What is the importance of the letter that Darcy sends to Elizabeth in Pride and Prejudice?

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Darcy's letter to Elizabeth is extremely important in terms of both conflict and characterization in the novel.  Darcy's letter, much in the way that he intended to explain himself to Elizabeth, also provides much explanation to the reader.  Through Darcy's eyes, the reader sees Wickham's true colors for the first time.  The reader learns a completely different side to the story that Wickham first presented to Elizabeth at Longbourne.  Instead, Darcy's portrayal of Wickham shows the man to be both manipulative and immoral.  Moreover, Darcy gives voice to his reasons for separating Bingley from Jane, feeling that her reserve was due to lack of feelings for his friend.  Upon reflection, Elizabeth does begin to alter her opinion of Mr. Darcy after having read his letter, which ultimately does aid in their reconciliation.

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