Discuss the claim that Elizabeth's prejudice stems from pride and Darcy's pride from prejudice.

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Lori Steinbach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Each of them suffers from both pride and prejudice, of course.  Elizabeth's pride is not necessarily just a consequence of her position in life, but that's certainly part of why she is so defensive about money and class.  Her prejudice shows from the very beginning--and it's not just directed at Mr. Darcy.  She has no more time for her mother's and sisters' empty-headed foolishness than she does for her pretentious rich neighbors.

Darcy's prejudice is not necessarily against those who lack wealth and social position--it's against a certain lack of class (the other kind of class) often, in his experience, found among the country poor.  We understand the source of his feelings as Wickham's consistent abuse of their relationship (using Darcy for his money or position or both) is revealed throughout the course of the story.

Certainly there is pride and there is prejudice. Clearly, though, there is also misunderstanding and hasty misjudgments.  And both of them are guilty.

lmetcalf eNotes educator| Certified Educator

What makes Pride and Predjudice such a rich book is that all of what is said in the above posts is true -- it is not as simple as one quality as shown in each character.  The issues of pride and prejudice are completely intermingled, especially in this novel.  While the plot line of the novel may seem a bit "soap opera-ish" (my students' word) the thematic point that Austen is making is much more complex and interesting than just a who marries whom kind of story.  It is that cleverness and complexity that let this novel stand the test of time.

rlgreen | Student

Elizabeth takes a disliking to Darcy from the start because he considers himself "above" the rural folk he has to associate with.  She believes him incapable of noble feeling and is ready to accept Wickham's story of how Darcy ill-treated him.  Therefore, because Darcy stung her pride, she pre-judges everything he does, sees his actions through a desire to see the worst in him.  Darcy is prejudges the country bumpkins he finds at the party.  He assumes that no good thing can come from such unsophisticated bumpkins.  He has to hold himself above them, hold on to his pride  because that's the only way to maintain his prejudgement.

benjigator | Student


Elizabeth see Mr Darcy as unsociable when they first meet him.  He was clearly rude to her and her family. Was this prideful or hurt feelings? She does hold a grudge against him and sees him through this perspective till she reads the letter he writes her to defend the charges she laid at his feet.

"Mr. Darcy danced only once with Mrs. Hurst and once with Miss Bingley, declined being introduced to any other lady, and spent the rest of the evening in walking about the room, speaking occasionally to one of his own party. His character was decided. He was the proudest, most disagreeable man in the world, and every body hoped that he would never come there again. Amongst the most violent against him was Mrs. Bennet, whose dislike of his general behaviour was sharpened into particular resentment, by his having slighted one of her daughters."

Even in Darcy's initial request for Elizabeth's hand he is rude and demeaning. He continues to throw salt into the intial wound and this time it includes Bingley's rejection of her sister Jane. Darcy is clearly rude in both of these situations but defends his actions with class and rank.

At first it seems that the Pride and Prejudice is the fault of Darcy alone. As Elizabeth's heart begins to soften she realizes that she too was Proud and Prejudiced about Darcy.


auli | Student

1. analyse elizabeth's character...

when she first meets darcy she gets offended by his remark about her:"she is tolerable,but not handsome enough to tempt me"...though she laughs it off,yet it rankles in her mind. and afterwards,her opinions,judgments(or rather misjudgments) are formed on the premise created at meryton assembly. furthermore,she is so stubbornly obsessed with her prejudice against darcy that she blindly believes wickham's sneering accounts of darcy's imagined misdemeanours. elizabeth's pride on her analysing intricate characters easily turns wrong in darcy's case. her prejudice against darcy comes directly from darcy's attitude,but ironically,she is passively guided by her pride on herself...

2. analyse darcy's character...

darcy is a high-ranked aristocrat of the then london society. he has come to the petty,small-towned longbourne society. immediately when he sets his foot in the meryton assembly,he is disgusted to see the humble country folk. he has always been within the aristocrats. thus his prejudice against this small-town people begin. coupled with this is the general vulgarity and cheapness of the country folk that leads to hos prejudice.

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Pride and Prejudice

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