There are many film and television versions of Pride and Prejudice. Compare the novel with Wright’s 2005 film adaptation or the 1995 BBC television version. Discuss and
critique the ways in which some of the romantic narrative elements (point of view,
character, narrative, etc.) are changed in the film/TV adaptation.
Thesis Statement: Jane Austen’s novel is a book about Elizabeth, but the BBC TV Movie is very much about Elizabeth and Darcy.
The novel Pride and Prejudice written by Jane Austen discusses various main themes such as; marriage, class and money. The BBC television movie directed by Simon Langton also discusses these themes, however, we can observe a heightened fixation on romanticism which as an audience we can only infer is for entertainment purposes. This leads the audience to conclude that this is an intentional choice by the production team and writing staff of the BBC adaptation. This idea can be observed through continuous, subtle changes that adjust the intended focus of the novel being a story of and about Elizabeth Bennett, to a television film about Elizabeth Bennett and her romantic relationship with Mr. Darcy.
The novel Pride and Prejudice balances the ideas of romance and realism throughout its entirety, we see characters such as Mr. Bingley and Jane who display nothing but characteristics of a romantic relationship which Austen emphasises towards the end of the novel through both Mr. Bingley and Jane’s excitement of their own engagement resulting in Jane sharing with her family that “I am certainly the most fortunate creature ever existed!” (Chapter 55). This relationship is then juxtaposed to the relationship between Charlotte Lucas and Mr. Collins who display no qualities associated to a romantic relationship but merely a mutual business deal. We see the rationalism behind her decision during her conversation to Elizabeth “I am not romantic, you know; I never was. I ask only a comfortable home; and considering Mr. Collins' character, connection, and situation in life, I am convinced that my chance of happiness with him is as fair as most people can boast on entering the marriage state." (Chapter 22). Throughout literature history there has always been emerging opposites, towards the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th century there was a “struggle between classicists and romanticists.” (Caudwell) This idea of classicism represented reason in novels throughout the 18th and 19th century which in turn resulted the coining of the term realism. Realism has existed since the 20th century and has been used to reject romanticism and everything it entails such as exaggeration and drama. The point of realism is to convey real and typical people, situations and truth while not avoiding any unpleasant aspects of life. Romanticism however, is the opposite, it was characterised by the heavy emphasis on emotion and glorification relaying a more medieval view rather than the classic realistic view.