Becoming an immediate success in the contemporary novel public in early nineteenth century, Pride and Prejudice has proved to be the most popular of Jane Austen’s novels and remains a classic master piece two centuries later. The title itself describes the underlying theme of the book. Pride and prejudice, intimately related in the novel, serve as challenges to the cherished love story of Darcy and Elizabeth. It is interesting to see how these two nice people were blinded before realising that they are an ideal couple.
Material for situations, characters and themes in Jane Austen’s novels are founded in her own surroundings – countryside, parishes, neighbourhood. Although written in her early twenties, Pride and Prejudice reflects Austen’s thorough understandings of her society on the matters of money, marriage, behaviours and love. Let us look at the general ideas of what pride is and what prejudice is. Pride is a strong sense of self-respect, rather is to think of oneself higher than anyone and everyone else and prejudice is a partiality that prevents objective consideration of an issue or situation.
The novel was originally entitled First Impressions, which significantly contributes to the love story of Darcy and Elizabeth the way it goes. Pride and prejudice in the novel are all based upon the first impressions the two characters got from each other. Darcy, a quiet and rather cold noble man with large estates, is too proud of his position to pay attention to Elizabeth who is of poor social status while Elizabeth, a lively, pretty and clever girl, has prejudice against Darcy’s proud behaviours. It is in their first meeting pride and prejudice have shaped their relationship as it goes on later. Contrary to his wish, Darcy falls for Elizabeth; and as his love for Elizabeth grows so strong, he decides to propose to her regardless of how improper their marriage would be. Surprised as she is, Elizabeth refuses him and comments on his disagreeable vanity, “had you behaved in a more gentleman-like manner” (ch.34), which has a profound effect on him. On the many following events, her opinions about Darcy are gradually changed. Darcy proves to be a really generous man of noble characters and Elizabeth realises the error of her initial prejudice against him. As in any good love story, they finally overcome the obstacles and become an ideal match.
... CHARACTERS: Pride and Prejudice is an appropriate name for the book. These notions permeate the novel thoroughly, especially in the views of Elizabeth and Darcy. ... by a comment that Elizabeth makes. She tells her sister, she fell in love with Darcy after seeing his estate ... she married. Fortunately some marriages were based on love. Jane and Elizabeth found the perfect matches. Their beaus were good, ...
Darcy’s pride of his snobbery has separated himself from Elizabeth from the first meeting. Actually, his arrogance is founded on social prejudice, and on his upbringing he was taught to look down on anyone outside his own social circle. When Darcy first meets Elizabeth at the ball, he sees all the local women, including her, as insufficiently attractive. “She is tolerable, I suppose, but not handsome enough to tempt me; I am in no humour at present to give consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other men.” (chapter 3), he says to Bingley about Elizabeth. He even refuses to consider her as a dancing partner. All the time, he just talks and dances with friends who are at his rank and stays distant and cold with the others. Indeed, he is a handsome nobleman “in possession of a good fortune” and of course is desirable to many young women; yet his arrogance leaves a bad impression in Elizabeth, who later turns out to be his ideal woman. And in the second dance , “Mr. Darcy had at first scarcely allowed her to be pretty; he had looked at her without admiration at the ball; and when they next met, he looked at her only to criticise. But no sooner had he made it clear to himself and his friends that she hardly had a good feature in her face, than he began to find it was rendered uncommonly intelligent by the beautiful expression of her dark eyes” (ch.6).
Individuality refers to the character or qualities which distinguish one person from another. Ones uniqueness constitutes a strong distinctiveness in his/her character. Thus, when this sense of character is juxtaposed against the concept of individuality, the mutual association results in the inherent emergence of a persons true identity. Although the distinguishing of separate individuals ...
Darcy’s consciousness of his social status, his superior position, restrains himself from paying too much attention to Elizabeth, he is afraid that he would fall in love with her because in early nineteenth century, people, especially aristocrats, generally did not marry below them. On his proposal of marriage to Elizabeth, he dwells more on how unsuitable a wife she would be than on her good characters. He is torn between the desire to speak out his deep love and the wish to avoid an intimate relationship with Elizabeth. However, he has done it and once again his great pride of wealth and high position allows him to believe that she will accept his proposal in spite of the fact that she has shown no care nor affection towards him. Moreover, he rudely speaks about the inferiority of her connections and his reservation about proposing to her because of them. “His sense of her inferiority— of its being a degradation— of the family obstacles which judgment had always opposed to inclination, were dwelt on with a warmth which seemed due to the consequence he was wounding, but was very unlikely to recommend his suit.” (ch.34), “Could you expect me to rejoice in the inferiority of your connections?— to congratulate myself on the hope of relations, whose condition in life is so decidedly beneath my own?” (ch.34).
Darcy’s fierce pride is such a barrier to his own passionate love for Elizabeth.
Elizabeth also misjudges Darcy on a poor first impression. As one of the most favourable heroines in English literature, Elizabeth is lovely, energetic and intelligent and she is proud of her ability of judging people. Nevertheless, her quick perceptions of Darcy have led her astray and prevented her from seeing his good sides. “From the very beginning – from the first moment, I may almost say – of my acquaintance with you, your manners, impressing me with the fullest belief of your arrogance, your conceit, and your selfish disdain of the feelings of others, were such as to form the groundwork of disapprobation on which succeeding events have built so immovable a dislike; and I had not known you a month before I felt that you were the last man in the world whom I could ever be prevailed on to marry.” (ch.34), she admits to Darcy later. So strong was her first impression and so harshly long does it last. She easily believes in what people, especially Wickham, talk bad about him. “I have every reason in the world to think ill of you. No motive can excuse the unjust and ungenerous part you acted there.” (ch.34).
Throughout Jane Austen's novels she suggests marriages that are for wealth are more common as those for love. This idea is revealed in the course of her novels by the examples of marriages she provides. One example is Willoughby and Miss Sophia Grey in Sense and Sensibility, married not because of love, but because it was the choice that promised financial security. Edward's sister, Fanny ...
She has no doubt that Darcy has broken up his father’s promise to provide a sufficient living for Wickham. Although Mr. Bingley and Miss Bingley both assure her that Darcy is a good friend, Elizabeth refuses to reconsider her opinion. It is ironic for her to say to Darcy: “It is particularly incumbent on those who never change their opinion, to be secure of judging properly at first.” (Ch. 18).
The prejudice also dulls her sensibility that she did not realise Darcy’s obvious regard for her until his proposal and even is astonished by it. Elizabeth reads the letter from Darcy “with a strong prejudice about what he might say” (ch.36).
She reads the letter many times and examines every details and then accepts that her initial perceptions of Darcy were shamefully inaccurate. At this point, Elizabeth’s prejudice has been slowly removed.
The main challenges to the relationship of Darcy and Elizabeth are not easy to get over, for they are the internal obstacles of pride and prejudice. They prevent the characters from seeing true values of the other, which are all respectable and admirable qualities . Yet, when Darcy puts aside his vanity to pursue his treasured love and Elizabeth is no longer too prejudiced to understand his feelings and behaviours, they are perfectly matched. I believe that they would share a happy life together, because their love comes from the appreciation of dignity, not money nor social position nor anything else of material values.
Darcy and Elizabeth’s love seems to imply that Jane Austen views love as something independent from social conventions. There are nothing so powerful difficulties to their relationship as their own pride and prejudice. Once these internal obstacles fade away, they obviously become an ideal couple. They are equal in intellect, have attraction and tender love for each other, empathy and romance. With the central characters’ beautiful love, Jane Austen suggests that you should only marry someone who is your soulmate.
Pride and Perception Jane Austen's society values impressions, and considers them an important aspect of their culture. A first impression determines the entire perception of that person. In Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth Bennet learns a hard lesson by basing her perception of other characters completely on their first impressions. "The comedy is concerned with a heroine who must be educated out ...