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Society’s Influence On Human Nature In Pride And Prejudice

1103 words - 4 pages

In Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen shows through the interactions of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy that they had been influenced by societal values, customs and norms, which refer to manners, behaviors, and etiquette, that were deemed necessary in society and were oftentimes determined by social classes; the influence of which caused them to develop a sense of pride and prejudice. Through the external influence of the society and environment they grew up in, Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth came to value different aspects of their lives which led to the ensuing conflict that arose between them. The scene when Mr. Darcy proposes to Elizabeth shows that while Mr. Darcy does indeed love Elizabeth, he takes pride in the social connections that he holds, while Elizabeth is shown to value her family, friends, and her own ability to judge a person’s character.
When Darcy proposes to Elizabeth he expresses his true feelings, but is hindered by his pride that stems from his wealth, social position, and connections, as well as his prejudice towards families that are not as well off as his own. The dialogue that is used by Mr. Darcy when he proposes to Elizabeth is direct and unrestrained, which a stark contrast with his initial pattern of speech which was reserved and indirect because as Elizabeth says when speaking of herself and Mr. Darcy, “We are each of unsocial, taciturn disposition, unwilling to speak, unless we expect to say something that will amaze the whole room…” (63), showing that Mr. Darcy rarely if ever speaks of what is on his mind. After a while, Darcy says, “In vain I 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” (128-129); Darcy’s use of the word “repressed” shows that he had been holding back on his true feelings. Darcy, however, allows his pride to get the better of him when he expresses the troublesome nature of her inferior position when compared to his own: “His sense of her inferiority-of its being a degradation-of the family obstacles which judgment had always opposed to inclination, were dwelt upon with a warmth which seemed due to the consequence he was wounding…” (129 ) The word “warmth” is used to juxtapose with the actual content of his words because for Elizabeth the words following his confession are cold and devoid of feeling or thought for her as they are an indirect insult towards her family. The dashes that are used separate Darcy’s actual words from what Elizabeth understands while she is listening to him speak, which show that while Darcy believes he is being reasonable, he is actually offending Elizabeth.
Towards the end of his speech Darcy regresses to his initial speech patterns, because instead of focusing on his honest feelings of love, he instead chooses to deny it by dwelling on superficial reasons fueled by his pride. Unlike when Darcy professes his love for Elizabeth, the author chooses to relay his objections of her family through...

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