This is a story of high individual accomplishment. That accomplishment takes the form of four marriages. The daughter of a landed gentleman and an uncultured middle class woman of some wealth rises in society by marrying a man of good character from one of the wealthiest families in the country. Elizabeth’s mild mannered and beautiful sister Jane marries a man of great wealth and perfect social endowments. Wild, foolish, carefree, irrepressible Lydia is saved from scandal and early abandonment by her marriage to a scoundrel of extreme good looks and pleasant manner. Solid, sensible, good-willed Charlotte gets the financial security she aspired for by marrying foolish Collins.
In addition, the story leads to some unexpected outcomes. Bingley, who Darcy wanted as a brother-in-law through marriage to Georgiana, instead becomes his brother-in-law through their marriages to Elizabeth and Jane. Wickham, who attempted to become Darcy’s brother-in-law by elopement with Georgiana, does become his brother-in-law by marrying Elizabeth’s sister Lydia. Collins, whose highest aspiration was to bask in the glory of his relationship to the distinguished Lady Catherine, through the marriage of his cousin Elizabeth to Lady Catherine’s nephew, gets more than he ever aspired for. He becomes Lady Catherine’s relation.
Determinants of results
Our approach has been to regard these accomplishments as real events and to examine the positive and negative contribution of various factors to these results. Society consists of a hierarchy of planes or structures, each with their own laws or conditions. The determinants are social, psychological, vital (life) and spiritual. The results of action are governed by principles arising from these determinants.
The social life of the collective is continuous evolving under pressure of its own aspiration to manifest greater powers of life. It is also evolving under the influence of higher-level spiritual determinants working behind the scenes to express higher powers of consciousness. This evolutionary intention expresses subconsciously as the will of the society. This collective will expresses through the actions of individual members of the society pursuing their own interests and aspirations.
The individual in his growth tries to avail of the opportunities created by society. The opportunities for individual accomplishment are determined by what the society permits. The maximum is determined by what society sanctions. The minimum is determined by individual capacity. Individuals who fall below the social minimum socially perish. In rare instances, individuals try to outreach the society and the society puts up resistance. Individual capacity is determined by the skills, attitudes, beliefs, values, character and aspirations of each individual. The availability of social opportunities and the ability of the individual to avail of them combine to determine the ultimate outcome. Acts get completed when there is the requisite individual strength and the sanction of the society.
In the preceding sections, we have examined the separate contribution of social evolution, individual character and the character of life. In this section, we look at how these influences combine and interact to determine the outcomes. The following section will examine the role of spiritual determinants as they express through and are reflected by the other levels of determinants.
What prevails in Pride & Prejudice
Before examining the chain of action in detail, we can summarize the major determinants of results in the story by identifying the most significant factors responsible for these outcomes.
For Collins and Charlotte, money is the primary determinant. Collins attracts a good, sensible woman to be his wife, not because of his appearance, behavior, character or personality, but because he has a secure living and will inherit Longbourn. Charlotte accepts Collins’ proposal because her primary goal is to acquire the security that marriage offers. She does not seek romantic love and she has little faith in trying to choose a compatible spouse based on pre-marital behavior.
For Darcy, love is the determinant. Though it is heartwarming to romantize Darcy’s passionate attraction to Elizabeth, his attraction has a very strong social element to it. He is attracted by her because she is not attracted to his money or his social position. Her lack of response elevates her in his eyes and makes her more valuable than all that he possesses, so valuable that he is willing to improve himself in order to win her.
For Elizabeth, character prevails. Although she is thrilled to become mistress of Pemberley, neither money nor social position determines her choice. She would have been quite willing to marry a penniless Wickham had he not proved to be a scoundrel. Ultimately she seeks a man of good character who she can respect and who will adore her. She seeks a person of character and she wins Darcy because her own character is well-developed and attractive.
For Wickham, personal attractiveness saves him from ruin or ostracism. His physical appearance and cultivated manners win him a respectable marriage, an army commission and liquidation of all his debts, despite his lack of character, money or status. The strong attraction and goodwill of all the women who find him appealing is a powerful force for the success of a philanderer.
For Lydia, biological energy unfettered by social restraint accomplishes in an evolving social context that condones her foolish and shameless behavior. She achieves by the energy, strength and boldness of a woman seeking a mate and enjoyment.
The same powers that determine success in one instance fail under different circumstances to achieve different goals. While money is sufficient to win Charlotte for Collins, it fails to win him Elizabeth. Caroline’s wealth and status may be sufficient to win her a very respectable husband such as Fitzwilliam, but they are no match for Elizabeth’s character in a contest for Darcy’s hand in marriage. Wickham’s deceit was sufficient to elope with Lydia, but ultimately he was forced to marry her, which had never been his intention. His deceit also failed when he attempted to elope with Georgiana and ultimately in his effort to deceive Eliza about his character. Lady Catherine’s social and personal power are sufficient to command the servile obedience of a Collins, but they fail when exercised on Elizabeth to prevent her marriage to Darcy. Aristocratic blood may win Anne de Bourgh a husband from a noble family, but in the present age it fails to persuade Darcy to marry a frail, unattractive cousin.
Human intention determines
Setting aside for a moment all the complex analysis of forces that influence the results, we can observe in the story a fundamental truth of life. Human choice is a powerful determinant of results. That choice does not always lead where an individual expects it to, but it always exercises a powerful influence.
Lydia wanted a dashing husband and she got one. Jane and Bingley wanted like-minded mild mates and they found them. Charlotte wanted security for herself and higher accomplishment for Eliza and she accomplished both. Darcy wanted a woman who could support and sustain the lofty position of his family. Although Elizabeth does not bring a pure pedigree, she has the intelligence, clarity of mind, strength and character to revitalize the family.
Mrs. Bennet is partial to Lydia (“my love”) and gives up Eliza. Therefore, Mrs. Bennet’s aspiration acts most powerfully in Lydia’s life and she is the first to marry. Mr. Bennet is partial to Eliza and gives up Lydia. Eliza rises to the top. Lydia’s behavior descends to the lowest level without the father’s discipline and she almost falls out of the family and society. Mr. and Mrs. Bennet both neglect Mary. She remains unformed and is the only one left at home with them after Jane and Eliza marry.
This is primarily a story of accomplishment by a society seeking to evolve to a higher level of integration and using the social institution of marriage as one of many vehicles to bring about an evolutionary progress. The forces of life that appear to conspire so masterfully to bring about the four marriages are not merely forces unleashed by the aspirations of individual characters. These forces are set in motion long before the characters are conscious of their future destiny. Nor do they represent wider evolutionary forces of the plane of life itself in its upward movement toward higher levels of mental consciousness. The primary forces that express are neither of individuals nor of universal life. They are expressions of the subconscious social will working through individual characters and events. This is a story of social accomplishment.
So too, the obstacles to accomplishment are primarily those inherent in an effort to bridge the chasm that separates different levels of a somewhat rigid social system. Those obstacles are reflected in Darcy’s arrogant pride, Lady Catherine’s vulgar assertion of self-importance, and Collins’ obsequious submission to the old order. But they are equally reflected in Eliza’s inability to conceive, perceive or respond to Darcy’s offer to her and the intense discomfort both she and her mother experience when presented with their marriage as a real possibility. The force of resistance from above impels Lady Catherine to travel to Longbourn, to abuse, threaten, and humiliate in all possible manner her future niece. The same force prevents Lydia from falling out of the society, and brings about their marriage, even after she breaks the bounds of social propriety by eloping with Wickham. The predominate role of social forces is reflected in the emotions of the characters. What they express are primarily social emotions, not deep personal affections. This is best expressed in Mr. Collins’ ability to express the “violence of his affection” for Eliza at one moment, and then when he is rejected to turn around and propose to Charlotte just three days later. Darcy’s feelings are far more intense and sophisticated, but ultimately they are of the same plane, even if of a more noble and endearing quality. What draws him powerfully to Eliza is her apparent indifference to his status and wealth, her capacity to challenge and tease, where even Caroline feels submissive and accommodating. That places Eliza socially on an equal footing with him and far above all those who look up in respect or aspire to partake of his status.
Human Development and Accomplishment
Development of human capacity
Accomplishment in life is in proportion to the capacity of the individual. Capacity is a measure of the strength of personal character. Character is the formed structure of the personality built up by knowledge, will and values to generate, release and convert raw human energy into personal intensity. It is the intensity of personality that attracts to the individual forces of similar strength and nature in the form of opportunities for advancement and struggles for survival.
Growth of personal capacity involves a progressive increase in the ability of the individual to generate, harness, release and control physical energy as skill, vital energy as behavior, emotional energy as attitudes and motives, and mental energy as thought, opinions and values. Human energy is generated and released by knowledge and willed effort. The physical effort to master a skill requires an enormous expenditure of energy. The acquisition of the skill converts that energy into a formed nervous capacity of the individual. The vital nervous effort to acquire appropriate external behaviors requires an even greater expenditure of energy to achieve self-control over one’s physical movements, gestures, expressions and speech. That behavior is only the external expression of personal attitudes. The effort to acquire positive feelings and attitudes toward people, circumstances and events involves a culturing of the emotions and motives that requires a tremendous investment of energy and results in the gradual building of the psychological intensity of character. A similar exercise of will at the mental effort results in the development of the capacity for thought, the formation of opinions and higher values. The cumulative capacity or force of personality resulting from this multi-level development at the physical, vital, emotional and mental level determines the nature and intensity of the responses of life to the individual.
Each person in the story achieves a result in life that is proportionate to and an expression of his or her developed personal capacity. Some of them take active effort to enhance that capacity by learning from the life experiences they undergo. When they reach the saturation point where they have fully exhausted their will and energy, life takes over and responds. Others are unwilling or uninterested in further progress and accept what their present capacity brings on its own. The disposition of each person toward growth is expressed by their response to external opportunities and challenges.
Response to Opportunities and Challenges
Positive and negative external events exert pressure on the individuals involved. Collins’ proposal to Eliza and Charlotte presents them with crucial decisions about their future life. Eliza unhesitatingly rejects Collins because she aspires for something better in terms of the personality and character of a husband. Elizabeth refuses to permit any mercenary considerations to influence for an instant her response to either Collins or Darcy’s proposals. Charlotte eagerly accepts Collins out of insecurity that she may never get another, or at least, a better opportunity to ensure her material welfare. Her circumstances and the clear value she places on financial security govern her actions.
Darcy’s proposal to Eliza and his insistence on an explanation for her refusal releases a torrent of her resentment and animosity against him based on his interference with Jane’s happiness and Wickham’s false allegations against him. He has the option of fully justifying his behavior in his own eyes and discarding her accusations as prejudiced or ill informed, in which case he learns nothing about himself and remains where and what he was. Alternatively, he can ignore and excuse her misconceptions and recognize the underlying truth in her accusation that he is ungentlemanly, arrogant and undesirable, which is what he chooses to do. The self-knowledge resulting from that choice of objective self-scrutiny generates an intense pressure on him to modify his behavior and character to live up in practice to the principles of generosity and goodness that he had all along believed himself to possess.
|Darcy makes a conscious decision and willed effort to give up his proud and arrogant sense of superiority, his aloof behavior, his unwillingness to interact with those of lower social status. He not only tries to eliminate the offensive behaviors of the past. He takes a conscious decision to reverse these characteristics and act in a diametrically opposite direction, first by courteously receiving Eliza’s aunt and uncle from Cheapside, then by pursuing a contemptible Wickham and shameless Lydia into even more polluted parts of London, by personally negotiating with Wickham to marry Lydia, by accepting full financial responsibility for paying Wickham’s debts and purchasing him an army commission against the strong objections of Mr. Gardiner, and finally by imposing a pledge of secrecy on all involved, so that no word of his role should reach the Bennet family. This effort must have been, as Eliza later terms it, ‘‘mortifying’’ to a man of Darcy’s upbringing. It required an incredible sincerity, will and determination. It released an immense energy and utilized it to fashion a greater strength and nobility of character.|
Having taken this inner and outer initiative to improve himself, but not to further his courtship of Eliza, life brings two magnificent responses. First, Lydia discloses to Eliza Darcy’s role in her marriage, making Eliza understand that Darcy loves her still. Second, Lady Catherine carries to Darcy a report of her discussion with Eliza at Longbourn, making Darcy understand that Eliza no longer rejects the possibility of becoming his wife. Darcy’s magnificent psychological effort at self-improvement has the power to completely reverse Eliza’s attitude toward him and compel her to express her gratitude and accept his renewed proposal.
When a crisis comes, each individual must decide whether or not to take responsibility for resolving it or bearing the weight of the difficulty. Those that accept responsibility progress. Those that throw the weight or blame on others or remain indifferent level off or fall back.
Elizabeth too is confronted with painful truths about herself and responds with an effort to grow in self-knowledge and character. Darcy’s letter and Lydia’s elopement bring Eliza face to face with home truths about her uncultured family and her own behavior. She recognizes that the behavior of her family members, not Darcy, was responsible for canceling Jane’s marriage to Bingley. She recognizes that her mother actively encouraged Lydia’s wildness and dissipation, her father condoned and permitted it, and she herself directly contributing by withholding from them information about Wickham’s character. She recognizes that it was her own vanity and prejudiced opinions that prevented her from knowing, hearing or seeing for herself the truth about Wickham. She realizes with great embarrassment, shame and remorse that she had behaved toward Darcy as unpardonably as she had often accused her mother of behaving toward others.
Eliza undergoes an intense passage through stages of painful embarrassment, humiliation, shame, intense regret, and self-chastisement. She resists the strong temptation to assign any blame to Darcy for his rude words, Wickham for his scandalous falsehood, Mr. Bennet for his weakness and irresponsibility, Mrs. Bennet for her stupid insistence, or Lydia herself for her terrible folly. She discovers all their faults within herself and becomes much more fully conscious of her own weaknesses. She accepts the full weight of blame on herself. Her remarkable mental sincerity and psychological effort elevate her character and generate a powerful intensity.
Contrast Eliza’s behavior with that of Lydia, who is oblivious of any sin on her part and equally oblivious of the extraordinary effort, generosity and goodness of those who have redeemed her reputation. Life responds miraculously to Eliza’s efforts. Darcy personally orchestrates the marriage of Wickham with Lydia, delivers Bingley to Longbourn where he proposes to Jane, and then returns himself and proposes to Eliza. Her psychological effort wins her a man of strong character and great wealth.
Mr. Bennet also undergoes a similar, if less intense and impressive transformation. He too resists the powerful temptation to fault others for his calamity. He raises not a single accusation against Mrs. Bennet for encouraging her wayward daughter, Wickham for outraging his daughter, or Lydia herself for succumbing to such unpardonable conduct. He sees only his own responsibility for rejecting caution and Eliza’s advice by relenting to Lydia and his wife’s pressure to send her to Brighton. He recognizes he has been irresponsible and is determined to bear the full burden of cost on himself, though it greatly exceeds his financial capacity to do so. Life responds to his sincerity of attitude by redeeming his daughter at absolutely no cost to himself or his brother-in-law, bringing about extremely favorable marriages for his two favorite daughters, and permitting him to become a frequent guest at Pemberley after their marriages.
Contrast Mr. Bennet’s behavior with that of his wife. She misses no opportunity to fault Wickham, her family, and Colonel Forester for her misfortune, but never for an instant reflects on her own most central contribution or expresses a moment's shame or regret for her conduct. Mrs. Bennet refuses to become conscious of herself, refuses to exercise her will, refuses any effort to change. She gathers all the energy generated in her by the crisis and throws it out as anger, bitter accusation, sullen disappointment, nervous discomfort and physical complaint.
Process of Growth
The process of growth that Elizabeth undergoes can be summarized as follows: A higher opportunity approaches her from life, which she perceives either with indifference or as something distasteful and objectionable, based on false values and wrong understanding. In the measure she comes to recognize her own defects and accept them, the opportunity reveals itself as something positive rather than negative. The higher has to take active initiative to bridge the distance between their positions, which she is unable to do from below. Finally, she must respond by taking initiative to ask for what has been offered and rejected. Life waits for her to ask.
Basic Qualifications for Eliza’s accomplishment
- Lively energy -- In Lydia, the energy expresses as physical vitality and absence of self-restraint. In Eliza, it expresses as mental energy and absence of dead social formality. Like Lydia, Eliza is bold and her strength rises and expands when she is challenged or intimidated.
- Cheerfulness – Eliza has a naturally cheerful, happy personality with a capacity for humor taken to the physical level of mirth. She is incapable of remaining unhappy for long.
- Goodwill – Eliza exhibits a strong, genuine, unselfish goodwill for Jane, which longs for and delights in Jane’s happiness, rather than a jealous competition to see which sister will excel. Her goodwill is balanced by a complete lack of meanness or negativity towards anyone.
- Lack of mercenary motives -- Eliza refuses both Collins and Darcy without a second thought about the wealth and property she is giving up. Because Eliza does not value Darcy in terms of money or status and because she does not value herself less for not having them, she is able to rise by her genuine character values to his level. Because Eliza really does not value or respond to Darcy’s money, that money comes to her. She gets a husband whom neither she nor he could imagine possible. The mechanism for bridging the gap is her self-value and his genuine love. She remains true to her character rather than bending to social pressure.
- Pride & Prejudice -- Darcy and Eliza are attracted to each other because they both address the other’s central weakness and can help each other overcome it. Eliza has the sincerity and frankness to recognize and regret her own flaw of character in being taken in by Wickham and too hastily judging Darcy. She is even able to concede the justice in his condemnation of her family.
- Aspiration -- Eliza and Jane rise because they have characters capable of development, whereas their sisters lack character and either remain where they were or fall, as Lydia did without even being sensitive to her fall.
Obstacles to Eliza’s accomplishment
- The social differential - The primary obstacle to Eliza’s marriage with Darcy is not the clash of their personalities that manifests as pride and prejudice. It is the vast social distance between them, as measured by status, wealth and culture. This expresses as Eliza’s inability to conceive of Darcy’s interest in her, her initial resentment, her inability to discern her own feelings or respond to his advances, and the intense pressure that contemplating such a relationship exerts on her nerves. That pressure is most dramatically illustrated by her wish never to see either Darcy or Bingley again, just a few days before both of them propose to Eliza and Jane. It also expresses as her inability to respond verbally to Darcy and Georgiana’s dinner invitation to Pemberley, when Darcy call on her and the Gardiners at Lambton. Eliza turns her head away, leaving it to Mrs. Gardiner to accept on their behalf. She feels the same pressure and awkwardness the next day, when she and Mrs. Gardiner call on Georgiana at Pemberley.
- Vital attraction to Wickham, a false character – This physical, biological attraction to a good-looking rogue is almost the source of Eliza’s undoing. She exhibits a dangerous willingness to believe Wickham’s lies, simply because she likes him. This attraction represents Mrs. Bennet’s personality in her, the normal low, false, vital urge that she inherits and shares with the rest of the family, including Lydia.
- Self-defensive pride in her family – Eliza’s unwillingness to see and know the truth of her inheritance is a major obstacle that must be overcome in order for her to rise. This trait is related to her vital resentment of Darcy for being unapproachable. His high status subconsciously reminds her of her inferior connections.
Life signs that sanction the relationship
Unless we simply dismiss the story as a product of the author’s imagination, it is very difficult to avoid the feeling that Eliza’s marriage to Darcy was destined to happen. We have attempted to show that the ‘force of destiny’ is a product of the interaction between social evolution, individual character and the character of life. A compelling force is evident in the story. It is the force of a society seeking to evolve in order to break down the barriers between higher and lower classes, to revitalize the aristocracy and provide room for the aspiring bourgeoisie to rise. This force expresses through those individuals who by virtue of their characters, values, capacities and personal situations are most receptive to its action. But its expression is not limited to the conscious intentions and initiatives of individuals. It acts through the medium of life, which we often dismiss as chance or fate or divine intervention, to bring about the necessary circumstances to fulfill its goals.
We find in the story many expressions of this subconscious force acting through circumstance to fulfill its purpose:
- Cousin Collins has forged a prior relationship with Darcy’s aunt, Lady Catherine, before ever coming to Herefordshire.
- Darcy’s childhood companion Wickham arrives in Herefordshire very shortly after Darcy himself and strikes up a relationship with Eliza at precisely the moment Darcy’s own emotions have been attracted to her.
- First Bingley, then Lucas take initiative to get Eliza and Darcy to dance.
- Bingley’s sisters invite Jane to Netherfield, which results in bringing Darcy and Eliza into close contact for several days.
- Charlotte’s marriage to Collins brings Eliza into contact with Darcy’s aunt at Rosings and then into renewed contact with Darcy.
- Mrs. Gardiner’s prior stay in Derbyshire becomes the rationale for the Gardiner’s vacation there with Eliza, resulting in their visit to Pemberley.
Progressive response to opportunity
|A study of the progressive changes in Eliza’s thoughts and attitudes about Darcy reveal the full and characteristic pattern of human response to opportunities that lie far above a person’s present level of attainment. One of the most striking—and true to life—aspects of the entire story is the fact that it took until the very end for Eliza to fully realize how much she wanted and would be pleased by what Darcy had been seeking to offer almost from the time of their first meeting. Let us trace from beginning to end the steps that Elizabeth passes through leading to her ultimate accomplishment.|
- Her first response to the approach of unprecedented opportunity is the typical response of people to what is far above their present level of accomplishment. She is completely unaware. She is meant to be mistress of Pemberley, and when the master of Pemberley walks into the room, she could care less. She is unconscious. Even when Charlotte points out that Darcy keeps staring at her, it makes no impression on her. Rather she suspects him of finding fault with her. She does not see what is coming toward her.
- The second response is that she readily accepts the general resentment against Darcy. She is angry when he refuses to dance with her. At first, she is able to laugh, but she becomes angry because she is not able to acknowledge the difference in social status between them that the society affirms. Had she accepted his pride as natural because of his superior wealth and station or had she just resented it in bitter resignation, it would be a sign that she is not meant for that higher level. Her anger and the prejudice she develops against him are expressions of aspiration that does not accept the status quo or superiority of his position as right or inevitable.
- The next response comes when Sir Lucas tries to get them to dance during the party at his house. She refuses, feels extremely embarrassed and walks away.
- Then Darcy comes to her and asks her to dance while she is staying with Jane at Netherfield. She is sure his intention is to mock her and she refuses. She is still in the position of pushing away the opportunity that comes to her. The truth of the matter is that life is opening up higher possibilities for her and she is saying ‘no’.
- Next, she becomes attracted to Wickham and readily believes all of Wickham’s lies about Darcy. She is powerfully, magnetically attracted by a person with the very opposite character and consciousness of Darcy and fully identifies with him. Eliza seeks the false and low and shuns the good and high. While she cannot respond to Darcy, she can and does respond to Wickham’s pleasant attentions. Eliza is attracted to what is at her own level.
- She forges an intense negative relationship with Darcy. Now Darcy is becoming real to her, but only as an object of scorn. At the Netherfield ball when he again wants to dance with her, she wants to refuse, but she is taken by surprise and cannot gracefully decline. During the dance, she starts poking and provoking him. The resentment she feels inside expresses as a battle of wits. She smiles, is polite and tries to embarrass him. She starts to offend him. In fact, up until this time, Darcy has not done anything to intentionally offend her. He did offend her by refusing to dance at Meryton, but he did not know she was listening to what he told Bingley. But she intentionally tries to offend him here. She not only believes Wickham’s lies, she also spreads them. She becomes an active instrument for spreading lies about her future husband. A year later after accepting his marriage proposal, she has to plead with her family not to believe all the things she had said about him before!
- Eliza goes to Hunsford and stays at the parsonage. When Fitzwilliam and Darcy come to call on them, Charlotte comments that Darcy must have come to see Elizabeth. But Elizabeth is still completely oblivious. She is still not able to conceive that he could be attracted to her. It is not his behavior that deceives her, but her own mental conception of her social own position and possibilities.
- When Darcy calls again at the parsonage and finds her alone and then returns a few days later to propose, she is totally surprised, shocked. When he proposes, the only thing she hears is that the man is insulting her. One of the wealthiest men in England comes and says, “Will you marry me?” Granted, he does it in a very crude way. But the only thing she hears is that the man came to abuse her. She has the self-restraint at this point not to be mean, which she did not have earlier when they danced. She tries to respect the man’s sentiments toward her. She is cool, polite, but there is nothing mean or negative. When he insists, “Is this all the response I am to have?” At that point, she gets an irresistible invitation from him and she cannot keep quiet. So she speaks her mind fully and talks about Wickham, Jane and Bingley. When he continues to prod her, she calls him “ungentlemanly.” She totally abuses him. Instead of asking whether she is justified in abusing him, look at the situation in terms of what she is offered and what she refuses. Regardless of her reason, she ends up abusing the man who offers her an opportunity to rise a few hundred times in monetary terms and she does not seem to be even conscious of his offer. Our purpose is not to judge either of them, but to understand the process. We can admire her sense of independence, her lack of mercenary motives, her boldness and her frankness, but that does not fully explain her action. The fact remains that she is still unable to conceive that an offer of this magnitude is coming to her for her consideration and she rejects it out of hand.
- After he leaves, she cries for half an hour. She is still bewildered by his proposal. There is no sense of accomplishment on her part, there is no perversity, no triumph. She is disturbed. The next day when she is walking in the beautiful spring weather, which shows the atmosphere, he comes up to her and gives her the letter. At first she is angry because she thinks about how he defended himself regarding Jane. But what most provoked her about his proposal was that he took it for granted that she would accept him. She wants to reject the letter when she reads what he writes about Wickham. In the course of reading the letter several times, she goes through the process of becoming conscious. We see at the end of that process her mental sincerity and honesty. She recognizes the truth in his words, even though she does not like it. She had the capacity to believe a falsehood from Wickham without questioning, because she liked him so much; but she also has the capacity to accept the truth from Darcy in spite of the fact that it is so unpleasant to her. That is a reversal. It is her first real reversal. She is able to see her own folly and blindness. More than that, she is able to feel ashamed of it. She feels ashamed of her family and sees they are responsible for Jane’s losing Bingley, not Darcy. Then she realizes that she should not even blame it on her family, but only on herself. She sees the folly and absurdity of her own behavior. She realizes that it is she who is vain, not Darcy. She says, “I never knew myself until this moment.” She has come to be confronted, not by Darcy’s personality, but by her own personality. She is forced to reevaluate her image of herself and understand what she is. And she is able to do it. She mentally, not emotionally, recognizes that Darcy’s sense of superiority is justified. That is real mental sincerity, which qualifies her for any level of accomplishment.
- Eliza returns to Herefordshire and as far as she is concerned, both Wickham and Darcy are now out of her life. She withdraws her emotions for Wickham. She is sure that Darcy could never possibly consider relating to her again and she is still not at all sure that she cares. Then she travels with the Gardiners to Derbyshire and is brought to Pemberley. Until this moment, she has never understood what Darcy offered her. Coming to Pemberley, walking through the house and seeing the magnificent place makes her physical consciousness understand. She might have been mistress of Pemberley. It is not a mercenary motive she feels. It is the physical consciousness becoming aware for the first time of what has been coming toward her. It feels very nice, and her being expands.
- The moment she responds positively to Pemberley — not to Darcy — Darcy shows up. Then her response is embarrassment. Why is she embarrassed? Until now, Darcy was not a member of her society. As far as she was concerned, Darcy did not exist socially. Therefore, she could poke him and tease him, because his social position did not really matter. Now, having gone through all of this, suddenly she becomes intensely, acutely self-conscious that he will misunderstand her. She wants to physically run away from the place. When she sees his pleasant behavior to herself and the Gardiners, she is perplexed but also pleased. Her social personality is very pleased. She feels gratitude to Darcy for loving her, yet she is still unable to discern her own feelings for him and she is unsure whether she can ever return his affection.
- The next response is important. Darcy had asked permission to introduce her to his sister Georgiana the following day and she had accepted. This is the first time she has responded positively to any proposal of his. She does not leave the inn the whole morning, to be sure she is available whenever they may come. She is becoming impatient. She has gone from indifference and negativity to becoming positive and interested. She definitely is interested. That impatience shows that she is not yet fully qualified. She is not yet capable of completing this accomplishment. She has her mother’s nerves and vital effervescent. Now that she is interested, she cannot be calm about it. Georgiana comes with her brother and Bingley, and Elizabeth is pleased. She comes to understand that she can be accepted into the superior society she once resented for its pride.
- Mr. Gardiner is invited for fishing the next day, and she and Mrs. Gardiner feel they should call on Georgiana at Pemberley. Caroline is there at Pemberley and when Elizabeth is sitting along with the ladies, she is not sure whether she wants Darcy to enter the room or not. After the day is over and she goes back to the inn, she feels gratitude to him for still loving her, but she still does not know how she feels about him or whether she wants to marry him. She is not even able to allow her mind to believe that he would propose to her again. Her mind is not willing to consent, and her emotions are not defined.
- At that point Jane’s letter comes and Elizabeth breaks her formality by confessing to Darcy about the elopement. It is an act of feminine instinct. She positively bridges the distance between them. She shows all her weakness to express, cries in front of him, and confesses her tragedy. The moment he leaves, she is sure she is never going to see him again. Only then it dawns on her that she really wants him. Only when she feels sure that she has lost him forever because of her family’s disgrace, does she realize she wants to marry him. It is Lydia’s elopement that makes her conscious of what she wants. Sri Aurobindo describes the whole evolution as the Divine involved in matter, waking up and emerging in consciousness through the human being. At one point the human being awakens to a divine possibility. Everything leading up to that point is only the progression and preparation to make him conscious of his true being. In Elizabeth’s life, all the events in the story up to this point are only meant to awaken her to consciousness of her own higher possibilities. We understand those possibilities to be her marrying a rich aristocrat. But what she is really awakening to is her own possibility of higher character. What comes to her is not something external, but something in response to an inner progress which she has not yet fully made. All accomplished is a result of an inner accomplishment. All that has happened up until now is only to awaken her to her destiny. At the point when all seems lost, she realizes it. Even Darcy’s very gracious behavior has not done it. It did not make her conscious. It is only the elopement and the total disgrace of her family that awakens her fully. She is now sure that all her prospects are destroyed.
- After that Elizabeth goes back to Longbourn, sees Jane, reads Lydia’s letter, and meets her father again. At this point, she accepts emotionally that the loss of Darcy is her own responsibility. She mentally understood from Darcy’s letter that he was not to blame for Jane’s break with Bingley, but only now when she is face to face with what her sister has done, her mother’s insistence on going to Brighton, her father’s refusal to exercise authority over his young daughter, her own refusal to speak out against Wickham, the family’s responsibility for their own misfortune becomes very clear to her. She genuinely feels that they have no one to blame for their misfortune but themselves. She feels that Darcy was quite right to despise them from the beginning. She no longer feels it with bitterness or resentment. Emotionally she accepts it and she is also reminded that Wickham is the man to which she was attracted.
- Now she gives up hope and initiative. She gives up everything. Even when the news comes that Lydia is to be married, she has no thought of seeing Darcy again. Her inability to think about the possibility of Darcy coming to her again is a qualification for her accomplishment. Her thought has no power to elevate her to that level. The thing that can elevate her to his level is her character. She takes the attitude of fully acknowledging to herself what she is. The result is, Darcy saves Lydia. When Elizabeth is able to accept that she has a sister who can act in such a way, her sister is saved. Mrs. Bennet is never willing to acknowledge any fault. But Elizabeth’s acknowledgement has the power to save the family from really being what she acknowledges.
- Then Lydia discloses Darcy’s role in her marriage. Elizabeth is baffled and incapable of hoping that he would come back. When Bingley and Darcy ride up one day, she is speechless. Mrs. Bennet says someone has come and Elizabeth is drawn to the window to see who it is. She is drawn by Darcy, not knowing it is he. His coming draws her to the window. She sits through that meeting in which she cannot say anything. Tension is mounting in her nerves. At the end of the meeting, she wonders why he came if he did not mean to be friendly and talk to her. She then feels that she does not want to see either of them again. “The first wish of my heart is never to be in the company of either of them again. Their society can afford no pleasure that will atone for such wretchedness as this! Let me never see either one or the other again.” She is still capable of feeling this way, even after knowing what he has done, knowing he has pardoned her, knowing he has mortified himself, and she says she doesn’t want to see him again. At that point, it is not anger expressing, it is her nerves which cannot bear the pressure of closing the last gap between them. This elevation is so high for her. Ten thousand pounds and Pemberley has a great weight that is felt physically on her nerves. She feels that great good fortune may be coming and elevating her two hundred times, but it is not what she needs for her survival. She was fine the way she was. The pressure to be better than she was, the self-discipline to qualify in her own eyes to be Darcy’s wife, is so much that she cannot bear it. Darcy goes away. Bingley proposes. Jane becomes engaged.
- After Jane’s engagement, her mind and heart are made up, but she does not dare to hope. The example of Jane’s engagement is the physical stimulus that finally compels her to cross the line and commit herself. She needed something to make her feel she should not miss the chance.
- When Darcy comes back and she goes on a walk with him, she bursts out to tell Darcy that he must permit her to express her gratitude. On his previous visit, she remained quiet, wanting him to speak first. But life requires her to take the initiative to speak to him first, because the first time she refused him. Therefore, she has to reverse and close that final link.
- Even when Darcy is humble enough to propose again and acknowledge the truth of all that she has spoken to him, she resents being reminded of her atrocious past behavior.
What enables Eliza’s to accomplish
Her basic endowments are sufficient to bring the opportunity in the form of Darcy’s attraction to her, but not sufficient by themselves for her accomplishment. Elizabeth has to grow and change before the opportunity can become a reality in her life.
- Becoming conscious of the opportunity -- Much of the time required for Eliza’s accomplishment is taken for her to become conscious of the opportunity and conscious that her emotions endorse it. Even after visiting Pemberley and being introduced to Georgiana, Eliza is still not sure of her own feelings, though she is sure of Darcy’s. Only after Lydia’s elopement, she becomes fully conscious of wanting what she believes is now irrevocably lost.
- Reversal of attitude -- Darcy’s letter helps Eliza her reverse her mental sympathy for Wickham and mental antipathy to Darcy. Darcy’s gracious reception to the Gardiners at Pemberley reverses her resentment of his earlier arrogant behavior.
- Self-knowledge -- Eliza frankly recognizes the truth of Darcy’s accusations against her family and feels a sense of shame for her own behavior, her folly and vanity.
- Enjoyment of possibility – Accomplishment comes by enjoyment. At Pemberley Eliza feels the emotional thrill of being ‘Mistress of Pemberley’. This physical emotion evokes a life response. Darcy comes and meets her. These are enough to bring Darcy and Eliza into positive relationship, but not sufficient to consummate the marriage.
- Withdrawal of attraction to Wickham – The lower must be given up before the higher can come. The missing link is her physical attraction and attachment to Wickham. As long as that low vibration is there, it keeps her from rising. It expresses as Lydia’s elopement. During dinner at Pemberley, Caroline refers to the regiment leaving Meryton in order to raise the issue of Wickham. The next day news of Wickham’s elopement comes. As a result, Eliza is immediately drawn away from Pemberley. It is Caroline’s jealousy and ill will that acts to interfere. The elopement also presents the perfect occasion for her to be free of this vibration. Lydia literally steals Wickham away and removes the possibility of a relationship with Eliza. It is right that Darcy pays for Wickham’s marriage. He is paying to win Eliza by eliminating Wickham. It is right that Eliza continues to pay for Wickham and Lydia, since their marriage made her own.
- Threat of loss makes her conscious of what she wants -- only after Lydia’s elopement permanently eliminates in her understanding all hope of her marriage to Darcy, she becomes conscious that such a marriage is very much to her liking. It took this threat of loss to make her conscious.
- Jane’s accomplishment -- After Bingley’s proposal to Jane, Eliza stops bargaining with Darcy to see who will take the first initiative. She takes initiative to seek him and express her gratitude. She reverses her prior hesitation and unwillingness to commit.
- Offer of gratitude to Darcy -- Eliza realizes that he loves her still and feels genuine gratitude for his affection, though she remains unsure of how she feels about him. Darcy ultimately proposes again only after she offers genuine gratitude for his attention and help.
Individual as determinant
Each person acts at a gradation of different levels. At the lower levels, he feels mastery. He knows he is the determinant and acts as such successfully. Each person has a level beyond which he no longer feels he is the determinant, but rather feels that life determines him. Eliza exhibits confidence and mastery when confronted with Collins’ proposal, Darcy’s rudeness at the dance, his proposal and Lady Catherine’s intimidation. But when she receives news of Lydia’s elopement, she loses her balance and poise and feels completely helpless. In fact, she was not helpless. At the moment she received the news, help comes in the form of Darcy who has the power to save the situation for her. But her perception is that she is helpless and so she never thinks to exercise that power which is at her disposal. Darcy acts anyway. No one can blame Eliza for thinking that way. To know that we are always the determinant and never helpless is a great spiritual knowledge.
Darcy’s Marriage to Eliza
Elizabeth’s marriage to Darcy can also be looked at from his perspective. Why does Darcy have to face Eliza’s initial refusal and months of suffering before he finally accomplishes?
- Negative comment -- His negative comment about Eliza, which she overhears at the Meryton ball, generates a resentment and prejudice that lives on for months. How many thoughtless comments of this type do each of us think and make?
- Pride -- Darcy’s pride is so great that he is unable to conceive that Eliza would not want to marry him. His pride represents a barrier to his further development that is psychological rather than social. He is finally forced to admit and reverse it by proposing to Eliza twice before she accepts him.
- Unconscious of his own uncultured behavior & relatives -- He has to acknowledge the same vulgarity in his family (Lady Catherine) as he condemns in Mrs. Bennet.
- Inner conflict -- Divided energy does not accomplish. When Darcy first proposes, his mind and energies are divided between attraction and repulsion, so his proposal is rebuffed. Conflict between his opinions about Eliza’s family and his emotions for her are only reconciled after she abuses him during his proposal at Hunsford. When he next meets Eliza at Pemberley, his energies are fully committed to success. He has dismantled his pride and reversed his arrogant behavior to make himself entirely pleasing.
- Sense of superiority & repulsion -- His repulsion for Eliza’s family keeps him from winning her until he overcomes it and reverses himself by bringing Jane and Bingley together and marrying Wickham and Lydia.
- Interference with Bingley -- Until he reverses his interference in the genuine affection between Jane and Bingley, he cannot marry Eliza.
- Reversing his abuse of Eliza’s low connections -- Having abused the Gardiners as Eliza’s low connections at Hunsford, he has to physically reverse by treating them cordially as honored guests at Pemberley.
- His father’s sentiment for Wickham -- The blind affection of Darcy’s father for a low man made the family vulnerable to misfortune. Wickham is as much a part of Darcy’s life as he is of Eliza’s. He is the low link between them. Darcy inherits his father’s dullness of mind, which is vulnerable to a clever, false man. Darcy lacks the alertness to know his sister is in danger. Until Wickham is settled in marriage, Darcy is unable to marry Eliza.
- Secrecy -- He keeps secret his help to Lydia. Life responds by disclosing to him Eliza’s willingness through Lady Catherine.
- Taking responsibility – After Lydia’s elopement, Darcy has recognized that he is at fault in not disclosing Wickham’s behavior with Georgiana. He takes the conscious responsibility to rectify what occurred because he kept silent about Wickham to protect his family’s reputation. He is the first person to know that Wickham is a scoundrel and for his own personal self-interest of keeping the scandal quiet, he has kept quiet. Now other people have been victimized. He is a conscientious good man. His ideal is to be a good character, not to do just what will please other people and make them respect him, but to be an individual character that respects himself. He has lost respect for himself, he feels he was wrong and first he has to be right in his own eyes. Therefore, he decides to go after Wickham himself and try to personally save the situation.
- Right results come only from a real change of heart -- After being abused and rejected, Darcy still hopes Eliza will change her mind. He reverses his attitudes toward her family and she reverses hers toward him. Darcy takes Eliza’s criticisms to heart and completely drops his arrogant proud behavior. Darcy goes to London, finds Lydia, negotiates with Wickham, pays for a settlement and attends the wedding. Still, when Darcy returns to Longbourn after Lydia’s marriage, he has not yet told Bingley about Jane’s visit to London or affection for him. He is unable to meet and converse with Eliza. Eliza wishes she may never see him again. Only after Darcy confesses to Bingley, Eliza speaks to him and they are reconciled. His confession marks his complete change of heart.
Why does Darcy pay for Wickham?
Why does Darcy end up paying Wickham three times – when he gives up the church, to marry Lydia, and continuously to support them in marriage?
Darcy needs Wickham for his progress. Their personalities are complementary. That is why they arrive at Meryton at the same time. The affection of Darcy’s father for his godson is fulfilled in life and must be honored by Darcy despite what Wickham is. Wickham is a man raised in proximity to wealth and high status. He possesses a handsome appearance, intelligence, pleasing social skills, and an intense aspiration to rise. He is encouraged to aspire for high achievement because he sees that Darcy is inferior to him in appearance, intelligence and social skill and Darcy’s father has embraced him almost as a son. What Wickham lacks is Darcy’s goodness and integrity, his character. He possesses the form needed for high achievement, not the content. Wickham succeeds through polished behavior and handsome appearance despite his rogue character, because society gives so much importance to appearances.
Years earlier Wickham refused the living at Pemberley because it did not match his aspirations. Darcy paid Wickham ₤3000 at the time. Wickham threw away that money in dissipation. Wickham responds to Darcy’s generosity by trying to elope with Georgiana. His response is typical of human beings when they aspire to rise. His first impulse is to try to rise by taking rather than by effort to acquire the necessary endowments. Wickham has the added motive of trying to destroy Darcy’s family, which is the other natural response of those below who envy those above them. Darcy was vulnerable to this hostile attack because he had paid ₤3000 to an undeserving man. Giving should be out of strength and knowledge, not weakness and ignorance. He was ignorant of Wickham’s capabilities and motives. His effort at charity or aid to an undeserving man did not help Wickham. All the money was lost. It only supported bad habits for a while.
Yet, later in the story Darcy is compelled by his emotions and by circumstance to spend on Wickham an amount 3 or 4 times greater in order to get him married to Lydia. If payments to Wickham had such negative effect earlier, why and how does life sanction much larger payments by Darcy to Wickham later on? This shows there is a ‘truth’ in Wickham’s falsehood.
From Wickham’s personal point of view, the difference in the nature of the payments was significant. The first was a gift of cash, which he dissipated. The second installment consisted mainly of payments to clear his past acts of dissipation and make him respectable by purchasing a military officer’s commission. This money never went into his hands. It went to wipe out his past sins. The possibility of future payments, including those which Eliza made to Lydia from time to time, were an incentive for Wickham to remain on good behavior. These payments were spurs for the development of his character and behavior, not payments to get rid of him. What Wickham wanted to take from Darcy by ruse or win from life by luck in gambling, life makes him earn by self-restraint and respectable social behavior within the system. The fact that Wickham eventually becomes Darcy’s brother-in-law through marriage with Lydia shows the basic ‘truth’ of Wickham’s aspiration to rise by eloping with Georgiana. His aspiration is sanctioned by life, not his method for fulfilling it. He has the social skills and intelligence for higher-level accomplishment, not the inner character.
From Darcy’s personal perspective, life sanctions these later payments because they are an exchange for Wickham’s service in helping Darcy win Eliza, which Wickham does first through his lies and later by removing himself from Eliza’s field of eligible men by proposing to Mary King and then eloping with Lydia. Darcy also pays Wickham to marry Lydia and maintain the respectability of Eliza’s family, which is essential for Darcy to marry Eliza.
From the perspective of Darcy’s personal evolution, Darcy has to progress from the false values of money and status to the true values of goodness, humility and generosity. He thinks meanly of all those without wealth or status, which are false values that do not make for real character or merit. As Darcy said, he was raised to be good in principle, but allowed to be selfish in practice. He outgrows the false values of money and status by giving both to an undeserving Wickham. Darcy gives Wickham money and the status of a brother-in-law, so that Darcy may grow in character to become a generous, good, unpretentious man.
From the perspective of social development, society is trying to evolve peacefully without resorting to a violent revolution that destroys its institutions. Society sanctions and supports the rise of people such as Wickham on merit, so long as they remain within the system. His merit is his personal appearance, boldness and cleverness. Darcy pays Wickham to rise within the system as a respectable member of society rather than by ruining the system, which is revolutionary destruction.
As a general principle of social development, Darcy’s obligation to pay and elevate Wickham is the life obligation of every man who has accumulated money or power with the aid of other people. No man accomplishes on his own strength, therefore none can claim sole ownership. Wickham’s father as steward has claim to some part of what Darcy has inherited. This is the life justification for all those who possess knowledge, power or wealth to give it freely before it is demanded or taken away. The refusal to give prevents us from receiving more, e.g. the unwillingness of the rich to pay taxes keeps the country impoverished and fosters corruption.
Jane’s Marriage to Bingley
Life offers Bingley the opportunity to rise in marriage to Georgiana, but Bingley shows no inclination for psychological effort, so he ends up with Jane. His only aspiration is for a mild, pleasant pretty wife of like temperament to his own and he gets one. Jane is what can come to him with no effort, based on his present endowments and status. His attraction to Darcy is fulfilled by becoming Darcy’s brother-in-law through Jane and Eliza.
Jane has dedicated her life to developing a positive, pleasant behavior lacking all the vulgar, offending aspects exhibited by Mrs. Bennet. It required an intense psychological discipline on the surface of her personality never to think, speak or act badly toward anyone. Life rewards that inner effort by elevating her to Bingley’s level.
Eliza’s goodwill and aspiration for Jane is a major force for Jane’s higher accomplishment, which is made possible by Eliza’s direct intervention with Darcy. The two sisters genuine love and affection for each other is a powerful force for accomplishment. Eliza’s initiative with Darcy revives Jane’s prospects with Bingley. Bingley’s renewed courtship brings Eliza and Darcy back together, so that their relationship can mature. When Bingley proposes, Jane’s one thought is that Eliza too should be happy.
Lydia fulfills her aspiration of marrying a handsome, dashing young man.
- Energy -- She accomplishes on the strength of fresh creative energy unhindered by any inner conflicts or restraints. She has a cheerful, expansive disposition. Lydia is alive and refuses to be cowed by the society.
- Courage -- She is fearless in action, never hesitating for a moment to elope with Wickham or fearing for her own future. Life responds to her courage by taking initiative to rescue her and provide for her when she pursues her own path with full energy.
- Lack of inhibitions -- Lydia accomplishes by completely disregarding social norms and public opinion and acting with full, uninhibited energy to achieve what she wants. Nothing in her personality shrinks or feels constrained by social approbation, so her energy fully expresses. She is not disturbed by the threat of being abandoned. She is shameless and untouched by social concerns. Only others are disturbed and embarrassed on her behalf.
- Genuine attraction to Wickham – She is genuinely and passionately attracted to Wickham. Her feelings may not be deep emotions of love, but they are intense. Intensity accomplishes.
- No ill will or perversity – Lydia is low, uncultured and shameless but she is not false, perverse or negative. Therefore, she is saved from the direst consequences of elopement.
- Lydia’s fall is sanctioned -- Lydia herself is delighted and feels nothing wrong with the elopement. Her mother cares only that the girls get married. She actively supports Lydia’s desire to go to Brighton. Eliza too was strongly attracted to Wickham, failing to see the rogue he was. Kitty conceals her foreknowledge of Lydia’s intentions. Mr. Bennet refuses to exercise his authority to keep her under control. The whole family are accomplices in her elopement.
- Lydia’s fall directly leads to Eliza’s rise -- What looks like a fall or an evil in Lydia’s life leads to a rise or a good in Eliza’s. Because Lydia needed help, Darcy could offer it and it became a means for him to win Eliza.
Mrs. Bennet succeeds in marrying three daughters by an energetic, uncompromising aspiration and eager pursuit of their marriages. Her behavior is vulgar, but her energy and intention are effective. Her initiatives fail, her stratagems delay, but her aspiration accomplishes. She is undeterred by social inhibitions or opinions of others. She has the energy and aspiration to accomplish, not the organized character for successful initiatives. Therefore, successful initiatives must come from others.
Charlotte Lucas & Collins
Charlotte succeeds by a realistic, rational evaluation of her circumstances and a willingness to subordinate her dreams to social realities, to discipline herself, to calmly and cheerfully accept what is available. Her intense goodwill for Eliza qualifies her for much higher achievement, but her strong need for security (money value) and her lack of faith in what the future will bring limit her accomplishment to Collins. Collins also succeeds in obtaining exactly what he wants. Through the marriage of his cousins, he becomes distantly related to Lady Catherine.
Lady Catherine’s interference
Lady Catherine’s position is weak because her own daughter Anne is frail and unattractive. The intention of Darcy’s dead mother to marry her son to Anne no longer has force. Lady Catherine wants to rely on family relation and sentiment, whereas Darcy seeks a woman of character. The social climate is one in which the power of aristocracy is in decline, therefore her assertion of privilege does not carry the same weight as it would have in a previous position. She seeks to use her social position against Darcy, who as her equal need not accept her authority, and against Eliza, who as a formed personality resents such intrusion. Lady Catherine relies on the strength of her external position, not the strength of her right intentions (will) or right understanding (knowledge, rationality or fairness).
In an earlier period, Lady Catherine’s social strength would have been sufficient to force Eliza to comply and give up Darcy, even by threat of physical violence. In a later period, Lady Catherine would have been helpless to protest. The fact that she comes to Eliza shows she is weak socially, though strong personally. She fails to defeat by resort to brute, vulgar force one who despises the arrogance of superior airs. It would have worked with Collins, not Eliza. In this case, her boorish offensive behavior actually releases energy and evokes outrage in Eliza. The release of Eliza’s energy accomplishes her purpose. When a life circumstance is changing and those who have occupied the strong position try to assert their strength after it is no longer accepted, the results may be opposite.
Caroline fails to win Darcy through resort to fawning, meanness and stratagems to win the hand of a man of character who is at a higher level of society than she is and who dislikes insincerity and lack of character.
Although Pride and Prejudice may be commonly characterized as a love story, it is much more a story of social accomplishment and evolution. Money is a central theme and factor in the story.
- Elizabeth gains a fortune - In financial terms, Elizabeth’s marriage to Darcy represents a 200-fold rise in her fortunes (from ₤50 to ₤10,000 a year). What is the basis for her monetary accomplishment?
- Delight - Eliza discovers the vital delight of being passionately loved by a man she admires and she rises to become Mistress of Pemberley. Money is only one expression and measure of the satisfaction she feels by rising to that level.
- Goodwill - Eliza’s aspiration to marry Jane to a man of ₤4000 gets her a man of ₤10,000.
- Non-mercenary motives - Eliza refuses a proposal from odious Collins with ₤2000 and the entail for Longbourn. She gets a man of character and affection with ₤10,000.
- Generosity and absence of jealousy or meanness - Eliza shows no traces of jealousy or meanness or resentment of other’s good fortune. Collins comes offering goodwill. Eliza never resents that Collins and her friend Charlotte will get Longbourn. Nor does she want to offend him when Collins proposes. Through both of them, she meets Darcy at Hunsford, and gets Pemberley.
- Mind creates money - Her mental effort at personal progress (recognition of her vanity and acceptance of self-knowledge) leads to Pemberley.
- Darcy pays for Lydia’s marriage - Lydia’s marriage is an evolutionary act. Since it is an act that preserves and revitalizes the aristocracy, since it helps Darcy win Elizabeth, the aristocracy should pay, not the bourgeoisie. Mr. Gardiner is fully willing to assume the responsibility that is not his to bear. Life pays for him and gives him full credit. Darcy pays on Mr. Gardiner’s behalf in gratitude to the Gardiners for bringing Eliza to him. Darcy gets what he wants when money loses value for him.
- Wickham & Lydia get the minimum - Wickham is the one person who consciously tries to take more than his due by force and false means. He gets the bare minimum. Lydia spends wantonly and marries a wanton spender. Wickham and Lydia get money for their subconscious service to Darcy and Eliza, not for their conscious acts. Lydia makes Jane and Eliza pay for lunch. Later Jane and Eliza must continue to pay small amounts to her. She demands a small gift and that continues.
- ↑ P&P, p.96
- ↑ Eliza frankly acknowledges to Jane that she became conscious of her positive feelings for Darcy only after her visit to Pemberley. But her earlier refusal of a man she very well knew was among the wealthiest in England with ₤10,000 annual income clearly shows that her decision was not governed by mercenary motives. As she felt a biological attraction to Wickham, the physical experience of being among the abundant luxury and prosperity of Pemberley was physically pleasing to her body and helped sweep away the remnants of discomfort and embarrassment which she associated with Darcy. Therefore, the sensation of enjoyment she feels is immediately followed by his surprise arrival
- ↑ P&P, p.232
- ↑ P&P, p.299
P&P refers to the Oxford World's Classics edition of Pride and Prejudice, first published in 1980
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