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Free Study Guide-Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen-Free Plot Summary
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CONFLICT

There are two major conflicts in the novel which develop the plot.

The first plot centers around Mrs. Bennet’s desperate attempts to find suitable husbands for her marriageable daughters.

Protagonist

The Protagonist is Mrs. Bennet, whose ‘business of life’ is to get her daughters married. To this end, she is assiduously devoted throughout the novel. She presses her husband to develop an acquaintance with Mr. Bingley (a promising catch); she encourages the sick Jane to prolong her stay at Netherfield; she is anxious that Elizabeth should consent to Mr. Collins’ proposal and is crestfallen when she does not; she promotes the flippancy of Lydia and Kitty and their red-coat chasing.

Antagonist

Mrs. Bennet’s antagonist is the problem she encounters in getting her daughters married, especially the eldest two. Bingley’s abrupt departure from Netherfield interrupts her plans. This and Elizabeth’s denial to marry the odious Mr. Collins seems to thwart her matrimonial scheme of things. Lydia’s elopement and the consequent stigma also strikes at the heart of her scheme; ironically, she does not comprehend its fatality.

Climax

The climax of this plot is the engagement of Elizabeth to Darcy. Lydia has already eloped with Wickham, and Jane has accepted Bingley’s proposal. All three of her eldest daughters are to be married.


Outcome

The outcome of the conflict is a happy one. Mrs. Bennet’s match-making problems are solved, for her eligible daughters are either engaged or married at the point of climax.

The second plot revolves around Darcy trying to win Elizabeth’s love.

Protagonist

Fitzwilliam Darcy, a handsome and proud aristocrat, falls in love with Elizabeth. He is attracted by her fine eyes, elegant figure, buoyancy of spirit, quick wit, and intelligence.

Antagonist

Darcy’s antagonist is the various ‘obstacles’ he has to overcome in order to win the love of Elizabeth, including her vulgar and indiscreet mother, Wickham’s false accounts of him, and Elizabeth’s own prejudice against him. Elizabeth finds him exceedingly proud and at first strongly dislikes him.

Climax

A high point in the rising action is Lydia’s elopement, for it threatens to thwart the relationship between Darcy and Elizabeth; but, on the contrary, it gives Darcy an opportunity to prove his love for Elizabeth by using his influence to get Wickham to marry Lydia. In turn, Elizabeth realizes the true worth of Darcy. When Darcy proposes to her a second time, he has lost his pride and she has given up her prejudice. The climax occurs when she eagerly accepts his proposal.

Outcome

This plot ends in comedy for Darcy accomplishes his goal, winning the love of Elizabeth and her hand in marriage.

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