Pride and Prejudice is set in rural England in the early 19th century, when both expectations and reputation matter. It tells the love story of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy and how they overcome their differences toward each other and end up marrying. Throughout the novel, both characters learn to unlearn their pride and prejudice so that they can come to accept each other’s goodness of character.
The story follows the Bennet family, which includes five very different sisters. Mrs. Bennet is anxious to see all her daughters married because their family property is about to be inherited by Williams Collins after the death of Mr. Bennet. At a party, the wealthy and newly arrived Charles Bingley takes an immediate interest in the eldest Bennet daughter, the beautiful and shy Jane.
The meeting between Charles’s friend Darcy and Jane’s sister, Elizabeth is not quite friendly. Although both Darcy and Elizabeth show interest in each other at first but both of them are not accepting the fact that they are attracted towards each other. Darcy is consumed by his pride as he belongs to a rich background. Though Elizabeth likes people who belong to high social class, she dislikes Darcy in particular because of his arrogant nature as she has overheard Darcy saying to Charles that Elizabeth has average looks. Knowing so little about Darcy, Elizabeth makes a snap judgement about him which prohibits her to go near Darcy although she subconsciously adores him.
During this time, Elizabeth encounters the charming George Wickham, a military officer. There is a mutual attraction between the two. But Darcy intervened between their relationship. Meanwhile, Elizabeth finds out that Darcy is also not in favour of the relationship between Charles and Jane. Elizabeth didn’t make any effort to know the reason behind Darcy’s actions and, influenced by her prejudice, continued to dislike Darcy. However, Darcy’s interest in Elizabeth starts growing because he finds out that she is an intelligent, lively and strong woman.
After some days, Elizabeth’s friend Charlotte threw a party where Darcy was also invited. Seeing Elizabeth again, Darcy could not stop himself from expressing his love and proposes to Elizabeth. Surprised by his proposal, Elizabeth gets confused and refuses his offer at once. Darcy gets disturbed by her refusal and demands an explanation. Then Elizabeth explained that she hates him because he was the one who was responsible for the break up between her relationship with Wickham. She also held him responsible for the separation between Charles and her sister Jane.
Darcy explains to Elizabeth through a letter that he separated the couple because Jane was not in love with Charles. He also discloses the fact that Wickham has wasted all his money and was planning to marry Darcy’s 15-year-old sister in an attempt to gain all her property. With these revelations, Elizabeth’s perspective towards Darcy for being an arrogant and selfish person changed slightly.
Shortly thereafter the youngest Bennet sister, Lydia, ran away with Wickham. Elizabeth is shocked by the news and she thinks that Wickham is not going to marry her, since he’s just after her money. This will ruin the reputation of the other Bennet sisters too. Elizabeth shared the news with Darcy who secretly offered Wickham lots of money to marry Lydia. However, Elizabeth finds out that Darcy’s good actions have saved her family’s reputation. She also finds out that Darcy is the person behind the re-engagement of Charles and Jane. Finally, Darcy proposes again to Elizabeth, who after seeing all his good deeds and actions, accepts the proposal this time.
The primary moral lesson of Pride and Prejudice is to not be too prideful and judgmental toward others.