When You Do Not Understand Someone
Human relationship can be quite complicated and intense, and it does not matter whether they are romantic or simply friendly. But they can be become extremely difficult to understand when two strong characters are involved. Then it becomes difficult to understand whether it is love or hate between two people. This is the case of Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy from "The Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen.
Darcy's proposal of marriage has quite unexpected and negative effect on his relations with Elizabeth. First of all, it was not a proposal which any woman would like to receive: "his sense of her inferiority which had always opposed to inclinations" (Austen160). Although Darcy started from "how ardently I admire and love you", from Elizabeth's point, "he was not more eloquent on the subject of tenderness than of pride" (Austen160). Although his request is formulated in a polite manner, Elizabeth was insulted by his tone and the context of their whole acquaintance. Elizabeth considered that he despised her position in the society. The very offering her marriage, which was below his dignity, could be just mocking of her low social status and a simple insult of her female dignity. Another reason for her infuriation was his arrogance of asking her hand, while he "has been the means of ruining the happiness of a most beloved sister" (Austen161). Thus, her Pride was insulted both by his consideration of her being inferior and also by the fact that her agreement would have compromised her female fidelity to her sister. That is why her answer to him was so insulting and defensive. She did not want him to win in insulting her dignity and her woman pride. That is why she offended him first.
During most of the story, my sympathy was on the side of Elizabeth because she was insulted by Darcy first and her lack of confidence in his courtship was mainly his fault. It is also because of his pride over social statuses that she felt inferior and uncomfortable in his presence. Even when he offered her to marry him, he made it in an apologetic manner, suggesting that he would do it irrespective of her social status and how ruinous it could be for his position. Until I have read his letter of explanation, my sympathy was entirely on Elizabeth's side. But after reading the letter, the inner world of Darcy was revealed. The letter showed motives for his actions, which were dictated by hidden context and actions of other people and not by his arrogance or pride. After his letter, I had an opportunity to review my perception of Elizabeth, as well. She was so driven by her pride that she paid even more attention to social differences than Darcy did. In the end of the day, he was the one to offer her everything he had just in order to be with her. But I also can understand her, when she wanted a romantic proposal instead of reaffirmation of her inferior social status.
Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice. New York, NY: Heinemann. 1994. Print.