Illustration of Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy with neutral expressions on their faces

Pride and Prejudice

by Jane Austen

Start Free Trial

What were Elizabeth's initial impressions of Darcy and why did they change?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

At the dance where she first meets Mr. Darcy, Elizabeth is sitting down because there are not enough male partners. She overhears Bingley urging Darcy to ask her to dance. Darcy says that Elizabeth is not pretty enough to tempt him. Elizabeth, naturally, is offended and thinks he is a arrogant jerk. She develops a dislike for him based on this first impression. She is determined from then on not to flatter the conceited man in any way. Of course, when she does not kowtow to him, he, naturally, falls in love with her. She then gets furious with him when she thinks he has broken up Jane and Bingley.

Elizabeth's view changes as she realizes that he is not the creep she had thought he was. He explains his reasons for thinking Jane and Bingley were not suited for one another (he thinks Jane does not really care much for Bingley), and he proves himself a good man when he helps bail Lydia out of her compromised situation with Wickham. Elizabeth also visits his estate, Pemberley, and realizes that it would be something to be mistress of such a place.

Approved by eNotes Editorial
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Elizabeth first thought that Mr. Darcy was a proud, disagreeable man and she could not figure out why he would be friends with Mr. Bingley who is the exact opposite of that.  She also thought he was a snob.

While he is always a bit of a proud man, she eventually comes to see his kindness and his nobility through his actions towards his sister, towards her sisters (Jane and Lydia) as well as the way he comes to not only love her, but to respect her and see her as an equal as well.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial