The Different Concepts of Pride in Pride and Prejudice, a Novel by Jane Austen

Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice novel that was first published in 1813 examines various concepts and advances certain arguments about each of these. The concept of pride is one of the themes addressed in this novel. Based on a character named Fitzwilliam Darcy, this novel illustrates that pride is a negative concept because it brings about some unacceptable situations.

Mr. Bennet associates Darcy’s “proud” personality with “unpleasant[ness]”, thereby highlighting that pride alienates an individual from his/her compatriots (Austen Chapter 59). While discussing the desirability of Darcy as Elizabeth’s marriage mate, Mr. Bennet observes that he does not have any other objection apart from the fact that Darcy is ‘proud’ and ‘unpleasant’. In other words, Mr. Bennet does not want Darcy to become his son-in-law in the proposed marriage with Elizabeth, the daughter. Given that Mr. Bennet’s negative sentiments are founded on Darcy’s proud personality, this scenario underlines that pride is disagreeable because it isolates and individual from compatriots.

Similarly, Darcy remorsefully observes that “pride” and “conceit” prevented him from following the excellent counsel he received from his parents in relation to treating other individuals with kindness (Austen Chapter 58), thereby underscoring that pride is undesirable as it impedes smooth interpersonal relationships. Here, Darcy is having a dialogue with Elizabeth where he ruefully reflects on the fact that his pride has caused him to treat Elizabeth with unkindness. Given Darcy’s strained relationship with Elizabeth, it is clear that pride is a negative concept as it hampers cordial interpersonal relationships.

The idea that Darcy’s “pride” causes Mrs. Bennet to be “anxious” in relation to providing a suitable dining experience further underlines that pride is disagreeable as it causes individuals to experience unnecessary anxiety (Austen Chapter 53). Mrs. Bennet has invited Darcy to have dinner at her house. Even though she is an accomplished hostess, Mrs. Bennet frets about the type of food she will serve to Darcy. It is instructive to note that Mrs.

Bennet experiences this tension because she is aware about Darcy’s pride. It is valid to conclude that Mrs. Bennet is afraid that Darcy’s pride will cause him to embarrass or humiliate her at the proposed dinner. Considering Mrs. Bennet’s unnecessary anxiety, it is evident that pride is undesirable as it causes individuals to experience needless discomfort.

Moreover, Darcys’ “proud” personality causes Kitty Bennet to ascribe a “proud man” label on Darcy, thus highlighting that pride is undesirable as it causes individuals to embrace terrible manners (Austen Chapter 53). Kitty is having a conversation with her mother inside the family house when she sees Darcy through the window. Kitty cannot however recall the name of Darcy. She thereby informs the mother that ‘that proud man’ is walking toward the house. In this scenario, Kitty engages in disagreeable behavior owing to Darcy’s ‘proud’ personality. This is because, if Darcy were not proud, Kitty would most likely remember his name. It is reasonable to argue that Darcy’s pride is so intense that it represents Darcy, at least in the eyes of Kitty. This discussion has underlined that pride is objectionable as it induces individuals to adopt bad manners.

Elizabeth similarly associates Darcy’s “pride” with “revolt” (Austen Chapter 52), thus demonstrating that pride is objectionable because it causes individuals to revolt. In this situation, Elizabeth is reflecting on the recent marriage of one of her sisters named Lydia to a man named George Wickham. Bearing in mind that Elizabeth is set to become Darcy’s wife, Wickham will end up becoming Darcy’s brother-in-law. Elizabeth nevertheless observes that this projected brother-in-law relationship between Darcy and Wickham will be problematic. This is because Darcy is too proud to accept Wickham as his brother-in-law. Accordingly, Elizabeth notes that Darcy will ‘revolt’ against his expected brother-in-law relationship with Wickham. In other words, pride would cause Darcy to demonstrate undesirable conduct with reference to Darcy. This analysis has outlined that pride is an objectionable concept as it causes individuals to engage in unbecoming behaviors.

Owing to his “mistaken pride” (Austen Chapter 52), Darcy is forced to make a confession rejecting such pride before Mr. Gardiner, thus further underlining that pride is undesirable as it causes embarrassment to individuals. Darcy’s pride has led him to believe that Lydia and Wickham should not be together as a couple. This is because Darcy holds the view that Wickham is worthless. Darcy thereby engages in the mission of seeking out the Lydia and Wickham duo that has eloped recently. In this proud mission, Darcy seeks to expose and thus discredit Wickham. When this misguided mission fails, Darcy is compelled to approach Mr. Gardiner and make a confession condemning his (Darcy’s) misguided pride. Evidently, this solemn confession causes Darcy to be embarrassed. This scenario emphasizes that pride is detrimental because it causes individuals to suffer embarrassment.

Mrs. Gardiner observes that Darcy’s “pride” has “revolted” against Mrs. Gardiner’s friends (Austen Chapter 43), thereby further underlining that pride is undesirable because it prevents individuals from demonstrating genuine interest in others. This point comes out when Darcy requests Mrs. Gardiner to introduce her friends to him. Mrs. Gardiner is surprised at this request because Darcy is essentially asking to be introduced to the same individuals against whom his pride has revolted previously. It is instructive to note that Darcy seeks to be introduced to these individuals only because he stands to gain some undisclosed benefit. Otherwise, Darcy’s pride would not allow for such introductions. From this situation, it is clear that pride prevents individuals from taking genuine interest in others; Darcy’s interest in Mrs. Gardiner’s friends is not genuine. Pride is thereby an undesirable personality trait.

Elizabeth similarly observes that Darcy’s “pride” has caused everyone in Hertfordshire to be “disgusted” (Austen Chapter 16), thereby showing that pride is disagreeable in that it arouses feelings of revulsion in individuals. Within this scenario, Elizabeth is describing Darcy to Wickham. Accordingly, Elizabeth notes that Darcy’s pride has caused all Hertfordshire residents to have sentiments of distaste. It is crucial that Elizabeth links Darcy’s pride to the disgust of Hertfordshire residents because this connection emphasizes the level of aversion that these residents have toward Darcy. Whenever a Hertfordshire resident comes across Darcy, he/she experiences a change in general mood and wishes to evade the presence of Darcy. This analysis has demonstrated that pride is disagreeable as it causes discomfort to individuals.

An unnamed character connects Darcy’s “proud” personality with his (Darcy’s) “ill- natured” qualities (Austen Chapter, 25), thus further underscoring that pride is unpleasant as it causes proud individuals disagreeable. Mrs. Gardiner makes this negative fact about Darcy known while she engaged in reflective thinking. Such thoughts lead Mrs. Gardiner to remember that she has heard someone state that Darcy is an extremely proud and ill-natured individual. From Mrs. Gardiner’s reflection, it is evident that pride is a displeasing quality as it causes an individual to be disagreeable to peers.

To sum up, Pride and Prejudice uses Darcy to underline that the concept of pride is disagreeable. Austen may have focused on pride because she encountered certain individuals who demonstrated irritating pride.

Works Cited

Austen, Jane. “Pride and Prejudice.” The Project Gutenberg, 17 Oct. 2016. Web. 27 Jan. 2017.

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The Different Concepts of Pride in Pride and Prejudice, a Novel by Jane Austen. (2022, Dec 05). Retrieved April 1, 2023 , from

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