Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice

Plot Summary
Pride and Prejudice follows the Bennet family as they try to ensure that each of their daughters is married respectably. The main character of the novel is Elizabeth Bennet who finds herself falling for Mr Darcy a man who, at the beginning of the novel, she detests because he is a snob and is very rude about her and her family at a ball.

Mr Bingley and Mr Darcy arrive in town early on in the novel, and while nobody is attracted to the surly Mr Darcy, Mr Bingley becomes very close to Elizabeth’s beautiful sister Jane. When Jane is taken ill after a walk to Mr Bingley’s country house (Netherfield Park) she remains there for some time bringing her even closer to Bingley. When Elizabeth walks to visit her sister she causes a stir at Netherfield and Mr Darcy becomes attracted to her dry wit and intelligence.

When the militia comes to town Mr Wickham catches Elizabeth’s eye and turns her even further against Mr Darcy who apparently cheated him out of an inheritance. Elizabeth also discovers her best friend Charlotte has become engaged to Mr. Collins who proposed to Elizabeth earlier in the year and who she refused because she thought he was a fool and did not love him.

Over winter Darcy and Bingley return to London. Jane visits her uncle and Aunt in the city and hopes she will meet Mr Bingley. However, he will not see her and instead, she meets his sister who is rude to her. When Elizabeth goes to visit Charlotte she meets Mr Darcy at Lady Catherine De Bourgh’s house. Lady Catherine is Mr Collins’ patron and Darcy’s aunt.

Mr Darcy does not know what Wickham has said about him and still has feelings for Elizabeth; he proposes to her and is instantly and firmly rejected. Elizabeth gets very angry with him for his behaviour regarding Wickham and scalds him for ruining her sister’s hopes of happiness, as she knows it was he who steered Bingley away from Jane in London. Depressed, Darcy writes a letter to Elizabeth explaining firstly that he thought Jane was indifferent to his friend and that she would break his heart, and that Wickham was lying and the reason they hated each other was because Wickham tried to elope with Darcy’s little sister to gain her inheritance. Elizabeth feels guilty and begins to like Mr Darcy.

Over the summer Elizabeth and her younger sister Lydia both take trips: Elizabeth, with the Gardiners to the North, and Lydia, with an old colonel in Brighton where the militia are now stationed. Whilst with the Gardiners, Elizabeth takes a tour of Pemberley, Mr Darcy’s estate. She thinks he is away but runs into him, he is very polite and invites them to dine with him.

Things take a turn for the worst when they receive a letter explaining that Lydia has run off with Mr Wickham. Elizabeth rushes home and her uncle and father go to London to try and straighten things out and get them married before Lydia brings shame to the family. They are married and the Bennets know it must have taken a huge sum to persuade Wickham to marry in such circumstances.

Once this has been arranged and the family are celebrating, Elizabeth learns that it was in fact Mr Darcy who paid Wickham and saved their family. This makes her feelings for him even stronger. Once Lydia has departed, Mr Bingley and Mr Darcy pay a visit, Mr Bingley proposes to Jane and she joyfully accepts, but Darcy says nothing.

Much to Elizabeth’s surprise, she is disturbed by Lady Catherine, who asks her very abruptly, if it is true that she intends to marry her nephew, Mr Darcy. Elizabeth says she has no such intention. However, later on she goes for a walk with Darcy and he tells her he never stopped loving her after she rejected him and would still love to marry her. The novel ends happily with three of the five Bennet daughters married or engaged despite the odds.