Pride and Prejudice: Chapter 40 - Summary & Analysis

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      Summary: Elizabeth tells Jane of the scene between Darcy and herself and Jane is grieved for the unhappiness Elizabeth’s refusal may have caused him. When told of Darcy’s letter explaining his treatment of Wickham, Jane still makes allowances for both men. Elizabeth confesses that all her dislike of Darcy was the outcome of her prejudice against him. She is not sure whether they should reveal Mr. Wickham’s real character to everyone. They decide against exposing him as he is to leave the neighborhood in a fortnight.

      Critical Analysis: Elizabeth now has realized the true worth of Darcy and the villainy of Wickham. In an ironic comparison between Wickham and Darcy, it is pointed out that “one has got all the goodness and the other all the appearance of it”. This epitomizes Elizabeth’s fault exactly, since she, among others at Meryton and Longbourn has been taken in by Wickham’s appearance and failed to see Darcy’s goodness in deciding not to reveal Wickham’s true nature, they make a grave mistake for they do not know, (the readers will learn in subsequent chapters) that their own family will have to suffer on account of the illusions that persist about Wickham’s goodness.

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