In Pride and Prejudice, the main character Elizabeth is shown to have great pride towards the main male character Darcy. This is because in their first meeting Elizabeth’s pride is wounded by Darcy as he says ”She is tolerable, but not handsome enough to tempt me, and I am in no humor to give consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other men.” This unkind and proud comment causes Elizabeth to take an immediate dislike to Darcy.
After everyone has left for Rosings, Elizabeth is still furious from the news that Darcy was the cause of Jane and Bingley’s break up. Elizabeth is then shocked by the arrival of Darcy. After a few moments of silence, Darcy shocks Elizabeth with a sudden declaration of love for her and a proposal of marriage. At first, Elizabeth is flattered in spite of her deeply rooted prejudice against Darcy. Elizabeth’s feelings soon turn to rage as Darcy catalogs all the reasons why he did not pursue his feelings earlier. As payback, Elizabeth stuns Darcy by refusing his proposal very harshly.
This shows the extent of her prejudice against Darcy as she says that even from the beginning she disliked him. Meanwhile, Collins proposal is an altogether completely different. There are no unkind words, shouts or insults. Collins proposal is different because with him, Elizabeth has no “dislike” for him as she does for Darcy. Even though his proposal is very business like and not of love, Elizabeth is shown to have strength in declining it very kindly. Mr. Collins proposes to Elizabeth, in a long speech explaining that he considers it appropriate for him to marry and that he wants to marry one of the Ms. Bennets in order lessen the difficulty of the entailment of the estate. Elizabeth refuses him in no uncertain terms, but Mr. Collins refuses to believe that her refusal could be sincere, considering it a formality of female etiquette to always refuse a proposal the first time.
However, Elizabeth repeats and strengthens her refusal, but as he still cannot believe her to be sincere, so she leaves. Mr. Collins’ proposal and his reaction to Elizabeth’s refusal set Austen’s portrait of this absurd character. Only after he explains these cold considerations does he mention that he has a high regard for Elizabeth. Since none of his own words expresses genuine thoughts or feelings, he assumes that no one else’s words do either. Further, his conceit prevents him from seeing any reason why Elizabeth would not want to marry him.
However, Elizabeth’s reactions to each proposal are very different. When Collins proposes to her, she declines politely, and then walks off whereas in Darcy’s proposal Elizabeth is very rude to Darcy, and declines him very harshly. She means to hurt him with his words. She gives both her proposers a beating of their pride. When we look at her reactions to both the proposals, we are shown how deep and fixed Elizabeth’s prejudice against Darcy is because she does not give Darcy a chance to explain himself and she readily believes Wickham’s words. Here we really see how badly she dislikes Darcy. It is almost as if Darcy is to be blamed for everything. Elizabeth does not stop to think that Darcy might actually be right. These two events bring out the title as Elizabeth is shown to have her pride and prejudices and Darcy his own each believing that the other is wrong.
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