Landscape and dance are two important
metaphors in Pride and Prejudice. Bodenheimer (1981) asserts that in many Jane Austen novels,
"good estates" like Pemberley are the key to the social virtues of their owners, that the characters'
estates help to define the social worth of the characters themselves. She argues that the spatial
terms used in describing landscape can also be seen as perceptual or emotional ones. For example,
when Elizabeth sees Pemberley, there is a sense of ascent, mutiplicity and expansion of the landscape,
which could also symbolize Elizabeth's changing view of Darcy and his character and the expansion of
the possibilities of her relationship with him.
According to Adams (1982), dance is another metaphor in many of Austen's novels, and that it is akin
to marriage. In many novels there is a heroine who through dance must judge each of her partners for
appearance, style, character and compatibility, not just in dancing, but in marriage. The importance
of the dance cannot be impressed enough, and the women must be careful whom they accept and whom they
refuse. In Pride and Prejudice, there are quite a few parallels between dance and marriage
for Elizabeth. The first time Darcy asks Elizabeth to dance she refuses, just as she refuses his
first proposal. The second dance and proposal are accepted. We can also see the parallels
with Mr. Collins. The dance with Collins is "mortifying," and the proposal is as well, as he continues
not to believe she is declining his offer no matter how serious she is.
Adams, Timothy Dow. 1982. "To Know the Dancer from the Dance: Dance as Metaphor of Marriage
in Four Novels of Jane Austen." Studies in the Novel, 14(1): 55-65.
Bodenheimer, Rosemarie. 1983. "Looking at the Landscape in Jane Austen." SEL: Studies in English
Literature, 1500-1900, 21(4): 605-623.