To what extent does social class influence the relationship of Darcy and Elizabeth?make reference to chapters where the influence of social class is evident

Expert Answers
markchambers1966 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Pride and Prejudice Mr darcy comes from the Upper classes, old landed classes with power that rested in the land. He is an aristocrat who far outstrips the others around him, including Mr Bingley. Others such as Mr Wickham were in a position of looking toward him for a 'living' such as the grant of the parsonage, he also has connections to Lady Catherine and a marriage into her family is expected by Lady Catherine. Elizabeth comes from a lesser family. Her father is a 'gentleman' but he has married beneath him, and there is a 'small country town' feel about the famaily and their connections that makes them less attractive on the marriage stakes in an era where rich families marries less for love and more for connections. For this reason there are many problems for the two of them in being together, but ultimately the power of Mr Darcy is such that people will have to come around to his being with Elizabeth.

epollock | Student


Austen's Pride and Prejudice reveals a society based on manners:  In this society, the well-being of everyone relies on people maintaining their proper places and behaving according to a strict code of manners. For the Bennet sisters, their chances of marriage depreciates with every show of impropriety.

From the opening scene, it is important to understand the very real danger that faces the Bennet sisters if they do not marry. Upon Mr. Bennet's death, the sisters' cousin, Mr. Collins, will inherit the small Longbourn estate. That means that the family will have no source of income and no place to live. A marriage of one of the girls to a wealthy man is one of the few remaining options for the family, though the girls suffer from having an incredibly small dowry to attract a man with.

"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife."  Chapter 1-- signifies that a man's role is to secure a family after acquiring support for that family.

If a woman is partial to a man, and does not endeavour to conceal it, he must find it out. Chapter 6--again on the roles of a woman.

"Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance. If the dispositions of the parties are ever so well known to each other or ever so similar beforehand, it does not advance their felicity in the least. They always continue to grow sufficiently unlike afterwards to have their share of vexation; and it is better to know as little as possible of the defects of the person with whom you are to pass your life." Chapter 6 further reveals the roles of people in the society in which Austen wrote.

Jane Austen's most famous work portrays a society fixed in social class, fixed in gender identity, and fixed in familial relationships with the patriarch as head of household, of course.

Read the study guide:
Pride and Prejudice

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question