In 'Pride and Prejudice', how do the principles indicated in the title underlie the construction of character?In 'Pride and Prejudice', how do the principles indicated in the title underlie the...
In 'Pride and Prejudice', how do the principles indicated in the title underlie the construction of character?
The central characters in this novel suffer from these principles, from assumptions that are based upon prejudice to biases that result from pride. The characters are constructed by Austen to represent either one or the other of these principles, though it should be said that they all share a bit of both.
First, Mr. Darcy enters the meeting hall in his first public appearance in Meryton full of haughty disdain. "He was discovered to be proud; to be above his company, and above being pleased." This characterization of him is underlined in the coversation between himself and Bingley. Bingley encourages him to take a partner, but Darcy refuses, saying, "there is not another woman in the room whom it would not be a punishment to me to stand up with." He goes on to insult Elizabeth Bennet, insisting that she is beneath him.
Elizabeth is the representation of prejudice. The conceit shown by Darcy, coupled with his insult, causes her to distrust and disavow him without satisfactory cause. She announces, "I believe, ma'am, I may safely promise you never to dance with him." Her prejudice towards Darcy increases because of her prejudice in favor of Wickham. Pleased with Wickham's "happy manners", Elizabeth is quite to believe his story about Darcy's bad behavior, further cementing her prejudice for many months, until the proposal and the letter challenges both characters to change.
This should be moved at this point to the discussion board, but let me address what you are asking here. The other characters:
Mrs. Bennet is quite prejudiced. She is prejudiced towards Mr. Bingley because of his money and good manners. She is prejudiced against Mr. Darcy because of his "properness" and pride.
Miss Bingley is also prejudiced. She looks down her nose at the people of Meryton, judging them for their lower incomes and their country "ways". She is prejudiced against Elizabeth because she sees that Darcy admires her.
Mr. Collins well represents pride. His pride over his appointment to the parsonage at Huntsford has made his consider himself as superior to his cousins; thus, he is astonished at Elizabeth's refusal of him.