Analytical Essay: Pride & Prejudice The progress between Elizabeth’s and Darcy’s relationship, in Jane Austen’s novel Pride and Prejudice (1813) illustrates and explores several the key themes in the novel. Their relationship highlights class expectations, pride and prejudice, and marriage, and how they play a major role in determining the course of their association.
These are outlined through their first prejudiced dislike of each other when they first meet, the stronger feelings for Elizabeth that develop on Darcy’s side, her rejection in Darcy’s first proposal, then her change of opinion and lastly the mutual love they form for one another. Pride and Prejudice is set up as a satire, commenting on human idiocy, and Jane Austen uses an omniscient third person point of view to convey what is happening during the novel, through indirect and direct reporting of the awareness of the characters, authorial intrusion and comment, dialogue and letters.
In their initial encounters, Elizabeth and Darcy both display substantial levels of pride and prejudice that prevents them from forming a lasting relationship. When they meet each other at the first ball, Darcy says “She [Elizabeth] 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.
You [Bingley] had better return to your partner and enjoy her smiles, for you are wasting your time with me”, which demonstrates that Darcy has already made a judgement about her, and that his pride in his position leads him to disdain from anyone outside his ‘social circle’, suggesting a strong view on class expectation, pride and prejudice. Elizabeth overhears this and later says to Miss Lucas, “I could easily forgive his pride, if he had not mortified mine. ” Elizabeth also forms a prejudice against Darcy in pride of her hasty perceptions of him, and how presents himself very highly.
This informs us of very strong opinions on both Elizabeth and Darcy, and how at the time it might seem true in the way that Austen portrays it. When Jane falls ill, Elizabeth goes to visit her at Netherfield and Darcy’s initial prejudices towards her are changing, and “…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. To this discovery succeeded some others equally mortifying.
Though he had detected with a critical eye more than one failure of perfect symmetry in her form, he was forced to acknowledge her figure to be light and pleasing; and in spite of his asserting that her manners were not those of the fashionable world, he was caught by their easy playfulness. Of this she was perfectly unaware; to her he was only the man who made himself agreeable nowhere, and who had not thought her handsome enough to dance with. ” This introduces his growing affections for Elizabeth, with stronger feelings developing on his side.
His prejudice and some of the class expectation have disappeared. Darcy wants to know more about Elizabeth, to be able to converse with her, by listening to her discussion with others. Much later his feelings for her have grown very strong and he builds up the courage to tell her. Darcy says “In vain I have struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you. ” He then proceeds to propose to her, but Elizabeth rejects him, and he angrily says “And this is all the reply which I am to have the honour of expecting! Elizabeth’s prejudice towards him and her pride have changed very little, and Darcy has gone against class expectation, and is signifying the importance of marriage. It is also ironic for him to place Elizabeth higher than him, showing the importance of dialogue. She is also angry at him as he insults her family and her inferiority, he wasn’t behaving gentlemanly to her and he prevented Bingley and Jane from eloping, also showing prejudice from Darcy to Jane. After the proposal, Darcy writes her a letter explaining his actions. He couldn’t see the love in Jane, displaying his prejudice, and told her the truth about Wickham.
The letter reveals the reasons for the way he behaves and consequently provides a turning point in the conquering of his pride. Elizabeth reads it, and her prejudice has also been overcome. She states “How despicably have I acted! ‘ she cried. – ‘I, who have prided myself on my discernment! – I, who have valued myself on my abilities! ” Elizabeth “grew absolutely ashamed of herself…feeling that she had been blind, partial, absurd. ” Elizabeth’s prejudice has now disappeared, and has a new outlook on Darcy, and sees him truly as she is. She develops a mutual respect for him, and her love for him grows through the events that take place.
He is no longer concerned with class expectations, and his pride and prejudice have been overcome with their marriage. This enhances the importance of letters in the novel. In conclusion, the development of Elizabeth’s and Darcy’s relationship, through its progression, has illustrated major themes of class expectations, pride and prejudice and marriage. Throughout their association and the events that take place, they go through dislike of one another, stronger feelings on Darcy’s side, Elizabeth’s rejection in his first proposal, change of opinion and lastly the love they develop for each other. ——————————————- [ 1 ]. Austen, J. Pride and Prejudice, Chap. 3, pg. 13-14 [ 2 ]. Austen, J. Pride and Prejudice, Chap. 5, pg. 21 [ 3 ]. Austen, J. Pride and Prejudice, Chap. 6, pg. 24 [ 4 ]. Austen, J. Pride and Prejudice, Chap. 34, pg. 185 [ 5 ]. Austen, J. Pride and Prejudice, Chap. 34, pg. 186 [ 6 ]. Austen, J. Pride and Prejudice, Chap. 36, pg. 201-202 [ 7 ]. Austen, J. Pride and Prejudice, Chap. 36, pg. 201