Table of Contents | Message Board | Printable Version | Barron's Booknotes
The pivotal theme is that marriage is important to individuals and society. Throughout the novel, the author describes the various types of marriages and reasons behind them. Marriage out of economic compulsions can be seen in Charlotte’s marriage to Collins. Marriage due to sensual pleasure can be seen in Lydia’s marriage. The marriage of Jane and Elizabeth are the outcome of true love between well-matched persons.
Another major theme is that pride and prejudice both stand in the way of relationships, as embodied in the persons of Darcy and Elizabeth respectively. Pride narrows the vision of a person and causes one to underestimate other mortals. Prejudice blinds the vision and leads to false perceptions about others. Darcy’s pride and Elizabeth’s prejudice come in the way of understanding each other and keep them apart. Only when Darcy becomes more humble and Elizabeth becomes more accepting can they relate to one another and find happiness together.
A minor theme found in the novel is appearance versus reality, with Austen stressing that a person cannot be judged by his/her outer being. During the course of the book, several characters are not properly judged, for good conduct does not necessarily mean good character, just as a pretty face does not indicate a pure soul.
Another theme stressed by the author is that in order to display good sense, a vitally important characteristic, a person must possess intelligence, sensitivity, and responsibility. Each of the major characters in the novel is judged against these three important criteria.
The mood throughout the novel is formal and realistic to its nineteenth century setting. Even though it is a novel about love and marriage, it is not romantic and emotional, but realistic and practical.