Page
  1. 1
    1
  2. 2
    2
  3. 3
    3
  4. 4
    4
  5. 5
    5
  • Level: GCSE
  • Subject: English
  • Essay length: 2177 words

Discuss the significance of the title, 'Pride and Prejudice'.

Extracts from this essay...

Introduction

Discuss the significance of the title, 'Pride and Prejudice' The majority of the characters in Jane Austen's novel, 'Pride and Prejudice' suffer from pride or prejudice in certain ways. Each character, however, experiences these traits in diverse situations and each handle them in numerous ways. They exhibit these traits (or lack of them in some cases) by conducting their behaviour differently. I will explore these traits in many of the characters and present them in my essay, on a character-by-character basis making links throughout. I considered Mrs Bennet an extremely good starting point for my essay. She is a woman of 'mean understanding, little information and uncertain temper' (Chapter1, page7). She immediately sets a prejudice against Darcy because of his 'pride' from the very first meeting of him, 'he is such a disagreeable man that it would be quite a misfortune to be liked by him.' and she never lets this image of him go until it is secured that Elizabeth will marry him. In Chapter 59 Mrs Bennet apologises to Elizabeth for leaving her to walk alone with Darcy, however, after she learns that Elizabeth has accepted him, it is but a moment for her to change her mind and prejudice about the man she has hitherto found so disagreeable, 'What pin-money, what jewels, what carriages you will have!'

Middle

Mr Collins is the outstanding grotesque of Pride and Prejudice and, suitably, he echoes the title of the novel at every turn of speech and behaviour. Further emphasis on Mr Collins's conceit and shallowness of nature is proved in Chapter 15, he is expressed as a, 'mixture of pride and obsequiousness, self-importance and humility.' And, of course, by Lady Catherine's wishes one of the main reasons as to the visit to Longbourne was to find himself a wife, 'Mr Collins had only to change from Jane to Elizabeth and it was soon done- done while Mrs Bennet was stirring the fire.' Additionally, in Chapter 19, Mr Collins's proposal to Elizabeth, 'in form' is masterly in its pomposity, self-conceit, condescension and crawling subjection to Lady Catherine. Mr Collins blindly attributes Elizabeth's reaction to the 'usual practice of elegant females' His arrogance will not let him allow a refusal. There is no puncturing the caricature of this man; his image of himself is never ruined! My final criticism of Mr Collins comes in Chapter 48. He writes a letter of 'sympathy' about Lydia's elopement to Mr Bennet. It is a letter written by a Christian clergyman which reflects a totally unchristian attitude, and the quote, 'the death of your daughter would have been a blessing in comparison to this,' is the key to Mr Collins's character, he must only be associated with what is highly respectable.

Conclusion

Elizabeth's pride and prejudice control the way she handles Darcy's marriage proposal. Her pride forbids her to accept after he has displayed how he thinks she is beneath him, her prejudice playing an important role due to the Wickham affair. In the following chapter Elizabeth receives Darcy's letter. Although she disbelieves Darcy on the subject of Jane, she is forced to consider carefully the statement which relates to Wickham. Her second reading, Wickham's own indiscretion in talking so much to her, the knowledge that Darcy's criticism of her family are justified, force her to see how clearly prejudiced she has been. She also appreciates that her own family has brought about Jane's unhappiness. By far the most moving part of Chapter 50 is Elizabeth's awakening recognition of her family's lack of merit and of Darcy's particular marks of worth. It leads her to be humbled and grieved. And as Darcy was stripped of his pride and prejudice in Chapter 58, Elizabeth is likewise, 'all her former prejudices had been removed.' In conclusion, I note that Jane Austen has used the two main characters to explain the relevance of the title. Jane Austen, by the end of the novel, has achieved the perfect marriage state, Elizabeth and Darcy complement each other entirely now that each has overcome the strength of first impressions and their own pride and prejudice.

The above preview is unformatted text

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • Over 150,000 essays available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Over 180,000 student essays
  • Every subject and level covered
  • Thousands of essays marked by teachers

Related GCSE Jane Austen

  1. Discuss the Significance of Letters in 'Pride and Prejudice'.

    Darcy's letter shows his true character, which is different from what the reader previously felt about him. His emotions in the letter are conveyed as heart felt and strong. This letter can be considered the turning point of the novel and expresses the theme.

  2. Sense and Sensibility. The title of the book, and most of its tone, ...

    This is typical for the book, even in dialogue. Reading that, you may notice that some of the wording and punctuation feels just a little odd. Austen uses some prepostions and some word structure differently than feels "natural" today. But you may also notice that it has a certain headlong

  1. What effect do pride and prejudice have on Darcy and Elizabeth's relationship and how ...

    Bingley seems to find Jane Bennet extremely attractive; however Darcy makes a comment about Elizabeth by saying, "She is tolerable; but not handsome enough to tempt me." This comment mortifies Elizabeth's pride because this comment degrades her as being unattractive.

  2. Compare and contrast the writers presentations of Beverly (Mike Leigh's Abigail's Party) and Mrs. ...

    "To the audience Beverly is unbearable and Leigh presents that Laurence has lived with this tortuous women and he could only take so much.

  1. Pride and Prejudice

    Mr Bennet favours his two eldest daughters, Elizabeth and Jane. He is fonder of them as they seem to be more mature, mindful and sensible compared to his other daughters; Kitty, Mary and Lydia. Mrs Bennet on the other hand, favours her younger daughters as they seem to have more in common with her.

  2. Independant Essay - Emma

    The particular use of the word "resign" reminds us of the phrase "resigned herself to defeat". This again makes the reader able to relate to Emma much more, as if it is seen that she is not perfect readers will like her (as a character and a person)

  1. Pride and Prejudice

    The Bennet family is the unhappy marriage of Mr and Mrs Bennet, the quote in chapter 20 informs the reader about this "...from this day you must be a stranger to one of your parents. Your mother will never see you again if you do not marry Mr Collins, and I will never see you again if you do?

  2. An analytical commentary on Pride and Prejudice (emphasis: Chapter VI, pp. 21-23)

    Utilitarian notions of reciprocity often drove even intra-class relationships of Austen's time, so in inter-class relationships where a large disparity of status was existent, the reciprocation would often be heavily biased. The practical ramification of this is that for a Bennet - of low socio-economic standing - to associate with

  • Over 180,000 essays
    written by students
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to write
    your own great essays

Marked by a teacher

This essay has been marked by one of our great teachers. You can read the full teachers notes when you download the essay.

Peer reviewed

This essay has been reviewed by one of our specialist student essay reviewing squad. Read the full review on the essay page.

Peer reviewed

This essay has been reviewed by one of our specialist student essay reviewing squad. Read the full review under the essay preview on this page.