A Struggle between Love And Prejudice

Essay by aginka January 2005

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One of the most interesting threads to follow in the novel Pride and Prejudice is how the feelings of the main heroine, the witty, intellectual, and sensitive Elizabeth Bennett, towards Fitzwilliam Darcy change from complete detestation to become passionate love at the end of the story. I find it very exciting to examine what Elizabeth has to go through to reach the point at which her opinion alters and that is the reason why I have decided for this theme.

The alteration of Elizabeth´s opinion and feelings is a long process. The first meeting of Darcy and her at the Meryton ball is a complete catastrophe. Although at first everybody is fascinated by the sight of the young, elegant stranger and all find him extraordinarily handsome, this feeling does not last long. The people slowly realise that his pride is so irritating and revolting, that it makes his character almost totally unlikeable and almost all of them agree that he is not even worth talking to.

Elizabeth happens to overhear a dialogue between Darcy and his friend, Charles Bingley , during which Darcy refuses to dance with a woman from a lower society. Furthermore, he declares Elizabeth to be

" ...tolerable; but not handsome enough to tempt (him) ..." This surely is sufficient for our heroine to create a quite unfriendly picture of this gentleman. So, beginning with this event, this energetic, wise young girl forms a prejudice towards Darcy that will prevent her future involvement with him. It is here then that the two main themes of the novel, pride and prejudice, are first presented.

Elizabeth´s prejudice, sparked off at the ball, requires quite a long time to be overcome. When they next meet at Sir William Lucas´ party, Elizabeth refuses to dance with Darcy and her attitude remains...