26 March 2013
Title: Pride in Pride and Prejudice
Thesis: Most characters in the novel Pride and Prejudice exemplify the predominant and most obvious theme of pride. I. Background
III. Characters with Pride
C. Lady Catherine
Pride in Pride and Prejudice
In the novel Pride and Prejudice, many instances of pride are demonstrated throughout the entire story. “…I could easily forgive his pride, if he had not mortified mine,” exclaims Elizabeth Bennet about her future lover Fitzwilliam Darcy (Austen 21). Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, as well as many other characters, are prideful in many ways. It partially comes from the ways of their time period, but mostly from personality flaws. Most characters in the novel Pride and Prejudice exemplify the predominant and most obvious theme of pride. Pride and Prejudice takes place in England during the Napoleonic Wars, which lasted between the late 1790s to the early 1810s. During these times, women’s sole purpose in life was to find a husband, have children, and spend the rest of their lives serving him. According to Kelley Smith, women who never married were “ridiculed and pitied by the community.” Once a woman became married, all of the woman’s inheritance would belong to the husband. It was even written in their marriage laws. Mrs. Bennet, the mother of Jane, Elizabeth, Mary, Kitty, and Lydia Bennet, obsesses, throughout the story, over the fact of them finding husbands. She encourages them to meet all of the higher-class men and marry into money, but most of those men are prideful and are seeking women who already have money as well as a generous inheritance. One man in the novel, Mr. Wickham, is so full of pride that he convinces Lydia Bennet to elope with him, and in order to save her reputation, he receives a large sum of money in which he demands and marries Lydia in return. A letter sent from Mr. Collins exemplifies how the reputation of women can so easily fall by one wrongdoing with a man. As Mr. Collins states: The death of your daughter would have been a blessing in comparison of this… They agree with me in apprehending that this false step in one daughter will be injurious to the fortunes of all the others; for who, as Lady Catherine herself condescendingly says, will connect themselves with such a family? (Austen 286) According to Dictionary.com, pride is “a high or inordinate opinion of one's own dignity, importance, merit, or superiority, whether as cherished in the mind or as displayed in bearing, conduct, etcetera,” or in simpler terms, “the state or feeling of being proud.” In the words of Mary Bennet: Pride is a very common failing, I believe. By all that I have ever read, I am convinced that it is very common indeed, that human nature is particularly prone to it, and that there are very few of us who do not cherish a feeling of self-complacency on the score of some quality or other, real or imaginary. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves. (Austen 21)
Elizabeth Bennet is one of the many characters who exhibits pride in the novel Pride and Prejudice. She is attractive and witty, but too quick to judge. She is part of the Bennet family, who are of a high class standard, and is the second oldest of the five Bennet daughters. Elizabeth’s intelligence and wit draw her closer to her father, who is also intelligent and witty, rather than her mother, who is described by the narrator of Pride and Prejudice as “... a woman of mean understanding, little information, and uncertain temper. (Austen 7)” Elizabeth is excellent at judging the character of others, but she is too prideful in her abilities, which leads her to her worst mistakes. In the novel, Elizabeth meets Mr. Wickham, a charming, handsome man. He gives off the first impression of a gentleman who does no wrong, and Elizabeth, who is so prideful and...