- Mrs. Bennet’s two dinner invitations to Bingley both fail
- Caroline’s criticisms of Eliza to Darcy do not deter Darcy, but rather seem to increase his sympathy for Eliza and his understanding of Caroline’s undesirable character.
- Sir Lucas’s efforts to bring Eliza and Darcy together have the opposite affect of separating Jane and Bingley
- Caroline’s effort to separate Jane and Bingley
- Lady Catherine’s protest to Eliza
When Mrs. Bennet issues the two invitations, the atmosphere is negative, because relationship between the families is seriously opposed by Caroline and Darcy. Bingley is unable to accept either invitation, despite his positive predisposition. In any case, Mrs. Bennet lacks the strength and status to successfully promote a relationship between Jane and Bingley on her own initiative, because he is above her in status. Her prodding ways have the opposite effect.
Caroline lacked strength to effectively influence Darcy in this context. By her efforts to discredit Eliza in Darcy’s eyes, Caroline inadvertently plays the foil that advances Eliza’s cause at each stage by contrasting Eliza’s conduct with her own shallow, dishonest behavior and overt meanness. Because Caroline is weak, her effort to embarrass and taunt Darcy about his attraction to Eliza fails. The words she foolishly speaks -- “when am I to wish you joy?” -- become prophetically true. Had she been of Darcy’s social level or exceedingly beautiful, she may have succeeded.
When at Pemberley, Caroline refers to the militia leaving Meryton as a great loss for Eliza’s family, an indirect reference to Wickham. Both Darcy and Georgiana are disturbed by the comment. Ignorant of Wickham’s history with Georgiana, Caroline does not realize she is disturbing those she most wishes to please.
Sir Lucas interrupted Darcy and Eliza at Netherfield ball with information about the romantic prospects of Jane and Bingley, leading to the breakup of their romance by Darcy. Later Darcy writes to Eliza at Rosings, “I was made acquainted by Sir Lucas’s accidental information.” It is significant that Lucas must be the instrument for the breakup in view of the fact that Charlotte is trying the other way. Honest endeavors by ill-qualified people always have the opposite result.
Caroline’s liking for Jane is a force. It acts, but not in the direction she intends. She likes Jane and wants her company. But she does not expect to see Jane married to her brother. Even when she invites Jane to Netherfield, it is only when Bingley and Darcy are away dining with the officers. But her own liking for Jane promotes Jane’s relationship with their brother, which she does not desire. Her desire to separate Jane from Bingley is a force and it too acts surely. By that force, Caroline is separated from Darcy. A force released acts, like the money given by an indulgent father to his son, but it is not in the father’s capacity to determine the use of that money.
Lady Catherine tries to exercise her personal strength and social position to dominate in a situation where her position is weak. Her personal boorish strength only brings out the strength in Eliza. Her social status has no impact on Eliza’s formed character. Her weak position is reflected by the fact that she has to go to Longbourn to meet Eliza, rather than summoning Eliza to come to her. By her initiative, Lady Catherine is directly responsible for bringing Eliza and Darcy back together. In recognition of her unintended contribution to their marriage, Eliza takes initiative to reconcile with her after marriage.
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