Introduction: In contrast to the simplicity of style, Jane Austen’s plots are extremely complex. She doesn’t draw two or three characters in isolation. She prefers a family with many friends and relatives and tries to make things as difficult as possible. There is enough material in any one of her six novels to serve the modern novelist in writing two or three good-sized stories.
The Plot of Pride & Prejudice: has perfect symmetry, precision and simplicity. There are no obtrusive characters, no digressive episodes. Language is simple and the relationship of characters is perfectly drawn. There are main and sub-plots, but the interdependence is maintained and the interplay between the characters and events are in perfect organic unity. The main plot is about Elizabeth-Darcy courtship – state synopsis with analysis… the sub-plots are the novel are: Jane-Bingley, Lydia-Wickham and Charlotte-Collins, but are closely and tightly linked to the main plot.
Thematic unity of the play: the main and the sub-plots are logically and thematically unified. The theme of love and marriage is exemplified through the main and the sub-plot. The Charlotte-Collins sub-plot exemplifies a marriage based on economics plainly lacking in love and devotion. The Lydia-Wickham marriage like that of the Bennets is based on physical charm and will soon sink into indifference. All these serve by contrast to highlight the propriety of Darcy-Elizabeth marriage based on emotional compatibility and intellectual understanding.
Symmetry of the plot: is evident in the series of balancing incidents. The novel is divided into three parts. The first and the last balanced against each other. Part I occurs largely in Longbourn and Netherfield Park, Part II is at Rosings and Part III is at Pemberley and then return to Longbourn. The events between these places revolve so symmetrically that by fine precision, Jane Austen makes her plot unique. There is a perfect correspondence between characters and actions leading to the organic unity of the plot.
The plot as a Five-act Drama: All of Jane Austen’s plots are structurally so dramatic that it can be stated with confidence that she would have been a highly successful dramatist. Cross compares the workmanship of Pride and Prejudice to that of Shakespeare’s Much Ado about Nothing and A.C. Bradley, the great critic of drama thinks that the entanglement of errors, misunderstandings, cross-purposes and view-point of comedy all seem to point a good deal to the influence of drama. Bake points out that she has greater affinities with dramatists like Congreve than with novelists. The plot can be divided into the five acts of drama. Act I – exposition or Introduction, Act II brings in the complication, Act III presents the climax in Elizabeth’s rejection of Darcy’s offer of marriage and later her realization of her mistake about Darcy and Wickham, Act IV shows the resolution of the conflict. At this, there is a meeting between the two at Pemberley which clarifies many misunderstandings and Act V is the final stage of the novel where all events roll towards a resolution.
Dramatic Irony: is the prominent feature of the novel and the different between appearance and reality is emphasized at every stage. The plot of P&P is dramatic, coherent and well-integrated. Give here examples of Appearance and Reality. The narrative mode is also dramatic with action and character being developed though dialogues effectively. Some of the scenes have great dramatic vividness and intensity. Darcy-Elizabeth repartees at Netherfield, the two proposal scenes and the clash between Lady Catherine and Elizabeth. In these scenes, Jane Austen reveals herself as a master dramatist with a perfect ear and sense of timing, instinct for climax and anticlimax.
Why among the ten best novels of the world? The above qualities of her novel are the basic reason for P&P to be one of the 10 best novels of the world.
Conclusion: Jane Austen’s incidents are natural, he characters have an independent reality and yet they fall into a neat logical scheme. The characters of P&P and indeed of her other novels give us a sense of spontaneous life we get from a play of Chekov.