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Pride and Prejudice | Study Guide

Jane Austen

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Chapter 5

Professor Bradley Greenburg of Northeastern Illinois University provides in-depth summary and analysis of Chapter 5 of Jane Austen's novel Pride and Prejudice.

Pride and Prejudice | Chapter 5 (Volume 1, Chapter 5) | Summary



During a social call, the Lucas family and the Bennets discuss the ball, especially the rude behavior of Mr. Darcy. Charlotte Lucas, a good friend of Elizabeth's, sympathizes with Elizabeth's annoyance at Darcy's behavior. However, she points out that Darcy's pride may be explained by his status. It might be understandable, she says, that a man who has such a large fortune exudes such pride. Elizabeth acknowledges this possibility and admits that she was hurt by Darcy's treatment.


Throughout the novel, Charlotte Lucas will represent a realist's point of view about women, men, and class. Here, she gives Darcy some latitude for his seemingly superior attitude, pointing to his status as a possible excuse. Later, we will see her capitulating to a marriage of security that also reflects her acceptance of the social structure. Her own father, Sir William Lucas, has been knighted—a great honor and, until the industrial revolution, one of the only ways for a commoner to move up in the world. Although Austen paints Sir William Lucas as being a bit vain about his knighthood, her ridicule is gentle.

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