The Role of First Impressions in Pride and Prejudice
First impressions play a very important role in Pride and Prejudice.
The narrative describes how the prejudices and first impressions
(especially those dealing with pride) of the main characters change
throughout the novel. From the beginning of the book in chapter 1, we
see that Mrs. Bennet lives in a mercenary society where her whole life
revolves around money. This shows in her eagerness to meet Bingley.
She is obsessed with her daughters getting married – she does not care
for their happiness.
Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley are both introduced in chapter 3 at the
ball. Everyone gossips about them and their wealth. Mr. Bingley is
friendly and easy going whereas Mr. Darcy contradicts this.
Elizabeth’s first impressions of Darcy are that he is incredibly rude
and arrogant. Her opinion of Darcy changes as the book progresses
although her first impressions of him prejudice Elizabeth.
Elizabeth's judgments about other characters' dispositions are
accurate about half of the time. While she is correct about Mr.
Collins and how absurdly self-serving he is and about Lady Catherine
and how proud and snobbish she is, her first impressions of Wickham
and Darcy steer her incorrectly. Wickham is first thought to be a
gentleman by all. His good looks and his easy manner fool almost
everyone, and Elizabeth believes without question all that he tells
her of Darcy. Elizabeth's first impressions of him are contradicted
when she realizes that he has lied about Darcy.
Elizabeth and many of the other characters see Darcy as proud.
"The gentlemen pronounced him to be a fine figure of a man, the ladies
declared he was much handsomer than Mr. Bingley, and he was looked at
with great admiration for about half the evening, till his manners
gave a disgust which turned the tide of his popularity; for he was
discovered to be...