Becoming an immediate success in the contemporary novel public in early nineteenth century, Pride and Prejudice has proved to be the most popular of Jane Austen's novels and remains a classic masterpiece two centuries later. The title itself describes the underlying theme of the book. Pride and prejudice, intimately related in the novel, serve as challenges to the cherished love story of Darcy and Elizabeth. It is interesting to see how these two nice people were blinded before realizing that they are an ideal couple.
Material for situations, characters and themes in Jane Austen?s novels are founded in her own surroundings ? countryside, parishes, neighborhood. Although written in her early twenties, Pride and Prejudice reflects Austen?s thorough understandings of her society on the matters of money, marriage, behaviors and love. Let us look at the general ideas of what pride is and what prejudice is. Pride is a strong sense of self-respect, rather is to think of oneself higher than anyone and everyone else and prejudice is a partiality that prevents objective consideration of an issue or situation.
The novel was originally entitled First Impressions, which significantly contributes to the love story of Darcy and Elizabeth the way it goes. Pride and prejudice in the novel are all based upon the first impressions the two characters got from each other. Darcy, a quiet and rather cold noble man with large estates, is too proud of his position to pay attention to Elizabeth who is of poor social status while Elizabeth, a lively, pretty and clever girl, has prejudice against Darcy?s proud behaviors. It is in their first meeting pride and prejudice have shaped their relationship as it goes on later. Contrary to his wish, Darcy falls for Elizabeth, and as his love for Elizabeth grows so strong, he decides to propose to her regardless of how improper their marriage would be. Surprised as she is, Elizabeth refuses him and comments on his disagreeable vanity, ?had you behaved in a more gentleman-like manner? (ch.34), which has a profound effect on him. On the many following events, her opinions about Darcy are gradually changed. Darcy proves to be a really generous man of noble characters and Elizabeth realizes the error of her initial prejudice against him. As in any good love story, they finally overcome the obstacles and become an ideal match.
Darcy?s pride of his snobbery has separated himself from Elizabeth from the first meeting. Actually, his arrogance is founded on social prejudice, and on his upbringing he was taught to look down on anyone outside his own social circle. When Darcy first meets Elizabeth at the ball, he sees all the local women, including her, as insufficiently attractive. ?She is tolerable, I suppose, but not handsome enough to tempt me, I am in no humour at present to give consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other men.? (chapter 3), he says to Bingley about Elizabeth. He even refuses to consider her as a...