Pride and Prejudice
Pride: As said in the words of Mary at the beginning of the novel, "human nature is particularly
prone to [pride]" (Volume I, Chapter 5). In the novel, pride prevents the characters from seeing
the truth of a situation and from achieving happiness in life. Pride is one of the main barriers that
creates an obstacle to Elizabeth and Darcy's marriage. Darcy's pride in his position in society
leads him initially to scorn anyone outside of his own social circle. Elizabeth's vanity clouds her
judgment, making her prone to think ill of Darcy and to think well of Wickham. In the end,
Elizabeth's rebukes of Darcy help him to realize his fault and to change accordingly, as
demonstrated in his genuinely friendly treatment of the Gardiners, whom he previously would
have scorned because of their low social class. Darcy's letter shows Elizabeth that her judgments
were wrong and she realizes that they were based on vanity, not on reason.
Prejudice: Pride and prejudice are intimately related in the novel. As critic A. Walton Litz
comments, "in Pride and Prejudice one cannot equate Darcy with Pride, or Elizabeth with
Prejudice; Darcy's pride of place is founded on social prejudice, while Elizabeth's initial
prejudice against him is rooted in pride of her own quick perceptions." Darcy, having been
brought up in such a way that he began to scorn all those outside his own social circle, must
overcome his prejudice in order to see that Elizabeth would be a good wife for him and to win
Elizabeth's heart. The overcoming of his prejudice is demonstrated when he treats the Gardiners
with great civility. The Gardiners are a much lower class than Darcy, because Mr. Darcy is a
lawyer and must practice a trade to earn a living, rather than living off of the interest of an estate
as gentlemen do. From the beginning of the novel Elizabeth prides herself on her keen ability for
perception. Yet this supposed ability is often lacking, as in Elizabeth's judgments of Darcy and
Family: Austen portrays the family as primarily responsible for the intellectual and moral
education of children. Mr. and Mrs. Bennet's failure to provide this education for their daughters
leads to the utter shamelessness, foolishness, frivolity, and immorality of Lydia. Elizabeth and
Jane have managed to develop virtue and strong characters in spite of the negligence of their
parents, perhaps through the help of their studies and the good influence of Mr. and Mrs.
Gardiner, who are the only relatives in the novel that take a serious concern in the girls'
well-being and provide sound guidance. Elizabeth and Jane are constantly forced to put up with
the foolishness and poor judgment of their mother and the sarcastic indifference of their father.
Even when Elizabeth advises her father not to allow Lydia to go to Brighton, he ignores the
advice because he thinks it would too difficult to deal with Lydia's complaining. The result is the
scandal of Lydia's elopement with Wickham.
Women and Marriage: Austen is critical of the gender injustices present in 19th century
English society. The novel demonstrates how money such as Charlotte need to marry men they
are not in love with simply in order to gain financial security. The entailment of the Longbourn
estate is an extreme hardship on the Bennet family, and is quite obviously unjust. The entailment
of Mr. Bennet's estate leaves his daughters in a poor financial situation which both requires them
to marry and makes it more difficult to marry well. Clearly, Austen believes that woman are at
least as intelligent and capable as men, and considers their inferior status in society to be unjust.
She herself went against convention by remaining single and earning a living through her novels.
In her personal letters Austen advises friends only to marry for love. Through the plot of the
novel it is clear that Austen wants to show how Elizabeth is able to be happy by refusing to marry
for financial purposes and only marrying a man whom she truly loves and esteems.
Class: Considerations of class are omnipresent in the novel. The novel does not put forth an
egalitarian ideology or call for the leveling of all social classes, yet it does criticize an
over-emphasis on class. Darcy's inordinate pride is based on his extreme class-consciousness.
Yet eventually he sees that factors other than wealth determine who truly belongs in the
aristocracy. While those such as Miss Bingley and Mrs. Hurst, who are born into the aristocracy,
are idle, mean-spirited and annoying, Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner are not members of the aristocracy
in terms of wealth or birth but are natural aristocrats by virtue of their intelligence, good-breeding
and virtue. The comic formality of Mr. Collins and his obsequious relationship with Lady
Catherine serve as a satire class consciousness and social formalities. In the end, the verdict on
class differences is moderate. As critic Samuel Kliger notes, "It the conclusion of the novel
makes it clear that Elizabeth accepts class relationships as valid, it becomes equally clear that
Darcy, through Elizabeth's genius for treating all people with respect for their natural dignity, is
reminded that institutions are not an end in themselves but are intended to serve the end of
Individual and Society: The novel portrays a world in which society takes an interest in the
private virtue of its members. When Lydia elopes with Wickham, therefore, it is scandal to the
whole society and an injury to entire Bennet family. Darcy considers his failure to expose the
wickedness of Wickham's character to be a breach of his social duty because if Wickham's true
character had been known others would not have been so easily deceived by him. While Austen
is critical of society's ability to judge properly, as demonstrated especially in their judgments of
Wickham and Darcy, she does believe that society has a crucial role in promoting virtue. Austen
has a profound sense that individuals are social beings and that their happiness is found through
relationships with others. According to critic Richard Simpson, Austen has a "thorough
consciousness that man is a social being, and that apart from society there is not even the
Virtue: 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. Elizabeth's folly in her misjudgments of Darcy and Wickham is that her
vanity has prevented her from reasoning objectively. Lydia seems almost completely devoid of
virtue because she has never trained herself to discipline her passions or formed her judgment
such that she is capable of making sound moral decisions. Human happiness is found by living a
life in accordance with human dignity, which is a life in accordance with virtue. Self-knowledge
has a central place in the acquisition of virtue, as it is a prerequisite for moral improvement.
Darcy and Elizabeth are only freed of their pride and prejudice when their dealings with one
another help them to see their faults and spur them to improve.
Elizabeth Bennet: The protagonist of the novel and the second oldest of five sisters, Elizabeth is
lively, quick-witted, sharp-tongued, bold and intelligent. Elizabeth is good-looking, and is
especially distinguished by her fine eyes. The importance of her eyes may be symbolic of her
abilities of perception. She has pride in her abilities to perceive the truth of situations and of
people's characters. However, her perceptive abilities fail her frequently because she is
influenced by vanity and judges people rashly. By the end of the novel she overcomes her
prejudice through her dealings with Darcy. Elizabeth is concerned with propriety, good-manners,
and virtue, but is not impressed by mere wealth or titles.
Mr. Darcy: An extremely wealthy aristocrat, Darcy is proud, haughty and extremely conscious
of class differences at the beginning of the novel. He does, however, have a strong sense of honor
and virtue. Elizabeth's rebukes after his first proposal to her help him to recognize his faults of
pride and social prejudice. It is, in fact, precisely because Elizabeth is not so awed by his high
social status as to be afraid to criticize his character that he is attracted to her. The
self-knowledge acquired from Elizabeth's rebukes and the desire to win Elizabeth's love spur him
to change and judge people more by their character than by their social class.
Jane Bennet: Jane is the oldest in the family. Beautiful, good-tempered, sweet, amiable, humble
and selfless, Jane is universally well-liked. She refuses to judge anyone badly, always making
excuses for people when Elizabeth brings their faults to her attention. Her tendency to give
people the benefit of the doubt leads her to be hurt by insincere friends such as Caroline Bingley,
although in the end her judgments seem to be more accurate than Elizabeth's overall and to do
her much less harm. Jane is a static character9as she is basically a model of virtue from the
beginning, there is no room for her to develop in the novel.
Charles Bingley: Mr. Bingley, much like Jane, is an amiable and good-tempered person. He is
not overly concerned with class differences, and Jane's poor family connections are not a serious
deterrent to his attachment to her. Bingley is very modest and easily swayed by the advice of his
friends, as seen in his decision not to propose to Jane as a result of Darcy's belief that Jane is not
really attached to him. Also like Jane, Bingley lacks serious character faults and is thus static
throughout the novel. His character and his love for Jane remain constant; the only thing that
changes is the advice of Darcy, which leads him not to propose to Jane in the beginning of the
novel but to propose to her in the end.
Mr. Wickham: An officer in the regiment stationed at Meryton, Wickham is quickly judged to
be a perfectly good and amiable man because of his friendliness and the ease of his manners. He
initially shows a preference for Elizabeth, and she is pleased by his attentions and inclined to
believe his story about Darcy. Yet while Wickham has the appearance of goodness and virtue,
this appearance is deceptive. His true nature begins to show itself through his attachment to Miss
King for purely mercenary purposes and then through Darcy's exposition of his past and through
his elopement with Lydia, deceiving her to believe that he intends to marry her.
Mrs. Bennet: Mrs. Bennet is a foolish and frivolous woman. She lacks all sense of propriety and
virtue and has no concern for the moral or intellectual education of her daughters. From the
beginning of the novel her sole obsession is to marry off her daughters. She is perfectly happy
with Lydia's marriage, and never once censures her daughter for her shameful conduct or for the
worry she has caused her family. Her impropriety is a constant source of mortification for the
Elizabeth, and the inane nature of her conversation makes her society so difficult to bear that
even Jane and Bingley decide to move out of the neighborhood a year after they are married.
Mr. Bennet: An intelligent man with good sense, Mr. Bennet made the mistake of marrying a
foolish woman. He takes refuge in his books and seems to want nothing more than to be bothered
as little as possible by his family. His indolence leads to the neglect of the education of
daughters. Even when Elizabeth warns him not to allow Lydia to go to Brighton because of the
moral danger of the situation, he does not listen to her because he does not want to be bothered
with Lydia's complaints.
Lydia Bennet: The youngest of the Bennet sisters, Lydia is foolish and flirtatious, given up to
indolence and the gratification of every whim. She is the favorite of Mrs. Bennet, because the
two have such similar characters. Lydia is constantly obsessed with the officers in the regiment,
and sees no purpose to life beyond entertainment and diversion. She lacks any sense of virtue,
propriety or good-judgment, as seen in her elopement with Wickham and her complete lack of
Catherine (Kitty) Bennet: Kitty seems to have little personality of her own, but simply to act as
a shadow to Lydia, following Lydia's lead in whatever she does. The end of the novel provides
hope that Lydia's character will improve by being removed from the society of Lydia and her
mother and being taken care of primarily by Jane and Elizabeth.
Mary Bennet: The third oldest of the Bennet sisters, Mary is strangely solemn and pedantic. She
dislikes going out into society, and to prefers to spend her time studying. In conversation, Mary is
constantly moralizing or trying to make profound observations about human nature and life in
Mr. Collins: A clergyman and an extremely comical character because of his mix of
obsequiousness and pride, Mr. Collins is fond of making long and silly speeches and stating
formalities which have absolutely no meaning in themselves. For Mr. Collins, speech is not a
means to communicate truth but a means to say what he thinks the people around him want to
hear or what will make the people around him think well of him. He is in line to inherit
Longbourn once Mr. Bennet dies, and wants to marry one of the Miss Bennets to lessen the
burden of the entailment. When Elizabeth refuses him, he considers his duty discharged and
transfers his affections to Charlotte Lucas.
Charlotte Lucas: Charlotte acts as a foil to Elizabeth by embodying the opposite view of
marriage. Charlotte makes no attempt to find a husband whom she loves and esteems, but simply
gives in to the necessity of acquiring financial security through marriage. She deals as well with
Mr. Collins as is possible, but Elizabeth doubts their long-term happiness.
Sir William Lucas: A pleasant but not overly deep or intellectual man, he is a friend of the
Bennet family. He is civil but his conversation is basically limited to empty observations and
descriptions of his presentation and knighthood. Elizabeth accompanies him and his younger
daughter Maria to visit Charlotte.
Maria Lucas: Charlotte's younger sister, she is as empty-headed as her father. Her only role in
the novel is to travel with Elizabeth and Sir William to visit Charlotte.
Mrs. Gardiner: An intelligent, caring and sensible woman, Mrs. Gardiner acts a mother to
Elizabeth and Jane, filling in for the inadequacy of Mrs. Bennet. She brings Jane to London with
her in order to help cheer her up when she is heartbroken because of Bingley's failure to return to
Netherfield, and she advises Elizabeth to avoid encouraging Wickham's affections. She attempts
to help Lydia see why her elopement with Wickham was wrong, but Lydia is completely
Mr. Gardiner: Mr. Gardiner is a merchant, and is an upright and intelligent man. The fact that
he earns his money by working puts him in a lower social class than those who simply live off
the interest of their land. Like his wife, Mr. Gardiner is one of those people whom Austen
portrays as a natural aristocrat, and whom Darcy comes to like after overcoming his class
Caroline Bingley: Miss Bingley is a superficial and selfish. She has all of Darcy's class prejudice
but none of his honor and virtue. Throughout the novel she panders to Darcy in an attempt to win
his affections, but to no avail. She pretends to be a genuine friend to Jane but is extremely rude to
her when she comes to London. She also tries to prevent the marriage of Jane and Bingley and to
prevent Darcy's attachment to Elizabeth by constantly ridiculing the poor manners of Elizabeth's
mother and younger sisters.
Mrs. Hurst: Bingley's other sister, Mrs. Hurst's character basically matches that of her sister
Caroline. She seems to have no real affection or esteem for her husband.
Mr. Hurst: An indolent man, he does almost nothing but eat and entertain himself by playing
cards. He never says an intelligent word in the entire novel, and seems to be concerned only with
the quality of the food.
Georgiana Darcy: Georgiana is Darcy's sister and is ten years his junior. She is quiet and shy
but amiable and good-natured. She has great reverence and affection for her brother. She and
Elizabeth get along well and become good friends after Elizabeth's marriage to Darcy. Bingley's
sisters had hoped that Bingley would marry Georgiana, thus uniting the fortunes of the two
Lady Catherine de Bourgh: Lady Catherine is extremely wealthy and likes to let others know
of their inferiority to her. She loves to give people advice about how to conduct their lives down
to the minutest details, loves to hear flattery from others and hates to be contradicted. Extremely
conscious of class differences, she attempts to prevent Darcy from marrying Elizabeth but
actually unwittingly gives him the courage to propose a second time.
Miss de Bourgh: Miss de Bourgh is a frail, weak and sickly child who is extremely pampered by
Lady Catherine. She speaks little in the novel but seems to be generally good-natured. Lady
Catherine had wanted Darcy to marry Miss de Bourgh.
Colonel Fitzwilliam: A cousin of Mr. Darcy and a pleasant and amiable gentleman, he is a
companion to Elizabeth during her stay with the Collinses. Colonel Fitzwilliam tells Elizabeth
that he must marry someone with a large fortune because he is the second son, the first case in
the novel where a man's marriage choices are constrained by financial need.
Mrs. Phillips: Mrs. Phillips is Mrs. Bennet's sister, and shares her sister's foolishness and
frivolity. She lives in Meryton, and the Bennet sisters, particularly Lydia and Kitty, often visit her
in order to socialize with the officers.
Mrs. Forster: The wife of Colonel Forster, who is the head of the regiment stationed at Meryton,
she becomes friends with Lydia and invites her to spend the summer with them in Brighton. She
is clearly not very responsible in her supervision of Lydia, and seems to have a rather frivolous
Colonel Forster: A good-natured and basically responsible man, Colonel Forster tries to do all
that he possibly can to help the Bennets recover Lydia after her elopement with Wickham. While
the elopement is not his fault, Lydia was under his care and he did not seem to be observing her
conduct very closely.
Miss Younge: Miss Younge was Georgiana Darcy's governess at one point and conspired with
Wickham to get Georgiana to elope with him. Clearly lacking in all moral sense, she is
mentioned in the novel again when Darcy bribes her to tell him the whereabouts of Wickham and
Pride and Prejudice was first titled First Impressions, and these titles embody the themes of the
novel. The narrative describes how the prejudices and first impressions (especially those dealing
with pride) of the main characters change throughout the novel, focusing on those of Elizabeth
Elizabeth's judgments about other characters' dispositions are accurate about half of the time.
While she is correct about Mr. Collins and how absurdly self-serving he is and about Lady
Catherine de Bourgh and how proud and snobbish she is, her first impressions of Wickham and
Darcy steer her incorrectly. Wickham is first thought to be a gentleman by all. His good looks
and his easy manner fool almost everyone, and Elizabeth believes without question all that he
tells her of Darcy. Elizabeth's first impressions of him are contradicted when she realizes that he
has lied about Darcy.
Elizabeth and many of the other characters see Darcy as proud, and it can be seen from this quote
just how quickly this judgment of him is formed.
"The gentlemen pronounced him to be a fine figure of a man, the ladies declared he was much
handsomer than Mr. Bingley, and he was looked at with great admiration for about half the
evening, till his manners gave a disgust which tuned the tide of his popularity; for he as
discovered to be proud, to be above his company, and above being pleased; and not all his large
estate in Derbyshire could then save him from having a most forbidding, disagreeable
countenance, and being unworthy to be compared with his friend" (58).
It is not only what she believes to be pride in Darcy's character that makes her judge him harshly,
but also her prejudice against him because of the lies Wickham has told her. Darcy sees this fault
of prejudice in Elizabeth, stating that her defect is "willfully to misunderstand everybody." In the
end Elizabeth realizes her folly in trusting her first impressions and prejudices about the men,
and states, "how despicably have I acted… I, who have prided myself on my discernment! – I,
who have valued myself on my abilities…"
The above are only a few of the major examples of first impressions, prejudice and pride in the
novel, as these themes show up throughout the story. Characters besides Darcy are also accused
of having too much pride, such as Bingley's sisters, Miss Darcy, Lady Catherine and others.
There are also discussions about pride between Elizabeth and Darcy, and Mary discusses pride
vs. vanity. Characters are also described as being proud on certain occasions. For example, Mrs.
Bennet is described as visiting her married daughters with pride, and Elizabeth is said to be
proud of Darcy because of what he had done for Lydia. First impressions can be discussed of
many of the other characters than those discussed here, and prejudice is illustrated not only in
Elizabeth's behavior, but in Darcy's and Lady Catherine's reactions to the status of Elizabeth's
family as well.
Themes are the fundamental and often universal ideas explored in a literary work.
Pride and Prejudice contains one of the most cherished love stories in English literature: the
courtship between Darcy and Elizabeth. As in any good love story, the lovers must elude and
overcome numerous stumbling blocks, beginning with the tensions caused by the lovers’ own
personal qualities. Elizabeth’s pride makes her misjudge Darcy on the basis of a poor first
impression, while Darcy’s prejudice against Elizabeth’s poor social standing blinds him, for a
time, to her many virtues. (Of course, one could also say that Elizabeth is guilty of prejudice and
Darcy of pride—the title cuts both ways.) Austen, meanwhile, poses countless smaller obstacles
to the realization of the love between Elizabeth and Darcy, including Lady Catherine’s attempt to
control her nephew, Miss Bingley’s snobbery, Mrs. Bennet’s idiocy, and Wickham’s deceit. In
each case, anxieties about social connections, or the desire for better social connections, interfere
with the workings of love. Darcy and Elizabeth’s realization of a mutual and tender love seems to
imply that Austen views love as something independent of these social forces, as something that
can be captured if only an individual is able to escape the warping effects of hierarchical society.
Austen does sound some more realist (or, one could say, cynical) notes about love, using the
character of Charlotte Lucas, who marries the buffoon Mr. Collins for his money, to demonstrate
that the heart does not always dictate marriage. Yet with her central characters, Austen suggests
that true love is a force separate from society and one that can conquer even the most difficult of
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 with Wickham and lives
with him out of wedlock, the author treats reputation as a very serious matter. By becoming
Wickham’s lover without benefit of marriage, Lydia clearly places herself outside the social pale,
and her disgrace threatens the entire Bennet family. The fact that Lydia’s judgment, however
terrible, would likely have condemned the other Bennet sisters to marriageless lives seems
grossly unfair. Why should Elizabeth’s reputation suffer along with Lydia’s? Darcy’s
intervention on the Bennets’ behalf thus becomes all the more generous, but some readers might
resent that such an intervention was necessary at all. If Darcy’s money had failed to convince
Wickham to marry Lydia, would Darcy have still married Elizabeth? Does his transcendence of
prejudice extend that far? The happy ending of Pride and Prejudice is certainly emotionally
satisfying, but in many ways it leaves the theme of reputation, and the importance placed on
reputation, unexplored. One can ask of Pride and Prejudice, to what extent does it critique social
structures, and to what extent does it simply accept their inevitability?
The theme of class is related to reputation, in that both reflect the strictly regimented nature of
life for the middle and upper classes in Regency England. The lines of class are strictly drawn.
While the Bennets, who are middle class, may socialize with the upper-class Bingleys and
Darcys, they are clearly their social inferiors and are treated as such. 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. Of course, this whole discussion of class must be made with the understanding that
Austen herself is often criticized as being a classist: she doesn’t really represent anyone from the
lower classes; those servants she does portray are generally happy with their lot. Austen does
criticize class structure but only a limited slice of that structure.
Motifs are recurring structures, contrasts, or literary devices that can help to develop and inform
the text’s major themes.
In a sense, Pride and Prejudice is the story of two courtships—those between Darcy and
Elizabeth and between Bingley and Jane. Within this broad structure appear other, smaller
courtships: Mr. Collins’s aborted wooing of Elizabeth, followed by his successful wooing of
Charlotte Lucas; Miss Bingley’s unsuccessful attempt to attract Darcy; Wickham’s pursuit first
of Elizabeth, then of the never-seen Miss King, and finally of Lydia. Courtship therefore takes on
a profound, if often unspoken, importance in the novel. Marriage is the ultimate goal, courtship
constitutes the real working-out of love. Courtship becomes a sort of forge of a person’s
personality, and each courtship becomes a microcosm for different sorts of love (or different
ways to abuse love as a means to social advancement).
Nearly every scene in Pride and Prejudice takes place indoors, and the action centers around the
Bennet home in the small village of Longbourn. Nevertheless, journeys—even short
ones—function repeatedly as catalysts for change in the novel. Elizabeth’s first journey, by which
she intends simply to visit Charlotte and Mr. Collins, brings her into contact with Mr. Darcy, and
leads to his first proposal. Her second journey takes her to Derby and Pemberley, where she fans
the growing flame of her affection for Darcy. The third journey, meanwhile, sends various people
in pursuit of Wickham and Lydia, and the journey ends with Darcy tracking them down and
saving the Bennet family honor, in the process demonstrating his continued devotion to
Symbols are objects, characters, figures, or colors used to represent abstract ideas or concepts.
Pride and Prejudice is remarkably free of explicit symbolism, which perhaps has something to do
with the novel’s reliance on dialogue over description. Nevertheless, Pemberley, Darcy’s estate,
sits at the center of the novel, literally and figuratively, as a geographic symbol of the man who
owns it. Elizabeth visits it at a time when her feelings toward Darcy are beginning to warm; she
is enchanted by its beauty and charm, and by the picturesque countryside, just as she will be
charmed, increasingly, by the gifts of its owner. Austen makes the connection explicit when she
describes the stream that flows beside the mansion. “In front,” she writes, “a stream of some
natural importance was swelled into greater, but without any artificial appearance.” Darcy
possesses a “natural importance” that is “swelled” by his arrogance, but which coexists with a
genuine honesty and lack of “artificial appearance.” Like the stream, he is neither “formal, nor
falsely adorned.” Pemberley even offers a symbol-within-a-symbol for their budding romance:
when Elizabeth encounters Darcy on the estate, she is crossing a small bridge, suggesting the
broad gulf of misunderstanding and class prejudice that lies between them—and the bridge that
their love will build across it.
Landscape and dance are two important metaphors in Pride and Prejudice. Bodenheimer (1981)
asserts that in many Jane Austen novels, "good estates" like Pemberley are the key to the social
virtues of their owners, that the characters' estates help to define the social worth of the
characters themselves. She argues that the spatial terms used in describing landscape can also be
seen as perceptual or emotional ones. For example, when Elizabeth sees Pemberley, there is a
sense of ascent, mutiplicity and expansion of the landscape, which could also symbolize
Elizabeth's changing view of Darcy and his character and the expansion of the possibilities of her
relationship with him.
According to Adams (1982), dance is another metaphor in many of Austen's novels, and that it is
akin to marriage. In many novels there is a heroine who through dance must judge each of her
partners for appearance, style, character and compatibility, not just in dancing, but in marriage.
The importance of the dance cannot be impressed enough, and the women must be careful whom
they accept and whom they refuse. In Pride and Prejudice, there are quite a few parallels between
dance and marriage for Elizabeth. The first time Darcy asks Elizabeth to dance she refuses, just
as she refuses his first proposal. The second dance and proposal are accepted. We can also see
the parallels with Mr. Collins. The dance with Collins is "mortifying," and the proposal is as
well, as he continues not to believe she is declining his offer no matter how serious she is.