It is a truth universally acknowledged that Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is one of the greatest love stories of all time. With a variety of characters and situations, everyone can relate to someone or something in this book, even though it was written almost 200 years ago.
Here are 10 reasons to love Pride and Prejudice:
1. Mr Darcy – Brooding, dark, mysterious; this is a man who makes arrogance appear sexy. Mr Darcy is arguably the most loved man in English literature and that is despite the fact that he is so rude and pompous. It is because underneath that air of importance is a man with a good heart, and isn’t that what every woman wants?
2. Elizabeth Bennet – A strong heroin who has courage, determination, wit and charm. She’s not the most accomplished woman, and her naivety is proven in her quick judgments, but no one is perfect.
3. George Wickham – the ultimate rake. He reminds every woman to be weary of a man who seems a little too charming and perfect.
4. Jane Bennet and Charles Bingley’s love story – theirs is a subplot to the main love story and yet, you can’t help but be drawn into their troubles, as Bingley’s sisters try to keep the lovebirds apart.
5. First impressions provide comedy and disasters in the novel. You could argue that Elizabeth is “prejudice” and Darcy is “pride” but you could easily argue the opposite. This demonstrates the complexity of our hero and heroine.
6. Ideas of love and how love is expressed – love is a central theme in the novel but each character explores love in a different way. From the rebellious romance between Lydia and Wickham, to the everlasting love that Jane and Elizabeth eventually find, to the bond formed between Mr and Mrs Bennet who are married out of circumstance, the novel presents very different views on love and how to make it work for different people.
7. Ideas of marriage – Charlotte will become a spinster if she doesn’t marry soon, so she oddly chooses to marry Mr Collins to secure a financially comfortable life. Essentially, she is a victim of the times. Their marriage is interestingly juxtaposed with the marriages of Lydia, Jane and Elizabeth. The novel cleverly depicts the types of marriages that occurred at the time, and rather frighteningly, are still relevant today to some degree.
8. Class, reputation and social status – things have certainly changed since 1813, but we all love a good historical romance to remind us of how far women’s rights have come.
9. English countryside – with cottages, green gardens and places as grand as Permberley, it is the perfect setting for any romance or woman’s fantasy.
10. Wit and comedy – whether it’s the banter between Elizabeth and Darcy, Mr Bennet poking fun at an oblivious Mrs Bennet, or if Mr Collins’ antics bring a smile to your face, Pride and Prejudice is a comedy of manners with a sense of humour to suit everyone.
The Australian Literature Review