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

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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
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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

with Darcy. One moment that is key to understanding their interactions takes place in the library

at Netherfield. Elizabeth asks Darcy what his weakness is and he replies, “Yes, vanity is a

weakness indeed. But pride-where there is a real superiority of mind-pride will always be under

good regulation” (Austen 57). Although we do find out later that
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