Essay about The Theme of Society in Pride and Prejudice
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