Pride and Prejudice: Setting as Symbol

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  • 0:00 Setting in Pride & Prejudice
  • 0:29 Netherfield Park
  • 0:58 Rosings Park
  • 2:24 Pemberly
  • 3:52 Role of Symbols
  • 4:39 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Laura Foist

Laura has a Masters of Science in Food Science and Human Nutrition and has taught college Science.

In this lesson, we will discuss the main settings in Jane Austen's 'Pride and Prejudice:' Netherfield Park, Rosings Park and Pemberley. Explore the role they play in the story and how they act as a symbol of the relationship between Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth.

Setting in Pride and Prejudice

There are three main settings that are important to the development of the story in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. These are Netherfield Park, Rosings Park, and Pemberley. The setting with the most dramatic symbolism is Pemberley, where Elizabeth is able to see Darcy for who he really is. Yet, Rosings acts as the antithesis to Pemberley, also making it an important setting in the story.

Netherfield Park

While Netherfield Park doesn't hold much symbolism for the story, it does serve as an introduction to Rosings and Pemberley. This is where Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy have most of their interactions. It is also where Mr. Darcy fights his feelings as he begins to fall in love with Elizabeth. But, Elizabeth perceives Mr. Darcy as a prideful, cruel man, a prejudiced feeling she decides is justified when she sees him at the estate at Rosings Park.

Rosings Park

We first hear of Rosings when Mr. Collins comes to visit the Bennets. For Mr. Collins, nothing can compare to Rosings in its grandeur. If he does compare anything to Rosings, then he is giving that place a great compliment. When Elizabeth visits Rosings she recognizes the grandeur of the estate, yet she is 'but slightly affected by his (Mr. Collins) enumeration of the windows in front of the house.' In others words, she is not impressed by them. The estate is simply a grand, proud, estate; yet, it will never mean anything special to her.

For many who visit Rosings it does inspire awe, yet it is a feeling of awe that makes you feel inferior. When Sir William visits he 'was so completely awed by the grandeur surrounding him, that he had but just courage enough to make a very low bow, and take his seat without saying a word.'

Lady Catherine (Rosing's owner) is a proud, arrogant, haughty, and cold woman, and her estate displays these same characteristics. Elizabeth also sees Mr. Darcy in this same light, especially at Rosing's, which doesn't help improve her opinion of him. Mr. Darcy, however, struggling with his feelings, sees Elizabeth at Rosings and proposes to her. Elizabeth, for her part, does not accept his proposal.


Later, Elizabeth happens to visit Pemberley, Mr. Darcy's estate. At first sight of Pemberley, Elizabeth's 'spirit was in high flutter.' She is awed by the magnificence and beauty of Pemberley. Yet, she also feels that it is natural, that it isn't haughty or proud.

For example, the stream that flows through Pemberly, while important, was 'without any artificial appearance. Its banks were neither formal, nor falsely adorned.' They haven't tried to change the natural landscape to make something appear grander than it really is. Instead they worked with the land to emphasize its natural beauty. Elizabeth 'had never seen a place for which nature had done more, or where natural beauty had been so little counteracted by an awkward taste.'

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