Pride and Prejudice1 Essay

This essay has a total of 680 words and 4 pages.

Pride and Prejudice1




Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice is the story of an English family in the early 1800's.
The central theme in the story is the necessity of making a good marriage for each of the
five daughters in the Bennet family. Elizabeth Bennet is the central character in the
novel and the second oldest daughter. The role of her sisters' characters influence
Elizabeth's thoughts about her own romantic interest, Fitzwilliam Darcy, throughout the
novel. Lydia Bennet, Elizabeth's youngest sister plays an important role in Elizabeth's
feelings for Darcy. Ultimately, Lydia's improper behavior brings Elizabeth and Darcy
together, justifying Austen's portrayal of Lydia as an uncivilized, idle, and irrational
young woman.

Lydia Bennet's role in Pride and Prejudice is twofold. She is the first of five daughters
to be married which supports the novel's main theme of the necessity of making a good
marriage. Her elopement with Wickham brings disgrace to the family, nevertheless, she
does marry which satisfies her mother's wish to see all of her daughters marry well. "The
business of her life was to get her daughters married." (Vol. I, Chapter 1). Lydia's
role is also that of her mother's favorite daughter. She is like her mother in many ways;
insensitive, simple, and brassy. "In Lydia's imagination, a visit to Brighton comprised
every possibility of earthly happiness. She saw herself seated beneath a tent, tenderly
flirting with at least six officers at once." (Vol. II, Chapter 18). Lydia is the
complete opposite of Elizabeth who is sensitive, intelligent, and considerate.

Austen uses Lydia's rash behavior as a means for Elizabeth, the central character, to
understand that Darcy is "the man who, in disposition and talents, would most suit her."
(Vol. III, Chapter 8) Throughout the novel Elizabeth misunderstands Darcy's intentions
and actions, and rejects his initial proposal of marriage believing that they are
ill-suited. When Lydia elopes with Wickham, Elizabeth is mortified but realizes that
Darcy's previous accusations against Wickham and her family were justified. "Oh! how
heartily did she grieve over every ungracious sensation she had ever encouraged, every
saucy speech she had ever directed towards him." (Vol. III, Chapter 10) Darcy arranges
the proper marriage of Lydia and Wickham, saving the entire Bennet family from disrespect
and embarrassment. When Elizabeth attempts to thank Darcy he admits "that the wish of
giving happiness to you...led me on, I thought only of you." (Vol. III, Chapter 16)
Lydia's reckless, improper behavior provides the catalyst for the engagement of Elizabeth
and Darcy.

Throughout the novel, Lydia is portrayed as an uncivilized, idle, irrational 16 year old
girl. She is lacking in common sense and good judgment, disregarding the consequences of
her actions. "Look here, I have bought this bonnet. I do not think it is very pretty;
but I thought I might as well buy it as not." (Vol. II, Chapter 16). When Lydia returns
to her family after eloping with Wickham she shows no remorse for the disgrace she brought
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