The dictionary definition of pride is a sense of one’s proper dignity or value. The dictionary definition of prejudice is an adverse judgment or opinion formed beforehand without knowledge of the facts. When you add these two themes together, you get the book “Pride and Prejudice.” The very basis of this book is on pride and prejudice. According to these definitions, pride and prejudice is blindness towards reality. Throughout the book, the various characters judge each other by using pride and prejudice. An example of this is made by Mr. Bennett and sets the tone for the rest of the novel. Mr. Bennett is talking to his wife about the arrival of the rich Mr. Bingley. Mrs. Bennett says that she would like one of their five girls to marry him so that they would be situated well for the rest of their life. Mr. Bennett shows his prejudice by saying, “Design! Nonsense, how can you talk so! However, it is very likely that he may fall in love with one of them, and therefore you must visit him as soon as he comes”(Pg. 5).
According to the book, all of the daughters are blessed with beauty. Mr. Bennett must be implying that although his daughters are beautiful, they may not be rich enough or have high enough standards to be considered by Mr. Bingley. He is blind to the feeling of love due to his relationship with his own wife. The majority of the story is based on the feelings between Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy. Both characters are very self centered, causing them to put up blinders. Elizabeth Bennet is a middle class woman who always likes to be treated the same by everybody, no matter who they are. She believes herself to be plenty good enough for any man. Mr. Darcy especially is blind to any status other than wealth. Mr. Darcy is an extremely rich fellow. These two represent the most pride and prejudice in the book. Mr. Darcy is the perfect example of pride and Elizabeth is a good example of prejudice. Their story starts near the beginning where they meet at a local ball. Mr. Darcy pays little attention to her because his pride will not let him deal with a lower class member. He says this of her, “She is tolerable, but not handsome enough to tempt me”(Pg.12).
He also says this when asked to find someone to dance with, “I certainly shall not. You know how I detest it, unless I am particularly acquainted with my partner. At such an assembly as this, it would be insupportable. Your sisters are engaged, and there is not another woman in the room whom it would not be a punishment to me to stand up with”(Pg.12).
Elizabeth overhead some of these remarks and she starts her hatred for Darcy. In addition, these remarks lead Elizabeth to think that Darcy said these remarks just because he has standards were too high for her. The tensions are high between these two until the next time they see each other. At this point, both are blind to any assets, but Darcy begins to show some interest in her beauty. The story progresses, Darcy loses his blinders and gains interest in her “wit and beauty” while Elizabeth hates him increasingly. During this time, Mr. Darcy uses his power to break up Jane Bingley and Mr. Bingley for the reason that he believes that they are not truly in love with each other. Elizabeth thinks that he is doing this because of his prejudice for the lower class. Darcy proposed to Elizabeth and she smoothly said no without seeing him as a man, but as a beast. She stated, “I have every reason in the world to think ill of you. No motive can excuse the unjust and ungenerous part you acted there. You dare not, you cannot deny that you have been the principal, if not the only means of dividing them from each other, of exposing one to the censure of the world for caprice and instability, the other to its derision for disappointed hopes, and involving them both in misery of the acutest kind”(Pg. 162).
Later, Darcy writes a