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Analysis of Pride and Prejudice Essay


The title suggests Jane Austens Pride and Prejudice is about the pride of those considered to be at the top of the current hierarchy, the prejudices they carry, and how quickly those feelings can change. The novel follows mainly two relationships, that of Elizabeth and Darcy as well as the off and on relationship between Bingley and Jane. Social class and opinion play a huge roll in both of these relationships. It shows that no matter how strong someones feelings are, in a society such as theirs, there are still obstacles that couples must overcome to be able to live in harmony, or in some cases to even be able to achieve unity at all. Though as the case of Elizabeth and Darcy are learned, it is not always someone else trying to keep two people apart, but sometimes the values that have been installed in one of the conjoining parties that make it difficult to succumb to their true feelings.

In the case of Jane and Bingley it was the outside influence of Darcy coupled with the always present influence of Lady Catherine that caused him to be led away from Jane. The coming together of two such different social classes in the first place was something greatly unique during this time. During the late 18th century most classes married into their same divisions. Although, it becomes apparent at the beginning of the novel the Bennets five girls are not ordinary lower class citizens. Mr. Bennet owns a substantial piece of property which was not characteristic of a simple commoner at the time. Also, when word comes that Mr. Bingley is coming to Netherfield in the first place Mrs. Bennet is overjoyed. This simple fact would leave one to think that her girls are creatures of great beauty and most likely carry themselves with a favorable ambiance.

When observing the relationship between Darcy and Elizabeth it becomes apparent that while there is some outside influence on Darcy not to pursue a relationship with Elizabeth, namely Lady Catherine, it is for the most part his feelings towards people who are less than him that put such a strain on them coming together. It is obvious that Darcy was raised in a family of great importance and the effect that this has on his ego and his views of the world causes him to think that everyone is less than him, that nobody is good enough. This first comes out at the Netherfield Ball in the first chapters of the novel, while he acknowledges Janes beauty he says that he would never give any of the girls at the ball a second glance; even as Bingley, his closest friend, tries to persuade him to dance with Elizabeth.

As time passes and Darcys infatuation with Elizabeth begins to manifest itself he is already beginning to change. He is first drawn towards her because she is different than the other girls in the novel that Darcy encounters, she does not spend every waking moment pining over him. In fact, after his actions at the Netherfield Ball, she is quite turned off by him altogether. As his feelings progress he grows more and more fond of her, eventually making his proposal of marriage. Her refusal only makes her more unique and more of a sort of unreachable target for Darcy, this is what he wants because it is so out of the ordinary. Though, even towards the end of the novel Darcys old ways are still there, after the proposal he says that he had not been so kind to himself as he was to Bingley for steering him away from Jane. By saying this he is proposing that he was not able to abate his feelings for Elizabeth, as he had instructed Bingley to do. That is the final time that Darcy says anything to the effect of his superiority to the Bennet family, by the end of the novel Darcy has made what could be considered a complete transformation.

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