Pride and Prejudice Summary - Plot, Themes and Characters

Pride and Prejudice Summary


Pride and Prejudice Summary

Are you interested in Pride and Prejudice novel?  This guide will help you learn details on the plot, summary, background information, theme, major characters, and the style used in the book.

This book is a romantic novel by Jane Austen. This book was published anonymously in three volumes in 1813. It has several screen productions, and one most notable production was a TV series in 1995.

Jane Austen has published three other novels: Sense and Sensibility and Mansfield Park. She lived through the French, American, and Industrial Revolutions and Napoleonic wars.

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 Pride and Prejudice Overview

The book starts when Mr. Bingley arrives in the countryside searching for a bride. Mrs. Bennet is excited that one of her lovely daughters will marry a wealthy man and secure their future. At a ball organized by Mr. Bingley at his homestead, Jane and Mr. Bingley start liking each other.

 During this event, Elizabeth and Darcy fail to meet in a warm manner. Darcy snubs Elizabeth’s pride and self-respect, which surprises her.

Collins also arrives in the village hoping to marry one of the Benent’s daughters though this situation gets complicated. Mr. Bennet accepts his idea and hands it over to Elizabeth for marriage, but she rejects the offer. Fortunately, Mr. Collins gets a spouse, Charlotte, who is Elizabeth’s friend.

In the meantime, Elizabeth gets to meet Wickham, who charms her.  Unfortunately, Mr. Bingley leaves the village abruptly, and Elizabeth gets convinced that Mr. Darcy has a role in this decision. Her conviction about Darcy fuels her disrespect toward him.

Elizabeth visits Charlotte and Collin's home and runs into Darcy. This man confesses that he loves Elizabeth, which she rejects. This guy confesses to Elizabeth in a letter that Wickham has evil intentions and wants to marry her sister for her inheritance.

Later, Lydia, Bennet's lastborn, elopes and marries Wickham. Elizabeth is shocked by this news because she knows the affair could lead to a scandal and ruin her sister’s reputation. As the story ends, Mr. Bingley returns to Netherfield.

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 Characters in Pride and Prejudice Novel

Most of the Pride and Prejudice characters are actively involved in the events as follows:

  1. Elizabeth – she is the second born in Mr Bennet’s family. She is an attractive and witty girl. She tends to judge people on first impressions. Elizabeth falls in love with Darcy, but as the story progresses, Darcy overcomes his pride and Elizabeth her prejudice. They both surrender their relationship and the love they have for each other. She is the protagonist in this novel.
  2. Mr. Darcy - a wealthy man and a friend to Mr. Bingley.  He is handsome, tall, intelligent, lacks socialization skills, and is reserved.  When he appears in the village, he falls in love with Elizabeth. Other people dislike him for this but his servants like him for his kindness and decency.
  3. Mr. Bennet – a logical and reasonable middle-aged man. He has a modest income with five unmarried daughters.  His marriage has many issues; he disagrees with his wife, just tolerating.
  4. Mrs. Bennet – she is a middle-aged wife to Mr. Bennet. She has five daughters (Jane, Elizabeth, Mary, Catherine, and Lydia). She suffers from tremors and palpitations, especially when things are tense.  She longs to marry off her daughters to wealthy men but she doesn’t care whether they will be happy in life or not.
  5. Charles Bingley – a handsome amiable and wealthy young man and Darcy’s friend.  Bingley purchases a Netherfield, an estate near the Bennets.  He is an easygoing and well-intentioned gentleman whose character contrasts with Darcy. He doesn’t care about social classes.
  6. Jane Bennet – she is the Bennet family's eldest and most beautiful daughter. She is more reserved and gentler than Elizabeth.
  7. Lydia Bennet – youngest daughter of the Bennet family. She is immature, a gossiper, and self-involved. She is daring and flings herself headlong into romance and ends up rung off with Wickham.
  8. Charlotte – she is Elizabeth’s dear friend. She is six years older than Elizabeth. She is pragmatic and doesn’t view love as the most important thing in marriage. She longs for a comfortable home than love. She marries Collins.
  9. Wickham George – a handsome, fortune-hunting militia officer. He looks good and charms Elizabeth. However, Darcy's revelation about his disreputable past puts off Elizabeth, but, she draws close to Darcy.
  10. Mr. Collins – a foolish clergyman who longs to inherit Bennet’s property. He has nothing to brag about in his social life. He later proposes and marries Charlotte.
  11. Miss Bingley – a snobbish sister to Mr BingleyShe disregards Elizabeth due to her middle-class status. She attempts to get Darcy’s attention, but Darcy prefers the self-possessed character of Elizabeth.
  12. Lady Catherine – a rich, bossy noblewoman. She is Mr. Collin’s patron and aunt to Darcy. She is very reserved and proud and even attempts to order Elizabeth from the middle class to move away from her nephew's life.
  13.  Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner - they are relatives to Bennet’s family, a brother to Mrs. Bennet. They are caring and nurturing and prove to be better parents to Mr. and Mrs. Bennets’s daughters.
  14. Mary Bennet – the middle born in the Bennet family. She loves reading books.
  15. Catherine Bennet – she is the fourth born in Benent's family. She is girlish.

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The Setting of Pride and Prejudice

There are three main Pride and Prejudice settings. These are Netherfield Park, Rosings Park, and Pemberley. The last setting, Pemberley, has a dramatic symbolism that helps Elizabeth to see Darcy’s true character.

All three settings are in England, and events occur in 1700- early 1800. The story builds in Long Bourn, where Mr. Bennet's family lives on their estate in rural England. The book pictures a division between those in the rural areas and people in urban estates who were highly regarded, and some undermine the middle class.

 Learn more about the history of England back in the 1700 and Early 1800, in this article.

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Pride and Prejudice Plot

Pride and Prejudice is a romantic novel that pictures the relationship between Elizabeth Benet and Aristocratic. Elizabeth is the daughter of a country gentleman, while the gentleman is a rich landowner. Their relationship was pushed by the urge of the dad to have a son-in-law in their family. He has five daughters who would live poor because they can’t inherit his wealth.  Therefore he thought it would be wise if one of the daughters got married.

 The two lovebirds encounter a turbulent relationship due to their personalities. Their differences and the village drama propel this book's plot.

Themes in Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice themes are controversial societal ideas, like social class and gender. The major ideas in the story are love, family, and reputation.


Pride and Prejudice novel is a love story cherished in English literature. Readers enjoy the love story of Elizabeth and Darcy. We learn the stumbling blocks this couple encounters, and finally, they give up on their relationship.

In the beginning, the two characters create tension in the story due to their differences in their personal qualities. Elizabeth is proud, and this makes her misjudge Darcy on first impression. Darcy has prejudice that makes him blind to see her good qualities due to her poor social status.  So, these two characters push the theme of love and build on the book's title, pride and prejudice.

We also witness other love stories, like the relationship between Mr. Bennet and his wife. The two have been married for a long time and have five daughters. However, their love has faded, and they don’t match at all, especially their perspective on life. We see a couple with contradicting ideas and uncooperative, especially in caring for their daughters. They long so much about their status and wealth instead of true love, so they don’t care whether their daughters love the potential candidates.


In this story, a woman’s reputation is highly regarded, and she is expected to behave in certain norms. For instance, when Elizabeth walks into Netherfield in a muddy skirt, she shocks the classy Miss Bingley and her friends. Mrs. Bennet also gets a bad reputation for her ridiculous behaviors, especially from the Darcys and Bingleys.

Lydia is also harshly judged when she elopes with Wickham and lives with him out of wedlock. Her action places her outside the social pale, and her disgrace threatens the Bennet family. 

Social Class

This theme is also related to reputation, whereby the high-class individuals in the story only want to relate with people of their caliber to preserve their reputation. The boundaries of classes are strictly drawn. Though we find the Bennets, middle-class, relating with the upper-class Bingleys and Darcy, they are Cleary out into their lane and treated as social inferiors.

Mr. Collins also respects the view of social class highly regarding Lady Catherine, an upper-class patron. Miss Bingley also disregards anyone who is not socially accepted. Through the Darcy-Elizabeth and Jane- Bingley marriages, the author shows that love and happiness can win over class boundaries and prejudices.


Family is the basic theme in this novel.  All the characters are within various types of families that shape their decisions and perspectives.  The female characters, for instance, influence the behavior of their family.

For example, Mrs. Bennet wants their daughters to get married. Again, Mr. Darcy, Mr Bingley, who are independent and have much social influence, rely on the opinions of females and family members like Caroline and Lady Catherine.  The family theme shows that individuals don’t lead autonomous lives; their actions and thoughts rely on family views.


It’s also a key theme in Pride and Prejudice. The story takes place at periods when gender roles are rigid between men and women. For instance, Bennet's family worries about their unmarried daughters and fears for their future.  Mrs. Bennet works hard to influence their daughters into marriage so that they can get financial stability.

Marriage is the only bridge that helps females to move beyond their birth families. Again, a woman's value in marriage depends on the impeccable reputation of purity, which is why Lydia Bennet’s decision is treated as reckless.

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Style and Structure

This book employs a narrative technique, where the authors communicate the character’s thoughts and not the character’s actual words. The author presents characters with developed personalities and unique voices.

The author also employs irony, parody, and free indirect speech. The ironic style makes remarks that seem to mean one thing but mean another.

Literary Devices in Pride and Prejudice

Austen uses various Pride and Prejudice literary devices:

  1. Action – the major action in the book includes the marriage choices of the Bennet girls. A rising action occurs in the novel when Darcy refuses to dance with Elizabeth, and she rejects his proposal.  But a falling action changes the situation when Darcy comes to help after Lydia’s elopement, and Elizabeth agrees to marry him.
  2. Mood – the novel has a satirical mood. But it allows characters to be sarcastic and ironic even when it’s too hard for some. The events become tense when Lydia elopes, but the mood changes when Darcy helps them out.
  3. Motif – the necessary motifs in the novel are courtships, journeys, marriages, and dances.
  4. Hyperbole – when Mrs. Bennet exaggerates that Jane is so ill when she has a cold, you can think she is on death bed.  “…she is very ill indeed….” Chapter 4, pg 36-37
  5. Symbolism – carriage, and horses symbolize the class of the wealthy.  Memberships in clubs like sword fighting indicate prestige. Power is portrayed through wealth, accomplishments, and clothing. For instance, the power of Elizabeth is symbolized through her muddy clothing.

These are some literary devices you will find in Pride and Prejudice novel.  If you want to describe more details on the structure of this novel, follow our guidelines above. You can still gather techniques in our guide on how to write an informative essay.

Final Word

We believe this guide has informed you on the summary, plot, background, characters, themes, and literary devices in Pride and Prejudice. Our Pride and Prejudice plot summary is detailed and written by experts who understand the ins and outs of English Literature.  This is just a short summary of the book; if you wish to have a Pride and Prejudice summary by chapter, order our services.

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