Pride and Prejudice is a novel by Jane Austen, written in 1813. Austen delves into the discussion of the many different relationships that surround Elizabeth Bennett, such as romantic and familial relations. Austen uses these relationships to shape and develop her characters throughout the novel.
The novel primarily centers on the changing relationship between Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy. When they first met, they immediately made terrible first impressions on each other. Mr. Darcy insulted Elizabeth by saying he would never agree to dance with her because her appearance was only “tolerable”. Because if this, she assumed that he could only look down on someone of her status and wrote him off as an awful person. As the story goes on, they slowly begin to realize they had a flawed perception from the beginning due to their pride and prejudice. Mr. Darcy appears to come to his senses first, and in his own way, tries to gain Elizabeth’s favor. However, in her eyes, he is only mocking her and she takes longer than Darcy to realize her mistake. (Pride and Prejudice movie, 1995)
Another important relationship is between Mr. Wickham and Elizabeth. They met in town one day and formed a friendship bordering on courting. It was revealed that Wickham and Darcy grew up together and had a falling out. As Elizabeth and Wickham got to know each other, Wickham influenced Elizabeth’s opinion of Darcy by spreading a fabricated version of the reason why they were no longer friends. The truth was, Wickham had received an inheritance from Darcy’s father, and had gambled it all away. After Darcy refused to give him more money, he attempted to elope with Darcy’s sister to gain her inheritance and spite Darcy. He lied and told Elizabeth that Darcy withheld the inheritance out of jealousy and left out the rest of the story. This lie was one of the reasons why she continued to dislike Darcy. Once the truth was revealed, her opinion of both Darcy and Wickham changed rapidly. She began to see another side to Darcy’s personality and reconcile with the fact that she had misjudged him, whereas, her relationship with Wickham was all but severed by knowing his true character. (Pride and Prejudice movie, 1995)
Elizabeth’s relationship with her sister, Jane, was a very important factor in her life. Jane was her closest confidante and friend, and she was very kind hearted and saw the best in everyone. Throughout the novel, Jane offered Elizabeth a different view of the people around her and encouraged her to judge less on appearances. (Pride and Prejudice movie, 1995)
The combination of these relationships in Elizabeth’s life helps define her personality further. In the beginning, she may have been too quick to judge and held a grudge for too long, but as the novel progressed, she let go of these traits and became more understanding of the people around her. She was able to see the good she overlooked in Darcy and form a lasting romantic relationship with him, leading to their marriage, and strengthen all of her relationships because of these influences.
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