In Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, how can one analyse the second proposal of marrige between Darcy and Elizabeth?

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Tamara K. H. eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, the scene in which Darcy proposes to Elizabeth for the second time plays out in the exact opposite way from the first proposal scene. Instead of Darcy beginning this conversation, Elizabeth starts it by wholeheartedly thanking him for rescuing her sister. Instead of calling Darcy selfish, as she does in the first scene, she calls herself selfish and thanks him for his "unexampled kindness"; and instead of referring to his pride, she refers to his "generous compassion."

Another great contrast between this scene and the second is that Austen does not give us the exact words the couple exchanges as they declare their mutual feelings for each other. After Elizabeth thanks him, Darcy declares that he knows her to be too nice and genuine a person to say what is not true when he says, "You are too generous to trifle with me." After that, he asks her to say whether or not she still dislikes or disproves of him, or if her feelings have changed.

Finally, Austen relays through narrative the exchange of feelings and their mutual happiness. Austen's choice of using narrative instead of dialogue gives the reader the chance to focus on Darcy's facial expression as he declares his "violent" passion for Elizabeth.

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Pride and Prejudice

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