Pride and Prejudice Questions and Answers
by Jane Austen

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Why is the first sentence in Pride and Prejudice ironic?

The first sentence of Pride and Prejudice is ironic given that Mr. Darcy is portrayed as rather arrogant and distant in this novel, which makes finding a future wife rather difficult.

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Pride and Prejudice is a novel written by Jane Austen. It was first published in 1813 and deals with the love story between Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy. According to the first sentence of the novel, "a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife." In order to explain the irony within this statement, you might want to stress the point that a reader of the novel would consequently expect Mr. Darcy, who is very rich, to be desperate to find a wife. The reason why this statement is ironic, however, is the fact that Mr. Darcy is very much portrayed as a cold, arrogant and offish character in the novel. This is in total contrast to a man who is keen to find a wife, as the reader would expect someone looking for a wife to behave in a much friendlier and warmer manner compared to the attitude which Mr. Darcy displays.

Mr. Darcy's arrogance stems from the fact that he comes from a well-established family who has a lot of money. You could therefore argue that Mr....

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One of the main themes of Pride and Prejudice is stated in the first sentence of the novel: "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife" (Austen 5). In this statement, Austen has cleverly done three things: she has declared that the main subject of the novel will be courtship and marriage, she has established the humorous tone of the novel by taking a simple subject to elaborate and to speak intelligently of, and she has prepared the reader for a chase in the novel of either a husband in search of a wife, or a women in pursuit of a husband. The first line also defines Jane s book as a piece of literature that connects itself to the 18th century period. Pride and Prejudice is 18th century because of the emphasis on man in his social environment rather than in his individual conditions. David Monaghan notes, the use of satire and wit, a common form of 18th century literature, also contributes to label the book as 18th century (Monaghan 15). In the figure of Elizabeth, Jane Austen shows passion attempting to find a valid mode of existence in society. Passion and reasons also comes together in the novel to show that they are complementary of marriage