The final days of January marked 200 years since the publishing of Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen, in 1813. Lots of websites, magazines, and even CNN made note of the 200th birthday of this enduring story some would call the mother of all rom-coms. However, although the surface formula has been imitated repeatedly, I believe its longevity owes itself to so much more… even more than about the obvious relationship themes between men and women.
“It would be most inconvenient, since I have sworn to loathe him for all eternity.”
There may be things to learn about courtship, relationships, and what to look for in a man or woman… but all of us, male or female, can identify with the Bennett sisters: their situation, what they’re seeking, and what they really need. As we look at the deeper narrative and how we might relate metaphorically to their options as represented by different men, we see parallels that are just as applicable two centuries later:
Do we settle for relationships or situations that are Collins-esque: gaining comfort, safety and security but no love?
Are we seduced by the Wickham-like things of the world that look attractive but actually hurt, or even lead to death?
What is our first impression when we see love that is true? Is our first response an offense to our pride that makes us turn away?
Are we stuck in a place of low standing, yet loved by someone who gives himself up for us?
“I was entirely wrong about him… If I told you what he’s really like, what he’s done.”
Five years ago I spoke on these themes after a showing of the 2005 Pride & Prejudice featuring Keira Knightley. While Mr. Darcy is an imperfect man who has lessons of his own to learn in relation to Elizabeth Bennet, there is a greater cosmic romance reflected in their story that is centuries older… yet quite imminent and relevant today. You can listen to the audio below, download it or subscribe to our iTunes podcast.