There are many themes hidden in Pride and Prejudice. Our group’s ideas of the best themes were love, discovery, judgment and reputation. These themes are exposed throughout the whole book. In this essay we will further express our own opinions and ideas as well as other scholarly opinions on the themes of Pride and Prejudice. All of these themes tie into each other and are very similar.
First, we will start with our ideas. The first theme that comes to mind is love. For Elizabeth, she does not fall for Darcy at first, because he is rude and stuck up, but eventually she gets to know more about him, spends time with him, abandons her misconceptions, and ends up marrying him. Reputation, which is tied to how much money you have as well as your behavior, is a huge part of this book. Mrs. Bennet is always bringing up how much fortune a possible future husband has to offer her daughters. That seems to be the only factor considered by most women of that era when looking for a husband. Judgment is tied into reputation. You are judged by how much money you have and what your house is like. Discovery is how both Elizabeth and Darcy learned things about themselves as well as each other. Like when Darcy was dumbfounded at how Elizabeth had no concern for what people thought of her appearance or manner, and in turn later in the book Darcy learned to put his social “correctness” aka his pride and his prejudice behind him. And Elizabeth learned from Darcy’s change of heart that people are not as they seem in the first impression, you need to get to know someone before judging them. She learned not to immediately assume all rich men are proud, arrogant, selfish pricks, and that seemingly honest and nice men may weave a fantastic lie (Wickham), and to trust no one.
Secondly, family is also a theme which is talked about by Litcharts. The family is the main social standing of the book; that’s where you learn your manners and your education. The girls also build their character based on how their parents raise them and treat them. Jane Austen reveals how individual character is molded within the family by presenting Jane and Elizabeth as mature adults and Lydia as a fool throughout the book. That can be because Lydia is the favorite to her mother, so she becomes a little naïve and believes she can get away with things, while Elizabeth and Mrs. Bennet do not get along very well, which is how Lizzy could have gained her independence. The bond the Bennet girls have with their aunt and uncle also shows how much opinion and support really matters even coming from extended family. Family opinion really matters to everyone in this book.
Another theme is social class. Sparknotes explains how there is a strict line drawn between middle and upper classes. You are treated differently based on your class; an example being the Bennets, Mr. Bingley and Mr. Darcy. Mr. Bingley and Mr. Darcy are of the upper-class; showing they are inferior to the Bennets, who are middle class. Another example of how important class is is Mr. Collins. He tries to talk his way up into upper-class, by always bringing up that he is staying with Lady Catherine De Bourgh. A few more examples would be of Ms. Bingley, who dislikes anyone not as socially accepted as she is, Mr. Darcy who believes in his lineage and Mr. Wickham, who will try and pay his way up into upper-class.
Lastly, there is wealth among the many themes of Pride and Prejudice. As soon as you start the book, this theme is already creeping into view with Mrs. Bennet talking to Mr. Bennt about a new gentleman coming to Netherfield who is very wealthy and worthy of marriage to one of their daughters. This article discusses when the Bennets find out that Mr. Collins will inherit the family’s house only after Mr. Bennet dies; now, not only will the girls not have a house to live in, but they will need to find a way to financially support themselves. Every talk about future husbands mentions their income and how it will benefit them for the sake of the girls to live comfortably and in high class. Many of the characters in this book are openly gold-diggers when it comes to finding a spouse.
The many in themes in Pride and Prejudice make it a very informative book on how life was for people in the nineteenth century. How love overpowers social class and wealth and can take you on a journey to the discovery of yourself. Also how you must break through your preconceived notions to accept that love. Class and wealth show how much it can affect your behavior. These themes really all tie into each other and create the complicated life of the Bennet girls.