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What Role Do Card Games Play in Pride and Prejudice?

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The card games are generally the nobility’s pastime in Pride and Prejudice. They include loo, vingt-un, whist, and commerce. Most of them are round games. They represent the divide between the upper class and the gentry, to which the main character belongs.

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The novel is set in the Regency era when gambling was commonplace. It was alluring to the nobility due to its high stakes. Thus, it is mostly wealthy characters, such as Mr. Bingley and Mr. Collins, who play cards in the novel. On the other hand, the less endowed Elizabeth is indifferent to the games. She refuses to play loo, although Jane, her sister of the same status, seemingly joins it. Her willingness could reflect the desire to become a part of the noble class. Meanwhile, Mr. Darcy, who is of an aristocratic origin, is not willing to play.

The card games in Pride and Prejudice belong to two classes. Those are round games, which accept any number of participants, and games with a restricted number of players. Loo and vingt-un are round games, which have high stakes due to a larger number of gamblers. Such games are also luck-based and do not require much thought. There is also whist, which has a specific number of players and no stakes. The novel highlights the game of quadrille as one to be played by Lady Catherine. It implies that there are prestigious levels of gambling games.

Although card games highlight the class differences, they also serve as a pretext to bridge people. Here is why: Elizabeth does play cards at some point. It allows her to get involved with the upper society circle. On the other hand, Jane and Mr. Darcy demonstrate uncharacteristic for their respective class qualities through their gambling attitudes. Simply put, card games are simultaneously a symbol of differences and a thread that can unite society.

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IvyPanda. "What Role Do Card Games Play in Pride and Prejudice?" December 2, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/q/what-role-do-card-games-play-in-pride-and-prejudice/.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "What Role Do Card Games Play in Pride and Prejudice?" December 2, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/q/what-role-do-card-games-play-in-pride-and-prejudice/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'What Role Do Card Games Play in Pride and Prejudice'. 2 December.

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