The Meaning Of Pride In Jane Austen's Pride And Prejudice

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The title of the novel may not provide an instant clue to the meaning of the text, but it does indicate at least one theme in fairly ambiguous terms, offering an indication to the text’s chief concerns as well as a useful steering-point for a study of them. The title should not be misread to mean that Jane Austen is dealing with two entities called ‘pride’ and ‘prejudice’, which are independent of each other and exist separately in the personalities and behaviour of different characters. It would for example be too simplistic to assume that Darcy embodies pride and Elizabeth, prejudice. It soon becomes clear from the text that prejudice is largely considered as a consequence of pride reflected in the attitudes and behaviour of both the persons who represent pride and of those who react to it. Pride shows itself in weaknesses – pomposity, stupidity, snobbery or eccentricities - which may make the characters behaviour, look funny or ridiculous. It may also produce a sense of frivolity which makes it difficult for a character like Lydia to…show more content…
Thus the distinction between the vanity of Mr. Collins and that of Sir William Lucas or the vanity of Lady Catherine de Bourgh and that of Mrs. Bennet becomes differentiated because of the presence or absence of other qualities. In order to achieve a sharper focus on pride, certain characters are made to represent a quality opposite to it, so that they can be used for comparison and contrast. So while Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet represent different variants of pride, Bingley and Jane stand for modesty and candour, and the presence of the latter pair help us in understanding the full meaning of pride in case of the former, between whom the misunderstandings and prejudices delay the development of a relationship. The achievement of happiness in love, therefore, becomes contingent upon the development of a proper understanding of weakness originating in
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