Manners and Etiquette of Pride and Prejudice

1801 Words8 Pages
Rebekah Johnson
Mrs. Tencza
Late European History
21 November 2012
Do’s and Don'ts of Pride and Prejudice
In 19th century England, manners played a big role. In her book Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen portrays many different aspects of English social manners in the 1800s, and these facets of English etiquette, including traveling etiquette, social propriety, and dancing, greatly affect the plot of the book.
One aspect of English social etiquette was the set of strict rules for how one was to act to appear as a socially adept person and therefore a desirable match for marriage. They were for the most part unspoken rules, but during the 19th century there began to be a growing selection of etiquette books available, for instance, Dr.
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He dances every dance, is very courteous, and pays special attention to Jane (Austen 278-279). Because of these two characters’ different behavior at this first ball, they establish their reputations; Darcy gets a bad reputation as a proud and disagreeable man, and Mr. Bingley gets a reputation as an amiable man who is fun to be around.
Mr. Bingley through dancing also got an opportunity to show Jane that he cared about her; in the 1800s, if a gentleman asked to dance with a lady twice it usually meant that said gentleman was interested in the lady. At the first ball, “Mr. Bingley danced with [Jane] twice…” (Austen 279) and thereby showed his affection for her, an affection that grows stronger throughout Pride and Prejudice.
Dancing also affects the plot of Pride and Prejudice. During the ball at Netherfield, Darcy dances with Elizabeth, and two important things happen during this dance. First, Darcy’s affection for Elizabeth begins to flourish. As he is dancing with her, they have a little argument. After the dance, Darcy begins to be angry at Elizabeth, but “…in Darcy’s breast there was a tolerable powerful feeling towards [Elizabeth], which soon procured her pardon, and directed all his anger against another.” Also, during this dance Elizabeth’s view of what happened between Mr. Darcy and Mr. Wickham, that Mr. Darcy has shamelessly exploited Mr. Wickham, is established in her own mind. Without dancing, the plot of Pride and
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