Pride & Prejudice: Who is Proud, and Who is Prejudiced?

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve read Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen.

When you add in the number of adaptations I’ve watched (and how many times I’ve watched them), I have to say that I probably know this story better than any other (including the ones I’ve written).

I’ve always considered the title to be appropriate: Mr. Darcy is the very embodiment of pride, and Elizabeth is prejudiced against him for his comments about her appearance at the Netherfield ball.

Mr. Darcy = Pride

In the book itself, it states, “The gentlemen pronounced [Mr. Darcy] to be a fine figure of a man, the ladies declared he was much handsomer than Mr. Bingley, and he was looked at with great admiration for about half the evening, till his manners gave a disgust which turned the tide of his popularity; for he was discovered to be proud, to be above his company, and above being pleased; and not all his large estate in Derbyshire could save him from having a most forbidding, disagreeable countenance, and being unworthy to be compared with his friend.”

Then in the next paragraph, it says, “Mr. Darcy danced only once with Mrs. Hurst and once with Miss Bingley, declined being introduced to{14} any other lady, and spent the rest of the evening in walking about the room, speaking occasionally to one of his own party. His character was decided. He was the proudest, most disagreeable man in the world, and everybody hoped that he would never come there again.”

Later, Elizabeth and Charlotte discuss Mr. Darcy, and his pride is thoroughly canvased.

Elizabeth Bennet = Prejudice

Elizabeth becomes prejudiced against Darcy from almost the first moment they encounter each other. Her feelings become more entrenched with every interaction. Every thought she has of him, and every supposition she makes about his character, is blinded by this prejudice.

When she receives his letter after the Hunsford proposal, the book tells us that, “with a strong prejudice against everything he might say, she began his account of what had happened at Netherfield.”

Upon completing the letter, she “grew absolutely ashamed of herself. Of neither Darcy nor Wickham could she think, without feeling that she had been blind, partial, prejudiced, absurd.”

A Twist

But what if it were a bit of the reverse?

What if the real root of the problem was that Elizabeth was proud and Darcy was prejudiced?

You see, Elizabeth describes herself a studier of character. She boasts a bit at finding the most amusement from more intricate characters rather than simple ones.

Yes, Elizabeth is proud of her “abilities.” Not once does she consider the possibility she was in error. This pride in her discernment is what leads her down the path of assuming she knows best.

Darcy, on the other hand, comes into Meryton with prejudice against every unmarried woman and her mother. He is assured because they are of a lower station than he, they must be of lower character and integrity.

His prejudice towards more rustic country folk is what leads him to close himself off from everyone at the assembly in Meryton. That same prejudice causes him to disdain Elizabeth looks without so much as a second glance.

So, what do you think? Who is the prideful one, and who is prejudiced one?

6 responses to “Pride & Prejudice: Who is Proud, and Who is Prejudiced?”

  1. Jayne Avatar

    They both, are proud and prejudiced… they are strong characters thinking themselves capable of quickly judging the dispositions and motives of others. It is through being challenged by the other that they start to see the foolishness and folly of their ways.

    1. Tiffany Thomas Avatar
      Tiffany Thomas

      Yes, they are both! That was a bit of the point of the article – oftentimes people only see them the one way.

  2. Stephanie Mudd Carrico Avatar
    Stephanie Mudd Carrico

    I think that is the genius of Austen. They are both proud and prejudiced. Her characters are so real, complex human beings.

    1. Tiffany Thomas Avatar
      Tiffany Thomas


  3. cindie snyder Avatar
    cindie snyder

    I agree they both are as well! I think they are just two of a kind!

    1. Tiffany Thomas Avatar
      Tiffany Thomas

      They complement each other very well!

Leave a Reply

Create a website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: