Elizabeth And Mr. Darcy In Jane Austen's Pride And Prejudice

2096 words - 8 pages

Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice

In the fictional world of Jane Austen, the lives of the characters are based on societal

values and mores that only exist in her novels. The characters and situations that she puts forth

are not concerned with the outside world at all; they are a world in their own. Austen populated

this unique world with morals and characters according to the way of life she knew herself. The

title of the novel is itself a clue to Austen’s view of the life that surrounded her: the prejudice of

one’s social class that determined your destiny in life and the pride of those people which it

concerned. The two main characters of Pride and Prejudice are key examples of Austen’s views

of the conflicts between the classes. Mr. Darcy is the extremely wealthy and high-bred man who

falls in love with the heroine, Elizabeth Bennet, a lower class girl whom he is not supposed to

love because of to whom she was born. The two things that keep the couple apart, almost until

the very end are their prejudices against each other and the pride that results from them. There

are three key stages in Jane Austen’s novel between Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy: the instant dislike

where the two first form their various prejudices; when Darcy falls for Elizabeth and she turns

him down, resulting in turning points for both of their characters; and the final stage when they

abandon their pride and become engaged.

From the very first moment the two interact, Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth do not like each

other. To Elizabeth, Darcy is a pompous man who is not worth her time. To Darcy, Elizabeth is

low born and unattractive. This first meeting sets the stage for the rest of the novel. When

Bingley, Darcy’s closest friend, suggests that Darcy ask Elizabeth to dance at the first ball, he

replies, “She is tolerable but not handsome enough to tempt me” (Austen 13). Elizabeth

overhears this exchange and immediately files Darcy away as not worth her time. This first

encounter is what forms the basis for Elizabeth’s horrible opinion of Darcy. Because of this

comment introduced so early on in the novel, Elizabeth is more likely to believe and think

unfavorable thoughts about him. Not only has she formed an ill opinion of him at this point, but

her pride is also wounded, something that will not be undone until the novel is almost through.

However, Elizabeth misjudges Darcy. Because of his social standing, she assumes his airs are

pompousness and arrogance, when they are in reality the result of shyness and a certain social

ineptness. As a result she misinterprets his reactions from thereon. In reality, he is slowly falling

for her, against his will. When Elizabeth’s sister, Jane, becomes ill and must stay at Netherfield

with the Bingley party, Elizabeth comes to stay and take care of her, leading to more interactions


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