Essay about The Theme of Society in Pride and Prejudice

980 Words Jul 24th, 2011 4 Pages
Originally written in the late 1700's, Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice satirically depicts the universal ideals in Old Regency England, primarily regarding social class. Austen follows the development of an outspoken middle-class British woman, Elizabeth Bennet, as she encounters and overcomes the many social barriers that separate her from her wealthy upper-class neighbors. Throughout the novel, Lizzie must confront society’s class-consciousness, particularly with her family’s growing relationship with the wellborn Bingleys and their friend, Mr. Darcy. It is clear that the author, Jane Austen, intended Pride and Prejudice to be a parody of the Old English society’s extreme emphasis on the social class structure and marriage that is not …show more content…
At other points, the ill-mannered, ridiculous behavior of Mrs. Bennet gives her a bad reputation with the snobbish Darcys and Bingleys. Austen pokes gentle fun at the snobs in these examples, but when Lydia elopes with Wickham and lives with him out of wedlock, the author treats reputation and class as a very serious matter.
Society is closely related to reputation, in that both have the strictly scrutinized way of life for the social classes of England. Even though the gap between the upper classmen Bingleys and the lower or middle classmen Bennets is as wide as the Amazon River, the Bennets may socialize with the Bingleys. However, they are obviously the lower level socialites and are treated as so. A prominent example of this discrimination was the Bingley sisters’ rude and disrespectful manner towards Elizabeth while she stayed at Pemberley to comfort Jane when she was overcoming her sickness.

Austen again satirizes this kind of severe class-consciousness in the character of Mr. Collins, who spends most of his time sucking up 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 view of the importance of class is shared by Mr. Darcy, who believes in the dignity of his roots; 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. The satire

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