Pride and Prejudice Questions and Answers
by Jane Austen

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How is Elizabeth's stay at Netherfield, and how is Mr. Bingley different from the rest of the Netherfield party in Pride and Prejudice?

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Elizabeth's stay at Netherfield while Jane has a serious fever is, on the one hand, antagonistic, while, on the other hand, comforting. When we consider how Elizabeth takes care of Jane while she is ill, we see that her stay at Netherfield is a very comforting one. Contrastingly, when we think of the repartee exchanged in the common social parlour after Elizabeth has seen to Jane's health and comfort--even bundling her up so she might sit downstairs by the fire with Bingley (neatly getting both Jane and Bingley out of Elizabeth's and Darcy's way while advancing Jane's romance)--we see that her stay is antagonistic as Miss Bingley agitates against Elizabeth's presence and while Elizabeth agitates against Darcy's deportment and manners. Miss Bingley goes to great lengths to set Darcy's sister up as practically engaged to Bingley and to tempt Darcy to look on herself with favor. Both Miss Bingley's ploys fail, but, while at Netherfield, Miss Bingely thus acts the antagonist toward Elizabeth. Elizabeth, on the other hand, is focused on being antagonistic toward Mr. Darcy and drawing out of him remarks that, in her eyes, condemn him for the arrogant, proud man that, according her, he is.

"That is a failing indeed!" cried Elizabeth. "Implacable resentment is a shade in a character. But you have chosen your fault well. I really cannot laugh at it. You are safe from me."

Mr. Bingley is different from the others at Netherfield because his rise in wealth has not soured him into vanity and arrogance and pride, like it has his sister, Miss Bingley. He has remained simple-hearted, ready to embrace others as equals and accept their good will. Accordingly, he retains the ability to see past hardened exteriors, like Darcy's hardened by pride and privilege, and to see the true inner value of people. In this regard, Bingley is very much like Jane in that both are willing to believe good of others and embrace strangers and make them friends, as Bingley demonstrated at the Meryton Assembly ball.

Mr. Bingley had soon made himself acquainted with all the principal people in the room; he was lively and unreserved, danced every dance, was angry that the ball closed so early, and talked of giving one himself at Netherfield. Such amiable qualities must speak for themselves. What a contrast between him and his friend!

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