Pride and Prejudice

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How does Jane Austen introduce Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy to the reader in the opening scenes?

Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, published in 1813 is a novel that is acknowledged as a masterpiece. The opening sentence of Pride and Prejudice is famously ironic, “it is universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife”, this sentence is completely against Jane Austen’s characteristics; it states an opinion like it was fact; it’s a stereotype and an exaggeration, and is ironic as Jane Austen was known to be a rationalist. The novel itself was fashionable but not respected, as a woman wrote it. Jane Austen’s main characters are Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy, both of which are very similar and fail to realise this, they are proud, ironic and judgmental, a perfect match? Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy are introduced to the reader in the first few chapters, their introduction and their opinions towards each other are very particular, in this essay I am analysing how Jane Austen introduces the reader to Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet in the opening scenes. Elizabeth is one of five Bennet sisters unlike many main characters Elizabeth isn’t the prettiest, but she is witty and intelligent: the result is that the reader doesn’t expect Elizabeth to be the novels heroine, as is doesn’t possess the Disney fairytale qualities. Mr. Darcy is first portrayed through indirect speech as a handsome and rich gentleman who is destined to marry, that is until the reader meets Mr. Darcy, the reader is deceived into thinking Mr. Darcy is a pompous rich over-proud gentlemen, as they mold prejudice opinions towards him. The 18th century and today’s era vary in similarity as women and men still marry and some women are deemed as housewives. Jane Austen’s has radical ideas for both time elapses; as it is portrayed that women are normally in need of rescue from a handsome prince, but in Austen’s novel Elizabeth Bennet isn’t like that, in fact she is quite opposite, because of this Elizabeth is radical. Elizabeth Bennet isn’t a typical heroine is she’s in no need for recue. Jane Austen is using this theme to show women in particular that there is no law to marry, and that women are equal to men. Jane Austen increases her impact on the reader as Elizabeth wants to marry for love and with no other selfish gain, which was unprecedented in the 18th century; women were to marry for social status and economic reasons. When the reader is introduced to Mr. Wickham the reader is shocked by how affectionate Elizabeth is towards him shown through nerves and exaggeration about Mr. Darcy, “he is not at all liked in Hertfordshire. Everybody is disgusted with his pride. You will not find him more favorably spoken of by anyone”, Elizabeth is normally composed and clear minded, but when she’s talking to Mr. Wickham she exaggerates and seems bemused, this shows the trap in how people fall into love. This is interesting because it shows that Elizabeth is definitely an 18th century women; as she still wants a husband and will escalate the truth using indirect speech, but it is a bit suspicious because Elizabeth is ironic, and doesn’t normally exaggerate, the reader wonders if Jane Austen is speaking or Elizabeth as she lived in life of a single women, it shows that love is still important. Jane Austen uses various techniques to make Pride and Prejudice’s plot exciting. Jane Austen’s style of writing is very unique; she put her emotions into her writing creating a real image and a believable plot, she uses irony in a very witty and funny way – “Mr. Darcy is all politeness” said Elizabeth, which is ironic as it is after Mr. Darcy has been rude about her. Jane Austen has a very precise and exact style when she writes, all the vocabulary she uses fit Pride and Prejudice perfectly as it contains a balance use of complex and simple sentence structures, with a range of sophisticated language. She adds...
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