The Pursuit of Virtue in Pride and Prejudice Essay example

The Pursuit of Virtue in Pride and Prejudice Essay example

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"Virtue" is truly a complex word - an element of
the essence of man - that Jane Austen portrays in her novel “Pride and Prejudice”. Through a
profound scrutiny of the character of the protagonists, and through her interpretation of how
vanity, pride, and self - knowledge intervenes in the development of the virtue of the characters,
Austen intends to show how human happiness is found by living in accordance with human
dignity, which is a life in accordance with virtue.
Austen creates a scenario where she allows the reader to identify a variety of persons, each of
them with a certain and peculiar character. With this diversity, we are able to highlight in each
person of the novel, different traits that can lead us to talk about virtue, and one of them is
vanity. The definition of vanity suggests it is excessive belief in one ́s own abilities, in other
words, a superfluous amount of pride in ones achievements, abilities, and appearance. Sticking to
this definition, Miss Bingley fits perfectly to it. In most of the novel she ́s certainly got that
“excessive” belief in her own superiority to others and her own attractiveness, leading her to the
point of criticizing others, and this last thing sharpens when talking about Elizabeth Bennet,
which was a barrier in her plan of obtaining Mr. Darcy. This is observed in a fragment of a
conversation between Miss Bingley and Mrs. Hurst about Elizabeth Bennet:
When dinner was over, she returned directly to Jane, and Miss Bingley began abusing her
as soon as she was out of the room. Her manners were pronounced to be very bad indeed,
a mixture of pride and impertinence; she had no conversation, no style, no beauty
However, there is a really interesting thing with this. The au...


... middle of paper ...


...importance of virtue here is that, virtues are needed for living well; But in order to obtain
them, it is fundamental to search for them , because virtues are voluntary acquired, we are not
born with them. We have reasons to acquire them, since they are beneficial for us and for our
relationships with other. Like Confucius once said “virtue is not left to stand alone. He, who
practices it, will have neighbors”. So it was indispensable for the characters to find the highest
point of virtue, and as soon as they were capable of finding it, the happy ending of the novel
takes off. Jane Austen made a homerun with her novel. She was capable of showing how human
happiness is found by living in accordance with human dignity, which is a life in accordance
with virtue.



Works Cited

Dooly, D. J. Nineteenth-Century Fiction; University of California Press, 1965.

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