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Pride and Prejudice Sound Analysis

  • Date Submitted: 01/06/2016 04:32 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 43.6 
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Case Study: Sound Analysis

The use of sound elements within a seven-minute sequence from Joe Wright’s Pride and Prejudice (2005).


This case study will focus on the scenes in which Elizabeth and Colonel Fitzwilliam discuss Darcy in church, and the following scene in which Darcy initially confesses his love for Elizabeth, and is rebuked.

In these scenes, sound is used to transfer information regarding the genre, tone, characters and setting. Pride and Prejudice is a typical “novel of manners”, period and romantic genre, drawing on classical music elements to set the film style. This sequence begins with Elizabeth Bennet speaking in hushed tones to Colonel Fitzwilliam whilst in church, discussing Mr. Darcy’s actions of separating a couple; briefly, Elizabeth’s pitch becomes higher and her voice louder, suggesting she feels strong emotions towards this information, perhaps outrage. That they are speaking in whispers proposes that they do not wish to be overheard, giving the idea that the subject on which they are speaking is something secretive and inappropriate given their current environment. At the discovery of new information regarding Darcy’s split of her sister from his friend, Elizabeth appears overcome with emotion, and gasps audibly when Darcy catches her eye. In these last few moments of the scene, the non-diegetic soundtrack slowly increases in volume, until it is suddenly at the same intensity as that of the diegetic sound within the film.
This increased use of the non-diegetic soundtrack brings us into the next scene, following Elizabeth running through the rain outside; diegetic sound of heavy rain falling against the path, rumbles of thunder in the distance and her hurried footsteps beating on the ground provide the scene with a sense of urgency and high emotion, with the weather drawing in elements of pathetic fallacy, linking to her strong emotions in the previous scene. The soundtrack’s rich score...

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