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Pride and Prejudice: Significance of the Title

In most cases, the major concept of a book or other literary work is implied in the title. From the title, it is clear what the author will focus on in the literary work.


Pride and Prejudice, the title of Jane Austen's work, is created by coupling two slightly at odds "ethical" words. First Impressions was the title Jane Austen initially chose for the book. But she added the current title when she rewrote it. This type of "ethical" title was frequently linked to "conduct" fiction, and the books were written to demonstrate through their narratives and commentary how young ladies should act in various scenarios .They might encounter concerns like how a young woman should act at a dance, how to politely respond to a young man who is presenting her, how to handle someone who insults her, how to decline a marriage proposal, and how to behave around an older woman of higher status in polite middle-class community. And it is just these circumstances that Elizabeth Bennet must deal with in Pride and Prejudice, where the issue of how she behaves in them is crucial. Pride and Prejudice is such a fitting title that justification is hardly necessary. It reveals the subject matter of the book. We must read the book critically in order to demonstrate its significance before we can explain why the author changed the name of her book to Pride and Prejudice.

It is not a book about raging passions and extreme emotional anguish. Jane Austen has never asserted that she is a psychological author, it goes without saying. Her main goal is to portray the home humour and the intimate relationships that exist between husband and wife, men and women, and at the very least, the social classes. In relation to this, she has defined the characters based on how they interact while moving through and residing in the society.Jane Austen develops her own unique style of "anti-conduct fiction" in opposition to the morals of "conduct fiction." The investigation of the terms "Pride and Prejudice" is where the antagonist of the book is housed. When Elizabeth and Darcy examine themselves and consider their prior thoughts and actions, the terms are occasionally directly stated and analysed. Additionally, the system of characterization, which extends beyond the hero and heroine and shows the complexity and depth of people beneath nature's and language's quaint simplicity, vividly demonstrates the meaning of the term Darcy's "Pride" is both positive and negative; it is both a proper, justifiable pride in his family's lineage and an offence. Elizabeth's "Prejudice" is the negative side of something wonderful, her spirit and high intelligence. She tells Jane about this.

Pride and prejudice play a big role in the novel's characters. These qualities of human character are embodied by the novel's hero and heroine. The proudest, most disagreeable man in the world, Mr. Darcy was described as when he first appeared in the book. His actions are all motivated by pride. Elizabeth Bennet is told by Wickham that this pride is "filial pride. "He takes satisfaction in being better than others because he is an upper middleclass member of society. This pride cult that he acquired from his father is no longer alive. His sister Georgiana shares this pride as well, and Wickham refers to it as "brotherly pride." Ironically, he claims that his best buddy has frequently been pride.

Darcy acknowledges it and claims that his pride stems from his tendency to be "selfish" and "overbearing." When he thinks back on his past deeds, he confesses to Elizabeth that his father played a part in making him proud. Although his father permitted and even encouraged him to be "selfish" and "overbearing," he was nevertheless aware of his pride as he prepared to propose to Elizabeth. Despite having been taught excellent principles, he was allowed and even encouraged to think poorly of the rest of the world. He balanced his talk of pride and sympathy. Even his pride prevents him from seeing the shortcomings of his own class.

Due to his pride, Darcy declines Bingley's offer to dance with Elizabeth. He says, "She is not gorgeous enough to seduce me," in a demeaning tone. She feels hurt and becomes biased against Darcy as a result. She admits to Charlotte that she has made up her mind to continue to despise him.

Elizabeth's bias towards Darcy is further based on his admission of his implacability at Netherfield, when he says, "I cannot forget the follies and vices of others as soon as I ought, nor their transgressions against myself. Once I lose someone's good will, it's gone forever. Darcy is not only arrogant but also biased against anyone who is not as wealthy and well-off as he is. This widespread animosity is brought on by his social superiority, elegance, and riches. He is therefore prejudiced against Wickham, Jane, and anything else that does not fit into his social milieu, as Elizabeth has later made plain.

Elizabeth, on the other hand, is proud. Her delight in intelligence and refinement. She also harbours prejudice against Darcy. However, her hurt-pride rather than any moral motivation drives her prejudice. When Charlotte asserts that Darcy is entitled to be proud, Elizabeth does not object but instead states, "I might easily forgive his pride if he had not mortified mine." She is therefore both arrogant and biased. However, Pride and Prejudice is not a "conduct Fiction," thus Jane Austen does not provide any instructions on what behaviour is appropriate or inappropriate. Elizabeth's actions as a singular person in situations that are unique to her determine judgments, not rules of appropriateness. Her "Prejudice" was initially sparked by three things: Wickham's slanders; her damaged "Pride" at the Meryton Ball; and Darcy's offensive marriage proposal (at Hunsford).

But over time, they give up Pride and Prejudice as they come to understand how false these sentiments are. Darcy was appalled by his aunt's vulgarity, which also taught him that only the affluent may be refined. He was given a new perspective that allowed him to play a crucial part in the Lydia-Wickham episode. In addition, Elizabeth's decision not to marry him helped him realise that social dominance did not encompass everything of life. His heart therefore undergoes a new awakening, and he entirely casts off his pride and prejudice. Elizabeth also gains additional insight. She learns to let go of her arrogance and prejudice thanks to Darcy's letter. She now feels ashamed for being "blind, partial, prejudiced, and foolish." She revaluated Darcy as a result of her own self-discovery, and she saw his talent and kind nature. She even thought that Darcy would be the best match for her. For a long time, they were blinded by pride and prejudice, but they are no longer true. Now is the perfect time for them to tie the knot. The lowering of self-pride for the sake of marriage to a guy (Mr. Collins) whose own self-pride is destroyed is also depicted in Charlotte, Lucas. Self-pride in Mr. Bennet becomes resentful, turns into venom, becomes exalted into a power of isolation, and becomes affected indifferences.

The protagonist and the heroine were not the only characters with pride and prejudice. Every character in the book displays excessive amounts of pride, whether it be false pride, genuine pride, or other types of pride. This is according to Gilbert Ryle. Mr. Bennett is the subject of genuine pride. He detests the vile. But his arrogance is twisted and unrealized. He uses humorous language to express his justifiable disdain, yet he does nothing to stop or fix the situation he criticises. While Mr. Bingley lacks any particular dignity, his sisters are vainly proud. In this way, pride and prejudice are traits shared by practically all of the characters.

The character analyses in "Pride and Prejudice" can be used to good effect on every character, but they are a limited and static line of study, and Jane Austen constantly claims throughout the novel that such labelling is inadequate to comprehend or explain characters in terms of people. In essence, the book rejects such rigid categories and judgments and asks us to accept the flexible and dynamic standards of judgement established by dramatic irony-based novels. In that setting, the words "pride" and "prejudice" have a place, but not the prominent one that is sarcastically given to them in the book's title.


By-
Sriparna Mukherjee
Amity University, Kolkata


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