - was a dominating factor for those living in
Austen's world.Your class often determined how you were regarded by
others - and how you might treat people yourself. It was considered
unusual, even improper, to marry someone far removed from your own
• At the top of the tree were the aristocracy. Put simply, these people
were royalty or relatives (sometimes distant) of royalty. Lady Catherine
might very well qualify as aristocracy. If not, she's certainly 'gentry', as
is her nephew Darcy.
• They're 'old gentry' who've had wealth and property for generations.
This changed in the 18th century because of the Industrial Revolution.
'New gentry' were people who hadn't inherited wealth but made a lot
of money from business.
• Bingley is new gentry, because his father made his money in industry
somewhere in northern England. Bingley's sisters don't brag about this
because 'new gentry' isn't as high up the class ladder as 'old gentry'.
• The Bennets are much further down the social scale.They're
considerably better off than many, but a world away from Darcy - not
just because he's far richer, but they lack 'breeding'. Darcy comes from
generations of wealth and 'respect'. It's much less of a social jump for
Bingley to marry Jane than for Darcy to marry Elizabeth.When Lady
Catherine gets angry at Elizabeth, she describes her as "a young woman
of inferior birth, of no importance in the world".
• Darcy eventually sees beyond the class difference. However, even he
admits he struggled against his feelings for a long time because of the
inferior nature of the Bennet family.
15. Manners and etiquette
• 'Manners', or how you chose to interact with other people, were incredibly
important in Austen's time. Even if people were in a state of high emotion, they had
to maintain an air of dignity at all times.
• Some of the funniest passages in the book are when characters are arguing.These
weren't intended to be funny in Austen's time. Rather, the rules of 'manners' meant
people had to be very careful about what they could say, and had to get their point
across with clever language.
• Mrs Bennet believes she has good manners. However, she's so stupid she fails to
see that she often embarrasses herself by acting improperly. She is too loud, too
bold, and says things that are too direct. Lydia is a younger version of her.This was
a real character flaw in Austen's time.
• Ironically, the person with the worst manners is the one who, due to 'breeding',
should have the most impeccable: Lady Catherine. She's almost always rude, and
downright insulting to Elizabeth. Due to her upper class status, she feels justified in
being ill-mannered because everyone is 'below' her.
16. Where a change of heart….
meets a touch of humility….
• Symbols are objects, characters, figures,
and colors used to represent abstract
ideas or concepts.
• Pemberly, Darcy’s estate sits at the centre
of the novel, literally and figuratively, as a
geographic symbol of the man who owns
• Nature without artifice Darcy…lack of
like the stream, he is neither “formal nor
•Motifs are recurring structures,
contrasts, and literary devices
that can help to develop and
inform the text’s major themes.
•JOURNEY (London, Kent,
•Most of the actions
function as catalysts
for change in the
• Collins’s cancelled wooing
• Collins’s successful wooing
• Miss Bingley’s unsuccessful
attempt to attract Darcy.
• Wickham----Elizabth, Miss
•Marriage is the ultimate
goal and courtship
constitutes the working-
out of love….
• Letters play a very important role in 'Pride and
Prejudice'. They can link the story because letters
provide information which we would not have found
out from the dialogue between the characters.
• We can also find out extra background information
which can help with the reader's understanding of
characters, the plot and the novel in general.
• Letters can reveal characters' personalities and how
they feel about the other characters in the novel, for
example Miss Bingley's feelings about Jane.
• Letters from Caroline to Jane
• Letter from Darcy to Eliza
• Letters from Collins to Mr. Bennet
• Letters from Jane to Eliza
• Letters to and from Mrs. Gardiner
• Letter from Lydia
In a novel where the spoken
word rules the day, and where
private thoughts don't have too
much presence on the page,
letters are a stand-in for the
interior lives of the characters.
34. Pride & Prejudice
• In Pride and Prejudice, pride is a central theme;
misplaced pride generates both comedy and
tragedy, while regulated pride is necessary to
• Prejudice and swift judgment almost always lead
to error and misunderstanding; Elizabeth
misreads Darcy’s character, and Darcy is too hasty
to condemn Elizabeth’s relations.
• There are many characters in the novel who
display one or both of these - pride and prejudice.
As you'll see, the two often go together.
• It's helpful to define these words in their context.
In this book, they mean:
• Pride - having too high an opinion of one's own
worth or importance.
• Prejudice - making judgements about others
which aren't based on fact or experience.
35. • Firstly, she creates characters who don't really
show either characteristic (for example, Jane,
Bingley and Mr Bennet). Secondly, she shows
that pride and prejudice can be overcome
(Darcy and Elizabeth).
• Austen offers a balance to all this pride
and prejudice in two ways.
36. Love and Marriage
• The book is dominated from the
opening sentence by relationships and
the pursuit of marriage.
• Sometimes it seems as if marriage -
especially if you're single - is the most
important thing in life.The book is
about romance, but Austen provides
examples of different kinds of
marriage that go some way to
showing that life and relationships
can be complicated.
• Most of the characters are deeply concerned about their 'reputation' - how
others see them and their standing in society.This is linked to 'class', but a
character's reputation isn't necessarily linked to their social standing (for
• There are a lot of marriages, but not much love to go around.That's
because most marriages are based either on economic necessity or
attraction. And the idea that you'd leave your entire family to run off with
an impoverished soldier? Pure idiocy.
• Romantic love is a privilege that most people never earn. Love is an
emotion available only to intelligent, mature adults. It's the crowning
achievement of a good character.
• Of the entire Bennet family, only Jane and Elizabeth are capable of true
• Love is a relationship bonus, but it's not entirely necessary. Charlotte is
happy because she has low expectations.
• Austen portrays the family unit as primarily responsible for the
intellectual and moral education of children.Throughout the novel, the
younger characters either benefit from or suffer from their family values.
• Mr. and Mrs. Bennet's failure to provide their daughters with a proper
education leads to Lydia's utter foolishness and immorality. Elizabeth and
Jane manage to develop virtue and discernment in spite of their parents'
negligence, though it is notable that they have other role models (like the
• Darcy shares his father's aristocratic nature and tendency towards
generosity, while Lady Catherine's formidable parenting style has
rendered her daughter too frightened to speak.
• Austen is certainly critical of the gender injustices present in 19th century English
society, particularly as perpetrated by the institution of marriage.
• In Pride and Prejudice, many women (such as Charlotte) must marry solely for the
sake of financial security. In her portrayal of Elizabeth, Austen shows that
women are just as intelligent and capable as their male counterparts.
• Austen herself went against convention by remaining single and earning a living
through her novels. In her personal letters, Austen advised friends only to marry
for love. In the novel, Elizabeth's happy ending reveals Austen's beliefs that
woman has the right to remain independent until she meets the right man (if she
• On the other hand, most contemporary readers will find the Longbourn
entailment to be unjust. And yet the heroines - Jane and Elizabeth - refrain from
speaking out against it. Instead, the only two characters who openly criticize the
entailment - Mrs. Bennet and Lady Catherine - are ridiculous caricatures.nishiraa
• Marriage is central to Pride and Prejudice as the qualities of good and bad
marriages come under the microscope. Austen questions her society’s
perceptions of class and money in marriage.
• From our 21st century perspective, the concerns of Pride and Prejudice might
• In the early nineteenth, marriage was the only option for respectable young
women.There was no such thing as moving out of your parents' house, no such
thing as building a career in your twenties and worrying about marriage later,
and (importantly) no such thing as divorce, except in really extreme, unusual
• Marriage was literally the most important decision a woman could make. It could
ruin you (Lydia, Mrs. Bennet); set you up for life (Jane, Lizzy); or condemn you to
a mediocre but independent existence (Charlotte).
• Pride and Prejudice argues against the idea of love at first sight and suggests
that the better kind of love develops slowly. Although both Jane and Elizabeth
have happy marriages, the narrator approves more of Elizabeth's.nishiraa
• Money makes the world go 'round, especially if you're a young woman trying to get
married in Regency England.
• The five Bennet daughters have almost no money, which means no way to entice men to
marry them and no way to support themselves after their father dies and their house is
handed over to Mr. Collins
• For men, there were very, very few paths to financial independence without either (1)
inheriting or (2) marrying money. Some got rich in the army or through business, but
that was super rare.
• For women, the options were even more limited: inherit or marry. In Pride and Prejudice,
the Bennet girls are trying to marry for money because they don't want to live on the
early nineteenth-century equivalent of the streets.
• Pride and Prejudice's detailed treatment of money adds to the novel's realism—like
when Lydia wants to treat her sisters but has to borrow money from them instead.
• Austen criticizes the idea that women belong purely to a domestic sphere by
showing that they have to continually appraise their suitors on economic, business-
43. • How does Jane Austen present the
themes of love and marriage in Pride
• How are women portrayed in Pride
and Prejudice and what is their role?
• Discuss how Austen throws in comedy
into many of the more serious
moments in the novel ‘Pride and
Prejudice’, with the help of these
characters: Mrs. Bennet, Mary, and
44. Women and Femininity
• Pride and Prejudice may start off with the anonymous figure of a rich,
single man, but the novel is actually concerned with the plight of the
poor, single woman.
• Most of the women we see here (the Bennet girls, Charlotte Lucas) are in
a bind.They're too high class to get jobs, but not high class enough to
inherit wealth. It may not be as glamorous as the expensive shoes and
fabulous apartments of today's chick lit, but it's a much more realistic
look at what it meant to be a woman.
• The novel offers a much wider range of female characters than it does of
• By writing about a female character (Elizabeth) who is bold,
independent, honest, and forthright, Jane Austen is
critiquing female identity in early nineteenth-century
45. Social Class
• Class conflict comes to the forefront as the rise of the nouveau riche puts
the aristocracy on the defensive regarding the value of parentage and
• Class issues are everywhere in Pride and Prejudice. While the novel never posits an
egalitarian ideology nor supports the leveling of all social classes, it does criticize an over-
emphasis on class, especially in terms of judging a person's character.
• Ultimately, the novel accepts Elizabeth's view that the trappings of wealth are not a virtue
in and of themselves. Darcy's initial pride is based on his extreme class-consciousness, but
he eventually comes to accept Elizabeth's perspective, most notably evidenced through
his admiration of the Gardiners. Likewise, he joins Elizabeth in rejecting the upper-class
characters who are idle, mean-spirited, closed-minded, like Lady Catherine and Bingley's
• Austen clearly finds rigid class boundaries to be occasionally absurd. Mr. Collins's comic
formality and toadying relationship with Lady Catherine form a satire of class
consciousness and social formalities.
46. Individual vs. Society
• In Pride and Prejudice,Austen portrays a world in which society is actively involved in the private
lives of individuals.Characters often face questions about their responsibility to the world
around them. A prime example is Darcy's guilt for not having publicly shamedWickham before
he was able to elope with Lydia.
• After all, Lydia's sin threatens to besmirch not only her family, but the community at large.And
yet Austen seems quite well aware of how easily public opinion can change, as evidenced by the
town's easily shifting opinions onWickham.
• Elizabeth, meanwhile, is proudly independent and individualistic. She possesses the ability to
transcend her limitations - the negligence of her parents, the frivolity of Meryton, the pragmatic
nature of Charlotte - because she is confident enough to go after what she wants. However, her
individualistic nature misleads her as she works through her feelings for Darcy - but thankfully,
Mrs. Gardiner is there to guide her towards him.
• Ultimately,Austen is critical of the power public opinion has on individual action, but she also
believes that society has a crucial role in promoting virtue and therefore, engendering individual
happiness.According to critic Richard Simpson, Austen portrays a "thorough consciousness
that man is a social being, and that apart from society there is not even the individual."
• Sure,Wickham fools everyone. But Pride and Prejudice is really interested
in self-deceit: the lies we all tell ourselves.You know, like, "I'm totally going
to start dieting tomorrow"; or, "From now on, I'm only going to date nice
guys," or "This school year, I'm going to neatly organize all of my
• Motivated by pride and vanity (not to mention prejudice), these kinds of
lies are the hardest to let go. It's worth it, though: the reward is a happy
• The novel's characters are so conditioned to accept good manners at face
value that they make natural victims for conmen like Wickham.
• Charlotte Lucas is the only character in the entire novel who isn't
deceiving herself and isn't deceived by others.
• Austen's novels unite Aristotelian and Christian conceptions of virtue. She sees
human life as purposeful and believes that human beings must guide their
appetites and desires through their use of reason. For instance, Elizabeth almost
loses her chance at happiness because her vanity overcomes her pragmatism.
Lydia's lack of virtue is linked with her inability to control her passion and desire.
• Most of these examples emphasize the importance of self-awareness. Without
knowing oneself, it is difficult to develop virtue. Darcy and Elizabeth, two of the
only characters who actually change in the novel, can only see past their pride
and prejudice with each other's help. In the end, Austen links happiness to virtue
and virtue to self-awareness.
• Austen showcases the human ability to change and grow in her protagonists,
who both are brought to realize defects in their own characters through
interaction with each other.
• In Pride and Prejudice, characters are divided into certain
types.There are those who just reiterate whatever principles
they've been taught without much understanding of either
the context or appropriateness of what they are saying.Then
there are those who hold on as hard as possible to a few
principles of behavior or belief and cannot be swayed from
them. Finally, there are those who are entirely unprincipled,
and whose moral and ethical beliefs are totally changeable
depending on the situation.
• In the novel, Mary Bennet is a sort of walking "Greek chorus"
who functions as a mouthpiece for the standard principles of
the day.The novel mocks her as an efficient way to dispose
of these principles.
In the novel, even though Mary Bennet is satirized for being
a very young girl with a very formal and ponderous way of
speaking, she actually ends up saying a lot of the wisdom
that the main characters have to come to learn and
internalize before they can move ahead in life.
50. "Irony is the soul of Jane Austen's
- Pride and Prejudice.
51. Genre: Comedy of Manners
•Pride and Prejudice belongs to the genre of a comedy
of manners; this is a type of comedy depicting and
satirizing the manners and customs of fashionable
•How is Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice seen as a
comedy of manners?
•How does Jane Austen use this technique in Pride and
52. • Jane Austen was the quintessential producer of the form called comedy
of manners, its subject being the set of social conventions of a
particular class in a particular time and place.The novel of manners
describes in detail the customs, behaviors, habits, and expectations of a
certain social group at a specific time and place. Usually these
conventions shape the behaviour of the main characters, and sometimes
even stifle or repress them. Often the novel of manners is satiric, and it
is always realistic in depiction.
• Pride and Prejudice is, at first glance, simply an amusing depiction of
England's social conventions of the late eighteenth- and the beginning of
the nineteenth-century, particularly those of the gentry. But at a deeper
level, by employing a subtle ironic style, Austen indirectly criticizes
certain political, economical and sociological circumstances of her
time. Pride and Prejudice is, if you really pay attention, quite the
scathing commentary on the etiquette and customs of the time.
53. • Pride and Prejudice depicts a society in which a woman’s
reputation is of the utmost importance. A woman is expected to
behave in certain ways. Stepping outside the social norms makes
her vulnerable to ostracism.This theme appears in the novel, when
Elizabeth walks to Netherfield and arrives with muddy skirts, to
the shock of the reputation-conscious Miss Bingley and her friends.
• At other points, the ill-mannered, ridiculous behavior of Mrs.
Bennet gives her a bad reputation with the more refined (and
snobbish) Darcys and Bingleys. Austen pokes gentle fun at the
snobs in these examples, but later in the novel, when Lydia elopes
withWickham and lives with him out of wedlock, the author treats
reputation as a very serious matter. Lydia clearly places herself
outside the social pale, and her disgrace threatens the entire
54. •Think about it this way: Elizabeth can't just walk up to Darcy
and say, "What's the deal with us?" In the England of the early
1800's, there were very strict expectations for how children
were supposed to act toward their parents, how both women
and men were supposed to conduct themselves and interact,
and how people of certain social statuses were supposed to
act around one another.There were many, many layers of
expectation and politeness that contributed to what were
really, at least in comparison to today, very artificial
•Austen was ahead of her time enough to catch on to this,
and put her characters in situations where the tension
between what a character truly wants to do/say comes in
direct conflict with what he or she MUST do/say according
to their gender and social position.
55. • This creates many comedic and tense situations for the characters who act
according to their station--for instance, Jane and Bingley's mutual aching to be
with one another is never expressed (and instead quite awkwardly
misunderstood) for the majority of the novel because (A) Jane's place as a women
is to act passively and not initiate any aspect of the relationship and (B) Bingley,
with added pressure from Darcy and Ms. Bingley, sees his place as a wealthy
young man as that of a station far above Jane Bennet's. Therefore, neither of
these characters can "allow" themselves to act on what they really feel.
• Similar expectations act on Elizabeth and Darcy throughout the novel as well,
but Austen gives her heroine a small spark of rebellion--enough that when she
is pushed enough (as in Darcy's initial proposal) she is able to miraculously
overcome the ways in which she is "supposed" to act as a young women from a
lower class family. It's this addded resistance of social expectations that makes
her rejection of Wickham, rejection of Darcy, and grand telling-off of Lady
Catherine de Bourgh so spectacular, funny, and heroic.
56. • Austen satirizes this kind of class-consciousness, particularly in the character
of Mr. Collins, who spends most of his time toadying to his upper-class
patron, Lady Catherine de Bourgh.Though Mr. Collins offers an extreme
example, he is not the only one to hold such views. His conception of the
importance of class is shared, among others, by Mr. Darcy, who believes
in the dignity of his lineage; Miss Bingley, who dislikes anyone not as
socially accepted as she is; and Wickham, who will do anything he can to
get enough money to raise himself into a higher station.
• Mr. Collins’s views are merely the most extreme and obvious.The satire
directed at Mr. Collins is therefore also more subtly directed at the entire
social hierarchy and the conception of all those within it at its correctness, in
complete disregard of other, more worthy virtues. Through the Darcy-
Elizabeth and Bingley-Jane marriages, Austen shows the power of love
and happiness to overcome class boundaries and prejudices, thereby
implying that such prejudices are hollow, unfeeling, and unproductive.
57. How women are portrayed in Pride & Prejudice
• In Pride and Prejudice, women are portrayed through the different characters that
inhabit the novel. Take for example, Elizabeth Bennett, she is not your typical woman of
the period, she should be set on getting married. She is in a difficult situation with her
home being passed to her father's next male heir, Mr. Collins, yet when he proposes, she
refuses. Clearly, she is intelligent, strong minded and independent. Jane, on the other
hand, is considered the beauty of the family. When Mr. Bingley comes to the country,
she is a perfect candidate for his affections. She is demure, socially acceptable, but,
• Lydia is crazy and wild. She doesn't seem to follow any of the social rules of her day and
lacks a sense of morality. Mary is quiet, most likely to remain unmarried. She is content
to stay with her books. Kitty is too young to judge according to this standard.
• The book allows us to observe women who are rich, Lady Catherine Debourgh and
women who are poor the Bennett sisters and women who are desperate, Charlotte
Lucas. Jane Austen's women characters are three dimensional, they are not paper cut-
outs. Her women possess different characters, temperaments and value systems. She is
saying women are not one dimensional, not just decoration on a man's arm. But valued
members of society.
58. Some more points to ponder over:
• Women in England in the 1800's, which is when Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice is set,
had one primary function, which was to marry, and marry well.
• The Bennet girls have a temporarily comfortable life, for in the absence of sons, when their
father dies, his property will be inherited by their cousin, Mr. Collins. For this reason, the
Bennet's mother is usually in a frenzy trying to orchestrate the marriage of her daughters.
• Elizabeth Bennet, her third of four girls, is a delightful young lady who refuses to lose her
individualism and personal identity in a society that encourages women to do exactly
that. However, much like her father, Elizabeth doesn't take too seriously her mother's
flighty schemes to get her married.
• The role of women, especially upper crust women in England at the time is to look
beautiful, speak only of pleasantries, and marry quickly, preferably to someone with some
wealth at his disposal. On this eve of the Industrial Revolution, this world stands in stark
contrast to the one that will soon evolve in Britain, where women's roles will transform into
something completely different.
59. Jane Austen’s use of wit and irony in
Pride & Prejudice
• A great deal of Austen's wit is actually seen through the use of irony. In
Pride and Prejudice, we see all three types of irony displayed: verbal,
situational, and dramatic.
• Jane Austen’s ironic tone is established in the very first sentence of the novel:
“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of
good fortune must be in want of a wife.” Actually a man with a good
fortune does not need a wife nearly so much as a single woman is greatly
in need of a wealthy husband.
• There is much verbal irony in the witty utterance of Mr. Bennet. He tells
Elizabeth, “let Mr. Wickham be your man. He is a pleasant fellow and would
jilt you considerable………’’ in the word pleasant fellow there is hidden a
dramatic irony at the expenses of Mr. Bennet. ForWickham is the man, who
has been destined to make a considerable dent on Mr. Bennet’s
60. • In “Pride and Prejudice” there is much irony of situation too which
provides a twist to story. Mr. Darcy remarks about Elizabeth:
“tolerable but not handsome enough to tempt me.”We relish the
ironic flavor of that statement much later when we reflect that the
woman who was not handsome enough to dance with was really
good enough to marry.
• Mr. Darcy removes Mr. Bingley from Neitherfield because he thinks it
imprudent to forge a marriage alliance with Bennet family, but he
himself ends up by marrying second Bennet daughter, Elizabeth.
Elizabeth tells Mr. Collins that she is not the type of girl who rejects
the proposal first time and accepts the second. But she does exactly
when Mr. Darcy proposes her second time.
61. • Then there are ironic situations - as when Fitzwilliam Darcy unwittingly reveals
to Elizabeth that Mr. Darcy had been instrumental in separating Jane and Mr.
Bingley.This episode is closely followed by the appearance of Mr. Darcy who
offers his hand in marriage to Elizabeth - at the precise moment when she is
furiously angry with him.
• The departure of militia from Meryton seems to put an end to Lydia’s flirtations
but it brings about her elopement. Lydia-Wickham episode may seem like an
insurmountable barrier between Elizabeth and Darcy, but is exactly instrumental
in bringing them together.
• Lady Catherine attempts to prevent Darcy’s marriage with Elizabeth, but only
succeeds in hastening it. It is interesting to note that ironically, it is the villainous
character ofWickham and Lady Catherine who are responsible for uniting the
hero and heroine (Elizabeth and Darcy).
62. • Apart from verbal irony that is apparent in conversations between Elizabeth
and Mr. Bennet, there are ironic characters. Mr. Collins, Lady Catherine
and Mrs. Bennet fall into this category.They are ironic because there is a
discrepancy between the way they see themselves and the way they appear to
• Irony in characters is even more prominent than the irony of situation. It is
ironical that Elizabeth who prides herself on her perceptions is quite blinded by
her own prejudice and errs badly in judging intricate characters.
• Wickham appears gentle and charming but is ironically an unprincipled rouge.
• Darcy appears to be proud and haughty, but ironically proves to be a true
• The Bingley sisters hate the Bennet’s for their vulgarity, but are themselves
vulgar in their behavior.
63. • As one examines “Pride and Prejudice” one is struck with the fact of the
ironic significance that pride leads to prejudice and prejudice invites
pride. Both have their corresponding virtues and defects bound up with
• Austen did not any bitterness in using irony in her novel, to draw satirical
portraits of whims and follies. Rather her irony can be termed as comic.
It implies on her side, an acknowledgement of what is wrong with
people and society.Austen used her irony to shake her major figures of
their self-deception, and to expose the hypocrisy and pretentiousness,
absurdity and insanity of some of her minor figures. It is definitely
possible to deduce from her work, a scheme of moral vision. Andrew
Wright rightly points out that irony in her hand is an instrument of a
• In particular inPride and Prejudice,an ironic tone is predominant
throughout the novel. As Klingel Ray states, Austen is “first and foremost
a satirist. And for a satirist, irony is the major tool of language.”
64. Verbal irony
• The use of verbal irony particularly expresses Austen's use of wit.
Verbal irony is usually recognized as sarcasm. It is the moment
someone, such as a character or narrator, says one thing, but means
the complete opposite.
• One perfect example of verbal irony can be seen in the very opening
line of the book, "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single
man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife" (Ch. 1).
Actually a man with a good fortune does not need a wife nearly so
much as a single woman is greatly in need of a wealthy husband.
65. Situational irony
• Situational irony describes a moment when
something occurs and the exact opposite was
expected to occur. Either the audience or the
characters can have the opposite
• e.g.: Lydia-Wickham episode may seem like
an insurmountable barrier between Elizabeth
and Darcy, but is exactly instrumental in
bringing them together. Lady Catherine
attempts to prevent Darcy’s marriage with
Elizabeth, but only succeeds in hastening it. It
is interesting to note that ironically, it is the
villainous character ofWickham and Lady
Catherine who are responsible for uniting the
hero and heroine (Elizabeth and Darcy).
• One instance of situational irony can be
seen early on in the novel at a party that
takes place at Lucas Lodge
• At the same moment that Sir Lucas is
trying to convince Mr. Darcy to join in the
dancing, Elizabeth begins walking towards
them. Mr. Darcy so adamantly protests
dancing to Sir Lucas, even insulting the
activity, saying, "Every savage can dance,"
that when Sir Lucas sees Elizabeth and
encourages Darcy to dance with her the
reader as well as Elizabeth are very
surprised when Darcy "requested to be
allowed the honour of her hand" (Vol. 1,
• Darcy's behavior in this instant is a true
reversal of his earlier behavior, especially
at the Meryton assembly. Hence, this is a
perfect example of situational irony
66. Dramatic irony
• Dramatic irony occurs when the reader is aware of something that
the characters have no idea of.
• The dance scene is also a fine example of dramatic irony.The reader
has already begun to get the impression that Darcy feels an attraction
for Elizabeth, which the reader began to see when she was tending to
her sister at Netherfield.
• Therefore, the reader knows that Darcy's sudden interest in dancing
with Elizabeth is actually genuine while Elizabeth still believes that he
dislikes her and is merely asking in an attempt to be well mannered.
Again the situation is amusing due to both Elizabeth's and Darcy's
reactions to the situation. Hence, again, this use of dramatic irony also
demonstrates Austen's wit.
68. Essay Questions:
A. Discuss the importance of social class in the novel, especially as it impacts the
relationship between Elizabeth and Darcy.
B.Though Jane Austen satirizes snobs in her novels, some critics have accused
her of being a snob herself. Giving special consideration to Mrs. Bennet and Mr.
Collins, argue and defend one side of this issue.
C. Pride and Prejudice is a novel about women who feel they have to marry to be
happy. Taking Charlotte Lucas as an example, do you think the author is making
a social criticism of her era’s view of marriage?
D. Giving special attention toWickham, Charlotte Lucas, and Elizabeth,
compare and contrast male and female attitudes toward marriage in the novel.
69. Essay Questions:
E. Discuss the relationship between Mrs. Bennet and her children,
especially Elizabeth and Lydia.
F. Compare and contrast the Bingley-Darcy relationship with the Jane-Elizabeth
G. Compare and contrast the roles of Lady Catherine de Bourgh and Mrs. Bennet.
• Support a claim by using evidence from the text rather than
relying on their memories and impressions from reading
• Being objective: Look at both sides of an argument.
• Prepare to debate issues from the novel. Groups of 4;opposing
teams and assigning sides on each of the following topics:
(**Allocate class time for the teams to search the text and their
notes for support. Have each group select a spokesman to
present their side of the argument.Allow the class members
serving as audience in each debate to vote on the most
convincing arguments. Note: Assigning sides, rather than
having students choose the side they wish to present, will force
them to approach the text with an open mind.)
Side 1: Elizabeth is truly
finding an ideal
Side 2: Elizabeth
genuinely wishes to
Side 1:The Bennets are
good parents who
provide for their
Side 2:The Bennets’
parenting skills put their
daughters’ futures in
Side 1: Lydia andWickham
do not deserve the help
and acceptance they
receive from their family
Side 2: Lydia andWickham
deserve the forgiveness
and support of family and
72. Austen sketches the settings of the novel very briefly, leaving it to
readers to visualize the places in which the events occur.
Groups will collect details from the text as they read so they can
produce visual representations, such as drawings or models.
• Rosings, the
home of Lady
73. Deepening one’s understanding: Importance
of inference and analysis
Chart Elizabeth or Darcy’s changing self-
evaluations, noting incidents leading to self-
awareness and the evidence of change.
Key scenes for this activity include :
• the ball where they are initially introduced
• Elizabeth’s stay at Netherfield during Jane’s
recovery from illness
• Darcy’s profession of love
• Elizabeth’s rejection, and their walk together at
Longbourn when they arrive at an