Theme of Pride

May 19, 2022 by Essay Writer

In the novel Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, she displays a stark contrast between two characters in the story. Austen does so by discussing the theme of pride throughout the novel. The concept of pride can be defined in two ways: positive and negative. Possessing positive or right pride is to have self-respect, honor, and integrity. On the other hand, wrong or negative pride is defined as showing arrogant or disdainful conduct and haughtiness. Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy displays the positive side of pride while Mr. Bennet possesses wrong or negative pride, and a lack of pride itself in some cases. Darcy is responsible for his sister, himself, his estate, and his family name. He takes pride in these things and does anything he can in order to protect them. But Mr. Bennet who is responsible as a father of five daughters, a husband, and the holder of reputable conduct in the family, does not take pride in his family or his responsibility; Mr. Bennet instead ridicules the members of his family and in turn does not control their unruly actions.Mr. Darcy, the leading male character in the novel, possesses an ancient family name, magnificent estate, and a sizable fortune which may seem to contribute to his pride. But later on in the book, we learn that he is a generous master to his servants and tenants and a loving brother to his young sister Georgiana. He is responsible for so much: his sister, his family name, and his estate, Pemberley. Although seen as excessively proud in a negative way, Charlotte Lucas defends Darcy by saying that a man of his wealth and family background has a right to be proud. Darcy cares dearly for his younger sister, Georgiana. As the estate holder of the family, it is his responsibility to watch over and guide her. In an experience with George Wickham, Georgiana is deceived and almost taken in by Wickham. But Darcy finds out and stops it immediately. This shows that Darcy is concerned with his sister’s well-being; this incident further intensifies his hatred for Wickham, but Darcy protects his sister from him. By protecting his sister, Darcy also wants to make her happy; in turn, he purchases a piano for Georgiana so that she can play well. He takes his responsibilities seriously and fulfills them. For example, as explained briefly in the previous paragraph, he takes pride in his honor and displays generous treatment of his servants and tenants. Mrs. Reynolds, the housekeeper, says that ì[Darcy] is the best landlord, and the best master,î and that she never had ì a cross word from himî in her life. He cares even for his servants generously and is not haughty about his higher class status. This further shows Darcy’s attention to responsibility, self-respect, and honor. Mr. Darcy is also in charge of the protecting his family name and estate. He holds his family name and estate of Pemberley with high esteem and value, but not in a conceited manner like Lady Catherine de Bourgh’s. Darcy’s pride here is not of a negative nature, but is one of positive nature. His pride in his name is typical of any person; and in some instances when it is jeopardized, he takes care of the situation and returns everything back to normal. For example, Darcy does not want the Pemberley estate to be ìtaintedî with Wickham’s foul and unconscionable behavior. He takes pride in the Darcy name and wants to protect it from the likes of Wickham who has tried to blemish the family name. Along with Darcy’s pride and reputable fulfillment of his responsibilities comes the honor that he shows. For example, Darcy undertakes the rescue of Lydia from Wickham; he does so by agreeing to pay Wickham a certain amount in turn for his marriages with Lydia. Darcy also does this to save his family name because in the future, he is going the marry her sister, Elizabeth Bennet. Mr. Bennet is a witty father of five daughters and a husband of a foolish wife. He is a disappointed man, who long ago gave up all hope of finding happiness in his marriageóand who often treats his foolish wife and younger daughters as objects of amusement. He calls his daughters ìsillyî and verbally plays with his wife in the presence of their daughters. He fails his duty as a husband by not controlling his rowdy wife and as a father for not keeping his young flirtatious daughter, Lydia, out of trouble. He suffers from a lack of pride by not being responsible as the leader of the household and not protecting his daughters from harm.Mrs. Bennet’s behavior inside and outside of the Longbourn estate is utterly annoying and rude. Her behavior and reactions to trivial occurrences is excessive and again vexing. For example, at the balls that the Bennets had attended, Mrs. Bennet talked loudly without watching over her own behavior. Mr. Bennet does not control his wife or even tell her to quiet down. In order to protect the reputation and integrity of the family, he must maintain the good manners in the family. This also applies with Lydia’s behavior. She flirts with most of the soldiers in the regiment, and Mr. Bennet does not even criticize her wanton behavior. He does not take pride in his daughters and thus does not put much care into their behavior; through this he cannot protect the reputation of the Bennet family name.Another of his disappointments is that his estate, Longbourn, can only be handed down to a male heir. Because he has tried to get a son and gets five daughters instead. There is no one to hand it down to; thus the estate goes to Mr. Collins, his cousin. Expecting a son, he never saw a need to save any of his income in order to provide for his daughters’ future. Mr. Bennet fails his responsibility to provide for his family and daughters. His lack of pride leads to his own lack of responsibility for the things that should be most important to him, his family and its reputation.Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bennet differ obviously concerning the subject of pride. Darcy possesses a positive form of pride while Bennet almost has none at all. But within the pride, there exists a difference in priority. Mr. Darcy is careful about the Darcy family name and protects it with a hawk-like manner. He takes his responsibility as the landowner, brother, and master very seriously. On the other hand, Mr. Bennet lets his family do as it pleases and almost does not care. The reputation of the Bennet family is blemished by the behavior of its members because the head of the household, Mr. Bennet, lacks the pride to protect it.

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