Love in Pride and Prejudice: Explanation & Examples

Instructor: Rachel Noorda
This lesson explains the themes of familial love and romantic love in ''Pride and Prejudice'' by Jane Austen. It examines two examples of familial love relationships (Elizabeth Bennet and Jane Bennet, and Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Bennet), as well as three examples of romantic love relationships (Lydia Bennet and Mr. Wickham, Jane Bennet and Mr. Bingley, and Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy).

Introduction to Pride and Prejudice

Illustration of Pride and Prejudice Characters

Pride and Prejudice is a novel by Jane Austen that was first published in 1813. It follows the story of the five Bennet girls and their relationships, particularly focusing on the relationship between the second Bennet girl, Elizabeth, and Mr. Darcy.

There are two main types of love in Pride and Prejudice: familial love and romantic love. Familial love is mainly expressed through the love of the sisters for each other, especially the love between Jane and Elizabeth. It is also expressed in Elizabeth's relationship with her father. A more prominent kind of love featured in the novel is romantic love, which is expressed in the relationships of Lydia and Mr. Wickham, Jane and Mr. Bingley, and Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy.

Familial Love in Pride and Prejudice

Elizabeth Bennet is the main character of Pride and Prejudice and our focus in this lesson when it comes to familial relationships. The two most important familial relationships that Elizabeth has in the novel are with her older sister, Jane, and her father, Mr. Bennet.

Elizabeth and Jane

Jane Bennet is a sweet, gentle-natured woman and is Elizabeth's confidant. They talk about their relationships with boys, like any sisters would, and they support each other. Jane is in some ways the opposite of Elizabeth. Elizabeth is sometimes too judgmental, but Jane can only see the good in people. Elizabeth is strong where Jane is soft. But the two sisters help to keep each other in check with their opposite characteristics.

Elizabeth and Mr. Bennet

At one point in the novel, Elizabeth is called Mr. Bennet's favorite child. Although Mr. Bennet surely loves all his daughters, he says, 'They are all silly and ignorant like other girls; but Lizzy has something more of quickness than her sisters.' Mr. Bennet offers Elizabeth advice and between them there is a mutual, familial love. When Mr. Darcy goes to Mr. Bennet to ask to marry Elizabeth, at first Mr. Bennet is upset and confused that Elizabeth would marry this man whom she had once hated. But Mr. Bennet trusts Elizabeth's judgment so much that he eventually says that despite Mr. Darcy's faults, 'This would be nothing if you really liked him.' It is a lovely and endearing relationship between a father and his daughter.

Romantic Love in Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice is also a story about romantic love. Because love is so central to the story, there are many quotes and examples that we could discuss. For this lesson, we will focus on three examples of love relationships in the novel: Lydia Bennet and Mr. Wickham, Jane Bennet and Mr. Bingley, and Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy.

Lydia Bennet and Mr. Wickham

Lydia is very young, the youngest of the Bennet sisters, and she is more in love with the idea of being in love than in love with a specific person. She is also very young and naive and not always thinking about her choices will impact her future or her family. When she meets Mr. Wickham, and he shows interest in her, she is happy to fall in love with him. The problem is that Mr. Wickham does not have noble intentions. More than a genuine love and care for Lydia, he is just lusting after her. He sees that she will be happy to fall in love with anyone and to do anything to make someone fall in love with her. He takes advantage of her by convincing her to run away with him.

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