Marxist Class Issues in Pride and Prejudice.
According to Karl Marx, a class is determined by its relationship to the means of production. In other words, class is determined by its ownership, or non-ownership of the raw materials, factories, and land that make up the means of production. Though Marxism came later than the first published copy of Pride and Prejudice, it is interesting to note that much of the driving force of the plot centers on the very idea of class. Not only does the novel concern itself with what class the characters belong to, but also by what means, or means of production, each character gained their status. By looking at key passages within the text of Pride and Prejudice from the Marxist perspective, it can be noted that in fact, many of the driving forces in Jane Austen’s Victorian society, revolve around the exact models of behaviors and mindsets that Marx abhors. .
Fitzwilliam Darcy, the Master of Pemberley is both intelligent and forthright, although he does have a knack for judging both too quickly, and too harshly. He is extremely wealthy and this causes Darcy to be overly conscious of his wealth and status in society. He is Elizabeth Bennet’s male counterpart. Although Elizabeth’s attributes far exceed her vices, she is much like Darcy in the respect that her sharp tongue and oft times judgmental haste get her into trouble. Elizabeth strives to reach beyond the confines of her class-bound society with its snobby socialites. Although she tries to maintain that she is un-like Mr. Darcy or other characters, she too comes across as too quick to judge and has to accept responsibility for her mistaken impressions of those around her.
The Bennet’s are initially introduced to the Bingley’s because Mrs. Bennet wants to make sure that one of her daughters is the first to make an advantageous impression on the wealthy Mr. Bingley. Mrs. Bennet, quite an insufferable creature, wants nothing more than for her girls to marry into wealthy, land-owning families.