Pride and Prejudice is one of the most popular novels written by Jane Austen which was first published in 1813. It is more than a story of love which revolves around the lives of the Bennett family and the wealthy male visitors of Hertfordshire. The wide variety of personalities in the story contributed to the novel’s attractive and compelling features to date. However, the novel apparently portrayed several transformations in relation to the main characters.
Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy were clearly different kinds of people who later proved themselves to be the ideal match for each other. Clearly, the transformation of Elizabeth and Darcy’s characters were made possible by their own pride and prejudices against each other. This fact, therefore, illustrates the idea that the character transformation would most likely not occur without the shortcomings and hasty judgments of the two main characters of the Jane Austen’s famous novel. Character Transformation
Thoroughly reviewing the whole context of the story, the diverse personalities of the characters are what made it possible to arrive in a certain character transformation. Each character is provided a characteristic that is distinct to other characters. Elizabeth Bennett, an interesting character indeed, possesses traits which are very much different from her sisters. Here is one of her statements to Darcy included in Chapter 19 where she rejects him the first time he proposed to marry her and considered to be one of the pivotal turns in the story which caused the change in both Elizabeth and Darcy’s character:
I do assure you, Sir, that I have no pretension whatever to that kind of elegance which consists in tormenting a respectable man. I would rather be paid the compliment of being believed sincere. I thank you again and again for the honor you have done me in your proposals, but to accept them is absolutely impossible. My feelings in every respect forbid it. Can I speak plainer? Do not consider me now as an elegant female, intending to plague you, but as a rational creature, speaking the truth from her heart (Austen 97).
Elizabeth Bennett’s character speaks much of a strong personality which is extremely opinionated and bold. Unlike her younger sisters, she does not allow social status and wealth to interfere with her standards for love. However, in her statement, prejudices toward Darcy are evident for she has already judged him without knowing him well first. However, at the end of the story, she regrets having misjudged the man upon knowing the real Fitzwilliam Darcy.
On the other hand, Darcy’s character also reveals pride and prejudice on his first impression towards Elizabeth. His statement where she declared Elizabeth as tolerable but not beautiful enough to interest him because of her poor social status discloses how proud he was to avoid being acquainted with such a woman (Austen 9). Similarly, he took back his word when he found out how interesting and intelligent Elizabeth was which led him to confess his feelings and offer a marriage proposal. Unfortunately, his first proposal was rejected.
Upon the end of the novel, it is reasonable to conclude that Elizabeth Bennett and Fitzwilliam Darcy actually have similar characteristics which can be considered ironic. Both are intelligent, witty, opinionated, and proud. There are also instances when they have exposed acts of prejudices towards some characters in the story, primarily themselves. Elizabeth deemed Darcy to be an extremely arrogant and proud man when she accidentally heard him say that he was not interested in her due to her poor status in the society.
She thought him to be a spoiled wealthy man who is unsociable and selfish. In return, Darcy also showed his prejudices towards her by thinking that she was not right for him because she belonged to the lower class part of the society. Hence, the situation indicates how their impulsive and superficial judgments of each other led them to take back their words and eradicate their pride and prejudices towards each other. They gradually transformed into humble beings who were capable of admitting and accepting their shortcomings. According to Christopher Booker, author of The Seven Basic Plots:
What we see here is a story completely shaped by the underlying form of Comedy, but in a new kind of treatment where the conventions about misunderstandings, disguises, failure to recognize identity and ‘dark’ figures getting caught out are no longer presented in the terms of the old stage devices, but rather more subtly, in terms of the gradual revelation of people’s true character from behind first mistaken impressions, and the discovery of true feelings, in a way which corresponds more to our experience of life (Booker 134).
Thus, two people, even with similar characteristics may not have similar outputs and can still be regarded contradictory in terms of beliefs. Like the characters in the story, all have distinct personalities which enabled them to decide the way they did. If Elizabeth did not hastily judged Darcy in the first place which led her into rejecting his first marriage proposal, Darcy would not have humbled himself into further pursuing Elizabeth despite her initial rejection.
He would not have rescued her family from social disgrace and reveal his true nature. Simply put, Elizabeth would not have change her opinion about Darcy and most probably reject him still. She would not have fallen in love with him and change her ways of being filled with prejudices. The following scenarios created a huge impact in the maturity and development of the characters in the story which proves that the transformation is indeed dependent on the characters’ actions and decisions.
According to Nhu Le’s online article entitled, The Individualization of Elizabeth Bennet, she points out that: Although Elizabeth comes to agree that Darcy’s previous actions were indeed justified . . . this transformation “disables” Elizabeth’s capacity to arrive at, and act upon, her own judgments. On the contrary, Darcy’s letter strengthens Elizabeth’s independence of mind. By accepting the fact that she has misjudged Darcy, Wickham, Jane, and Bingley, Elizabeth sharpens her ability to discern character.
In turn, she develops a solidly based self-confidence (Le). As one critic puts it, “Both Elizabeth Bennet and Darcy develop an awareness of their place in the community and a recognition of the effects of their own speech” (Colebrook 158). Conclusion Clearly, the arguments stated above identify the concept that Elizabeth and Darcy’s character transformation would not have been possible without their mistakes and initial false impressions of each other.
This validates the fact that their development as individuals is highly rooted from their decisions and hasty judgments—or rather their own pride and prejudices. Works Cited Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice: A Novel. London: R. Bentley. 1853. Booker, Christopher. The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories. New York: Continuum International Publishing Group, 2005. Colebrook, Claire. Irony. London: Routledge, 2004. Le, Nhu. The Individualization of Elizabeth Bennet. 16 December 2008. <http://www. colorado. edu/pwr/occasions/articles/lizbennet. html>
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