How does the relationship between Darcy and Elizabeth change over the course of Pride and Prejudice?

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice uses a plot of witty quarreling lovers first developed by Skakespeare in the characters Benedick and Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing (there are no classical precedents for this type of plot). The initial reactions of both charaters to each other are a combination of distaste and interest. Darcy initially objects to Elizabeth's parentage and social class, but is intrigued by her wit, while Elizabeth dislikes what she sees as Darcy's snobbery and disagreeableness.

Darcy finally admits his attraction for Elizabeth and proposes to her. She rejects the proposal because her pride rebels at the manner in which he views her social class and what appears condecension. In response to this, two things happen. Darcy reforms his behaviour and Elizabeth begins to be aware that her prejudices against him blinded her to his real moral virtues.

At the end of the novel, they actually discuss the ways in which they misunderstood each other initially and what motivated the changes of their sentiments.

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