How does Jane Austen handle of the theme that human life is limited by the failings of pride and prejudice in her novel Pride and Prejudice?

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thanatassa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen is set in a small town among a class generally known as the gentry, those who have primarily inherited rather than earned their money. Despite this, there are class division within this group, with those with more money or connections to the nobility ranking higher in a society that pays a great deal of attention to minute social divisions. 

All of the characters exhibit both pride and prejudice in ways that interfere with their happiness. The most obvious instances of pride are found in the wealthier and better connected families, especially Mr. Darcy, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, and Mr. Bingley's sisters, Caroline Bingley and Mrs. Hurst. The Reverend William Collins also exhibits a sort of pride by association with Lady Catherine that makes him appear pompous and absurd. Lady Catherine is blinded by pride, and Mr. Darcy's pride gets in the way of his relationship not only with Elizabeth, but with many people in his social circle. The pride of Bingley's sisters nearly lead them to ruin his chances at a happy marriage.

Elizabeth, despite priding herself on her clear intellect, displays prejudice against Mr. Darcy which prevents her from accepting his initial proposal or understanding the behind his reserve is a genuine goodness of character, although by the end of the novel, she becomes wiser.