‘Pride and Prejudice’ is Jane Austen’s classic tale of nineteenth century romance. Filled with subtle humour and veiled criticism of the society she lived in, it is a very enjoyable read. The heroine, Elizabeth Bennet, is a headstrong and intelligent young woman who is disgusted by the idea of marrying for money or social status that is one of the guiding rules of her society. One of five sisters in a relatively poor upper class family, the only way for her and her sisters to guarantee having enough money to survive is to marry a rich young man. This position is filled initially by the arrival of Mr. Bingley in the countryside neighbourhood where they live. Bingley, who is accompanied by a supposedly even richer young man and friend, Mr. Darcy, soon falls in love with the eldest of the Bennet girls, Jane. Meanwhile Elizabeth has taken a disliking to Mr. Darcy after being snubbed by him at a dance, but as their paths cross more and more he falls in love with her though she continues revelling in her dislike of him. Suddenly Bingley leaves for London at the height of his attachment to Jane, and does not return. Jane is heartbroken, but with time begins to recover, and Elizabeth travels to visit her old friend Caroline Lucas, now married to Elizabeth’s bumbling cousin, who initially proposed to Elizabeth herself. Whilst staying with her friend Elizabeth again meets Mr. Darcy, who proposes to her. However, Elizabeth suspects that Mr. Darcy was involved in the breaking off of relations between Mr. Bingley and her sister, and also blames Mr.
Darcy for the unfortunate position in which a charming young man named George Wickham is in, and refuses him bluntly, stating her reasons. The next day whilst walking she meets Mr. Darcy again, who hands her a letter explaining both his conduct to her sister, and revealing the truth about his relationship to Wickham, who had in fact wronged Darcy, rather than the other way around. Disturbed by how incorrectly she had judged his character Elizabeth heads home. Later that year she accompanies her Aunt and Uncle on trip northwards, and to her embarrassment meets Darcy whilst touring his house and grounds. However, Darcy is friendly, and their rapidly improving relations are interrupted only by the grave news that Wickham has run away with Elizabeth’s youngest sister. Returning home hastily there is an anxious wait for news, but to general relief the news arrives that Wickham and her sister Lydia have been found and married, and a scandal averted. Elizabeth’s Aunt informs her secretly that it was Mr. Darcy who found the couple, and who forced Wickham to marry her, and when Bingley and Darcy return to the neighbourhood it is a matter of days only before both Jane and Elizabeth are engaged.