Pride and Prejudice
After the affair with Mr. Collins, Mrs. Bennet is still stuck with five unmarried daughters. Jane is still getting aquatinted with Mr. Bingley, a rich suitor, Elizabeth still has no prospects, and
two her three younger sisters are still chasing young officers. Suddenly when everything looks its brightest for Jane, Bingley picks up and leaves Netherfield. This event leaves the family in total
despair. Elizabeth decides to go off to live with her aunt in London, Jane goes with another aunt, and Lydia leaves for Brighton with a colonel and his wife. As each goes her own way, they have
time to reflect on their own needs and desires. Elizabeth learns that Wickham was not totally truthful with her about both himself and Darcy. She also learns that Darcy prevented the relationship between Bingley and Jane from developing any further because of Jane's weak social standing. Suddenly, word comes that Lydia has run off with Wickham. Lydia's improper actions will surely ruin any of her sisters chances of becoming decently married. The entire family will be sure to be outcasts. Running off with a man you are not properly married to is not tolerated during an Age of Reason. This is an age of manners, etiquette, rules, and codes. However, the rules that society lives by can be romantic barriers for a magnificent marriage, as we will see later on with Darcy and Elizabeth.
In Lydia's case, she is simply obnoxious and rude. Elizabeth thinks her sister lacks both decency and virtue (230). To this age, she is the symbol of everything a person is not to be. She
is irrational and wavering. Lydia's behavior is more that of a flighty Romantic. She is ever-changing in her moods and behavior and wants no responsibility. Her reckless actions will cause both her family and society to shun her.
The worst aspect of the whole Lydia-Wickham affair is that Lydia does not even think she has done anything wrong. All her relatives know