Besides marriage, to what extent do property and intrigue lie at the heart of Pride and Prejudice?

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scarletpimpernel eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Property: Tangible or intangible, property is one of the driving forces in Elizabeth Bennet's society.  Elizabeth and her sisters need to marry in order to provide property (estates, financial security, and position) to their parents.  Charlotte marries an imbecile so that she can secure a place for herself (in worse "straits" than the Bennets, her parents are unable to give her any type of security). Similarly, George Collins arrives at the Bennet home, hoping to get a better view of the property he seeks to inherit when Mr. Bennet dies.  Even though he lives in a comfortable home, he does not own it--he is at the whim of the Lady Catherine de Bourgh, and possessing his own place means status and respect to him.

Intrigue: While Pride and Prejudice does not center upon intrigue as do Northanger Abbey or Mansfield Park, it does offer the reader some suspense, most of which stems from Wickham.  The reader wonders at first what he did to make Darcy dislike him so much and then questions the veracity of Wickham's tale.  Later, the reader follows Elizabeth through her search for the truth about Wickham and her sister's fate.  Austen's readers also question what Bingley's feelings truly are for Jane.

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Pride and Prejudice

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