What first impressions do the main characters have of each other in Pride and Prejudice?

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pmiranda2857 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

First impressions are what determine the initial course of the relationship between Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy.  It is his first impression of her family that puts Darcy in such great distress, because he finds her incredibly attractive and interesting, but must rule her out as a possible wife because her family is ill-mannered.

Elizabeth's first impressions of Mr. Darcy, that he thinks very highly of himself and very little of others, are also based on first impressions.  When she learns about his real personality, her attitude changes dramatically.

For example, Darcy convinces Bingley to abandon his courtship of Jane, because, Darcy perceives, through his first impressions of Jane, that she does not really care for his friend, so Bingley stops calling on Jane. When Elizabeth finds out about this, she is highly offended by Darcy's audacity in undermining her sister's happiness.

Mr. Wickham is another example of a mistaken first impression.  On the surface, at first glance, he appears to be a credible, honorable man, the Bennett girls find him very attractive.   Their impressions are based on a lie that Wickham tells about his relationship with Darcy, which in turn fuels Elizabeth's belief that Darcy is a cold, indifferent, snob.

Mr. Bennett, based on first impressions,  thinks that Darcy is a superior, selfish, heartless man who does not deserve his loving daughter, Elizabeth.  Mrs. Bennett thinks he is a disagreeable man, at first.

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Pride and Prejudice

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