Pride and Prejudice: Chapter 59 - Summary & Analysis

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      Summary: That night Elizabeth tells Jane of her engagement to Darcy, and the news is received with astonishment as Jane thinks that her sister still dislikes the young man. Elizabeth reassures her, however, and tells her sister that her love for Darcy has been coming on gradually. She convinces Jane of her great affection for Darcy, and Jane is pleased. The next evening Darcy follows Mr. Bennet into the library and asks for his consent to marry Elizabeth. Mr. Bennet, like Jane, is amazed and for the same reason. Elizabeth tells him how Darcy paid Wickham’s debts, gave him money and got him his commission. Mr. Bennet is extremely grateful and tells Elizabeth he will repay Darcy the next day. Mrs. Bennet is so delighted as to be nearly distracted with joy at the idea of having three daughters married. She stands in such awe of her intended son-in-law that she speaks to him very little, and then only to offer him any attention or mark her deference for his opinion. Mr. Bennet tells Elizabeth that he admires all his three sons-in-law greatly.

      Critical Analysis: The complex nature of Elizabeth-Darcy relationship is evident. Elizabeth’s engagement to Darcy is viewed with surprise by everyone including Jane and Mr. Bennet who had all thought that Elizabeth dislikes Darcy.

      Appearance and Reality — one of the themes of the novel is thus emphasized here. Everyone must learn to “see” Darcy for the noble and true gentleman he is, recognize him for his true worth, a job made difficult because Elizabeth herself had “appeared to hate him”. However, Elizabeth and Darcy will have a successful marriage for their marriage is not a succumbing to passion or appearances or love at first sight but rather their relationship has stood the test of many months suspense.

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