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Pride and Prejudice Video
Watch the illustrated video summary of the classic novel, Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen.
Published in 1813, Jane Austen's novel, Pride and Prejudice follows the story of the Bennet sisters in their complicated attempts to preserve their reputation and navigate the pressure of marriagability within the upper echelon of English society. Elizabeth Bennet and her sister Jane are caught within a system that honors wealth and title above all; the humble socioeconomic status of her family challenges Elizabeth—or Lizzie—especially, although in the end, her moral code and desires for Mr. Darcy align.
The novel opens at Longbourn, the Bennet family's estate, 50 miles outside of London. Mrs. Bennet, the mother of five daughters, is giddy that Mr. Bingley, “a single man of large fortune” has moved to the nearby estate Netherfield Park. She hopes that one of her daughters could be his new wife.
The Bennets first meet Mr. Bingley at a ball where he takes an immediate liking to the eldest daughter, Jane. Mr. Bingley's friend Mr. Darcy, however, snubs Elizabeth. The community decides that Darcy is proud and disagreeable because of his reserved nature and his refusal to dance.
Jane and Bingley grow fond of one another. However, while Bingley makes his partiality quite obvious, Jane is universally cheerful and somewhat shy. At the same time, Mr. Darcy begins to admire Elizabeth, captivated by her fine eyes and lively wit. She, however, feels contempt for him.
Soon, Bingley invites Jane to his estate at Netherfield, but Jane, caught in the rain, falls ill upon her arrival. Seeking to help her sister, Elizabeth trudges through the muddy fields to Bingley's estate only to be met by Bingley’s arrogant sisters, Caroline Bingley and Mrs. Hurst, who are scandalized by Elizabeth's rumpled appearance. Darcy, who is also staying at Netherfield, will grow warmer toward Elizabeth, even as she sees him as haughty and proud.
Mrs. Bennet and her younger daughters come to Netherfield to check on Jane, and Elizabeth is mortified by their foolish behavior and complete lack of manners. Bingley's affection for Jane grows. After Jane recovers, she returns home with Elizabeth.
Soon after, Mr. Bennet’s distant cousin, Mr. Collins, pays a visit to the Bennet’s home in Longbourn. Mr. Collins is in line to inherit Longbourn because the estate has been entailed away from any female children. Mr. Collins hopes to make amends for the entailment by marrying one of Mr. Bennet's daughters. Mr. Collins is a silly man, speaking in long, pompous speeches with an air of solemn formality. He soon asks Elizabeth to marry him; Elizabeth refuses and Mr. Collins ends up marrying her practical friend, Charlotte, instead.
Meanwhile, militia officers have moved into the nearby town of Meryton. One officer, Mr. Wickham, seems to be an enemy of Darcy. He tells Elizabeth he was the godson of Darcy’s father, who had promised Wickham a good inheritance. According to Wickham, Darcy failed to fulfill his father's dying wishes and left Wickham without any money.
When Bingley hosts a ball at Netherfield, he and Jane spend the whole evening together. Foolishly, Mrs. Bennet speaks loudly about their imminent engagement, and Darcy overhears her. Later that evening, Darcy asks Elizabeth to dance and she reluctantly accepts.
When Bingley travels to London for business, Jane finds out he will not return to Netherfield for at least six months. In addition, Bingley’s sister wants Bingley to marry Darcy's younger sister Georgiana, in order to unite the two families' fortunes. Jane is heartbroken. When Jane travels to London, Bingley does not call her.
Elizabeth hears that Darcy convinced Bingley not to marry Jane. Meanwhile, Darcy visits Elizabeth and confesses that he wants to marry her despite her low family connections. Shocked at his arrogance, she refuses him and accuses him of both ruining Jane's future happiness and betraying Wickham.
The next day, Darcy writes to Elizabeth, explaining that he objected to Bingley’s marriage to Jane because of her low family connections and lack of particular preference for Bingley. Darcy also tells that his father had promised to provide Wickham with a living so long as he entered the clergy. Wickham both refused the clergy and squandered his new-found fortune. He also seduced Darcy's teenage sister, Georgiana; Darcy intervened before they could elope, and saved Georgiana's honor.
Soon afterwards, Elizabeth goes on vacation with her aunt and uncle and agrees to stop at Pemberley, Mr. Darcy's estate, because he is not present. Darcy arrives unexpectedly as Elizabeth is leaving for home. Lydia, her younger sister, has run off with Wickham. Frantic, Elizabeth confides in Darcy who blames himself for never publicly exposing Wickham's wickedness.
The family fears Wickham will never marry the poor and foolish Lydia. Wickham has amassed 1,000 pounds of gambling debts. But when the two are found days later, Wickham has agreed to the marriage. Considering the size of his debts, Mr. Bennet knows that Wickham would never have agreed to marry a girl with so little money. In fact, it was Darcy who both found Lydia and Wickham and paid off Wickham's debts.
Bingley and Mr. Darcy soon return to Netherfield Park. Bingley proposes to Jane and Darcy tells Elizabeth that his affection for her has not changed. She then reveals that her feelings have changed and she says “yes” to his second proposal. Darcy realizes he was wrong to act so proudly; Elizabeth accepts that she was wrong to judge Darcy prematurely.
In the end, Mr. Bennet is delighted that his two oldest daughters have married so happily, and Mrs. Bennet is glad that her daughters have married so prosperously.