At the end of the novel, Elizabeth and Darcy get married and go to live at Pemberley, while Jane and Bingley move to an estate nearby. The other assorted family members gradually reconcile themselves to the relationship and in most cases, end up on friendly terms. The ending reflects the culmination of Elizabeth and Darcy’s relationship, since they finally understand and respect each other enough to live together happily. Significantly, the focus of the ending is less on the couple’s personal emotions about their marriage than about its impact on the network of people they are connected to. Austen specifies how the marriage impacts Kitty and Georgiana by giving them positive role models, and how Miss Bingley and Lady de Bourgh gradually come to accept the marriage they were opposed to. Focusing on the marriage’s social impact affirms a key theme: marriages affect not just the individual partners, but the wider community. A good marriage, where both partners love and respect each other, can have positive ripple effects on many people around them.

Read more about the social impact of marriage in Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House.