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Does the 1995 BBC adaptation of ‘Prideand Prejudice’ enhance your understanding of the novel?

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Introduction

Does the 1995 BBC adaptation of 'Pride and Prejudice' enhance your understanding of the novel? The author of 'Pride and Prejudice', Jane Austen, originally named the novel 'First Impressions'. This, however, failed to get published, the details of the novel were altered and the name was changed to 'Pride and Prejudice'. It was then published sixteen years later in 1883. The novel is about a love story between Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Darcy, who have to overcome pride and prejudice before a relationship can develop. Austen uses sparkling wit and beautiful vocabulary to bring smiles to the faces of her readers. The importance of marriage in the 17th- 18th century is maintained throughout 'Pride and Prejudice'. If a woman was not married by the age of 25 she was considered a 'spinster'. To marry for love was often simply a matter of chance. The first priority when deciding to marry was wealth and estate. If you were lucky, you might fall in love with your partner after you were married. I think a part of the reason why this novel became popular was because Elizabeth, the focal character, went against the basic rules of marriage at the time. She rejected the proposals of two wealthy men, much to the disappointment of her mother, Mrs Bennet, because she didn't love them: 'You must ...read more.

Middle

For further demonstration to my point, you can observe the disagreement of all the characters when confronted with a discourteous comment, for example Mrs Bennet's bad manners. Jane Austen seems to have taken great care and enthusiasm in creating the character of Elizabeth. Austen's witty remarks and sarcastic comments always seem typical of Elizabeth's character. The film helped me to understand her nature and judgements by showing the scene she is forming her opinion upon, and the way she responds to it. The most important of these aspects of the story is the way she counteracts in her relationship with Mr. Darcy. Before his true colours start to shine through, in the movie you can regard the form in which she disapproves of everything he says or does, the way she looks at him distastefully as he talks to her. When he had returned to Meryton, after the incident of his rejection and after he had saved the reputation of her sister, you can watch how she feels uncomfortable with the tension between them. It is helpful to have a better understanding of the central character of the novel. The additional scenes added to the film fill in the missing gaps, which were otherwise leaving out secret emotions of the characters, particularly the extra scenes with Mr Darcy releasing his frustration produced from his strong, but prejudiced feelings for Elizabeth. ...read more.

Conclusion

As a conclusion, in the book your opinions are based on that of Elizabeth, but the film allows you to create your own opinion. Personally I find this freedom of opinion increases my interest in the plot. Many people may find that the characters and scenery in the television adaptation of 'Pride and Prejudice' don't always live up to expectations. One example could be in the physical appearance of some characters. The novel states Jane is more attractive than Elizabeth: "Lizzy is not a bit better than the others; and I am sure she is not half so handsome as Jane..." whereas people might find Elizabeth more 'handsome' in the film than the actress playing her older sister. This could be confusing, because the reason the film enhances my understanding of the story is because I can relate to the scenes in the film as I read the book. If the characters don't give you the correct picture of what you had imagined, the film would only obscure your understanding. However in my opinion such details become insignificant when consolidating the overall effect of the adaptation. I am in no doubt that the 1995 BBC adaptation not only enhances my understanding of the novel but it has also increased my interest in the author. Lizzie von Schweinitz GCSE English coursework ...read more.

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