If we investigate the themes, characters and setting of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice in an effort to find faults of logic, we must first recognize that the entire work is a fault of logic because Austen's world is a microcosm of one level of society, a level wherein everything and everyone turns out kindly, whether they be heroes or villains, rich or poor, or proud or prejudice. This is because unlike conventional romantic novels, like Wuthering Heights, there is no deeply passionate love displayed in this novel, no horrific consequences of being left without an annual inheritance, and even the alleged villains of the piece, like Wickham, are sprinkled with enough of the milk of human kindness as to almost make them preferable over some of the non-villains in the work. Psychologically, this type of mixed-trait character portrayal is realistic of reality because human development occurs as a continual process, one filled with both flaws and successes of character behavior. Richard Simpson (289) explicates this point further in his essay, The Critical Faculty of Jane Austen:
Wickham, the modified villain of Pride and Prejudice, has so much charm about him that his sensible and epicurean father-in-law is almost disposed to like him better than his other and more honorable sons. Miss Austen has a most Platonic inclination to explain any knavishness into folly. Wickedness in her characters is neither unmixed with goodness, nor is it merely a defect of will; she prefers to exhibit it as a weakness of intelligence, an inability of the commonsense to rule the passions which it neither comprehends nor commands. It is her philosophy to see not only the soul of goodness in ...
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...rratic behavior in other romantic tales of love, but it is quite illogical to argue through characterization that typical human beings share a love for one another without being prone to any of the hyper-emotions and erratic behaviors love often manifests in real human beings. Therefore, Austen's Pride and Prejudice appears to exhibit some pride and prejudice of its own, particular the fact that Austen seems to suggest people in her social circle are somehow better or more rational at least than typical human beings.
Austen, J. Pride and Prejudice. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990.
Oliphant, M. "Miss Austen." In Pride and Prejudice, New York, Oxford University Press, 1990: 285-287.
Simpson, R. "The Critical Faculty of Jane Austen." In Pride and Prejudice, New York, Oxford University Press, 1990: 287-290.
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