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Why Is Mr Darcy a suitable partner for Elizabeth in "Pride and Prejudice"?

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Introduction

Why Is Mr Darcy a suitable partner for Elizabeth in "Pride and Prejudice"? Jane Austen makes it clear to the reader of Pride and Prejudice that, from her perspective, people often married for incorrect reasons. Jane Austen disregards factors such as wealth, looks, or how passionate a person is as being overriding issues in terms of suitability for marriage. In place of these superficial attributes, she puts the emphasis on moral characteristics and mutual love as being the basis for suitable marriage. By the time Darcy proposes to Elizabeth the second time, they share a mutual love based on morals - as opposed to material values such as wealth. Darcy and Elizabeth also integrate well in terms of character. They both have strong, considerate personalities. They are also shown to be two of the most intelligent people in Pride and Prejudice. This high level of intelligence that they share is often shown by the rhetoric that they use, especially when talking to each other. This combination of a mutual attraction based on morals, and compatible personalities would represent Jane Austen's version of an ideal basis for marriage. Lydia and Kitty, the sisters of Elizabeth, are examples of people who base their concepts of a good relationship purely on looks and money. ...read more.

Middle

towards Mr Bingley. Mr Darcy is explaining that he believes Jane did not share the love for Mr Bingley, which he had for her. This shows how Darcy, in consideration for Bingley, is trying to shield him from the pain of rejection. This also shows how Darcy himself believes love is essential for a good marriage. The strong influence that Darcy has over his friend also shows his own strength of character. Another example of Darcy's integrity and strength of character is demonstrated by the way in which he handles rejection himself. When Elizabeth rejects Darcy's first proposal to her he is initially very shocked and shaken ("the disturbance of his mind was visible in every feature"). When Elizabeth later receives a letter from him, Darcy writes with considerable respect; at one point Darcy writes, "It pains me to offend you". Darcy does not write spitefully or with prejudice as others of a lower moral standing may in retaliation to rejection. This letter serves to demonstrate Darcy's intelligence. In the letter he is replying to the two main reasons that Elizabeth gave for rejecting his first proposal: him splitting up Jane and Bingley, and his apparent acts of hostility towards Wickham. Darcy presents his weaker argument first (that of Jane and Bingley), and then moves on with devastating detail to lie out his case against Wickham. ...read more.

Conclusion

This shows how her understanding of Mr Darcy has improved over the four months since his first proposal; the reader realises that Elizabeth has had time to the think this over, showing that her attraction has a good moral basis. Darcy finds her character so amiable that he casts aside his pride when thinking about her lower social status, demonstrating Darcy's own moral basis for his attraction. Although all these factors alone may be good enough in the eyes of Jane Austen for marriage, the fact that both Elizabeth and Darcy have improved as people as a result of their interaction with each other increases their suitability even further. This is shown when Darcy admits that certain things Elizabeth said to him had a significant effect on him; particularly the phrase "had you acted in a more gentlemanlike manner". Elizabeth often notices the improvement in Darcy's manners after this point in the book. Elizabeth learns from her relationship with Darcy that her first impressions are not always completely accurate, and she should not live by them. This advancement in Darcy and Elizabeth's character is an example of Aristotelian ethics: Aristotle emphasises that one of the most important aspects of friendship is that friends help each other to see and remedy faults in their character. Jane Austen is showing how Elizabeth, unwilling to sacrifice her principles, ends up the happiest - slightly ironically, married to a very rich and handsome man. Christopher de Wardt 20/4/07 ...read more.

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