Heroes and Heroines in Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

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Jane Austen in context
Heroes and Heroines in “Pride and Prejudice” Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy Both Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy experience a reform in their characters. This psychological reform occurs as certain characteristics that were the very epitome of their personalities are altered. This is due to the misconceptions and prejudices both had about the other. As Darcy is a rich aristocratic gentleman of the 18th century, he behaves as we would expect; with arrogance, conceit and naturally with an air of superiority. While on the other hand, Elizabeth through her self education and lively wit has a great understanding of the society she lives in and believes herself to be of equal status with Darcy in that “he is a gentleman; I am a gentleman's daughter; so far we are equal”. Her apparent inferiority to Darcy is highlighted by him when she rejects his proposal “Could you expect me to rejoice in the inferiority of your connections? — to congratulate myself on the hope of relations, whose condition in life is so decidedly beneath my own?” It is also expressed by Lady Catherine de Bourgh when she intrudes on Elizabeth at her home in Longbourn. However, wealth is only one of the many obstacles, which our hero and heroine must overcome. The impropriety shown on both sides by relations acts as a powerful deterrent to the respect and the love they will later come to share for each other. However, while this at times does indeed act as a deterrent; it also accelerates the union of the two. As, if it were not for the gallant actions of Darcy towards the Lydia-Wickham affair with his admirable moral code of conduct, Elizabeth’s entire family would have faced ruin with the disgrace of Lydia as a sister. Elizabeth would not have learned of Darcy’s kind and generous nature and sense of responsibility; and if it were not for Lady Catherine’s interference at travelling to Longbourn Darcy would not have ventured to make the marriage proposal a second time.

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