Monday, January 28, 2013

Elements of Pride and Prejudice in Pride and Prejudice

200 Years of Pride and Prejudice at Elegance of Fashion

And, in honor of the 200th anniversary of Pride and Prejudice, I have prepared a small article analyzing pride and prejudice in Pride and Prejudice.

Us fans of Pride and Prejudice may often encounter this question: who has pride and who has prejudice in Pride and Prejudice? Surely, one character has pride and the other has prejudice, right? In fact, there are even a couple of versions of Pride and Prejudice out there that simplify it that much: Mr. Darcy was proud and Elizabeth was prejudiced. But my opinion, however, is that it's a little more complicated than that.

Mr. Darcy acting proud at Lucas Lodge
Since my first becoming a fan of Pride and Prejudice, I've come to the conclusion that both Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy have elements of both pride and prejudice in their character. Sure, one may have more than the other, but they each have significant amounts of pride and prejudice in their characters.

Mr. Darcy is the one that is most associated with pride, since he takes pride in his position in society and is often said to be very proud when he does not socialize with the people of Meryton. And while certainly pride is a big part of his character, he also has some aspects of prejudice too:

Mr. Darcy and Wickham are both
prejudiced against each other
  • Because of his pride in his position, Mr. Darcy becomes prejudiced against the people of Meryton because they are of a lower class than he is.
  • Mr. Darcy is prejudiced against Wickham (but rightfully so) because of Wickham's behavior towards Georgiana and because of what Wickham has become.
  • He is also prejudiced against the Bennets (with the exception of Elizabeth) because of their overall behavior
    • Mrs. Bennet is, for the most part, a social climber who wants her daughter, Jane, to marry Mr. Bingley because he has 5000 a year.
    • Kitty and Lydia constantly embarrass the family with their flirtations.
Elizabeth's pride was wounded before, so she didn't wish to
dance with Mr. Darcy

Elizabeth is often associated with prejudice: due to Mr. Darcy's behavior towards her, she became prejudiced against him, and this prejudice is furthered by Mr. Wickham's account of Mr. Darcy. But even though Mr. Darcy is associated with the pride in Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth also has a fair amount of pride in her character:

  • Mr. Darcy wounded her pride when he refused to dance with her (which ultimately lead to her being prejudiced against him).
  • She takes pride in her sister, Jane, and defends her. In fact, this pride is one of the reasons why she could never accept Mr. Darcy's first proposal.
  • Her pride is evidenced when she is also not overcome by Lady Catherine de Bourgh's position and is not humbled by her.
Both Miss Bingley and Mrs. Hurst have pride and prejudice
Even outside of Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, other characters show signs of pride and prejudice (and I will make a small note about this part that I was first introduced to this idea when I read it in Jane Austen for Dummies).
  • Mrs. Bennet takes pride in her daughters Lydia (her favorite) and Jane (because she is so beautiful). But she is also prejudiced against Elizabeth since she is her least favorite daughter.
  • Mr. Bennet, on the other hand, is proud of Elizabeth and Jane because they are sensible. He is prejudiced against his other three daughters, Mary, Kitty, and Lydia, because they act silly.
  • Mr. Collins takes pride in having the patronage of Lady Catherine de Bourgh.
  • Lady Catherine is prejudice against the Bennets (namely Elizabeth because she suspects that Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth are engaged) because of Lydia's scandal and, probably, their lower stance in society.
  • Caroline Bingley and Mrs. Hurst take pride in their positions and are prejudiced against the people of Meryton because they are in trade (though, ironically  the source of their pride, their father's fortune, was made in trade).
  • Wickham tries to create prejudice towards Mr. Darcy in other people so everyone will like him (adding to his pride).
So, as you can see, the elements of pride and prejudice in Pride and Prejudice are a little more complicated than the often thought of association of it. 

What do you think? What other elements of pride and prejudice can you find in Pride and Prejudice?

 God Bless,
God Bless, Miss Elizabeth Bennet

1 comment:

  1. *thunderous applause* I, too, have come to feel both of them embody pride and prejudice. So few people seem to think that way, though! It's surprising.


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