Economic position of women in the novel Pride and Prejudice

Women’s lives in Jane Austen’ novel is considerably useful to understand the circumstances of the women of English society during 18th to 19th century era.

The position of women changed considerably during the enlightenment and not with the concern of liberty and social welfare (Social Position). Therefore, the Economic developments that were behind the rise of capitalism also resulted and restricted women’s rights to own property and to run business, Thus, it was like forcing women out of business.

One of the critics pointing out the women, says that in 1600, two – third of women owned and administered business in London, which was very less in compare to 1800, only less than ten percent remain. In Pre- Industrial Europe which had the ‘family Economy’(Economy of the individual house- hold) as its main unit hence, women contributed substantially to these Economies, providing both agricultural labor and artisans skills and often subordinating housework to this participation, but they could not occupy an equivalent position in the new urban and market Economies.

Education and accomplishment

In Jane Austen’s era, time supposed to be a crucial in the denying of Education to many women as the “Grammar should” which existed only to teach upper-class boys, did not admit girls. The only alternatives for girls are private or boarding schools. Therefore, most of the girls were being taught at home by governesses or masters. They are prohibited to enter either the public schools or universities like Cambridge or Oxford.

This was simply barred women to get any such knowledge or learn classical languages like Greek and Latin. Instead of having proper education, girls were taught needlework, drawing, singing and playing piano as we have witnessed in the novel ‘Pride and Prejudice’. All these abilities were supposed to be an attractive for the girls which might help them to secure a husband.

For instance; in Pride and Prejudice, there are several examples in the novel where the audience have witnessed such scenes, like how Mary since she lacks beauty, is forced to rely on her musical abilities in order to be noticed in society and she has been described “as always impatient for display”. Not only this later, Lady Catherine interrogates Elizabeth about her accomplishments, lectures her on how to improve her piano-playing and makes the extremely dubious assertion that “If I had ever learnt, I should have been a great proficient.

All in all, Jane Austen is the novelist who is known for presenting true picture of women of English society of her time.



wit and irony in Pride and Prejudice

‘Pride and Prejudice’ is one of the most popular, novel by Jane Austen, published in three volumes on 28th February, 1813. In Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen uses wit and irony to describe the cult of sensibility and offering a corrective contractual theme.

Therefore, Pride and prejudice thematically based on verbal, dramatic, situational and irony of character in the novel.


  • Irony is a literary term or device in which there is a contrast between expectations and reality.
  • There are different types of irony used by jane Austen in pride and prejudice.
  • The title of the novel contains a hidden satire of thematic irony.


  • Wit is a natural aptitude for using words and ideas in a quick and inventive way to create humor.
  • Elizabeth uses successfully while Wickham uses harmfully.
  • Wit is also uses in linguistic artifice for one`s personal ends
  • In pride and prejudice, `wit` is used as the ability to manipulate language to one`s own.

There are several types of wit and irony used in the novel Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen like; thematic irony, verbal irony, dramatic irony and situational irony etc.

use of thematic irony

Jane Austen subtly introduces an inversion of the thematic foible, pride and prejudice`, and the characters they belong to. It is Darcy who has the pride and Elizabeth who has prejudice. But in their misunderstanding, they blame each other of excessive pride and prejudice.

use of verbal irony

The off- quoted opening of the sentence of the novel is one of the finest example of the verbal irony.

The universal truth that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in wants of a wife.

At the second ball, Elizabeth not only rejects, Darcy`s dance request but also mocks him with comments like; “Mr. Darcy is all politeness” and I am perfectly convinced by it that Mr. Darcy has no defect”.

use of dramatic irony

In Pride and Prejudice, the dramatic irony is at work when audience knows something that the character doesn’t seen mainly through Elizabeth and Darcy. Elizabeth is critical by jane`s blindness to others fault.

Also, Mr. Darcy is blind to his love when he declines to dance with Elizabeth.

Another example, when the Gardiners are talking about a future mistress of Pemberley, they don’t know that Mr. Darcy has proposes to Elizabeth so she could be the mistress now of Pemberley.

use of situational irony

The situational irony, when Mr. Darcy who once called Elizabeth “tolerable”, but not as handsome enough to tempt him, and now he falls in love with her. Also admits that he has considered Elizabeth as the handsomest women of acquaintance.

use of wit

Elizabeth uses wit to hold her own against Darcy. She uses wit to deal with the embarrassment caused by her family, and difficult situations like in conversation with Lady Catherine. (in the manner of defense)

Thus we can clearly say that, Jane Austen is not tinged with any bitterness, nor does she reflects her cynicism (कुटिलता) rather her irony, can be termed comic, but irony is used by Jane Austen to expose the hypocrisy and pretentiousness of contemporary English society.

Search by Category