Pride and Prejudice


Plot Summary- Part 1

Chapters 1-12

  • Mrs Bennet of Longbourn- delighted Mr Bingley is renting out Netherfield- 5 unmarried daughters
  • Insists Mr Bennet should visit him- he teases his wife 
  • Mr B attracted to Jane- Mr D offends Eliz and he will only dance with the Bingley sisters at the ball- arrogant, pompous etc
  • Jane is invited to Netherfield by Bingley sisters- Mrs Bennets scheming of that she cannot take the carriage results in Jane becoming ill and having to spend a few days at Netherfield
  • Elizabeth tramps across muddy fields to see Jane- Caroline is horrified but Darcy is impressed
  • When Elizabeth leaves the room, Miss Bingley criticises her. But Mr Bingley defends both Elizabeth and Jane.

  • Mrs Bennet visits Jane and makes obvious innuendos about her daughter and Bingley- embarrases herself and the family 

  • Mrs Bingley jealous of Darcy's interest in Eliz-  she tries to get his attention, although he isn't really bothered. She  walks around in front of him and, when this doesn't work, asks Elizabeth to join her. Darcy then becomes interested. 
1 of 28

Plot Summary- Part 2

Chapters 13-22

  • Clergyman Mr Collins writes a pompous letter to Mr Bennet asking to visit Longbourn as he is inheriting the property. 
  • Collins gradually reveals himself to be a strange sort of social climber - very humble with regards to his patron, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, but full of himself. He's a ridiculous figure, although he tries to be nice. Caricature of everything ridiculous 
  • He likes Jane at first but after Mrs bennet informs him that Janes potentially taken- he switches to Eliz- shows how little importance love is for him 
  • Eliz meets Wickham in town- sees an awkward encounter between him and darcy
  • She then meets Wickham again and asks about it- he tells her Darcy cheated him out of his career- deceitful and she believes him which makes her more opinionated towards Darcy
  • Netherfield ball Wickham doesnt turn up- Eliz blames Darcy and because she is prejudiced towards him she mentions it to him 
  • Collins proposes to Eliz- she rejects him and makes mockery out of him as he doesnt accept that hes being rejected 
  • Jane receives a letter from Miss Bingley saying her family are moving away and not coming back, hinting that Bingley will marry Darcy's sister. Elizabeth believes these are Miss Bingley's wishes rather than her brother's,
2 of 28

Plot Summary- Part 3

Chapter 23- 38

  • Collins proposes to Charlotte who says yes because she needs to marry- eliz is upset
  • Jane receives another letter from Miss Bingley that's similar to the last one. Jane's devastated, but still tries to be positive and speaks kindly of Bingley. Janes a flat character- remains the same throughout the novel- very positive
  • Elizabeth goes to visit the Collins' at Rosings Park- on her way visits her aunt who expresses her anger of wickham's interest in Miss King but eliz defends him 
  • They all dine at Rosings, Lady Catherine De Bourgh is opinionated and critisices Eliz's upbringing but eliz isnt overawed by her snobbery which surprises Lady C. 
  • Lady C's nephew Darcy visits and his cousin  says to eliz that Darcy recently saved someone from an unwise marriage. Elizabeth believes he means Bingley and Jane. Elizabeth becomes upset when alone. She hates Darcy for ruining her sister's hopes, which she feels is all because of his sense of pride.
  • Darcy proposes to E but she rejects him.
  • Darcy writes a letter to Eliz explaining everything including truth about Wickham. 
  • After reading the letter several times, Elizabeth realises she's been prejudiced against Darcy. She feels ashamed.
3 of 28

Plot Summary- Part 4

Chapters 39- 45

  • Eliz returns home to find out Wickham and the regiment are leaving for Brighton- Mr B allows Lydia to go along with a friend- Eliz is horrified
  • E tells J about D's proposal ad truth about W but they decide not to share it with anyone 
  • We find out about the Bennets' own marriage. Mr Bennet fell for his wife's looks, although his feelings for her soon wore off after marriage. This, along with the Collins marriage, teaches Elizabeth a lesson.
  • E goes to Derbyshire with the Gardiners- they find themselves at Pemberly expecting Mr D to not be at home. 
  • He appears and is warmly welcoming- more comfortable- invites Mr G to go fishing 
  • Mrs G and E visit Georgianna and the Bingley sisters are there- being rude and bringing up wickham as they dont know about wickham with georgianna- embarrased themselves.
  • Again criticises E to D but he disagrees
4 of 28

Plot Summary- Part 5

Chapters 46-52

  • E rceives a letter from Jane saying Lydia and Wickham have eloped- shes upset and worried Darcy's going to think less of her but hes just shocked and sympathetic
  • E realises how her feelings for d have changed but assumed their relationship is over
  • Gardiners and E return to Longbourn- Mrs B depressed and Mr B gone to london 
  • Collins writes and says it would have been better if Lydia had died, adding that the girls' marriage prospects were now poor. ridicule exaggerated
  • Mr Gardiner reports that Wickham and Lydia have been found unmarried, but a marriage settlement has been agreed. Elizabeth and her father realise Wickham has been offered a lot of money. They believe it must have been Mr Gardiner.
  • Mrs B mood changes instantly and now is in favour of the marriage 
  • Lyd and Wick visit LB and she lets it slip that Darcy was at the ceremory
  • Eliz is confused and so writes to mrs G for answers
  • Darcy found Wickham and arranged to pay his debts and give him cash if he married Lydia. he thought it was his fault as he didnt expose wickham 
  • E feels even more guilty about how she treated D
5 of 28

Plot Summary- Part 6

Chapters 53-

  • Bingley returns to Netherfield and him and Darcy keep visiting LB 
  • He then proposes to Jane
  • Lady C visits LB. She accuses Elizabeth of spreading rumours that her nephew, Darcy, is to marry her (Elizabeth). Elizabeth doesn't reply.
  • Lady Catherine makes it clear Elizabeth is a social nobody and orders her not to get engaged to Darcy. Elizabeth refuses
  • Darcy proposes to E again and she accepts
  • Mr B is unsure whether E actually wants to marry him but she reassures him 
  • J+B's wedding and E+D's wedding take place on same day- move to pemberly and J+B move nearby
  • Darcy continues to support Wickham financially 
6 of 28

Characters- Elizabeth

  • She is capable of making mistakes and wrong judgements eg her prejudice against Darcy
  • independent- walks through muddy fields to see jane
  • mature- thinks its a bad idea to let lydia to go to brighton 
  • stands up for herself- wont let anyone of a higher social class critisise her eg Darcy about her family or Lady C
  • very loyal to her family regardless of the fact that they restrict her from men eg when lydia eloped her initial instinct was that she was upset not that her name was ruined for marriage 
  • she has the intelligence and wisdom to gain Darcy's respect
  • strong minded
  • little value on money and social position 
  • her respect is harder to gain than her love- antithisis of lydia 
7 of 28

Characters- Darcy

  • originally portrayed as proud
  • can be aloof- lacking interest or concern, is distant in manner
  • his proudness isnt intentional- shy and reserved which can come across as arrogant
  • very generous- wickham and lydia
  • realistic character with flaws
  • when first introduced- his worst qualities are portrayed so immediate dislike
  • hes attracted to eliz not only for her looks
  • social class appears important to him when he struggles to admit his love for lizzy but he gets over it
  • Austen gives lots of evidence for the reader to dislike darcy eg wickham, at the ball, breaking up jane and bingley. however we can still look past these depictions to see his caring and generous side- intensifies his good atributes.
  • by the end of the novel he decides to like people for themselves and not for social class
  • posesses a strong sense of duty- protects his sister, his house and the bennett family by paying wickham 
8 of 28

Characters- Jane and Bingley


  • very optomistic
  • gentle and credits people for their good actions
  • she protects herself so people dont know what shes feeling 
  • isnt capable of being nasty or deceptive
  • cautious 


  • contrast to darcy as makes a good first impression 
  • his purpose at the beginning was to show contrast between him and darcy 
  • has little self esteem so its easy for darcy to pursuade him jane doesnt like her
  • friendly and approachable
  • flat character
  • his modesty and likeliness made him weak
9 of 28

Character- Bingley sisters and Mr Collins

Bingley sisters:

  • Seen as shallow
  • how social class doesnt necessary make you 'nicer' than anyone else
  • purpose is to juxtapose with elizabeth eg caroline is scheming to try and find herself a husband whereas elizabeth doesnt change who she is at all- shows difference in depth of character
  • Function is to show who the bennet sister are up against 

Mr Collins:

  • comedy character
  • pompous snob- extremely proud of his patroness
  • attempts to impress everyone by complimenting them but it just comes across as ridiculous 
  • fake as only says what he thinks people like to hear- often repeats these which makes him boring
  • he's lampooned- publicly critisized when he proposed to eliz- only see ridicule
  • very over formal- mockery
  • mr collins is satired
10 of 28

characters- Mr and Mrs Bennet

Mr Bennet:

  • distant to the family- hides away 
  • wants an easy life and children to be happy
  • isnt bothered about marrying his children off as its not him whos going to be losing their home after he dies 
  • he enjoys mocking people- not easy to live with 
  • his role in the novel is defined for what he does not do- doesnt stop lydia going to brighton, doesnt look for lydia for long, doesnt comfort jane etc

Mrs Bennet:

  • caricature- over exaggerates her views on marriage 
  • obsessed with marrying off 
  • schemes a lot but every time she does it always backfires eg jane gets ill 
  • flat character
  • ironic as shes obsessed with marrying her daughters but shes the main obsticle in the way of them getting any men 
11 of 28

Characters- marriage between Mr and Mrs B

  • Mr B married mrs b out of physical attraction but eventually it wore off
  • its an unhappy marriage 
  • Mr B finds his happiness out of mocking Mrs B and laughing at her ignorance
  • shows that marrying for looks or social class isnt enough 
  • perhaps foreshadows lydia and wickhams marriage 
  • their marriage is perhaps is what makes E more determined to marry for love
  • Bennet girls maybe see the Gardiners as more sutiable parent figures
12 of 28

Characters- Wickham and Lydia Bennet


  • first appers as the romantic hero 
  • hes handsome and smooth talking and so uses these assets to lie to people and deceive them 
  • reader is led to believe the romantic novel could be about wickham and elizabeth based on their first encounter
  • tried to elope to georgianna darcy for money and then elopes to lydia for money 
  • lack of feeling and consideration for anyone but himself
  • depicts darcy as even more cruel which leads to the readers disliking him even more
  • ironic as wickham was portrayed as the hero 


  • contrast between elizabeth and lydia- E's intelligent but L is immature and rude
  • behaviour portrays Mr and Mrs B are irresponsible parents
  • plot device as her flirtatious behaviour is an obsticle to her sisters marriage
  • resembles her mother
13 of 28

Characters- Lady Catherine and Charlotte

Lady C:

  • caricature for snobbery and social class
  • interfering as demands eliz doesnt marry darcy as hes going to marry her daughter
  • uses her to satirise the outdated attitudes and snobbery of the aristocracy
  • her pride in her own status makes her rude and patronising 
  • lady catherine and mrs b show some simmilarities- both obsessed with marrying their daughters and will scheme for this to happen. and both embarrass other people
  • purpose is to show that being in a higher social class doesnt make you a better person 


  • contrast to elizabeth on representing unromantic reasons for marriage
  • shows how society pressures women to marry
  • 'I am not romantic you know. i never was. i ask only a comfortable home'
  • austen doesnt portray how charlotte feels in the marriage- it is up to the reader to decide if shes enjoying it or not 
14 of 28

Themes- Love

Relationships not based on love are unhappy:

  • all of the unhappy relationships in the novel are because the characters acted on their first impressions- based on shallow attraction not love.
  • "Mr bennet was captivated by youth and beauty" but mrs B's stupidity put an end to affection
  • contrast- D and E are sensible enough to realise that their original opinions of eachother are wrong and they change them- true love

True love is based on gradual understanding:

  • bad first impressions can lead to great final opinions 
  • learn from one another and change for the better- D overcomes his pride and E overcomes her prejudice
  • they become more aware of their own faults so they become more tolerent and understanding- makes relationship stronger 
  • Unlike D nd E- bingley and jane have good first impressions but still wait to see if attraction becomes something more 
15 of 28

Themes- Love

Austen explores whether love should be private:

  • Jane- very private about her feelings- told to show more affection and it almost cost her her marriage. Her behaviour shows shes genuine and not fake to impress rich men
  • Miss Bingley is very open as flirts with darcy the whole time- fake

Characters who listen to their head and heart are the happiest:

  • Darcy- head tells him not to marry eliz as lower social class but he doesnt want to marry anne de bourgh as he doesnt love her. 
  • Eliz- refuses to marry darcy as doesnt believe she can love him but doesnt want to marry wickham as hes too poor. 
  • eventually their relationship ends up the happiest
  • Lydia- listens to heart and doesnt think it will ruin her and her family's reputation
  • Charlotte- listens to her head for financial reasons- results in loveless marriage 
16 of 28

Themes- marriage

  • theme of marriage is clear from the opening sentence- "it is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of fortune, must be in want of a wife."- irony 
  • marriage was not just about love- financially stability, improve in social class, gives women more freedom 
  • unmarried women arent allowed to live alone- charlotte married to be independent of her family
  • marrying someone of a higher social class could benefit the whole family as well improving their social status. Mrs B is deperate for jane to marry bingley as it will improve chances for the other sisters
  • social pressure to get married- Lady C told mr Collins he 'must marry' 
  • none of the marriages that arent based on love are happy- austen criticises the way people act how society expects them to
  • Elizabeths attitudes towards marrying for money reveals austens own opinions on it. she thinks marriage should be a balanced between practicality and love- she also expects other characters to believe this- shocked when charlotte marries mr c and doesnt blame wickham when he goes from miss king 
  • personality is the most important factor in marriage. 
17 of 28

Themes- marriage continued

Darcy and Elizabeth-

  • most secure and complete as they have to work the hardest to get there-
  • they learn about themselves before they learn about others-
  • D overcomes his pride and E overcomes her prejudice. 
  • appreciate eachothers qualities more as werent aware of them first 

Bingley and Jane- 

  • reader has no doubt that they will live happy ever after as both very nice 
  • can see that they are in love
  • relationship isnt as developed as D and E's

Mr and Mrs Bennet-

  • Mr B was originally attracted by young beauty but soon came to realise physical attraction isnt enough
18 of 28

Themes - marriage continued

Collins and Charlotte-

  • practical marriage not based on love or attraction
  • collins marries her as society and lady c expects him to marry 
  • charlotte marries him as she needs financial stability 

Wickham and Lydia-

  • Wickhams an immoral rogue who will break lydias heart
  • lydia is immature who only cares about herself and what she looks like
  • only marries her as hes offered money after they elope 
19 of 28

Themes- social class

  • most characters are upper class- but differences between where money came from
  • Aristocracy- Lady Catherine
  • Gentry- darcy, bingleys, bennets
  • the variations in social class dont stop them from socialising- lady c invites e to dinner but still are strong views about marrying down
  • characters often focus more on wealth and class more than personality
  • Austens exploration of social class is very limited eg she doesnt write about working class as she hasnt experienced it 

Different characters social manners show their personalities:

  • Miss bingley thinks social rules and decorum are very important as insecure about her own social class as wealth comes from work
  • Mr Collins ignores social rules- speaks to darcy without being introduced. he thinks hes an equal social class to everyone as he is associated with Lady C- shows how conceited he is 

Some characters personalities are revealed by showing how they treat those of a lower social class: Darcy is kind and generous to his servents but Lady C domands obedience- highlighting her arrogance 

20 of 28

Themes- social class continued

Bennet sisters are given an awkward social position as a way of exploring prejudices of society

  • Father is a gentlemen- equivalent to mr darcy
  • mother is middle class and has low connections- and it is this that is judged by darcy and others 

Austen criticises the way social status is used to make assumptions about characters personalities and manners

  • Miss Bingley says she expects nothing more from wickham considering his descent 
  • charlotte forgives darcy for being proud as he 'has a right to be proud' with all his wealth 

Satire is used to mock class prejudice

  • she mocks class prejudice by creating characters who show that behaviour is down to personality not class
  • austen satirises the expectations of Lady C by making her the rudest, most unpleasant and arrogent character- satire is developed through mr collins worship of her 
  • Mr Bennet and elizabeth are the two characters that are critical on the attitude of social class
21 of 28

Themes- reputation

Reputation is more important in women then in men

  • females more vunerable to criticism 
  • georgiannas almost alopement is concealed to save her reputation
  • lydias reputation would have been ruined if she didnt end up marrying wickham- she would have had to become a prostitute
  • however wickham in both these situations would have suffered some disgrace but his reputation wouldnt have been permanently damaged

Reputations arent always deserved:

  • based on shallow factors 
  • darcy is shy therefore seen as proud and rude
  • wickham is charming so everyone assumes he's 'every virtue' 
  • by the end, true characters are revealed and reputations change
22 of 28

Themes- reputation

Family has an important effect on reputation

  • darcy thinks bingley shouldnt marry jane because of her family's "total want of propriety"
  • Lydias scandal could have ruined all of the bennet sister reputations 
  • darcy pays wickham to marry lydia so save the bennet family reputation so he can marry into it with Elizabeth
  • mrs bennet's behaviour affects the girls reputation as eg darcy comments on her poor behaviour which was one of the reasons why he insisted he couldnt marry elizabeth 

Elizabeth cares less about her reputation- walks miles to netherfield to visit jane 

23 of 28

Themes- Pride and Prejudice

Pride can be positive or negative:

  • Lady C's pride in her title comes across as arrogant and snobbish
  • but Darcy's pride in pemberly led him to be 'liberal and generous' to his tenants 
  • also brotherly pride in georgianna 
  • Darcy's biggest flaw isnt his pride- its the fact he cares more about pride than love

Elizabeth and Darcy both show pride and prejudice:


  • Darcy refused to dance with elizabeth- mortifying her pride- negative first impressions
  • elizabeth is proud of her ability to judge character- she stubbornly sticks to her opinion of him
  • Darcy's pride in social status makes him think E is below him- rude and insulting 


  • E is prejudiced against darcy and blind to wickhams true character
  • D is prejudiced against anyone out of his social class 
24 of 28

Themes- Pride and Prejudice

By pointing out eachothers pride and prejudice- theyre able to overcome these flaws- eg E accuses D of arrogance which makes him believe hes been rude etc which leads to the letter

Austen shows how damaging prejudice can be:

  • Prejudice about social class makes Miss Bingley cruel and Collins stuck up
  • people in meryton are prejudiced about social manners- so they trust wickham too easily 
25 of 28

Writing techniques- language

  • Austen uses dialogue to present the characters rather than describing them
  • Omniscient narrator- therefore reader can decide their own opinion on the character 
  • eg Lydia's speech full of excitement and exclamation marks- immature 

The characters language is restricted because of what is supposed to be 'polite' 

  • E is clever enough to express her opinion without being rude 
  • Mrs B is stupid and criticises people openly 
  • how different characters adapt their language within social rules reveals a lot about their personality 

Some characters language adapts depending on their intentions- Mr C when he intends on marrying a bennet is eager and compliments them, however after he marries Charlotte hes judgemental and unforgiving eg says it would have been better for lydia to have died 

Darcy's changing language shows how his relationship with E is developing- in the beginning refused to speak to her, then he gets more comfortable and they dance together- by the end 'dearest, loveliest Elizabeth'

26 of 28

Writing techniques- language

  • Austen uses irony to create humour- says the opposite to what she really means 
  • funny but also makes reader think seriously about the problems in our society 

Irony in dialogue:

  • Elizabeth mocks darcy "no-one should be introduced in a ball room"
  • Mr collins advises Mr B to 'forgive them as a christian but never to admit them in your sight'- ironic as his advice isnt christian- unintentional- heightens his ridicule 

Narrative irony:

  • narrator says the opposite to what she really means eg when Jane was ill the bingley sisters 'were miserable' but they weren't, they sung instead

Situational irony:

  • Darcy tells bingley not to marry jane becuase of family but ends up marrying elizabeth 

Character irony:

  • ironic that wickham is portrayed as brave and darcy as unpleasant 
27 of 28

Writing techniques- language


  • commenting on the shortcomings or stupidity of people or society by making a joke out of them
  • use of humour, irony or exaggeration to publicly critisice the view 

Lady C- satirise the aristocracy by making her a caricature- shes exaggerated beyond realistic to make her funnier. She ignorant, rude etc yet the aristoacracy were supposed to be the most polite and respectable

Mr collins admiration for Lady C satirises society as people have a habit of valuing wealth and status more than personality 

Neighbourhood gossips in town are mocked by their shallow judgement and quick ability to change their opinion on someone 

28 of 28


No comments have yet been made

Similar English Literature resources:

See all English Literature resources »See all Pride and Prejudice resources »