Pride and Prejudice - Volume 1 Development of Elizabeth Bennet

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Jane Austen's classic comedy of manners novel "Pride and Prejudice" depicts the life of protagonist main character Elizabeth Bennet. Using her typical "light and bright, and sparkling" tone, Austen uses themes of love, reputation and class to highlight the development of Elizabeth's character in the first volume of the novel. Set in rural England during the Napoleonic Wars the writer shows how setting, in both time and place, has an impact on the main character. The opening sentence of the novel establishes Austen's central figure point of the advantageous marriage, a fundamental social value of Regency England: "It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife." Echoed throughout the novel, these lines have a subtle, unstated significance, hiding the truth of the matter; that a single woman must be in want of a husband, especially a wealthy one. This can be clearly seen throughout the opening chapter which consists almost entirely of dialogue, with Austen using the manner in which characters express themselves to reveal their traits and attitudes. From this it is established that Elizabeth, the second oldest of five sisters, is her fathers favourite with "something more of quickness than her sisters". This quick wit and good sense is complimented by her liveliness, sharp-tongue, boldness and intelligence. She is described as a beauty and has especially distinguishing, expressive eyes. These are symbolic of her abilities of perception. She takes pride in her ability to perceive the truth of situations and of people's characters, although her perception often fails her when she takes influence from vanity. Austen portrays this through the introduction of Mr Wickham., the attractive and amiable villainous character. Elizabeth is drawn to his sob story in spite of its obvious weaknesses. The story feeds her prejudice of Darcy, suiting what she has already decided about him. Her hyperbolic, animated...
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