In Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, what was Elizabeth's reaction to Mr. Darcy's proposal?

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When Darcy proposes for the first time, he does so in such an arrogant and insulting way that Elizabeth is furious. Her response to him is essentially that she wouldn't marry him if were the last man on earth.

He first insults her by saying he, the great Darcy, is...

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When Darcy proposes for the first time, he does so in such an arrogant and insulting way that Elizabeth is furious. Her response to him is essentially that she wouldn't marry him if were the last man on earth.

He first insults her by saying he, the great Darcy, is willing to take her on despite all the ways he is better than her and her family:

His sense of her inferiority—of its being a degradation—of the family obstacles which had always opposed to inclination, were dwelt on with a warmth . . .

We learn that any compassion Elizabeth might have felt at saying no to him is lost in anger at his words. Her anger raises to a pitch of fury when he admits he did what he could to separate Jane and Bingley:

"I have no wish of denying that I did everything in my power to separate my friend from your sister, or that I rejoice in my success. Towards him I have been kinder than towards myself."

Elizabeth also dwells on Darcy's treatment of Wickham and on her observations of his arrogance from the first time she laid eyes on him. She says:

"I had not known you a month before I felt that you were the last man in the world whom I could ever be prevailed on to marry."

Of course, her feelings will change, and by the second time he proposes, she is more than happy to say yes to him.

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Mr. Darcy proposed to Elizabeth Bennet twice in Pride and Prejudice. The first time he proposes (chapter 34), Elizabeth is "astonished beyond expression." She was also angry that he said "will,...character..., and reason" told him to not propose to her. Moreover--having just heard that Darcy was the reason Bingley had decided to cease showing interest in Jane--Elizabeth could not imagine marrying the man who had been the cause of her sister's unhappiness. Thus, she rejects his proposal.

By Darcy's second proposal (chapter 58), Elizabeth has undergone a change of heart. Elizabeth puts away her prejudice against Darcy and views him as the honorable man he truly is beneath his seemingly-prideful exterior. This time, she expresses embarrassment at the excess of love Darcy seems to have for her (as well as her previous prejudice). This time, she accepts his proposal.

 

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