This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
WRITTEN BY: RIMAL BUTT
ords can’t possibly do justice to the praise of the literary
phenomenon -------JANE AUSTEN (1775-1817), author of such estimable classics as Pride and Prejudice and Emma, who did not rely on resplendent deeds or the wild excesses of the Gothic novel to engage readers when she wrote her "novels of manners" , She dealt instead with the most ordinary and realistic events and depicted ordinary English folk, the gentry of the Regency era (1811-1820). Jane Austen's demesne was limited, but her limitations were her strengths. Fating her characters to scenes of a domestic or diurnal nature-afternoon tea, gossip in the lane, dances at splendid estates-inured an artistic discipline so masterful that the British author Thomas Henry Lister praised her, "No novelist perhaps ever employed more unpromising materials, and by none have those material been more admirably treated." Some readers may deem Jane Austen's empery of manners and romance too limited and her subjects trifling and petty. Perhaps a heroine who debates between her "spotted and tamboured muslin" for the evening assemblies at fashionable Bath in Northanger Abbey, impresses them as completely frivolous. Perhaps Hartfield society in Emma seems especially shallow as the genteel "walk about-gather strawberriessit under trees”. The significance of God, religion, war, politics, passion, or science is never directly discussed in her novels. Are her works superficial and was she detached from "reality" because these themes appear to be absent? Jane Austen was not aloof from "realities" She could not be oblivious to war or death when her brothers were stationed on active duty throughout the Napoleonic wars. She surely does not omit religion (in Mansfield Park, Edmund Bertram rebukes Mary Crawford for disparaging private prayers). Nor are her novels devoid of passion (Mr. Darcy's first proposal to Elizabeth Bennett). Generally, Jane Austen kept her novel pleasant and sunny and when she did discuss weightier matters, she did so with her wonted delicacy. During Austen’s life only her immediate family knew oft her authorship of these novels. at one point she wrote behind a door that creaked when visitors approached warning her enough to hide her manuscripts before discovery, it enabled her to preserve privacy at a time when English society associated a female’s entrance into a public sphere with reprehensible loss of femininity, she must have sought anonymity because of more general atmosphere of repression pervading in the era. As the Napoleonic war threatened the safety of monarchies throughout Europe, government censorship of literature proliferated. The social milieu of Austen’s England was particularly stratified and class divisions were rooted in family connections and wealth .in her
work Austen is often critical of assumptions and prejudices of upperclass England .she distinguishes between internal merit (goodness of the person within) and external merit (social rank earned or hereditary). Though she often satirizes snobs she also poked fun at the poor breading and misbehavior of those lower on the social scale. Socially regimented ideas of appropriate behavior for each gender factored into Austen’s work as well, while social advancement for young women lay in the military, church or law .the chief method of selfinvolvement for women was the acquisition of wealth, women could only accomplish this goal through successful marriage that was the “Two inch of ivory “for Austen on which she based her novel of manners, though termed as a limitation it still defined her exceptional style of wit and humor. Her limited world still holds the staff of comic spirit correcting the follies of people. So the territory of pure comedy eschews all references to tragedy, just as she says in Mansfield Park: “..Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery, I quit such odious objects as soon as I can...” Jane Austen's style resembles the rational, witty sensibility of the Age of Reason. The Age of Reason, which preceded the Romantic Movement, tabooed portrayal of uncontrolled or violent emotion, and endorsed uniformity, restraint, and the rational, A passage from her Emma : "[It was] just enough touched on to show how keenly it was felt, and how much more might have been said but for the restraints of propriety" Jane Austen began to write at a time when the Romantic Movement was expressed in its passionate involvement with the landscape, in particular, the melancholic aspect of gothic ruins. She was one of the few writers to adopt an irreverent attitude to this obsession. in many ways Austen’s detached, ironic style was an anti-thesis of the romantic ideal e.g. Henry Tinley lectures on the picturesque to Catherine in “Northanger Abbey” such that she “…was so hopeful a scholar that when they gained the top of Beechen Cliff she voluntarily rejected the whole city of Bath as un worthy to make part of landscape… “. Austen field of study was man, preoccupied with human nature she made no attempt to look into the spirit of the country; she doesn’t paint the English community as the Scotts painted the Scottish as Maria Edge worth painted the Irish. Jane Austen as it appears loves to laugh, just as her most precious character Elizabeth in “Pride and Prejudice” declares: ”….follies and nonsense, whims and inconsistencies do divert me, I own, and I laugh at them whenever I can ….” She is also called a modernist, Elizabeth Bowen said “…An agreeable way of saying that she is still some distance ahead of us…” Critics often accuse Austen of Portraying a limited world, the critiques she made of class structures was either the upper or the middle class, In
general Austen occupies a curious position during the eighteenth and early nineteenth century her favorite writer whom she often quoted was Dr,Samuel Johnson ,the great model of classism and reason of 18th century., her plots often feature characters forging their respective ways through an established rigid society, also bear similarities to Johnson’s contemporaries like Samuel Richardson who wrote “Pamela”. Her work is also ambiguous about emotions, appreciative of intelligence and beauty which aligns them with romanticism, still their awareness of the conditions of modernity life and consequences of family structure also prefigured the Victorian age, seen in her use of frequent social gatherings like tea-parties and balls, sketchy characters and scandal. The surface of her novels is devoid of any striking eventfulness as her own life. great events and passions may change the coarse of history but they’re not woven in the fabric of her novels, complete detachment from the humdrum life outside and having the theme of “Love and Marriage” of her plots they come to resemble the Shakespearean comedies, the three-decker novels found on the principles of stage comedies----a crescendo, a crisis, and a denouement infallibly have dramatic quality similar to the construction of the Shakespearean plays. Her novels also reveal the psychological workings of the characters and with it the ironic side of the behavior e.g. Mr. Collins proposal to Elizabeth shows the priggishness and servility of comic sycophant. Her dialogue is one of the greatest achievements of fictional art “..It has correctness and formality characteristic of well-bred speech of her age but partly her tribute of artistic ideal. The talk is better than life more painted and articulate and would do well on stage...” The preoccupation of Jane Austen was character. Through the social "trifles" of her book-the dances, card-parties and more minute occupations-the dispositions and motives of Jane Austen's characters are brilliantly revealed and dissimulation exposed. Her minor characters are ever divulging their own superficiality through their speeches, but usually in a subtle manner. Irony threads the novel s of Jane Austen, and to her irony was the bringing together of contradictory truths to bring forth a new truth, such as in Pride and Prejudice when Mr. Wickham avers "It gives me pain to speak ill of a Darcy," and then enters into this grievances against one of that family. Jane Austen was competent at delineating the contradictions of the human heart, and she did so with sharp irony and many fillips of wit.
PRIDE AND PREJUDICE
“…I read again and for the third time at least ,Miss Austen’s very finely written novel of “pride and prejudice” the young lady has a talent for describing the involvement and feeling and characters of ordinary life, whish is to me the most wonderful and with the big bow-wow strain. I can do myself like any now going ,but the exquisite touch that renders ordinary common place things and characters interesting from the truth of description and sentiment is denied to me .What a pity such a gifted creature died so young….” Sir Walter Scott One of the first Novels in English language and one of the wittiest .Austen’s Pride and Prejudice has delighted readers for more than two centuries and still it holds the greatest tribute of being one such novel to which readers can still turn to more confidently than to any other novel in the language for sheer, enjoyment .Published in three volumes by Thomas Egerton ,it appeared in 1813,and Jane Austen had the satisfaction of seeing her “darling child” become an immediate success amongst the fashionable novel-reading public of the age. The main subject in the novel is stated in the first sentence of the novel: "It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife." In this statement, Austen has cleverly done three things: she has declared that the main subject of the novel will be courtship and marriage, she has established the humorous tone of the novel by taking a simple subject to elaborate and to speak intelligently of, and she has prepared the reader for a chase in the novel of either a husband in search of a wife, or a women in pursuit of a husband. The first line also defines Austen's book as a piece of literature that connects itself to the 18th century period. Pride and Prejudice is 18th century because of the emphasis on man in his social environment rather than in his individual conditions. Austen’s novel celebrates the ultimate triumph of romantic love over all impediments. Originally entitled “First Impressions”, Pride and Prejudice chronicles the dubious "courtship" of the spirited Elizabeth Bennett and the haughty Mr. Darcy. Their relationship affords a conflict most dramatic as it teaches us about reconciliation, overcoming bitterness and replacing arrogance with a gentle spirit. In the Cinderella story of Austen’s the heroine always needs allies ---the prince is the first to admire her intelligence and they rescue each other, escaping the fate society gas ordained them.
The novel is written in a light, airy, sparkling prose and the pages are filled with quick- witted immensely entertaining dialogue. Austen herself feared that Pride and Prejudice was “rather too light, bright and sparkling”, to be considered a serious novel .in addition to a happy ending the novel offers an unforgettable portrait of a particular society through a landscape dotted with brilliantly drawn characters ,from --Idiotic, marriage obsessed Mrs. Bennett and the detached ,cynical yet droll Mr. Bennett ,the silly, pretentious Mr. Collins ,the dashing, rakish militia officer Mr. Wickham, the too proud Mr. Darcy , the snotty Miss Bingley to the absurdly self-important Lady Catherine Debourgh ,. Even in its most biting moments, the novel never loses its sense of cheer, the final triumph being that “True love conquers all”. With its wit and social precision and above all its irresistible heroine___ Pride and prejudice has proved one of the most enduring popular novels in the English language.
The Conflict between Mr. Darcy and Mr. Wickham
Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice contains within it the conflict between Mr. Darcy and Mr. Wickham. Each character begins with one being a villain (Darcy) and the other the of the hero (Wickham) novel, but as the story proceeds we come to discover to our astonishment that in reality the haughty villain was the hero and the deceptive hero was actually the villain of the story, so much so, Austen wraps one in the folds of duty, honor and decorum and the other she portrays as a rakish man of immense charm and dashing appearance, a sensational knight in shinning armor. Both are tall, dark , intelligent and Handsome men and have enjoyed the advantages of an upper-class upbringing , what differs in them is their attitudes ,morals , and their manner towards the genteel and the lower born classes .Their conflict provides the basic twist to the charming tale of “pride and prejudice”. The character of Mr. Darcy cannot be correctly understood until late in the story. Austen describes Mr. Darcy almost exclusively through the eyes of Elizabeth Bennet and her circle of friends. This indirect characterization of Mr. Darcy makes the reader complicit in Elizabeth Bennett’s faulty judgment of him. Thus, while her primary women characters develop through personal discussion, her main male characters develop by allusion to well-known outside standards. Because of Austen's realism, the two men whom Elizabeth most wants to “sketch” especially resist her attempts to portray them twodimensionally as villain and hero. Although the novel details how
Elizabeth comes to see that those labels must be switched in regards to Darcy and Wickham, it also tells how she comes to temper her definitions into less absolutist terms. The reader shares Elizabeth's problems in trying to understand the characters of Darcy and Wickham, especially when attempting to interpret the men through other characters' descriptions of them .The multifarious accounts of Darcy and Wickham's early history, including those by their friends, lead the reader to questions of how to interpret the past objectively. Mr. Darcy is aware that Elizabeth is prejudiced because of Wickham, and entreats Elizabeth to “not to sketch my character at the present moment, as there is reason to fear that the performance would reflect no credit” .Yet while the voices recounting the story of the men's shared experience are all liable to subjective distortion, Austen carefully ensures that certain details overlap in each telling. The core of each person's subjective narrative recounts a similar history of the close friendship between old Mr. Darcy and old Mr. Wickham, a friendship which led the latter to abandon the military life and take the post of steward at Pemberley. Also common to the various interpretations is Wickham's position as god-son and favorite of the old Mr. Darcy. Contradictions in these accounts of the past only arise when issues of legitimacy, inheritance, and loyalty come to the fore, after old Mr. Darcy's death. Darcy is a humanized and fallible version of Richardson's paragon of masculinity, However, Austen does offer subtle signals of Darcy's development throughout her novel; by comparing him so closely to his childhood companion, Wickham. Mr. Darcy is first and foremost a gentleman of character and honor. He suffers from a social shyness and awkwardness that is received by others as rudeness. He undergoes a change in the novel in which he learns to be more polite in social settings. The narrator of Pride and Prejudice is unreliable as a source of objective information about Darcy. In the first introduction to Mr. Darcy, the narrator reports: “he was discovered to be proud, to be above his company and above being pleased”. The narrator is not saying this as a fact about Mr. Darcy, but as a fact about what the other people at the dinner party thought about Mr. Darcy. Jane Austen is being somewhat tricky here by allowing the reader to accept as fact what others have judged based on superficial interaction with him. Mrs. Bennet concludes that Mr. Darcy is “a most disagreeable, horrid man, not at all worth pleasing” and “he is ate up with Pride” .All his money of 10,000 a year and the shades of Pemberly could not save him. he manages to prejudice Elizabeth as he refuses to dance with her “she’s tolerable I suppose, but not handsome enough to tempt me” Elizabeth interprets each social failing of Mr. Darcy’s as yet more evidence of his general contempt for others. The narrator does give small clues that perhaps all may not be as it seems with Mr. Darcy says ,
“I cannot recommend myself to strangers” and when Jane says “he never speaks much unless among his intimate acquaintance. With them he is remarkably agreeable”. If the reader should begin to like Darcy as he begins to have feelings for Elizabeth, this emotion is frustrated by Wickham’s tale of mistreatment at Darcy’s hands, and thus Darcy’s character appears to be as bad as his manners. He considers himself a gentleman. For him, this means having a ruthless sense of honesty, of personal responsibility, and withstanding moral judgment, to him pride is “where there is real superiority of mind pride will always be under good regulation”. Darcy shows how important honesty is to him several times throughout the novel. For Darcy, “disguise of every sort is my abhorrence”. Miss Bingley’s attempts at raising her esteem in Darcy’s eyes by putting Elizabeth down draws harsh criticism from Darcy: “There is meanness in all the arts which ladies sometimes condescend to employ for captivation. Whatever bears affinity to cunning is despicable”. Further, Darcy admits to Bingley that he had kept from him Jane’s presence in London. This could in no way reflect positively on Darcy, but his sense of honor demanded that he be honest. His sense of personal responsibility is evident in the way that he responds to the crisis brought about my Lydia’s elopement with Wickham. Since he had not made Wickham’s character known to the public before, he felt responsible for what Wickham had done”This is my fault”. Out of this sense of responsibility, he paid off Wickham’s debts in order to get Wickham to marry Lydia. Darcy’s sense of moral judgment is severe. Once he concludes that he has been morally wronged by someone, his sense of justice will not allow him to forgive and forget ,”my opinion once lost is lost forever” Elizabeth challenges him on this point. She wishes to know if he is as cautious in making his judgment as he is severe in keeping it. He affirms that he is, and the reader can see that a few paragraphs later when Elizabeth insults his character on the basis of the lies that Wickham has told her. “He has been so unlucky as to loose your friendship in a manner he is likely to suffer all his life” The narrator, in one of the few insights into Darcy’s internal life, tells the reader of “a tolerable powerful feeling towards her, which soon procured her pardon, and directed all his anger against another”.. Darcy recognizes that Wickham has misled Elizabeth and sees past his immediate anger at her insults and directs it instead toward Wickham. In part, this image of Darcy is justified. Darcy himself admits “I was given good principles, but left to follow them in pride and conceit” Darcy’s poor communication skills are also apparent when he attempts to compliment Elizabeth on her enjoyment of reading. He offers as a description of an ideal kind of lady the virtues that he sees in Elizabeth. His comments are so vague and general that what Elizabeth hears is a description of such high standards that no one could match
them “She would be a fearsome thing to behold” adds Elizabeth. Mr. Darcy undergoes a significant change throughout the novel, and his pride is part of what drives the change. He is aware that he does not come across well to many people at first, but he is not aware of how offensive he actually is to other people. Even during his proposal to Elizabeth, while he is insulting her and her family, he fully expects her to accept his proposal. His pride in his stature as a gentleman blinds him how others see him. The pride that characterizes Mr. Darcy "I came to you without a doubt of my reception," he acknowledges and the prejudice that characterizes Elizabeth "My opinion of you was decided," she states attains its grand summit as. Elizabeth rejects Darcy's proposal and spurns him: "From the very beginning from the first moment I may almost say, of my acquaintance with you, your manners, impressing me with the fullest believe of your arrogance, your conceit, and your selfish disdain of the feelings of others, were such as to form that groundwork on which succeeding events have built to immovable a dislike; and I had not know you a month before I felt that you were the last man in the world whom I could ever be prevailed on to marry." Elizabeth’s rejection is a devastating shock. In particular he is struck by Elizabeth’s statement that he had not “behaved in a … gentlemanlike manner”. “She saw him start at this, but he said nothing.” Mr. Darcy’s own statement on this scene bears special attention: “The recollection of what I then said, of my conduct, my manners, and my expressions during the whole of it, is now, and has been [for] many months, inexpressibly painful to me. Your reproof, so well applied, I shall never forget: ‘had you behaved in a more gentleman-like manner.’ Those were your words. You know not, you can scarcely conceive, how they have tortured me”. Elizabeth’s statement was a slap in the face that awoke him to how egregiously he had betrayed his ideals. He was deeply ashamed. That he had not felt this shame before shows that he had not been aware that people saw him in this light. His desire to be a gentleman—his own sense of virtue and honor—drives him to give full attention to his public manners. The reader first sees this change in him when Elizabeth visits Pemberley. The great courtesy, warm hospitality, and attentions showered on Elizabeth and the Gardiners are clear evidence that Darcy has taken to heart Elizabeth's strictures regarding his presumptuous, ungentle man-like behavior. Wickham is charming in public and agreeable. He has such “Happy manners which tend to make him friends, whether he is able to keep them is less certain” He cares greatly about what others think of him. He puts on pretenses to please whoever he is around. He is perceptive enough to pray on the feelings and pity of the one Bennet sister who would sympathize with him “Wickham was the happy man
towards whom every female eye was turned and Elizabeth was the happy female by whom he finally seated himself”. He is a good conversationalist “He makes the commonest, dullest, threadbare topic seem interesting”, He uses people for their money, wastes his own money, and preys on vulnerable women to satisfy his own desire for money, or other pleasures. He is shallow, vain, and selfish for he shifts from Elizabeth to Miss King in the blink of an eye as the latter inherits a sum of 10,000 pounds to her name. Underneath that socially amiable veneer, is a scoundrel who reveals to Elizabeth his own cooked version of his and Darcys conflict, telling all who would hear that Darcy had withheld his rightful claim to a living in the church, muddying Darcy’s honor in the wake of providing a martyred picture as he says “It gives me pain to speak ill of Darcy”, ironically, that is exactly what he is doing most diligently. He proves to be so good an actor that even the perceptive Elizabeth is duped as she tells Jane “There was truth in his looks” later she admits to “the impropriety of such communications to a stranger “ After Elizabeth refuses Darcy’s proposal the main twist of the plot occurs with the letter which confides the whole truth and “a faithful narrative” as he relates with precision and aura of truth his interference in bingley’s life and strives to defend himself from her accusations regarding Mr. Wickham ,who he quotes to be the son of a respectable man ,the late Stewart of Pemberly, an old friend to his own father who acting as wick ham’s god-father gave him the best of education at Cambridge ,all that money could buy ,but Darcy being his age fellow knew even then of his “vicious propensities—the want of principle which he was careful to guard from the knowledge of his best friend” .such that he was left “a legacy worth of one thousand pounds and a comfortable living”, it was wished that he join the church ,but later when he expressed his wish to study the law instead Darcy “wished than rather believed him to be sincere” so he resigned all claims to the living in favor of the sum of three thousand pounds , which he most certainly spent in leisure and when in debt asked again for the living he had relinquished ,Darcy refused .Wickham used his deceit and connections with Mrs. Younge to convince Georgiana Darcy to elope with him, Darcy’s timely appearance on the scene prevented Wickham to despoil an innocent for her sum of thirty pounds, when faced with the fact that he was not to have a penny of her legacy he withdraws his ardent avowals , leaving Georgiana in distress and confusion ,she was but fifteen at the time. Such was the history between both men which defined them as hero and villain of the novel. Austen uses a different mode of comparison to develop the characters of Darcy and Wickham. One useful paradigm against which readers can judge the confusion of Darcy and Wickham's conflict is the biblical story
of birthright and promises, “the narrative of Esau and Jacob” (Gen. 25.19-33.14). Just as Jacob, the younger son, has no real right to his father Isaac's main blessing, Wickham, the god-son, clearly has no legitimate claim to Pemberley and its purified shades. Wickham secures his godfather's approbation by hiding his “vicious propensities in disguising his true nature, the deceitful god-son's methods mirror those of Jacob who steals his elder sibling's birthright by cunning and deception. While Jacob fools Isaac by taking advantage of the old man's failing eyesight, Wickham succeeds in duping old Darcy's moral vision by masquerading as a man fit for the life of the church. Ironically, although Wickham is a “god-son,” he never repents from his conduct towards any of the Darcy’s; if he had succeeded in eloping with Georgiana Darcy her life would have been ruined. Another reason that the Esau-Jacob parallel works well to describe Darcy and Wickham arises from their diametrically opposed natures. Wickham appears all exterior smoothness and ease, charming everyone he talks to, while Darcy exudes a chilling hauteur that turns people away. This contrast between a smooth exterior manner and a rough one echoes the polarized physical descriptions of Jacob and Esau, one smooth-skinned and the other hairy. On the interior, as well, Wickham and Darcy could hardly be more different. Wickham has no principles; he spends his life gaming, simply skipping town when his debts get too pressing. Like Jacob, he described excels in interior environments, but in his case these are drawing and ballrooms instead of tents, and also like Jacob, he schemes with a corrupt mother figure, Georgiana's schoolmistress Mrs.Younge. Darcy, by contrast, behaves like Esau in adopting a forthright manner and supporting his father. Like Esau, the simple hunter, Darcy disdains the deceptive art of rhetoric. He is a man of action who can be “liberal and generous,” a bearer of “filial pride,” and “a very kind and careful guardian of his sister”. In the beginning it seems as if Wickham truly is the chosen one, the hero of the novel. Jacob charts his travels by the word of God, and because of his smoothness and his apparent kindness, Wickham also seems touched with divine favor, immediately pleasing everyone in Meryton and securing good fortune for himself in the town. Just as Jacob leaves the land of his father, moves into the land of Laban, and courts one of his daughters, Wickham moves into Hertfordshire, the home of Mr. Bennet, and presses his suit to his second eldest. Because of his wisdom in singling out the most intelligent and witty of the Bennet women, Wickham seems destined to prosper. Laban's family tricks Jacob into marrying a less desirable daughter before he is allowed to marry the true object of his affection, Wickham sabotages his own chances in Pride and Prejudice. Abandoning his expectations with Elizabeth, Wickham leads Lydia to the corrupt city with intentions of despoiling and discarding her there. At this juncture of the plot, Wickham's villainy seems all the worse for having been disguised for so long.
Altogether, Darcy's disinterestedness, his sincerity, and his reserve herald a new arbiter of masculine conduct. While Wickham proves unworthy in his reliance on false manners and manipulation, Darcy shows himself capable of new courtesy once he overcomes Elizabeth's justified challenge to his pride. Because of Darcy's characteristic taciturnity, Austen could not develop him primarily through use of dialogue. To supplement her portrayal, the conflicting models of manhood help to define his nature and give the reader a sense of the shifting standards for a gentlemanly behavior at the time. Although Darcy will never be a smooth-mannered man, Elizabeth has cured him of his selfish inclination and in the process has taught herself which “one has got all the goodness and the other all the appearance of it”. The conflicting nature of the relationship Darcy has with Wickham brings also to light the old, much used saying that “all that glitters is not gold” or “there lies much beneath the walnut shell”.
Conflict between Elizabeth and Caroline Bingley
The very first sentence of the novel shows this with the following sentence: ” It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife (Pride and Prejudice)” The irony of this statement is the universal validity with which assumptions are made in that upper-class society. It is assumed that there is nothing else for a man of high rank to want but a wife to complete his possessions. Along with his money, land, riches etc. she acts as nothing more but another piece of property, which was a common attitude in those days. Austen manages to make the attitude towards matrimony upheld by this upper class look rather ridiculous and incredible. It also plays a vital role in the relationship of Caroline and Elizabeth. These high-society women are well versed at putting others down and whimsically, and as they think wittily, insulting the characters of those who are of a lower class - Austen shows us how fickle this society is; being based on class and rank. The narrator exposes the vanities and its stupidity rather drastically. Buried in the fabric of “pride and prejudice“ , is the conflict between Caroline Bingley and Elizabeth Bennet. The coarse of the story reveals to us that one possesses a ferial voracity while the other a cool and smart intellect .it is believed that Caroline Bingley is a foil to Elizabeth which is correct, both differ in upbringing, commonsense, morals, perception of
people and life in general .One has designs on the “Haughty” Mr. Darcy and the other is prejudiced against him. Their difference could also be that one wishes for a marriage of convenience devoid of love and the other wishes “Nothing but love of the deepest kind would induce me into matrimony”. Born in the country and with their property entailed the miss Bennets cannot do much but make sure that at least one of them marries in wealth. ,If “pride and prejudice were a regular romantic novel then the beautiful Jane should have been Austen’s choice of heroine but instead she picks the second daughter ,Elizabeth Bennet ----witty, spontaneous and prejudiced ,to be what she calls “ as delightful a creature as yet to be seen in print”., she is the moving spirit of the novel much like Portia in “merchant of Venice” by Shakespeare .Her full personality constitutes a sound mind and heart ,she is neither a shrew nor sentimental and almost always sees people as they truly are except when prejudiced she is an excellent judge of character but later proves to be hasty in her judgments of others. Elizabeth is an ironic character in different ways as well. She is very aware of the things that are going on around her, which is probably a reason for her sarcasm and irony. She sees the flaws in people, including herself, and understands the nuances of situations and peoples' behaviors very acutely. She is, for example, quite aware of the inappropriateness of her mother's behavior, or her younger sister's. It can be imagined that this awareness makes her turn to sarcasm and irony, in order to handle the embarrassing situations created by their behavior without hurting the feelings of her family, or breaking the rules of conduct. She is neither Beautiful nor skilled at the pianoforte but still she outshines all other girls in Meryton. When the dreadful Mr. Darcy quotes her to be” Tolerable I suppose, but not handsome enough to tempt me” ,he begins to find her love of the ridiculous and the expression of her eyes enchanting as he says “the pleasure a pair of fine eyes can give in the face of a pretty woman” she gives us another insight into her character as she says “I hope I never ridicule what is wise or good, Follies and nonsense ,whims and inconsistencies, do divert me ---and I laugh at them whenever I can” The Bingleys enjoy a recent promotion to the realms of the upper-class society, with no blue blood between them but only the wealth earned through trade do they have the means to flaunt as the rich often do, still they cant wash off their way of thinking, the jealousies, the consciousness of status that comes with the position which is true for the misses Bingleys. Caroline Bingley ------conceited, opportunist and overwrought with jealousy, makes an appearance with Bingley and Darcy at the beginning of the novel, she leaves the impression of being a “Fine lady of a handsome fortune “, being quite the catch and educated at London and having the society of aristocratic families
probably makes her forget that “her own fortune was acquired through trade”. Social status and standing has the topmost priority in her list, so aiming above herself as usual she pursues Darcy as a credible and most convenient entrance into aristocracy. She begins to feel the first pangs of jealousy when Mr. Darcy praises Elizabeth’s “fine eyes” she jokes and congratulates him “you will have a fine motherin –law “ impertinent and vicious she recognizes in Elizabeth an arch rival for becoming the next mistress of Pemberly and inadvertently contributes to Darcy’s and Elizabeth’s courtship. In her attempt to degrade Elizabeth in the eyes of Darcy she comments on her tramp to Nether field to see her sister in the rain “did you see her petticoat six inches deep in mud, I’m quite sure”, later asking Darcy about his impression on her fine eyes is answered “on the contrary they were brightened by the exercise”. Fumed she goes on to say “she has uncle who lives in Cheap side , and is a lawyer of all things” .she accuses Elizabeth of having “ an abominable sort of conceited independence” but all her efforts fall to nothing in the end. She knows of Darcy’s partiality to Elizabeth and as a test asks Elizabeth to walk with her around the room which catches Darcy’s attention immediately and in their casual banter with Darcy she reveals her high opinion of him “he is a man without fault “ to which Elizabeth is incredulous and Darcy also denies the perfection of his conduct .Her want of delicacy is also shown when she attempts to degrade Elizabeth again at Pemberly “it was thought that the absence of one person would cause pangs –a Mr. Wickham”, she doesn’t even realize the distress she causes Georgiana at that time. She is often seen throughout the novel trying to mould her opinions even if false to the liking of Mr. Darcy ,knowing him to hate dancing she says of balls “it would be much rational if conversation instead of dancing made the order of the day” ,although she herself thrives at balls like a reigning queen. She dotes on Georgiana for hopes of becoming her sister one day and constantly is a nuisance to Darcy as well. She opposes her brothers marriage to Jane Bennet on the pretext that if Charles were not to marry Georgiana her prospect of becoming Mistress of Pemberly would dwindle as well, so she sacrifices her brothers love for her own material gain because she knows Darcy does not love her as Elizabeth mentions it to Jane after Bingley leaves never to return, “if Darcy showed half the regard Bingley has for you Jane , she would have ordered her wedding clothes by now”. Elizabeth knows of the scheming nature of miss Bingley and her friend Darcy who “congratulates himself from saving Bingley from imprudent marriage” and when confronted by Elizabeth admits “towards Bingley I have been kinder than towards myself”, although he later does remedy his grievous fault which could have ruined perhaps forever the happiness of two people who loved each other dearly ,Caroline is not compassionate enough to
accept it for she lives in a world where marriages of convenience are more frequent than of love. Her pursuit of Darcy comes to an end when she tries to blacken Elizabeth’s appearance to Darcy “She a beauty! I would as soon call her mother a wit”, to which he replies “Yes! But that was when I first saw her, for it is many months since I consider her one of the handsomest women of my acquaintance” In the end ,when Darcy marries Elizabeth despite their social differences , Caroline it must be presumed must have been annoyed but not shocked but still to keep up appearances she still “dotes on Georgiana and to Elizabeth civil in tone” for she like Lady Catherine must think their marriage a “ disgrace to the shades of Pemberly” ,but since she would have no choice and the lure of aristocratic society is too much for her to refuse to visit Pemberly ,hence , at least in her case there is no heart ache nor tantrums which would have occurred in the case of a serious attachment.
The Conflict between Elizabeth Bingley and Lady Catherine debourgh
During this Regency period the class system was a widely-accepted paradigm that consisted in that "the natural order of things" dictates that those born into wealth and name will remain that way and no opportunities would be given to others who might want to advance class-wise. The accepted idea was that this was the normthe rich remain rich and the poor remain poor. The only way you would get out of it is by a shot of luck or by marrying into money. However, the lack of money would only get you as good a candidate as you can afford- this was the preoccupation with the girls in Pride and Prejudice more than anything, and so was the object of discord between Lady Catherine and Elizabeth. Where as the conflict between Lady Catherine Debourgh and Elizabeth was that of belonging to two separate classes of society, one an aristocratic busy body, interferes in everyone’s affairs whether asked or not , she also has designs on her nephew Mr. Darcy for marrying her daughter a Miss Anne debourgh and of course the eventual union of the two estates of Pemberly and Rosings, a love less marriage so to say. While on the other hand, Elizabeth is a “pretty sort of a genteel young lady” who has caught the eye of her nephew Darcy and to whom he wishes to marry does not sit well
with the lady to whom the whole prospect of such a marriage is disgraceful as she eloquently puts it “Are the shades of Pemberly are to be thus polluted”. The first confrontation between Elizabeth and Lady Catherine occurs when the former comes on a visit to Kent to meet her friend Mrs.Charollte Collins , and are thus invited to Rosings to dinner ,Where only Elizabeth can observe “the stateliness of money without trepidation” unlike her companions .Lady Catherine she finds to be a ”tall , large woman, with strong marked features “.an aristocrat through and through , “her air not conciliating nor such to make her visitors to forget their rank” her address was such of “an authoritative tone”, Elizabeth was astonished to find her receiving Mr. Collin’s addresses “gratified by their excessive admiration” .Next she finds herself being interrogated thoroughly by her, all such questions as of her number of sisters ,the property being entailed to Mr. Collins and inquires of her taste in art and music and expresses deep neglect on part of her mother ,on finding she had no governess , she exclaims : “what no governess? Five daughters brought up at home without a governess, I never heard of such a thing”, same goes for her sisters of all being out in society while the elders are unmarried to which Elizabeth replies “but madam I think it would be rather hard on younger sisters not to have their share of society ,it would hardly encourage sisterly affection”, the impertinent answer is received with astonishment on the part of Lady Catherine debourgh , “Upon my word you give your opinion very decidedly for so young a person” When Mr. Darcy enters Kent to Elizabeth’s chagrin , and she finds herself once again at Rosings and upon discovery that she knows Darcy Lady Catherine once again commences her “impertinent questions” , talking of music she praises herself in the coarse if she had ever learnt and later comments “ I have told Mrs. Collins to practice in Mrs. Jenkinson’s room, she will be in nobodies way in that part of the house” and to Elizabeth this comment strikes as very impertinent and so does to Darcy who appears ashamed of his aunt’s inappropriate conduct. The Next and final Confrontation is when Lady Catherine visits Long bourn to force “obstinate , headstrong ,selfish girl” ,to confess “has my nephew made you an offer of marriage ? “ to which Elizabeth replies “your lady ship has declared it to be impossible”, to which she counters “you must have drawn him in with your art and allurements” which infuriates Elizabeth ,a slight on her character was the last straw ,”he is engaged to my daughter ,what are you
to say to that “,replies” only that if he were you would have no reason to suppose he will make an offer to me “.Lady Catherine talks of the unusual engagement of her nephew and daughter “While in their cradles ,we planned their union“ to this she adds of the difficulties she would face in becoming the next mistress of Pemberly ”censured ,slighted and despised” , she further calls her a “nobody “ ,and asks her “who is your mother? Your uncles? and the imprudent marriage of your sister” all are her objections to what she merit a hopeless match, Elizabeth tells her that she is not engaged to Darcy and Lady Catherine demands “and will you miss Bennet promise me never to enter into such an engagement? “, to this she refuses and says “he is a gentleman; and I’m a gentleman’s Daughter, we are equal” Lady Catherine leaves after saying: “I take no leave of you, Miss Bennet. I send no compliments to your mother. You deserve no such attention. I am most seriously displeased." How ironic is it that twice Lady Catherine unknowingly aids in encouraging the relationship of Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth. The first time occurs when Lady Catherine demands that Mr. Collins must marry. Lady Catherine's request starts a chain of events that leads Mr. Collins to marry Charlotte Lucas. Elizabeth then goes to visit the Collins' while Mr. Darcy is staying nearby with Lady Catherine. This proximity causes the two to meet and starts breaking down the figurative "wall" that has built up between them. However, the most important impact Lady Catherine has on the plot comes when she voices her disapproval of the possibility that Elizabeth might become married to Mr. Darcy. Her desire to break off any possible engagement between Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy instead forces Elizabeth to reconsider the idea of a relationship with Mr. Darcy and to admit that he might have obtained her affections. Lady Catherine's objections to Mr. Darcy about his relationship with Elizabeth actually encourage him to propose to Elizabeth a second time. He reasons when speaking to Elizabeth after they are engaged, "had you been absolutely, irrevocably decided against me, you would have acknowledged it to Lady Catherine, frankly and openly" says Darcy. While Lady Catherine does have a role in the plot of Pride and Prejudice, her primary function is to give us a better understanding of other characters in the novel. Lady Catherine's bout with Elizabeth over her relationship with Mr. Darcy is used to reinforce Elizabeth's character as strong and impertinent. Austen sees Elizabeth's nature in a positive light and sets her apart from the other women in the novel as a type of heroine, standing up to Lady Catherine by saying "I am only resolved to act in a manner which will... constitute my happiness, without reference to you". Another fascinating use of Lady Catherine is how
she is used to spotlight the personality change of Mr. Darcy. Lady Catherine and Mr. Darcy have similar amounts of wealth, which puts them fairly close in terms of rank. However, while Lady Catherine disapproves of Elizabeth's "obstinate, headstrong" nature, Mr. Darcy relishes Elizabeth's character. Mr. Darcy's differing opinion from Lady Catherine, despite their common rank, helps establish his divergence from the social norm. The juxtaposition of the two characters highlights Mr. Darcy's change from prideful and conceited, which characterizes Lady Catherine, to not being "selfish and overbearing". A minor use of Lady Catherine is to help establish the character of Mrs. Gardiner as compassionate and understanding, as they are both aunts. Lady Catherine's interaction with her nephew, Mr. Darcy, can be clearly identified in her antiquated insistence upon an arranged marriage between Mr. Darcy and Miss Debourgh. This relationship is contrasted with that between Mrs. Gardiner and her niece, Elizabeth. Mrs. Gardiner simply offers suggestions to Elizabeth, such as recommending the "understanding and opinions" of Mr. Darcy. The difference in the way the two aunts offer opinions to their relatives makes the caring and nurturing nature of Mrs. Gardiner apparent to the reader. In a historical perspective, through the character of Lady Catherine, Jane Austen give the reader an image of the roles of women in early 19th century England. Lady Catherine's suggestions such as "young women should always be properly guarded and attended," characterize how women were regarded as objects to be won and prize. However, Jane Austen subsequently suggests that this image is flawed. Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth rebel against Lady Catherine's mores by valuing a woman's ability to be “frank... and open...”. As portrayed , Austen also uses Lady Catherine to put forth her more prominent theme, suggesting that even with limitless wealth and higher rank, one is not superior to those less fortunate. In fact, she implies that true nobility can be found among the working class, such as in the case of Mrs. Gardiner , Jane Austen uses Lady Catherine as a means of criticizing the social status of young women during early 19th century England, but more importantly, as a way of debunking rank as an indicator of character. Austen thus concludes that wealth and rank as a means of ordering society and determining one's character is overvalued and flawed.
Pride and Prejudice is written as a gentle Horacian satire. The main object of Austen’s satire in the novel is the mercenary and the ignorance of the people, a common criticism of the 18th century. The point of view in Pride and Prejudice is limited omniscient; the story is told through Elizabeth, but not in first person. As a result, the mood of the novel lacks dramatic emotions. The atmosphere is intellectual and
cold; there are little descriptions of the setting. The main actions of the novel are the interactions between opinions, ideas, and attitudes, which weaves and advances the plot of the novel. The emotions in the novel are to be perceived beneath the surface of the story and are not to be expressed to the readers directly. Austen’s power of subtle discrimination and shrewd perceptiveness is revealed in Pride and Prejudice he marriage between Darcy and Elizabeth reveals the characteristics that constitute a successful marriage. One of these characteristics is that the feeling cannot be brought on by appearances, and must gradually develop between the two people as they get to know one another. In the beginning, Elizabeth and Darcy were distant from each other because of their prejudice. The series of events which they both experienced gave them the opportunity to understand one another and the time to reconcile their feelings for each other. Thus, their mutual understanding is the foundation of their relationship and will lead them to a peaceful and lasting marriage. This relationship between Elizabeth and Darcy reveals the importance of getting to know one’s partner before marrying. In Pride and Prejudice, Austen has denounced the elements of marriage and society that she found distasteful. These are the conclusions of her observation of the people in her world; she has contrasted the good and the bad, the deceitful and the honest, the jealous and the sincere through contrasts of irony and humor. However in her writing, Jane has also reflected her own enjoyment in life among these people with and without their faults.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.