All the plot lines of this novel Jane Austen converge to two main characters – Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy. At first, one can get the impression that each of them embodies one of two traits: Mr. Darcy – pride, Elizabeth – prejudice against this rich and arrogant man. In fact, each of them is equally inherent in pride and long-term prejudice against each other. However, the central theme of the novel is the theme of getting rid of erroneous judgments, prompted by the first impressions, correcting them through new impressions and vigorous mental work.In her novel, Jane Austen wanted, first of all, to show a reader the relationship between people and to analyze the individual aspects of human psychology.
This explains the absence of the verbal portrait of Elizabeth Bennet: the author only mentions that the girl is pretty and charming, but not so beautiful as her older sister. It is much more important for Jane Austen to tell us about her thoughts, feelings, and actions. Elizabeth does not have exceptional musical abilities, poorly understands painting, and constantly demonstrates energy and liveliness of mind instead of sad languor. Discretion and common sense determine her behavior. Lizzie is not capable of love at first sight: the real feeling is born in her heart not as a result of first impressions, but after a long time, as a result of the process of recognition and experience, supported by deep reflections. That is why she is confident in herself and her feelings. Elizabeth strictly adheres to her own views on what are happiness and marriage, considering the guarantee of family happiness not as class and material criteria, but the sincerity of the feelings of future spouses. Pride, or more precisely good self-esteem and her fearlessness, is present in every action and every replica of Elizabeth.Mr. Darcy has his own pride.
As soon as he appears on the pages of the novel all the characters become aware of the amount of his income 10 000 pounds a year, the enormous amount for that time. Mr. Darcy’s appearance was not ignored by the author and he is described as a good-looking aristocratic man. Nevertheless, his beauty and charm are admired, while people know about his wealth when he demonstrates pride and arrogance his appearance starts to produce an unpleasant impression. Although he, trying to explain his behavior, speaks of his inability to easily meet people that does not convince Elizabeth. Moreover, almost simultaneously with him, the author presents Wickham, who acts as the antipode of the main character. Hardly having met Elizabeth, he tells her the story of his life, in which Mr. Darcy played the most indecent, in his words, role. Thus, all the circumstances are not in Mr. Darcy’s favor, and further development of the plot seems unpredictable. The rebuke, which Elizabeth gives Darcy, should, as if, signify the completion of their acquaintance.
However, Elizabeth’s refusal only gives impetus to a new development of their relations. The refusal received by Darcy was not an easy test for his pride. A man of aristocratic upbringing, he did not show his raging feelings. With his restraint, the most natural way of expressing emotions was not direct dialogue but correspondence with his chosen one.The most important elements of the formation of Darcy’s image are the judgments made about him by other characters. And if at the beginning of the novel these judgments form a negative image of the character, later, from the moment of Elizabeth’s visit to Pemberley, the opinions of other people about Mr. Darcy help her to get rid of the formed stereotype. She admires the perfect taste of the owner, who managed not to disturb the natural beauty of the landscape. The interior of the house also gives her pleasure – not a tasteless luxury, but genuine elegance. The enthusiastic response about Mr. Darcy from his housekeeper becomes another revelation for Elizabeth.
All these external impressions gradually transform the initially hostile attitude of Elizabeth into completely different feelings.As for Mr. Darcy, when Elizabeth appears in his life, a fierce struggle unfolds in his soul. He struggles against his feelings for Elizabeth, realizing that the girl’s social position does not match his rank. Although, from their conversations, it is clear that the young man has nothing against her, and even at the most provocative Lizzie’s replicas he responds with polite kindness. In fact, some of Darcy’s phrases show his feelings.
For example, during Elizabeth’s visit to tte Collins, he reproaches her for being overly attached to her home, and his words reveal a secret desire to take Lizzy out of Longbourn. The proposal he made to Elizabeth shortly after this conversation is the result of a significant concession of his beliefs in favor of the voice of the heart. It is not easy for Mr. Darcy to admit his love, but he is still a proud person, not doubting that any girl will feel happy with his condescension. Love and pride still have equal power over him, and Elizabeth’s accusation that he did not explain himself in the way that a noble man should wound him no less than the girl’s refusal. Indeed, Mr. Darcy considered himself a true aristocrat, and it was the class prejudices that prevented him from giving vent to his feelings. From this moment, the better me of Mr. Darcy begins to struggle with his pride. By doing good things, he makes Elizabeth to change her opinion about him and decides to talk to her again about his feelings.
During this explanation, both characters admit their mistakes.Throughout the novel, the development of Elizabeth’s feelings for Mr. Darcy is shown in all complexity and contradiction: from dislike to doubts, then, to regret about her judgments about him, and finally, to admiration. By the end of the book Elizabeth becomes not only happy but also wise: now she is more circumspect and understands that one cannot rely either on first impressions or on public opinion because everyone looks at things differently. The path of Mr. Darcy towards Elizabeth is the path of getting rid of prejudices and arrogance, the path from vanity and pride to a self-critical reassessment of one’s character. Thus, from a lot of observations and meetings, a new image of each other is gradually emerging in the souls of Elizabeth and Darcy. Finally, love replaced pride and prejudice.
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