Pride And Prejedice Character Essay, Research Paper
PRIDE AND PREJUDICE ESSAY
In Jane Austin’s novel, Pride and Prejudice, the character portrayed by Mr Darcy embodies many of the values, personality traits, manners, and attitudes that were considered admirable in the period in which novel was set. Initially, his character is decided as proud with a cold demeanour and had he not been rich, hardly worth being acquainted with. Elizabeth’s re evaluation of his character later on in the novel, reveals the generosity, respect and dignity that the reader comes to know of Mr Darcy. By comparing Mr Darcy with a comic character such as Mr Collins the reader develops an awareness of the admirable qualities possessed by a man in the eighteenth century. Mr Collins is a self important, tiresome character in whom the reader feels no pity. His absurd attitudes towards love and life can not be likened to our own.
Mr Darcy’s cold manner is evident from the first dance where his strong face of pride disguises his character. His determination to be distant and unreproachable lost the good opinion of the Bennets when he considered it beneath himself to dance. ” at such an assembly as this, it would be insupportable I am in no humour at present to give consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other men.” (p59) He was prejudice in his views of Elizabeth, as he believed it would be against his morals to be intimately acquainted with a woman of her status and low connections. He tries to shut out any possible feeling for her. “To this discovery came succeeded some others equally mortifying he was forced to acknowledge her figure to be light and pleasing her manners were not of the fashionable world, he was caught by their easy playfulness.” (p70) The use of the words ‘mortifying’, ‘forced’ and ‘caught’ confirms to the reader that his positive comments were from his heart although his reason and pride rejected the ideas.
Through Jane Austin’s use of direct and indirect reporting of character thoughts and emotions the reader may analyse the positive and negative values and attitudes that each character possesses. Although Darcy may not say his feelings aloud we are continually kept up to date with the complexity of his character through his thoughts, letters and comments. Similar techniques are used to give a negative effect on Mr Collins. Vast amounts of dialogue are used by Mr Collins displaying that even conventional and admirable manners do not always make up for other more obvious character flaws. His proposals to Elizabeth were a prime example.
Mr Collins’ views on matrimony are quite different to that of Mr Darcy. Darcy chooses to marry for love and in doing so puts his social status in jeopardy. During Mr Collins’ proposals to Elizabeth he recites the many lengthy reasons on why Elizabeth is the suitable wife for a ‘clergyman of his position.’ He mentions many reasons of setting example and the like, but quickly concludes with that it “would add very greatly to my happiness”. All this and no mention of love. He chooses Elizabeth as a marriage prospect believing it the admirable thing to do, For it was he who would inherit Longbourn after Mr Bennet’s death. “I could not satisfy myself without resolving to chuse a wife from among his (Mr Bennet) daughters, that the loss to them might be as little as possible ” (p148). Mr Collins’ attitudes and actions towards marriage may have been considered respectable to many women of the era. In contrast but Elizabeth’s marriage ideals were similar to Darcy’s and thus were not satisfied by Mr Collins.
Both Mr Darcy and Mr Collins develop their values and attitudes extensively throughout the novel. Elizabeth’s re evaluation of Mr Darcy begins from the moment she sees Pemberley on the hill. “It was a large and handsome, stone building in front, a stream of some natural importance was swelled into greater Elizabeth was delighted.” We first learn about Mr Darcy’s true amiable character through Mrs Reynolds, Darcy’s housekeeper. “He is the best landlord and the best master” “If I was to go through the world, I could not meet with a better.” The depth of Mr Darcy’s generosity is shown in his kindness to Lydia and Wickhom in securing their marriage. Elizabeth thanks Darcy on behalf of her family for his good deed. “I can no longer help thanking you for your unexampled kindness to my poor sister were it known to my family, I should not have merely my own gratitude to express.” (p379) Darcy’s conscience tells him to repay the Bennets for his various thoughtless actions and seeks no reward for his great kindness. Mr Collins on the other hand merely rejoices in his good fortune of avoiding marriage to Elizabeth. His letter of ‘condolence’ was simply offensive to Mr Bennet. ” the death of your daughter would have been a blessing in comparison to this.” (p312)
Mr Collins embodies values and attitudes that are conceited and pompous. The reader feels no attachment or relation to his character. He is stubborn during rejection and is smug at the misfortune of another. Mr Darcy, in contrast develops into a generous, amiable gentleman. The reader becomes aware of his values and attitudes through direct and indirect reporting. The conceited Darcy refusing to dance is transformed into a far more gentleman-like character and thus, his true qualities are revealed. Mr Darcy is an intelligent, handsome, wealthy, single man, which is exactly what women of the eighteenth century wanted.
“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife” (p1)