Pride & Prejudice Themes

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Pride and Prejudice Theme of Love

Mr. Darcy’s first declaration of love for Elizabeth is a perfect illustration of how love functions in this novel: "You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you [despite your awful family and your socially inferior position]." There are many obstacles on the road to love in Pride and Prejudice, not the least of which are …pride and prejudice. But Jane Austen pens a happy ending, showing us that there’s something about love that enables it to overcome all the pride and prejudice that society throws in its way.

Pride and Prejudice Theme of Marriage

In the world of Pride and Prejudice, marriage is a necessity (for women at least) – and a good marriage is like winning the lottery. Notice that we didn’t mention the l-word (that would be "love"). Marriage is celebrated in Pride and Prejudice as a goal in and of itself. Part of what makes Elizabeth, the protagonist, such an interesting character is her refusal to view marriage in those terms. Other characters show us alternate reasons for marrying: practicality, infatuation, etc.

Pride and Prejudice Theme of Society and Class

In Pride and Prejudice Austen satirizes the distinction between middle-class and the upper class society during her time, suggesting that character is more important than connections, and that love will overcome such boundaries. However, Austen makes almost no mention of the working class, and certainly does not delve into their lives or aspirations in any meaningful way. Within the middle and upper class world, however, she does suggest these class boundaries are artificial constructions.

Pride and Prejudice Theme of Women and Femininity

Although Pride and Prejudice begins with the anonymous figure of a rich, single man, the novel is actually concerned with the plight of the poor, single woman. So far as the novel makes a conscious statement about womanhood, it argues that poor, single women have an extremely limited range of choices: poverty or marriage. Pride and Prejudice offers us a look into this rather intensely feminine world of courting, marriage decisions, and social realities.

Pride and Prejudice Theme of Pride Pride in Pride and Prejudice can also be understood as self-respect – pride is your understanding of yourself and your position in society. It’s not necessarily a bad attribute, although it functions as a pretty significant obstacle to true love. In contrast, vanity is concern for how others view you, and it’s considered a bad attribute. Pride is the simple recognition of your superior talents, education, or position in life; this can be a healthy thing if it does not lead to haughtiness. But pride that leads to a superiority complex is seen as a direct precursor to vanity.

Pride and Prejudice Theme of Foolishness and Folly

In Pride and Prejudice, there are the truly foolish characters, and then there’s Elizabeth and Darcy. Their comic misunderstandings show their courtship to be a long chain of mixed signals. Their foolishness and folly delay their happiness, but at the same time teach them valuable lessons about themselves and about each other.

Pride and Prejudice Theme of Identity

Pride and Prejudice raises some terrifying questions about how well we know ourselves. Elizabeth and Darcy, in particular, undergo some important revelations. Elizabeth, who prides herself on being an awesome judge of character, messes up at least three times. Mr. Darcy, who prides himself on being a good guy, realizes that he was blind to quite a few of his faults (i.e., pride).

Pride and Prejudice Theme of Family

We all have families that embarrass us to some extent, but the

family takes it to a whole new level, creating many, many problems for the two eldest Bennet daughters. But like them, love them, or hate them, you can’t escape family in Pride and Prejudice. Worse, your family irrevocably...
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