Social and Cultural Contexts in “Pride and Prejudice”
Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice written in the Georgian era is a well developed book that demonstrates the societal and cultural views of the time she was living in. The original name of the book was called “”first impressions””which incorporates with the novel’s main themes such as marriage, social class, prejudice, pride and how the characters of this book can be portrayed through their point of view in this era. Throughout the book the author shows how one’s judgement based on a person’s first impression can really lead to a big sequence of events.Two of the main characters dislike one another and have a difficult time connecting with each other. The of the main characters of this novel is Elizabeth Bennet who is misled by Mr. Darcy, throughout the book the reader can see the struggles between these two characters and how they come together from showing strong dislike to loving each other and having a happy marriage despite what their families views stand. Jane Austen’s pride and prejudice is set in a society where marrying for wealth and social status is more common than marrying for love and connections. Elizabeth Bennet demonstrates pride and prejudice by waiting for love and turning down marriage proposals that she does not believe would make her happy.
Through Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen introduces the major theme of marriage and how the society’s beliefs of marriage was at the time. She does this by showing the different view on marriage that the characters have. Jane Austen uses marriage in this book as a way for the reader to see the different characters opinions on marriage and furthermore she goes into showing the societal views during this time period. Elizabeth Bennet is prejudice towards not only Darcy but any man because she is kinda like an observer she does not only want love she also wants to find someone she can talk to in a relationship and have fun with she feels that most women at this time go into marrying someone just so that they can have support and money to live but for her she wants money to live but she also wants to have a good and lasting relationship with the person she is marrying. Elizabeth is prejudice towards Darcy because from the beginning Darcy portrayed this character that is very wealthy and he is also the kind of guy that most people talk about and they don’t say really good things about him. Elizabeth perceives Darcy as a selfish guy who thinks he’s better than everyone due to his social status.
Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet first meet at the Meryton Ball where Mr.Darcy decided that he could not Dance with Elizabeth because he was not tempted to dance with her and that he did not think she was good enough for him. From this point a reader can see that Mr. Darcy’s judgement on Elizabeth influences her first impression on him and how she will view him throughout the book.Jane Austen wrote “”Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance. If the dispositions of the parties are ever so well known to each other or ever so similar beforehand, it does not advance their felicity in the least. They always continue to grow sufficiently unlike afterwards to have their share of vexation; and it is better to know as little as possible of the defects of the person with whom you are to pass your life.”” (Austen ch 6) This quote shows how other women at the time looked at marriage as a way of having comfort and not intimacy. But in Elizabeth views, a marriage in a matter of chance is not for her because she does not want marriage to be a matter of chance, she wants marriage to be a lasting relationship where there is a devotion of life from one person with another and furthermore she wants to feel loved and happy with the person whom she’s marrying.
Which at this time her views of marriage in her societies eyes is very unrealistic which sets a new view for other people to look forward to in this societies future.Pride is so important for the characters of this book because if a character in a higher class wanted to marry someone else that was in lower class it was hard to see because their family may not agree with their choices and also the character whom is marrying a lower class may have too much pride due to the way they were brought up which can lead to the character’s pride overshadowing their views in life or it can also lead to the character having an experience of change in personality and the characters views. But in the case of this book pride is important with Mr. Darcy because as introduced by Jane Austen he is a tall, handsome and self- absorbed man who is well mannered but did not know how to treat women with respect especially those of lower class. As seen in the beginning of the book he insults Elizabeth in her social status. Mr. Darcy is too prideful for his own good because his pride stands with his views in marriage and his views in women due to the way he was brought up with money and how he lives around people with money he sees lower women like Elizabeth Bennet being not good enough for him.
Whoever as Elizabeth and Darcy get to know each other a reader can see how Darcy’s falling in love for Elizabeth and his views and pride are changing because his love for her is overshadowing everything he stands for. This quote can relate to Darcy’s pride and how his character is portrayed by others in a way that he is prideful in others eyes but in reality he really is not prideful he only wants people to see that he is prideful. “”Pride is a very common failing, I believe. By all that I have ever read, I am convinced that it is very common indeed; that human nature is particularly prone to it, and that there are very few of us who do not cherish a feeling of self-complacency on the score of some quality or other, real or imaginary. Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously. A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves, vanity to what we would have others think of us.”” (Austen ch 5)