AD's English Literature : Plot Structure of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Plot Structure of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen


Jane Austen at a considerable skill in constructing her plots which were simple plans of novels the plans for telling her story the way she would like too. Read More Novel The plot of the novel Pride and Prejudice turns on the development of love between Darcy and Elizabeth and its final culmination in marriage Jane Austen has shown remarkable dramatic scene in exhibiting the different stages of growth of pride and prejudice of the hero and the heroine and their final self knowledge which cure their feelings. 

Pride & Prejudice (1995)
directed by
Simon Langsdon
The novel has neat and coherent dramatic structure. At the Meryton Ball where Darcy meets Elizabeth, there is the first sowing of the seeds of pride and Prejudice. The prejudice of Elizabeth is strengthened by Wickham’s disclose of Darcy’s unfair treatment of him. Darcy is however attracted by the liveliness of her mind. Read More Novel His feelings grow steadily warmer towards Elizabeth. When she is on a visit to the Hunsford parsonage Darcy proposes to her. But his proposal reveals his pride. Read More Novel His frank explanation of his condescension angers Elizabeth. She rejects the proposal and this rejection is the dramatic climax of the plot. Darcy is soft into self knowledge. His letter of explanation opens the eyes of Elizabeth to the lack of any basis for her prejudice against him. The walls rose between them by pride and prejudice began to crumble slowly. At this stage Austen creates another situation which helps the establishment of perfect understanding between the two Wickham elopes with Lydia. Darcy exerts himself to force Wickham to marry Lydia. Elizabeth is duly grateful and when he proposes to her again there is nothing to stand in the way of her accepting him. Thus a pretty tangle is created and it is resolved finally.

The subplot with Jane and Bingley is quite naturally woven into the main plot and the contrast is significant. Read More Novel Both Elizabeth and Jane begin their relationship with Darcy and Bingley at Meryton Ball, but then  Jane and Bingley are attracted to each other. Bingley is made to mistake Jane’s modesty for indifference. Once this mistake is realized, nothing can keep Bingley away from Jane. Both these lovers serve  a foil to Elizabeth and Darcy. This subplot is quite inseparable from the main plot as it develops the complex pattern.

The novel imitates drama in its structural neatness and unity. The novel is told from the point of view of Elizabeth who at first appears to be a sort of mirror character. Read More Novel We see other characters and the situations created by them as they impinge upon Elizabeth – the marriage of Miss Lucas, the distress of Jane, the elopement of Lydia, the activities of Gardiner etc. The dominant position of Darcy and Elizabeth is secured by the fact that they have a complete self awareness. It is this dominant position that gives unity in diversity in the novel.
Read More Novel Different characters are variations on the theme of pride. Pride here is a social grace or a social failing. In Darcy, pride is essentially self respect, virtue shared by Jane and Elizabeth, to Miss Bingley and Lady Katherine suffer from social snobbery, Marry in her conceited bookishness, the Lucas’s in their perpetual bowing and Collins in his servility suffers from a perpetual pride. Other suffers from an accent of pride. Thus it is pride which is seen in different perspectives. Austen’s ironical tone unifies her materials. Therefore, the plot is so skillfully constructed that they can not be separated from one another nor can they be considered unnatural.


Ref: 1. History of English Literature- Albert

      2. The Concise Cambridge History of English Literature

      3. Microsoft Students’ Encarta 

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An English Teacher;    M. A.(English) , D. Ed., B. Ed., UGC- NET Qualified

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