Jane Austen was the author of the famous novel Pride and Prejudice. Austen was born in December 1775 in the village of Steventon in Hampshire and died in 1817. Through the years that she was alive Austen wrote 6 novels, one of which was the famous novel, Pride and Prejudice. Austen was part of a fairly large family; she was the second daughter and seventh child in a close-knit family of eight. This great novel has many similarities to Austen’s actual life, for example the Bennett’s were a large close-knit family and as was she.
In this essay I will be focusing on the relationship between, Elizabeth and Darcy and how his attitude changes towards several characters. Darcy’s personality in particular changes drastically throughout the play, he begins very stubborn and un-cooperative, as the story proceeds his attitude changes as he warms towards one character in particular, Elizabeth Bennet. Chapters 3&4 Mr Darcy is a very high class character and doesn’t hesitate to show his authority in society.
When he is first introduced to the reader he seems very distant and has no attempt to communicate with lower class people, to me Darcy seems to see the other classes to be beneath him, and if he were to acknowledge them it would show a sign of weakness. When Darcy attends the Meryton Ball, in chapter 3, Mr Bingley suggests he dance with Lizzy, but he refuses, “She is tolerable; but not handsome enough to tempt me. ” He does so with Elizabeth listening, and establishes a reputation among the entire community to have pride and bad manners.
This quote shows that he looks down on other types of classes and states how he perceives other characters, in the novel. The initial impression would be an insult towards Lizzy, and may seem to be thought that he could do better. Austen mentions Darcy paying a compliment towards Miss Bennet and acknowledges how pretty she was but ending with a criticism saying she smiled too much. This shows a nice side of Darcy and also may show to a reader that you don’t judge a book by its cover, although he comes across as a very arrogant stubborn man he can be nice, this also may show that he says what he thinks.
At the end of the ball, Darcy’s attitude towards others stayed the same; I think that Darcy says how he perceives others like he does because that’s how he has been talking for so long and may think that if he changes how he talks then others would think less of him. He stated that he had seen a “collection of people in whom there was little beauty and no fashion, for none of whom he had felt the smallest interest, and from none received either attention or pleasure. ” Bingley wouldn’t seem like the sort of character that Darcy would associate himself with, due to the continuous happiness and niceness that Bingley shows everyone.
Darcy and Bingley don’t seem like the sort of classes of people that would get along with one other. For Darcy to become a more attractive character he should not take women for granted and pay more compliments rather than insults towards everyone and keep his opinions to himself, by doing so he is representing typical 19th century gentleman. The turning point in the novel is when Darcy Proposes to Elizabeth and she abruptly refuses, the aftermath of his proposal allows Lizzy to see him in a different light thus changing various perceptions towards Darcy.
Austen is criticising 19th century society here by showing the negative attitudes of the higher classes toward the lower classes. Chapters 58&59 Mr Darcy has undergone a drastic change in personality since chapters 3 and 4, he is now beginning to respect the Bennet’s whereas before he was too proud to talk to them, although he still may come over as vulgar, I believe that he is no longer meaning to be rude but the shy part of his personality is starting to come through. I believe his change in personality is due to his proposal towards Lizzy, or more so due to the rejection.
I believe that after receiving that rejection he no longer thinks highly of himself and begins to have more respect for Lizzy and her family. He begins to understand that wealth doesn’t get you everything and to me he tries harder to impress Lizzy, due to his great attraction towards her; which is seen in his movement from his descriptions in the novel. When Mr Wickham entered the picture he made it clear to Darcy that he wanted Lizzy to himself and told her a lie about Darcy which turned Lizzy against him even more.
When Darcy was confronted by Lizzy he wrote her a letter explaining the real truth, and the liar turned out to be Wickham, when reading the letter she began to see a new Darcy and warmed towards him and this is when Lizzy changes her attitude towards Darcy. As Darcy changes his attitude he becomes a more attractive 19th century gentleman, he is no longer acting as a rude man, he is trying to be liked by lower classes which the old Darcy would see as a sign of weakness.
For example Darcy is attempting to talk to lower classes whereas before, at the ball, he was too proud to associate himself with any other classes including his own, I believe this is because he has shown his true feeling’s and thinks the only way Elizabeth would fall in love is if he would stop being arrogant to the people she loves; for example he puts away his pride and expresses his feelings for Lizzy in chapter 34, “In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed.
You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you. As you read on you begin to warm towards Darcy as you start to feel sorry for him, even though he treated others exactly how is being treated now you see a likeness in his personality, he tries harder, for example Darcy saved Lydia’s name, he went to London to try and find Mr Wickham and Lydia, who were in hiding and paid off all of Wickham’s large amounts of gambolling debt and in return Wickham was to get married to Lydia, this would be saving Lydia’s name as there wouldn’t be any shame over the Bennet family.
This shows immediately that Darcy has a nice side to him, Lizzy thanks him for his generosity and Darcy replies that he did so only because Lydia is her sister and states that his feelings for her have not changed. She responds in a different manner, and says that her feelings have changed towards him and that she is now willing to marry; this is shown to a reader in chapter 58, “You are too generous to trifle with me.
If your feelings are still what they were last April, tell me so at once. My affections and wishes are unchanged, but one word from you will silence me on this subject forever. “I believe that Lizzy always liked Mr Darcy but when different events happened in the novel, her views changed and she believed what she heard though I don’t think at any point in the novel that her perceptions of him changed as what she said didn’t sound too convincing.
However Mrs Bennett’s perceptions change towards Mr Darcy, she did not like him as long as none of her daughters were dating him but as soon as Lizzy was engaged she changed her views due to his large income, “Darcy’s comments and refusal to dance with anyone not rich and well bred. ” I also think that Jane’s perceptions of Darcy changed. She did not like it when Darcy and Lizzy liked one another but when she saw how much Lizzy was happy around him, and how Darcy had changed, she warmed to the idea.
Jane suggests that Darcy no longer cares about the Bennet sisters’ low social status. ” And that “Darcy has overcome this important obstacle at least to some; he now does nothing to dissuade his friend from tying himself to a disreputable family. ” Overall Darcy has two personalities in this novel, one of which was at the beginning of the novel where he was arrogant and rude towards other classes, his other personality would be a nicer part of him which had no particular chapter but gradually changed throughout the novel.
He warmed towards characters as he realised that he liked Lizzy who was in a lower class than him, he began to notice that he isn’t so perfect when Lizzy rejects his proposal, this was one of the key events. Also another key event is when the rumour of what Darcy had supposedly done to Wickham in the past was spread about the towns; this is when the characters perceptions increased their dislike towards him.
I think that Austen created a character like Darcy to show the changes in status, also to show that a rich wealthy man like himself cannot get everything he wants due to his attitude. When realising this he changes his attitude towards others which is made clear to the reader, Darcy represents a typical 19th century gentleman and I think that Austen was trying to show that to be able to marry a woman you have to earn your right, as your wealth cannot get you everywhere.