Pride and Prejedice - BBC production
Uploaded by nicole2961985 on Jul 06, 2002
“A great text not only reflects society, but also challenges its way of thinking.” How true is this statement?
A great text can be defined as one that our civilization deems valuable- a text that not only portrays the workings of society, but also defies existing constructs of the times and encourages progression in society’s attitudes towards relevant issues. Such a text is Simon Langton’s 1995 production of Pride and Prejudice. Through the characterisation of the main character Lizzie, Langton challenges viewer’s opinions by employing economic, philosophical and religious paradigms to portray Nineteenth Century English Society.
The social structure of 19th Century England encompassed the basic social class system whereby different social classes could be distinguished by inequalities in areas such as power, authority, wealth, education, religion and culture. Langton successfully portrays this society through elaborate sets and costuming as well as strong characterisation. Through the characterisation of Lizzie as a strong willed, independent young woman of her time, Langton is able to question the values and beliefs held at that time. He uses strong dialogue and an actor with a confident and daring exterior and clothes her in mostly casual clothes to portray a personality that is relaxed and comfortable with oneself and one’s moral fibre. This individual has a heightened understanding of the existing institutions, and does not simply accept the constraints forced upon her, as many in her position did, but uses her own judgement to determine for herself her own set of values and ways of behaving.
The economic paradigm is explored and examined by Langton in Pride and Prejudice in a very direct manner, illustrating to viewers the situation faced by English Society in the 1800s. Langton establishes clear class differentiations through extreme contrasts in costuming, props and elaborate sets. Sharp and direct dialogue coupled with almost awkward camera angles complete the images, which Langton then delivers to viewers- an apparent distinction between the various class groups.
The economic situation faced by the Bennet Family is one of desperation and urgency. While all members of the Bennet family were aware of this, Lizzie was unwilling to compromise her happiness for financial comfort in life- a way of thinking very ahead of her time. She demonstrates this through her actions by standing up for what she believes in. Lizzie’s refusal of two marriage proposals from two fairly distinguished and respectable men who would guarantee her financial...