Jane Austen’s classic novel Pride and Prejudice was first published in the United Kingdom 28 January 1813. Pride and Prejudice concerns young Elizabeth Bennet as she deals with issues of manners, upbringing, morality, education, and marriage in the society of the landed gentry of early 19th-century England. Elizabeth is the second of five daughters of a country gentleman living near the fictional town of Meryton in Hertfordshire, near London. Though the story is set at the turn of the 19th century, it retains a fascination for modern readers, continuing near the top of lists of “most loved books” such as The Big Read. It has become one of the most popular novels in English literature and receives considerable attention from literary scholars and has been adapted for film and television numerous times. To date, the book has sold some 20 million copies worldwide.
The novel centres on Elizabeth Bennet, the second of the five daughters of a country gentleman. Mr Bennet is a bookish man, and somewhat neglectful of his responsibilities. Mrs Bennet is a woman lacking in social graces and primarily concerned with finding suitable husbands for her five daughters. Jane Bennet, the eldest daughter, is distinguished by the kindness of her attitudes and her beauty; Elizabeth Bennet, the second daughter, shares her father’s keen wit and occasionally sarcastic outlook; Mary is not pretty, but is studious, devout and musical albeit lacking in taste; Kitty, the fourth sister follows where her younger sister leads, while Lydia is flirtatious and unrestrained. The novel opens with news that Mr Bingley, a wealthy, charismatic and sociable young bachelor, is moving into Netherfield Park in the neighbourhood. Mr Bingley is soon well received, while his friend Mr Darcy makes a less favourable impression by appearing proud and condescending at a ball that they attend (he detests dancing and is not much for light conversation). Mr Bingley singles out Jane for particular attention, and it soon becomes apparent that they have formed an attachment to each other, though Jane does not alter her conduct for him, confessing her great happiness only to Lizzie. By contrast, Darcy slights Elizabeth, who overhears and jokes about it despite feeling a budding resentment. On paying a visit to Mr Bingley’s sister, Caroline, Jane is caught in a heavy downpour, catches cold, and is forced to stay at Netherfield for several days. Elizabeth arrives to nurse her sister and is thrown into frequent company with Mr Darcy, who begins to act less coldly towards her.
Mr Collins, a clergyman, and heir to the Bennet estate, pays a visit to the Bennets. It soon becomes apparent that Mr Collins has come to Longbourn to choose a wife from among the Bennet sisters (his cousins) and Elizabeth is singled out. Elizabeth forms an acquaintance with Mr Wickham, a militia officer who dislikes Mr Darcy, despite having been a godson and favourite of Mr Darcy’s father. This and Elizabeth’s attraction to Mr Wickham, increase her dislike of Mr Darcy.At a ball ,mr Darcy becomes aware that Mr Bingley and Jane may marry. The following morning, Mr Collins proposes marriage to Elizabeth, who refuses him, much to her mother’s distress. Mr Collins becomes engaged to Elizabeth’s close friend Charlotte Lucas, meanwhile Mr Bingley abruptly leaves Netherfield and returns to London, devastating Jane, and Elizabeth becomes convinced that Mr Darcy and Caroline Bingley have colluded to separate him from Jane.Jane is persuaded that Mr Bingley is not in love with her, but goes on an extended visit to her aunt and uncle Gardiner in London in the hope of maintaining her relationship with Caroline if not with Charles Bingley.
During spring, Elizabeth visits Charlotte and Mr Collins in Kent. Elizabeth and her hosts are frequently invited to Rosings Park, home of Lady Catherine de Bourgh, Darcy’s aunt; coincidentally, Darcy also arrives to visit. Elizabeth meets Darcy’s cousin, Colonel Fitzwilliam, Elizabeth rightly assumes that the said friend is none other than Mr Bingley. Then Darcy arrives and, quite unexpectedly, confesses love for Elizabeth and begs her hand in marriage.However Elizabeth rebukes Mr Darcy, for his actions and he tries to persuade her otherwise. Meanwhile Wickham then attempts to elope with Darcy’s young sister Georgiana, and thereby secure her fortune for himself. Regarding Jane and Bingley, Darcy claims he had observed no reciprocal interest in Jane for Bingley, and had assumed her not to be in love with him. In addition to this, he cites the “want of propriety” in the behaviour of Mr and Mrs Bennet and her three younger daughters. Elizabeth begins to warm to Mr Darcy
Later, Elizabeth and her aunt and uncle Gardiner visit Pemberley, Darcy’s estate, and Darcy introduces Elizabeth to his sister, and Elizabeth begins to acknowledge her attraction to him. Their re-acquaintance is cut short, however, by the news that Lydia has eloped with Mr Wickham. Elizabeth and the Gardiners return to Longbourn (the Bennet family home). Lydia and Wickham are located, and persuaded to marry And Jane, Elizabeth and Mr Bennet suspect that their Uncle Gardiner may have bribed Wickham to marry Lydia. Mr and Mrs Wickham visit Longbourn, Elizabeth discovers that Mr Darcy was responsible for their marriage. Meanwhile Bingley’s returs and proposes to Jane, who immediately accepts. Then Lady Catherine de Bourgh pays an unexpected visit to Longbourn hoping To persuade Elizabeth not to marry Mr Darcy