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Book Analysis

Theme of Love In "Pride and Prejudice" - Shreya Sachdev

Love and Marriage In Pride and Prejudice

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Pride & Prejudice: The Novel (Chapters 1-30):

  • Love At First Sight Does Exist: When it comes to love in Pride and Prejudice, I would argue that Jane Austen is supporting this idea of “love at first sight” especially when it comes to Jane and Charles Bingley’s relationship. When the Bennet sisters attend a ball in the nearby town of Meryton, Jane encounters Mr.Bingley there and dances with him twice. Within Elizabeth’s hearing, Bingley exclaims to Darcy that Jane is “the most beautiful creature” he has ever beheld. At the end of the evening, Jane tells Elizabeth how surprised she is that Mr.Bingley danced with her twice, and just how happy she is that she had the pleasure of dancing with him. It is clear that Mr.Bingley and Jane have feelings for each other, and the fact that they haven’t had a proper conversation or have gotten to know each other very well yet is proof that love at first sight can occur. More importantly, throughout the novel, I personally was a big fan of Jane and Mr.Bingley’s relationship. Jane and Mr.Bingley did not judge each other’s backgrounds when they first met, unlike Elizabeth and Mr.Darcy who were very cold to each other the moment they first met. Therefore, because Jane and Mr.Bingley’s love is free of bias and judgement, the reader supports their relationship, and as a result supports the idea of love at first sight as well, since that is how Jane and Mr.Bingley fell in love.

  • Judgement & Bias Get In The Way Of Love: Pride and Prejudice also shows us that judgement and bias can stop you from falling in love with somebody. It is clear that Elizabeth has a good reason to not like Mr.Darcy, as she does hear him say “She is tolerable, but not handsome enough to tempt me” when Mr.Bingley suggests to Darcy that Darcy should dance with her. She also hears Darcy’s opinions on what constitutes an “accomplished woman.” After he and Bingley list the attributes that such a woman would possess, Elizabeth declares that she “never saw such capacity, and taste, and application, and elegance, as you describe, united,” implying that Darcy is far too demanding. Thus, it is clear that Elizabeth has a valid reason to dislike Mr.Darcy. However, what valid reason does Mr.Darcy have to not like Elizabeth? Later on, we realize that Mr.Darcy grows more and more attracted to Elizabeth due to the fact that she doesn’t love him the way he loves her. This is a direct contrast to Mrs.Bingley, who is constantly flooding Mr.Darcy with compliments and acting as if she is in some ways obsessed with him. Perhaps, when Mr.Darcy first met Elizabeth, he believed that she would be the type of woman who would do anything to be with him and constantly shower him with compliments and gifts. However, once Mr.Darcy begins to have conversations with Elizabeth, and Elizabeth even refuses to dance with him, Mr.Darcy begins to fall for Elizabeth since he realizes that he is nothing like what he originally thought she would be like. From this, one can certainly make out that it was Mr.Darcy’s initial judgement about Elizabeth that stopped him from falling in love with her.

  • Marriage vs Love: Two Different Things: It is also interesting to point out that many characters in the novel, such as Mrs.Bennet and Charlotte, view marriage to be completely separate of love. Mrs.Bennet, for example, is focused on making sure that her daughters marry into a family that has a lot of money, so that her daughters will be financially stable. She has no interest in asking her daughters how they feel towards the man they are marrying. For example, when Elizabeth tells Ms.Bennet that she turned down Mr.Collins marriage proposal, Mrs.Bennet is very angry, since she views Elizabeth’s marriage to Mr.Collins to be advantageous. Mrs.Bennet even tells Elizabeth that if she does not marry Mr. Collins she will never see her again. Likewise, whilst Elizabeth believes that it is better for a young woman to be patient until she is sure of her feelings towards somebody; Charlotte disagrees, saying that it is best not to know too much about the faults of one’s future husband. Charlotte believes that falling in love is entirely a matter of chance, implying that most people who do marry do not end up falling in love. Therefore, marriage is seen as more crucial than love, and in some ways love is not represented as something of importance in the novel.

Unleashing Mr.Darcy (Film Adaptation):

  • Attraction Can Happen Fast Whereas Love Takes Time: In Unleashing Mr.Darcy, it is clear that when Elizabeth first sees Mr.Darcy, she is attracted to him. Just seven minutes into the movie, Elizabeth’s friend points out who the new judge is for the dog competition, and Elizabeth can’t help but stare at Mr.Darcy and smile at him as if she is completely infatuated with him. This is proven further by the romantic music playing in the background, and Elizabeth’s friend having to say “Liz?” due to the fact that it seems as if Elizabeth is daydreaming and has completely lost sense of reality, due to the fact that Mr.Darcy is so good looking. The way that Elizabeth looks at Mr.Darcy is a clear sign that she does have some attraction towards him, but it is true that she does not fall in love with him the moment she sees him. Very soon, she begins to have judge him and tries to avoid him at all costs. However, around 38 minutes into the movie, Elizabeth discovers that Zara and Mr.Darcy’s parents died in a boating accident, and that Mr.Darcy insisted upon raising Zara. He even gave up all the ordinary things guys do just so he could be there for her. After hearing this, it is clear that Elizabeth is extremely touched by this statement and even says that she had no idea that Mr.Darcy was so caring and so sweet, and that she perhaps shouldn’t have been so quick to judge him. She regrets telling him that somebody like him never has any problems. Therefore, after learning more about his character and who he truly is, Elizabeth begins to truly fall for Mr.Darcy.

  • Hard To Love Somebody Similar To The One That Hurt You: In Unleashing Mr.Darcy, one of the biggest points that the film is trying to get across, when it comes to the theme of love, is how hard it can be to love somebody who is similar to the person that hurt you. When Elizabeth first meets Mr.Darcy, she is immediately cold to him and judges him instantly despite the fact that he hasn’t exactly done anything wrong. When they first meet, Mr.Darcy gets slightly mad at her for being late to the competition, and Elizabeth then tells her friend how rude she thinks Mr.Darcy is. In my opinion, I think that the judge has the right to scold participants for being late, especially when there are other people waiting and the fact that the show cannot run for too long. Therefore, when I first heard Elizabeth tell her friend that she thought Mr.Darcy was arrogant, I thought that she didn’t have a right to think that way. However, I then remembered that Elizabeth had been deeply hurt by Grant Markham, who is a wealthy parent at Elizbaeth’s school. Grant Markham lied to the school board and told the school that Elizabeth had asked for a bribe in exchange for a higher grade on his son’s test. The school board believed Grant Markham, and fired Elizabeth despite the fact that Grant Markham was the one who had offered the bribe, and Elizabeth had in fact denied his offer. It is clear that Elizabeth is extremely upset after being fired from her job. She uses emotional phrases such as “Can I at least say goodbye to my students?” and as a result, the audience feels a lot of empathy for her. Therefore, it’s actually no surprise that Elizabeth is a little bit biased towards Mr.Darcy, since Mr.Darcy is also a wealthy man. When Elizabeth runs into Mr.Darcy and he tells her that even though he is from Connecticut, he sometimes stays in New York, Elizabeth immediately responds with “Oh, of course you have vacation homes everywhere” and this phrase shows you how difficult she finds it to be kind to Mr.Darcy after being fired from her job. Thus, this movie is really trying to convey how difficult it can be to love somebody when they’re in some ways similar to the person that hurt you.

Shreya Sachdev