Pride and Prejudice--the classical story of a proud man
attracted to an equally proud young woman—also depicted the
finest details of the social structure of nineteenth
century England. The property laws of the time had dictated
that certain properties must be under male control and if
the owner was not lucky to have a son, it would pass on to
the nearest male relative.
Mr. Bennet, an intelligent man was the hapless owner of
such an entailed property and a less than intelligent wife.
He had the responsibility of finding husbands for his five
daughters –and his last three daughters though had beauty
lacked the other three brains, bank and birth. The
subconscious knowledge that their standing in the marriage
market not very favorable made the girls desperate for male
company except one –Elizabeth-the second -the heroine of
Jane the eldest was beautiful and was to be married first
according to the tradition. Her parents were in the lookout
for a rich bachelor when Mr.Bingley --an ideal candidate
had come to stay at Netherland Park as tenant. The worried
father sensing a potential son-in-law visited the newcomer
and cultivated a friendship. It led to Jane’s getting an
invitation; for a ball at the rich mans place. Elizabeth
had accompanied her sister. There, she met the impudent
Mr. Darcy –the star attraction of the party exuding the
qualities desirable in single man--wealth, looks, education
and nobility of birth. The bachelor was Bingley’s friend
and his sister’s heart’s desire.
Young and intelligent Elizabeth was looking forward to some
entertainment at the party. But it turned out to be a test
of her patience. The arrogant Caroline - Bingleys sister
showed her displeasure openly at her brothers attitude to
Jane. She was fiercely protective about Darcy and left no
stone unturned to make Elizabeth unwelcome. But her nemesis
was the hero himself. Darcy refused to dance with her and
hinted that she belonged to a social stratum unacceptable
to his taste. The intelligent girl was hurt. She decided to
hold herself equally high as the arrogant man but started
noticing him keenly.
Opportunities followed soon. Jane was visiting the
Bingley- residence and had fallen ill there. Elizabeth had
to come and stay with the family to nurse her. The dynamic
side of the ordinary girl had captivated Darcy. Elizabeth
had come spattered in mud –traveling the village road,
braving the rain. But while living with rich Bingleys, she
displayed no interest in the wealthy bachelor and avoided
Darcy was accustomed to female attention and the
indifferent treatment had challenged his ego. He started
using opportunities to know her better. Deep emotions
closeted beneath his aristocratic haughtiness got unlocked
and his young heart desperately sought the company of an
ordinary girl, gifted with extraordinary intelligence.
The fire of passion was ignited but head and heart was
moving in different directions –for both the parties.
Elizabeth tried to forget Darcy by going out of the way to
Wickham , a militiaman staying temporarily
near her village. Darcy went through a silent struggle and
convinced Bingley to move out of the village and maintain
distance from Jane. But the outer distance did not cure
them of inner turbulence. Few months after, when Darcy
chance met Elizabeth at a common acquaintances house,
Elizabeth was visiting- it revived with added intensity.
He started visiting her regularly. His pride of nobility
was fighting a losing battle against his emotion—that
demanded the company of Elizabeth, the ordinary girl.
Confused and defeated he offered her the honor of being his
wife- abruptly and in impolite manner. Elizabeth was
shocked and humiliated by the tone of his proposal. She
regretted him and showered a tirade of allegations; both
real and falsee. She accused him of separating Jane and
Bingley and added that even if he were the last man on
earth she would prefer to be unmarried than marry him.
Confident of his marital worth and desperate in emotion
Darcy had overlooked the option of being rejected. The
refusal had brought him down and he started correcting his
mistakes. Determined to win her back, he wrote her a long
letter giving reasons for apparently irrational prejudice
against the commoners—the greedy attitude of a certain man
towards his sister. Maintaining anonymity he convinced the
opportunistic militiaman Wickham to marry Elizabeths
foolish sister, who had eloped with him but was unable to
achieve the status of his wife without sufficient financial
Elizabeth had always cherished the intelligent side of
Darcy and secretly begged for his recognition. Ego had made
her refuse his proposal but she was robbed of happiness.
After throwing away the only man, who gave her intellectual
fulfillment, a blank was created in her. She left her
friends house and tried to busy herself in family matters.
In the next meeting both hero and heroine were mellowed.
Elizabeth was in Pemberley, Darcy’s own estate. She had
come to visit the estate after making sure that Darcy was
out and received favorable reports about his nature from
caretaker. Darcy appeared unexpected on the scene and
played her escort. The forcibly doused passion rekindled in
both and led to the entirely predictable ending of
The fiery exchanges between a proud man and an ordinary
woman had kept book in forefronts of bookstores for the
last 200 years.