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Shakespeare, Jane Austen, parallel narratives


Much Ado About Nothing and Pride and Prejudice are telling a similar story which centers on Beatrice and Benedick in the first case and Darcy and Elizabeth in the second. The article also argues that Jane Austen had Much Ado in mind while writing Pride and Prejudice, but this second proposition is not readily provable (as such borrowings often are) by direct quotation and comparison. Jane Austen’s familiarity with Shakespeare and the similarity of her plot suggest the truth of this second proposition, but more important for this paper are the comparisons between the narratives themselves since they tell important things about the nature of both stories.