Illustration of Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy with neutral expressions on their faces

Pride and Prejudice

by Jane Austen
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What is the exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution for Pride and Prejudice?

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In Pride and Prejudice, the exposition primarily introduces the characters and the theme of matrimony, while the rising action shows how the relationships develop among the characters. The climax is Mr. Darcy’s declaration of his love for Elizabeth and her rejection of him. The falling action includes Lydia ...

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In Pride and Prejudice, the exposition primarily introduces the characters and the theme of matrimony, while the rising action shows how the relationships develop among the characters. The climax is Mr. Darcy’s declaration of his love for Elizabeth and her rejection of him. The falling action includes Lydia and Wickham’s elopement, Darcy’s solving their predicament, and Lizzie’s realizing that she loves Darcy. Resolution is achieved through the marriages of Darcy and Elizabeth and of Bingley and Jane.

In the exposition phase of the novel, Jane Austen uses Mr. Bingley’s temporary residence in the community to establish the theme of marriage and its importance in the Bennett family. By bringing a stranger into the community, Austen provides a reason for new characters to be introduced to each other. The rising action includes the various Bennett sisters interacting with the newly arrived male characters, including at the party where it first becomes apparent that Darcy and Elizabeth do not get along. The daughters’ interactions with the soldiers, especially Wickham, is another significant plot point, as is Bingley’s abrupt departure after it seemed he was getting serious about Jane.

The subplot of Mr. Collins’s initial interest in Lizzie and subsequent marriage to Charlotte also figures in the rising action, indirectly leading to Lizzie’s initial encounter with Lady Catherine. Another significant development is Lizzie’s visit with her aunt and uncle; this brings her to Darcy’s house and estate, where she meets Darcy’s sister and unexpectedly runs into Darcy.

The novel’s climax occurs when Darcy arrives unannounced at the uncle’s home and declares his love for Lizzie. She is offended rather than pleased, however, and turns him down. The sudden news that Lydia and Wickham have eloped precipitates the falling action, as Elizabeth learns the truth about Wickham and realizes she was mistaken about Darcy. Both his assistance in resolving the elopement scandal and Lady Catherine’s rude interference help Elizabeth understand that she loves him.

The resolution occurs with Kitty and Wickham legally married and moving away, and finally the happy marriages of Jane to Bingley and Elizabeth to Darcy.

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