Pride and Prejudice: Chapter 45 - Summary & Analysis

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      Summary. The following morning Elizabeth and her aunt pay a return call to Pemberley. They are received by Georgiana Darcy in a beautiful room where Mrs. Hurst and Miss Bingley are sitting. These two ladies greet Elizabeth and Mrs. Gardiner only by a curtsy. Miss Bingley watches Elizabeth closely, especially when she speaks to Miss Darcy. Refreshments are served and; while the party is having the refreshments, Darcy enters. He has left his fishing companions on hearing of Elizabeth’s presence in his house. Miss Bingley makes a sneering remark to Elizabeth about the loss the Bennets must feel at the transfer of the militia: Georgiana is confused and Darcy blushes at this ill-natured remark. Elizabeth receives this with composure, however, and both Georgiana and Darcy are calmed by her collected behaviour. When the visitors have left, Caroline Bingley criticizes Elizabeth’s appearance until Darcy is stung into retorting that he considers Elizabeth one of the handsomest women of his acquaintance.

      Critical Analysis. In this chapter Miss. Caroline Bingley re-enters the novel. Highly jealous of Elizabeth she makes disparaging allusions to Mr. Wickham in order to disgrace her in Darcy’s eyes. Elizabeth is however unruffled and faces the situation with calm boldness. Consequently when Caroline expresses an unfavourable opinion of Elizabeth. Darcy says that the bad opinion of Elizabeth “was only when I first knew her, for it is many months since I have considered her as one of the handsomest women in my acquaintance.” These lines epitomize the main theme of the book. For Jane Austen a good marriage is always one where love is built on a firm foundation of experience and mutual understanding.

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