First Impressions Revisited
“The course of true love never did run smooth.”
-William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream
‘Pride and Prejudice' first appeared between 1796 and 1797 under the title, ‘First Impressions'. At first, the novel was written anonymously; however, after Jane Austen's death, the novel became publicly known to people. The novel itself is a comedy of manners set in a quiet and charming rural England, between 1796 and 1813; to be exact, Pride and Prejudice is set amidst Napoleonic Wars, dating from 1797 up to 1815. In Austen's words, the novel was ‘light and bright and sparkling'. The quote from William Shakespeare best describes the love stories of Jane Bennet and Charles Bingley; Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy. They say that true love has challenges. Most couples start as bitter enemies at first then afterwards to lovers. This is exactly true about Lizzy and Darcy, since both of them dislike each other. However through the course of time, they eventually learned to care for each other and their mistakes made them a strong couple. Jane and Bingley also found true happiness since both Darcy and Elizabeth approves of their affair. The novel starts with Mr. Bennet, the patriarch and the owner of Longbourn, the Bennet's family estate. He is the spouse of Mrs. Bennet, an ill-bred woman of lowly upbringing. She is a noisy, tiresome and foolish woman driven with a desire to see all of her daughters secured with their future husbands. Their residence is near the fictional town of Meryton, the place where the militia lives with civilians. Since their residence is near the headquarters and ordinary people, it is not surprising that most of the family, excluding Jane and Lizzy, have intolerable mannerisms. Longbourn's location is a strategic place for Mrs. Bennet and her daughters to find a prospective son-in-law. Longbourn's distance offers them a great deal in formulating strategies to find prospective husbands.
“The village of Longbourn was only one mile from Meryton; a most convenient distance for the young ladies…At present, indeed, they were well supplied both with news and happiness by the recent arrival of the militia regiment in the neighborhood; it was to remain the whole winter and Meryton was the headquarters.” (Austen and Jennings 25-26)
Meanwhile, Netherfield, a nearby estate noted for its luxury is the home of Charles Bingley, a “young man of a large fortune from the north of England” (Austen and Jennings 1). He is the brother of Caroline Bingley, a snobbish young woman who dislikes Elizabeth Bennet since the latter was the object of Darcy's affections in the novel. Mr. Darcy, a tall handsome man of noble mien who is earning ten thousand a year and resides at Pemberley, a large estate located at Derbyshire. Scholars of the English Regency believes that Jane Austen based Mr. Darcy's fictional estate on the Chatwsworth House, during her stay in...