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Book Review: Pride and Prejudice

Updated on July 10, 2015

“Pride and Prejudice” is one of the popular English novels authored by Austen (1775–1817). The narrative is not entertaining, but transforms rural romance into a shrewdly and witty satire of typical life in a Western country which is considered as one of the most significant treasures of an English language. In one of the most remote villages in Hertfordshire, the village’s King identified as Bennet is required to marry off five of his daughters. The center of this consuming enterprise focuses on Elizabeth Bennet, the King’s second daughter and her suitor Fitzwilliam Darcy. The two lovers are considered to be too proud and that this pride has to be humbled and existing prejudices dissolved before the marriage takes off. This paper focuses on the characterization of the novel’s key characters, Elizabeth and Darcy and how their development presents key themes by the author.

Elizabeth Bennet

Elizabeth is the second daughter in the family of Bennet. She is depicted as quick witted and intelligent in her actions. She is also praised as being clever, lovely and with brilliant communication skills. Her virtues, honesty and lively wit make her rise above individuals of her caliber in a society that is spiteful and with many people of bad character. In my perspective, I think the author is trying to explain that although the society may be “rotten”, it is possible to still find people of good morals. In other words, in as a much as there could be many bad people in a society, there are also those who would try to uphold good virtues. However, as the story progresses, Elizabeth comes to develop a sharp tongue and a tendency of making hasty judgment which often leads her astray. Again, the author is portraying here that no one may be perfect, despite how good he or she may be. Every good person has also his side of the negatives which should also not be overlooked. Austen concludes the novel by explaining how Elizabeth and her lover (Darcy) overcome their weaknesses and personal failings in finding true romantic happiness. Elizabeth is made to cope with various challenges including an absentee father, hopeless mother, two younger siblings of bad morals and antagonizing peers. In addition, Elizabeth has to overcome a wrong impression of Darcy, which initially made her to reject her hand in marriage. Despite her initial rejection, social and familial problems, Darcy is still attracted to Elizabeth because of her charms. However, Elizabeth finally comes to identify the nobility of Darcy’s character, thus realizing how she had made an error in her initial prejudice against him.

This again shows that one may leverage his or her weaknesses and failings to achieve a specific goal in life. Stated differently, for one to succeed in achieving a specific goal, excuses must be avoided as much as possible and cultivate the virtue of determination, commitment and dedication.

Darcy Fitzwilliam

Darcy is the son of a wealthy and well to do family who is also the master of the state of Pemberley. He is the male counterpart to Elizabeth. In this novel, Elizabeth’s point of view of events is regularly related comparing with those of Darcy or any other character. This has worked in making Elizabeth appear as a sympathetic figure. As the story develops, the reader is able to realize that Darcy makes a perfect match for Elizabeth. Initially, the author portrays him as a man of forthright and intelligent. However, similar to Elizabeth, Darcy has also the tendency of judging harshly and hastily and that because of his wealthy; he is excessively proud and conscious of his social status. In essence, this proudness makes him to initially spoil courtship. For example, when he proposes to her, he figures out on her unsuitability to him regardless of her beauty, charms and other complimentary elements. It is her initial rejection of his advances which creates humility in him. Darcy demonstrates a consistent devotion to Elizabeth, despite his understanding on her low social- economic background. He goes on to rescue Elizabeth’s family from disgrace and devise the wishes of his family in pursuing Elizabeth. Through these endeavors, Darcy proves that he is worth of Elizabeth and that they can make a good match. Consequently, Elizabeth opts to repent of her earlier, excessively harsh judgment of him. This means that the two lovers had a false perception of each other.

Conclusion

What Austen tries to relay in this narrative and character development of Elizabeth and Darcy is that, perceptions may create a wrong impression. It is through having a personal experience that one could be able to determine a true perspective of an individual. This is also a lesson for individual to always keep an open mind and to allow others to express their point of view. Another equally important lesson we learn from the character development of Elizabeth and Darcy is that although there events that one may not have control over, individuals can certainly take control of how to respond to such events.

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