Comparing Pride and Prejudice to Macbeth

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In the first few chapters of ‘Pride and Prejudice’, Jane Austen portrays Fitzwilliam Darcy as: “so high and conceited”, “a most disagreeable man” and possessed of “shocking madness”. This is conveyed to the audience through Elizabeth Bennet’s eavesdropping and the Bennet family’s first impression of Darcy. At the start of ‘Macbeth’ however, the central character, Macbeth, is portrayed by William Shakespeare as a hero. In Scotland he is loved, trusted and admired: “Oh valiant cousin, worthy gentleman”, “brave Macbeth”. Nevertheless by the end of both works, the audience’s own opinion of each character has changed to the complete opposite. Their opinion has been altered by the authors who try to confute the audience’s initial understanding of both characters.

Many characters throughout ‘Pride and Prejudice’ change in one way or another. They especially change other people’s impressions of them. A good example of this is Mr Wickham. When Wickham is first introduced into the novel, he is portrayed as a good, kind man who was unfortunate enough to have lived with Darcy: "Wickham was the happy man towards whom almost every female eye was turned...” As the novel progresses Elizabeth begins to find out about his true characteristics. The way in which Jane Austen changes our opinion of Wickham is initially through the letter that Darcy sends to Elizabeth after she has declined his first offer of marriage. The letter she receives explains why Darcy dislikes Wickham. It tells her of the ungentleman like things that Wickham has done in the past. It explains how he became a “wild one” as one of Darcy’s housemaids told Elizabeth when she made a visit to Pemberley.

On the other hand in ‘Macbeth’, the character who undergoes the most change throughout the play is in fact Macbeth himself. At first, he was a very honourable and noble man, both on and off the battlefields of Scotland. This is shown we he is appointed to becoming Thane of Cawdor: “He bade me, from him, call...
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