When Is the Rising Action in "Pride & Prejudice"?
"Gustav Freytag's Pyramid" offers a means of breaking a story down into primary plot points. In this pyramid, the inciting incident introduces the primary drama, whereas the rising action includes any events that lead to the climax. In Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice," the inciting incident occurs when Lizzy meets Darcy at a dance, setting the stage for all subsequent rising action.
1 First Impressions
Though Darcy initially dismisses Lizzy as "not handsome enough to tempt" him, he soon enough learns that her charms extend beyond whatever physical shortcomings she possesses. Though Darcy is captivated by her wit, her "fine eyes" and her willingness to sacrifice her vanity to care for her ill sister Jane, Lizzy considers him too arrogant for her tastes. Instead, she bestows her attentions on Wickham, a handsome soldier who claims Darcy robbed him of his rightful inheritance.
2 Prejudice Lost
Darcy departs, taking his friend Bingley, whom Lizzy thought would marry her sister Jane, with him. Lizzy next meets Darcy while visiting her friend Charlotte near Darcy's aunt's estate. Here, Darcy proposes, though Lizzy promptly rejects him on the grounds that he ruined Wickham's inheritance and destroyed Jane's plans of marriage. In response, Darcy hands her a letter explaining that he didn't believe Jane truly loved Bingley and that Wickham had attempted to elope with Darcy's sister. With this new understanding, Lizzy finds herself more amenable to his romantic interest, particularly after meeting him at his estate, Pemberley.