Would you consider Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" as a novel of plot or a novel of character? Give reasons for your answer.

Expert Answers
mstultz72 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think Austen achieves her ends through an interrelationship between the two.  Austen uses many interwoven plots and characters to parody society.  A reader cannot divorce the two, I don't think.

As a comedy, the aim of the novel is social.  Austen satirizes the society as her protagonists Elizabeth and Darcy move through it.  So, plot and character contribute to her themes of pride, prejudice, and moral change and transformation.  Specifically, Austen attacks ineffectual parenting, marriage practices, and institutions--which are social and related to plot.  Whereas Aristotle says that plot is the major aspect of tragedy, I think society is the focus on comedy.

If you absolute, positively have to pick between the two, I would choose character.  The plot is fairly realistic and focuses on a lot of minutia, but the two heroes, I think, are what most people remember about this novel.  So says Enotes:

The major characters of the novel suffer from a combination of the two title characteristics of Pride and Prejudice. What separates Elizabeth and Darcy from the silly minor characters, such as Wickham, Lydia, Mr. Collins, and Lady Catherine, and even from the good minor characters such as Mr. Bennet, Jane, and Charles Bingley, is their ability and willingness to learn and grow, to overcome their initial shortcomings. They mature and come to a better understanding of each other by the novel's end through a slow and painful growth process.

For more ideas for your paper visit this excellent website:


priyaansh | Student

i think Pride and prejudice is a novel of plot.The characters are not so prominent in this novel as is the plot..I think if austen wants it to be a novel of character than she would have emphasised the characters of the hero and heroine like any other novel.i think the novel tells us more about the actions.the feelings and thoughts of the characters are not supported by their actions.and later they realise what they have done..it seems to me that austen wants us to see the consequences of thoughtless action.for example,elizabeth knew everything about wickham but did not tell anything to her father..every character here is important because they play important role in the course of action and not because they highlight particular trait of character..the name of the novel is based on the character but the well constructed coherent plot is more important than the characters because it is plot which makes these characters important not vice-versa.the characters are not what they appear to us in the beginning.austen has done this transformation or characters only for the gradual progress of the story.

Read the study guide:
Pride and Prejudice

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question