The Pursuit of Virtue in Pride and Prejudice Essay

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"Virtue" is truly a complex word - an element of the essence of man - that Jane Austen portrays in her novel “Pride and Prejudice”. Through a profound scrutiny of the character of the protagonists, and through her interpretation of how vanity, pride, and self - knowledge intervenes in the development of the virtue of the characters,
Austen intends to show how human happiness is found by living in accordance with human dignity, which is a life in accordance with virtue.
Austen creates a scenario where she allows the reader to identify a variety of persons, each of them with a certain and peculiar character. With this diversity, we are able to highlight in each person of the novel, different traits that can lead us to talk about …show more content…

Here, vanity relates to what we would like others to think of us, but is not merely a concern with what others think. Having this definition in mind, then, we can say that Elizabeth Bennet can be accused of vanity, because she is excessively concerned with what one person – Mr. Darcy- thinks of her. Undoubtedly, this comparison shows us that one of the characters, Miss Bingley, lacks completely of virtue. The Aristotelian definition of virtue says it is a point between a deficiency and an excess of trait, and the point of greatest virtue is the exact middle, the golden mean. The real virtue is confidence, it is between self- deprecation and vanity, and undoubtedly Miss Bingley is completely in the worst extreme.
Instead, remaining with Austen definition of vanity, Elizabeth is not at the greatest point of virtue, but is actually near to it.
It is really important to keep in mind, that if we want to move away from the extremes and achieve the maximum point of virtue, self – knowledge has a central role, as it is a prerequisite for moral improvement that will conduce us to the foundation of good principles. In the novel,
Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet are only free of their pride and prejudice, which was an impediment to their love, when their dealings with one another help them see their faults and encourage them to improve. So by leaving behind those traits, both were closer to

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