Pride and Prejudice was first written in 1797 under the title “First Impressions”. It was later revised and published under the title“Pride and Prejudice” in 1813. In the novel, first impressions do play an important part: Elizabeth is misled in her judgment and estimation of both Darcy and Wickham. Her regard and sympathy for Wickham and her hostility and prejudice against Darcy are due to the first impressions. But when we study the novel deeply andseriously we can easily see that the title “Pride and Prejudice” is more apt and more befitting to it. The first impressions which the character gets of each other take up only the first few chapters. The novel is more about the pride of Darcy and the prejudice of Elizabeth and the change of attitude in Darcy and Elizabeth’s correction of her first impression. At the apparent level, we see that Darcy embodies pride – he is possessed by family pride. As Wickham tells Elizabeth that he has a “filial pride”, in his “father and brotherly pride in his sister Georgiana” Darcy himself says that his pride consists in caring for none beyond his own family circle, thinking mean of all the rest of the world. There is no doubt that Darcy is a proud man. Nothing can excuse his remark about Elizabeth, “… tolerable but not handsome enough to tempt me”
nor, indeed, the statement that
“my good opinion once lost is lost for ever”.
His first appearance is insolent and we tend to agree with Mrs. Bennet’s complaint that “He walked here and he walked there, fancying himself so very great”. The set-down comes at Hansford personage, which is the climax of Darcy’s pride and Elizabeth’s prejudice. In this scene, Darcy lays his proud heart at her feet and learns what she thinks of him. He admits that he remained blind to the faults of Lady Catherine and Miss Bingley and was thinking mean of those beneath him in social standing. Elizabeth feels that Darcy is all pride. Having been prejudiced against him by his refusal to dance with her, she...
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