This is a story of high individual accomplishment. That accomplishment takes the form of four marriages. The daughter of a landed gentleman and an uncultured middle class woman of some wealth rises in society by marrying a man of good character from one of the wealthiest families in the country. Elizabeths mild mannered and beautiful sister Jane marries a man of great wealth and perfect social endowments. Wild, foolish, carefree, irrepressible Lydia is saved from scandal and early abandonment by her marriage to a scoundrel of extreme good looks and pleasant manner. Solid, sensible, good-willed Charlotte gets the financial security she aspired for by marrying foolish Collins.
In addition, the story leads to some unexpected outcomes. Bingley, who Darcy wanted as a brother-in-law through marriage to Georgiana, instead becomes his brother-in-law through their marriages to Elizabeth and Jane. Wickham, who attempted to become Darcys brother-in-law by elopement with Georgiana, does become his brother-in-law by marrying Elizabeths sister Lydia. Collins, whose highest aspiration was to bask in the glory of his relationship to the distinguished Lady Catherine, through the marriage of his cousin Elizabeth to Lady Catherines nephew, gets more than he ever aspired for. He becomes Lady Catherines relation.
Our approach has been to regard these accomplishments as real events and to examine the positive and negative contribution of various factors to these results. Society consists of a hierarchy of planes or structures, each with their own laws or conditions. The determinants are social, psychological, vital (life) and spiritual. The results of action are governed by principles arising from these determinants.
The social life of the collective is continuous evolving under pressure of its own aspiration to manifest greater powers of life. It is also evolving under the influence of higher-level spiritual determinants working behind the scenes to express higher powers of consciousness. This evolutionary intention expresses subconsciously as the will of the society. This collective will expresses through the actions of individual members of the society pursuing their own interests and aspirations.
The individual in his growth tries to avail of the opportunities created by society. The opportunities for individual accomplishment are determined by what the society permits. The maximum is determined by what society sanctions. The minimum is determined by individual capacity. Individuals who fall below the social minimum socially perish. In rare instances, individuals try to outreach the society and the society puts up resistance. Individual capacity is determined by the skills, attitudes, beliefs, values, character and aspirations of each individual. The availability of social opportunities and the ability of the individual to avail of them combine to determine the ultimate outcome. Acts get completed when there is the requisite individual strength and the sanction of the society.
In the preceding sections, we have examined the separate contribution of social evolution, individual character and the character of life. In this section, we look at how these influences combine and interact to determine the outcomes. The following section will examine the role of spiritual determinants as they express through and are reflected by the other levels of determinants.
Before examining the chain of action in detail, we can summarize the major determinants of results in the story by identifying the most significant factors responsible for these outcomes.
For Collins and Charlotte, money is the primary determinant. Collins attracts a good, sensible woman to be his wife, not because of his appearance, behavior, character or personality, but because he has a secure living and will inherit Longbourn. Charlotte accepts Collins proposal because her primary goal is to acquire the security that marriage offers. She does not seek romantic love and she has little faith in trying to choose a compatible spouse based on pre-marital behavior.
For Darcy, love is the determinant. Though it is heartwarming to romanticize Darcys passionate attraction to Elizabeth, his attraction has a very strong social element to it. He is attracted by her because she is not attracted to his money or his social position. Her lack of response elevates her in his eyes and makes her more valuable than all that he possesses, so valuable that he is willing to improve himself in order to win her.
For Elizabeth, character prevails. Although she is thrilled to become mistress of Pemberley, neither money nor social position determines her choice. She would have been quite willing to marry a penniless Wickham had he not proved to be a scoundrel. Ultimately she seeks a man of good character who she can respect and who will adore her. She seeks a person of character and she wins Darcy because her own character is well-developed and attractive.
For Wickham, personal attractiveness saves him from ruin or ostracism. His physical appearance and cultivated manners win him a respectable marriage, an army commission and liquidation of all his debts, despite his lack of character, money or status. The strong attraction and goodwill of all the women who find him appealing is a powerful force for the success of a philanderer.
For Lydia, biological energy unfettered by social restraint accomplishes in an evolving social context that condones her foolish and shameless behavior. She achieves by the energy, strength and boldness of a woman seeking a mate and enjoyment.
The same powers that determine success in one instance fail under different circumstances to achieve different goals. While money is sufficient to win Charlotte for Collins, it fails to win him Elizabeth. Carolines wealth and status may be sufficient to win her a very respectable husband such as Fitzwilliam, but they are no match for Elizabeths character in a contest for Darcys hand in marriage. Wickhams deceit was sufficient to elope with Lydia, but ultimately he was forced to marry her, which had never been his intention. His deceit also failed when he attempted to elope with Georgiana and ultimately in his effort to deceive Eliza about his character. Lady Catherines social and personal power are sufficient to command the servile obedience of a Collins, but they fail when exercised on Elizabeth to prevent her marriage to Darcy. Aristocratic blood may win Anne de Bourgh a husband from a noble family, but in the present age it fails to persuade Darcy to marry a frail, unattractive cousin.
Setting aside for a moment all the complex analysis of forces that influence the results, we can observe in the story a fundamental truth of life. Human choice is a powerful determinant of results. That choice does not always lead where an individual expects it to, but it always exercises a powerful influence.
Lydia wanted a dashing husband and she got one. Jane and Bingley wanted like-minded mild mates and they found them. Charlotte wanted security for herself and higher accomplishment for Eliza and she accomplished both. Darcy wanted a woman who could support and sustain the lofty position of his family. Although Elizabeth does not bring a pure pedigree, she has the intelligence, clarity of mind, strength and character to revitalize the family.
Mrs. Bennet is partial to Lydia (my love) and gives up Eliza. Therefore, Mrs. Bennets aspiration acts most powerfully in Lydias life and she is the first to marry. Mr. Bennet is partial to Eliza and gives up Lydia. Eliza rises to the top. Lydias behavior descends to the lowest level without the fathers discipline and she almost falls out of the family and society. Mr. and Mrs. Bennet both neglect Mary. She remains unformed and is the only one left at home with them after Jane and Eliza marry.
This is primarily a story of accomplishment by a society seeking to evolve to a higher level of integration and using the social institution of marriage as one of many vehicles to bring about an evolutionary progress. The forces of life that appear to conspire so masterfully to bring about the four marriages are not merely forces unleashed by the aspirations of individual characters. These forces are set in motion long before the characters are conscious of their future destiny. Nor do they represent wider evolutionary forces of the plane of life itself in its upward movement toward higher levels of mental consciousness. The primary forces that express are neither of individuals nor of universal life. They are expressions of the subconscious social will working through individual characters and events. This is a story of social accomplishment.
So too, the obstacles to accomplishment are primarily those inherent in an effort to bridge the chasm that separates different levels of a somewhat rigid social system. Those obstacles are reflected in Darcys arrogant pride, Lady Catherines vulgar assertion of self-importance, and Collins obsequious submission to the old order. But they are equally reflected in Elizas inability to conceive, perceive or respond to Darcys offer to her and the intense discomfort both she and her mother experience when presented with their marriage as a real possibility. The force of resistance from above impels Lady Catherine to travel to Longbourn, to abuse, threaten, and humiliate in all possible manner her future niece. The same force prevents Lydia from falling out of the society, and brings about their marriage, even after she break the bounds of social propriety by eloping with Wickham. The predominate role of social forces is reflected in the emotions of the characters. What they express are primarily social emotions, not deep personal affections. This is best expressed in Mr. Collins ability to express the violence of his affection for Eliza at one moment, and then when he is rejected to turn around and propose to Charlotte just three days later. Darcys feelings are far more intense and sophisticated, but ultimately they are of the same plane, even if of a more noble and endearing quality. What draws him powerfully to Eliza is her apparent indifference to his status and wealth, her capacity to challenge and tease, where even Caroline feels submissive and accommodating. That places Eliza socially on an equal footing with him and far above all those who look up in respect or aspire to partake of his status.
Accomplishment in life is in proportion to the capacity of the individual. Capacity is a measure of the strength of personal character. Character is the formed structure of the personality built up by knowledge, will and values to generate, release and convert raw human energy into personal intensity. It is the intensity of personality that attracts to the individual forces of similar strength and nature in the form of opportunities for advancement and struggles for survival.
Growth of personal capacity involves a progressive increase in the ability of the individual to generate, harness, release and control physical energy as skill, vital energy as behavior, emotional energy as attitudes and motives, and mental energy as thought, opinions and values. Human energy is generated and released by knowledge and willed effort. The physical effort to master a skill requires an enormous expenditure of energy. The acquisition of the skill converts that energy into a formed nervous capacity of the individual. The vital nervous effort to acquire appropriate external behaviors requires an even greater expenditure of energy to achieve self-control over ones physical movements, gestures, expressions and speech. That behavior is only the external expression of personal attitudes. The effort to acquire positive feelings and attitudes toward people, circumstances and events involves a culturing of the emotions and motives that requires a tremendous investment of energy and results in the gradual building of the psychological intensity of character. A similar exercise of will at the mental effort results in the development of the capacity for thought, the formation of opinions and higher values. The cumulative capacity or force of personality resulting from this multi-level development at the physical, vital, emotional and mental level determines the nature and intensity of the responses of life to the individual.
Each person in the story achieves a result in life that is proportionate to and an expression of his or her developed personal capacity. Some of them take active effort to enhance that capacity by learning from the life experiences they undergo. When they reach the saturation point where they have fully exhausted their will and energy, life takes over and responds. Others are unwilling or uninterested in further progress and accept what their present capacity brings on its own. The disposition of each person toward growth is expressed by their response to external opportunities and challenges.
Positive and negative external events exert pressure on the individuals involved. Collins proposal to Eliza and Charlotte presents them with crucial decisions about their future life. Eliza unhesitatingly rejects Collins because she aspires for something better in terms of the personality and character of a husband. Elizabeth refuses to permit any mercenary considerations to influence for an instant her response to either Collins or Darcys proposals. Charlotte eagerly accepts Collins out of insecurity that she may never get another, or at least, a better opportunity to ensure her material welfare. Her circumstances and the clear value she places on financial security govern her actions.
Darcys proposal to Eliza and his insistence on an explanation for her refusal releases a torrent of her resentment and animosity against him based on his interference with Janes happiness and Wickhams false allegations against him. He has the option of fully justifying his behavior in his own eyes and discarding her accusations as prejudiced or ill informed, in which case he learns nothing about himself and remains where and what he was. Alternatively, he can ignore and excuse her misconceptions and recognize the underlying truth in her accusation that he is ungentlemanly, arrogant and undesirable, which is what he chooses to do. The self-knowledge resulting from that choice of objective self-scrutiny generates an intense pressure on him to modify his behavior and character to live up in practice to the principles of generosity and goodness that he had all along believed himself to possess.
Darcy makes a conscious decision and willed effort to give up his proud and arrogant sense of superiority, his aloof behavior, his unwillingness to interact with those of lower social status. He not only tries to eliminate the offensive behaviors of the past. He takes a conscious decision to reverse these characteristics and act in a diametrically opposite direction, first by courteously receiving Elizas aunt and uncle from Cheapside, then by pursuing a contemptible Wickham and shameless Lydia into even more polluted parts of London, by personally negotiating with Wickham to marry Lydia, by accepting full financial responsibility for paying Wickhams debts and purchasing him an army commission against the strong objections of Mr. Gardiner, and finally by imposing a pledge of secrecy on all involved, so that no word of his role should reach the Bennet family. This effort must have been, as Eliza later terms it, mortifying to a man of Darcys upbringing. It required an incredible sincerity, will and determination. It released an immense energy and utilized it to fashion a greater strength and nobility of character.
Having taken this inner and outer initiative to improve himself, but not to further his courtship of Eliza, life brings two magnificent responses. First, Lydia discloses to Eliza Darcys role in her marriage, making Eliza understand that Darcy loves her still. Second, Lady Catherine carries to Darcy a report of her discussion with Eliza at Longbourn, making Darcy understand that Eliza no longer rejects the possibility of becoming his wife. Darcys magnificent psychological effort at self-improvement has the power to completely reverse Elizas attitude toward him and compel her to express her gratitude and accept his renewed proposal.
When a crisis comes, each individual must decide whether or not to take responsibility for resolving it or bearing the weight of the difficulty. Those that accept responsibility progress. Those that throw the weight or blame on others or remain indifferent level off or fall back.
Elizabeth too is confronted with painful truths about herself and responds with an effort to grow in self-knowledge and character. Darcys letter and Lydias elopement bring Eliza face to face with home truths about her uncultured family and her own behavior. She recognizes that the behavior of her family members, not Darcy, was responsible for canceling Janes marriage to Bingley. She recognizes that her mother actively encouraged Lydias wildness and dissipation, her father condoned and permitted it, and she herself directly contributing by withholding from them information about Wickhams character. She recognizes that it was her own vanity and prejudiced opinions that prevented her from knowing, hearing or seeing for herself the truth about Wickham. She realizes with great embarrassment, shame and remorse that she had behaved toward Darcy as unpardonably as she had often accused her mother of behaving toward others.
Eliza undergoes an intense passage through stages of painful embarrassment, humiliation, shame, intense regret, and self-chastisement. She resists the strong temptation to assign any blame to Darcy for his rude words, Wickham for his scandalous falsehood, Mr. Bennet for his weakness and irresponsibility, Mrs. Bennet for her stupid insistence, or Lydia herself for her terrible folly. She discovers all their faults within herself and becomes much more fully conscious of her own weaknesses. She accepts the full weight of blame on herself. Her remarkable mental sincerity and psychological effort elevate her character and generate a powerful intensity.
Contrast Elizas behavior with that Lydia, who is oblivious of any sin on her part and equally oblivious of the extraordinary effort, generosity and goodness of those who have redeemed her reputation. Life responds miraculously to Elizas efforts. Darcy personally orchestrates the marriage of Wickham with Lydia, delivers Bingley to Longbourn where he proposes to Jane, and then returns himself and proposes to Eliza. Her psychological effort wins her a man of strong character and great wealth.
Mr. Bennet also undergoes a similar, if less intense and impressive transformation. He too resists the powerful temptation to fault others for his calamity. He raises not a single accusation against Mrs. Bennet for encouraging her wayward daughter, Wickham for outraging his daughter, or Lydia herself for succumbing to such unpardonable conduct. He sees only his own responsibility for rejecting caution and Elizas advice by relenting to Lydia and his wifes pressure to send her to Brighton. He recognizes he has been irresponsible and is determined to bear the full burden of cost on himself, though it greatly exceeds his financial capacity to do so. Life responds to his sincerity of attitude by redeeming his daughter at absolutely no cost to himself or his brother-in-law, bringing about extremely favorable marriages for his two favorite daughters, and permitting him to become a frequent guest at Pemberley after their marriages.
Contrast Mr. Bennets behavior with that of his wife. She misses no opportunity to fault Wickham, her family, and Colonel Forester for her misfortune, but never for an instant reflects on her own most central contribution or expresses a moments shame or regret for her conduct. Mrs. Bennet refuses to become conscious of herself, refuses to exercise her will, refuses any effort to change. She gathers all the energy generated in her by the crisis and throws it out as anger, bitter accusation, sullen disappointment, nervous discomfort and physical complaint.
The process of growth that Elizabeth undergoes can be summarized as follows: A higher opportunity approaches her from life, which she perceives either with indifference or as something distasteful and objectionable, based on false values and wrong understanding. In the measure she comes to recognize her own defects and accept them, the opportunity reveals itself as something positive rather than negative. The higher has to take active initiative to bridge the distance between their positions, which she is unable to do from below. Finally, she must respond by taking initiative to ask for what has been offered and rejected. Life waits for her to ask.
Lively energy -- In Lydia, the energy expresses as physical vitality and absence of self-restraint. In Eliza, it expresses as mental energy and absence of dead social formality. Like Lydia, Eliza is bold and her strength rises and expands when she is challenged or intimidated.
Cheerfulness Eliza has a naturally cheerful, happy personality with a capacity for humor taken to the physical level of mirth. She is incapable of remaining unhappy for long.
Goodwill Eliza exhibits a strong, genuine, unselfish goodwill for Jane, which longs for and delights in Janes happiness, rather than a jealous competition to see which sister will excel. Her goodwill is balanced by a complete lack of meanness or negativity towards anyone.
Lack of mercenary motives -- Eliza refuses both Collins and Darcy without a second thought about the wealth and property she is giving up. Because Eliza does not value Darcy in terms of money or status and because she does not value herself less for not having them, she is able to rise by her genuine character values to his level. Because Eliza really does not value or respond to Darcys money, that money comes to her. She gets a husband whom neither she nor he could imagine possible. The mechanism for bridging the gap is her self-value and his genuine love. She remains true to her character rather than bending to social pressure.
Pride & Prejudice -- Darcy and Eliza are attracted to each other because they both address the others central weakness and can help each other overcome it. Eliza has the sincerity and frankness to recognize and regret her own flaw of character in being taken in by Wickham and too hastily judging Darcy. She is even able to concede the justice in his condemnation of her family.
Aspiration -- Eliza and Jane rise because they have characters capable of development, whereas their sisters lack character and either remain where they were or fall, as Lydia did without even being sensitive to her fall.
The social differential -- The primary obstacle to Elizas marriage with Darcy is not the clash of their personalities that manifests as pride and prejudice. It is the vast social distance between them, as measured by status, wealth and culture. This expresses as Elizas inability to conceive of Darcys interest in her, her initial resentment, her inability to discern her own feelings or respond to his advances, and the intense pressure that contemplating such a relationship exerts on her nerves. That pressure is most dramatically illustrated by her wish never to see either Darcy or Bingley again, just a few days before both of them propose to Eliza and Jane. It also expresses as her inability to respond verbally to Darcy and Georgianas dinner invitation to Pemberley, when Darcy call on her and the Gardiners at Lambton. Eliza turns her head away, leaving it to Mrs. Gardiner to accept on their behalf. She feels the same pressure and awkwardness the next day, when she and Mrs. Gardiner call on Georgiana at Pemberley.
Vital attraction to Wickham, a false character This physical, biological attraction to a good-looking rogue is almost the source of Elizas undoing. She exhibits a dangerous willingness to believe Wickhams lies, simply because she likes him. This attraction represents Mrs. Bennets personality in her, the normal low, false, vital urge that she inherits and shares with the rest of the family, including Lydia.
Self-defensive pride in her family Elizas unwillingness to see and know the truth of her inheritance is a major obstacle that must be overcome in order for her to rise. This trait is related to her vital resentment of Darcy for being unapproachable. His high status subconsciously reminds her of her inferior connections.
Unless we simply dismiss the story as a product of the authors imagination, it is very difficult to avoid the feeling that Elizas marriage to Darcy was destined to happen. We have attempted to show that the force of destiny is a product of the interaction between social evolution, individual character and the character of life. A compelling force is evident in the story. It is the force of a society seeking to evolve in order to break down the barriers between higher and lower classes, to revitalize the aristocracy and provide room for the aspiring bourgeoisie to rise. This force expresses through those individuals who by virtue of their characters, values, capacities and personal situations are most receptive to its action. But its expression is not limited to the conscious intentions and initiatives of individuals. It acts through the medium of life, which we often dismiss as chance or fate or divine intervention, to bring about the necessary circumstances to fulfill its goals.
We find in the story many expressions of this subconscious force acting through circumstance to fulfill its purpose:
A study of the progressive changes in Elizas thoughts and attitudes about Darcy reveal the full and characteristic pattern of human response to opportunities that lie far above a persons present level of attainment. One of the most strikingand true to lifeaspects of the entire story is the fact that it took until the very end for Eliza to fully realize how much she wanted and would be pleased by what Darcy had been seeking to offer almost from the time of their first meeting. Let us trace from beginning to end the steps that Elizabeth passes through leading to her ultimate accomplishment.
Her basic endowments are sufficient to bring the opportunity in the form of Darcys attraction to her, but not sufficient by themselves for her accomplishment. Elizabeth has to grow and change before the opportunity can become a reality in her life.
Becoming conscious of the opportunity -- Much of the time required for Elizas accomplishment is taken for her to become conscious of the opportunity and conscious that her emotions endorse it. Even after visiting Pemberley and being introduced to Georgiana, Eliza is still not sure of her own feelings, though she is sure of Darcys. Only after Lydias elopement, she becomes fully conscious of wanting what she believes is now irrevocably lost.
Reversal of attitude -- Darcys letter helps Eliza her reverse her mental sympathy for Wickham and mental antipathy to Darcy. Darcys gracious reception to the Gardiners at Pemberley reverses her resentment of his earlier arrogant behavior.
Self-knowledge -- Eliza frankly recognizes the truth of Darcys accusations against her family and feels a sense of shame for her own behavior, her folly and vanity.
Enjoyment of possibility Accomplishment comes by enjoyment. At Pemberley Eliza feels the emotional thrill of being Mistress of Pemberley. This physical emotion evokes a life response. Darcy comes and meets her. These are enough to bring Darcy and Eliza into positive relationship, but not sufficient to consummate the marriage.
Withdrawal of attraction to Wickham The lower must be given up before the higher can come. The missing link is her physical attraction and attachment to Wickham. As long as that low vibration is there, it keeps her from rising. It expresses as Lydias elopement. During dinner at Pemberley, Caroline refers to the regiment leaving Meryton in order to raise the issue of Wickham. The next day news of Wickhams elopement comes. As a result, Eliza is immediately drawn away from Pemberley. It is Carolines jealousy and ill will that acts to interfere. The elopement also presents the perfect occasion for her to be free of this vibration. Lydia literally steals Wickham away and removes the possibility of a relationship with Eliza. It is right that Darcy pays for Wickhams marriage. He is paying to win Eliza by eliminating Wickham. It is right that Eliza continues to pay for Wickham and Lydia, since their marriage made her own.
Threat of loss makes her conscious of what she wants -- only after Lydias elopement permanently eliminates in her understanding all hope of her marriage to Darcy, she becomes conscious that such a marriage is very much to her liking. It took this threat of loss to make her conscious.
Janes accomplishment -- After Bingleys proposal to Jane, Eliza stops bargaining with Darcy to see who will take the first initiative. She takes initiative to seek him and express her gratitude. She reverses her prior hesitation and unwillingness to commit.
Offer of gratitude to Darcy -- Eliza realizes that he loves her still and feels genuine gratitude for his affection, though she remains unsure of how she feels about him. Darcy ultimately proposes again only after she offers genuine gratitude for his attention and help.
Each person acts at a gradation of different levels. At the lower levels, he feels mastery. He knows he is the determinant and acts as such successfully. Each person has a level beyond which he no longer feels he is the determinant, but rather feels that life determines him. Eliza exhibits confidence and mastery when confronted with Collins proposal, Darcys rudeness at the dance, his proposal and Lady Catherines intimidation. But when she receives news of Lydias elopement, she loses her balance and poise and feels completely helpless. In fact, she was not helpless. At the moment she received the news, help comes in the form of Darcy who has the power to save the situation for her. But her perception is that she is helpless and so she never thinks to exercise that power which is at her disposal. Darcy acts anyway. No one can blame Eliza for thinking that way. To know that we are always the determinant and never helpless is a great spiritual knowledge.
Elizabeths marriage to Darcy can also be looked at from his perspective. Why does Darcy have to face Elizas initial refusal and months of suffering before he finally accomplishes?
Negative comment -- His negative comment about Eliza, which she overhears at the Meryton ball, generates a resentment and prejudice that lives on for months. How many thoughtless comments of this type do each of us think and make?
Pride -- Darcys pride is so great that he is unable to conceive that Eliza would not want to marry him. His pride represents a barrier to his further development that is psychological rather than social. He is finally forced to admit and reverse it by proposing to Eliza twice before she accepts him.
Unconscious of his own uncultured behavior & relatives -- He has to acknowledge the same vulgarity in his family (Lady Catherine) as he condemns in Mrs. Bennet.
Inner conflict -- Divided energy does not accomplish. When Darcy first proposes, his mind and energies are divided between attraction and repulsion, so his proposal is rebuffed. Conflict between his opinions about Elizas family and his emotions for her are only reconciled after she abuses him during his proposal at Hunsford. When he next meets Eliza at Pemberley, his energies are fully committed to success. He has dismantled his pride and reversed his arrogant behavior to make himself entirely pleasing.
Sense of superiority & repulsion -- His repulsion for Elizas family keeps him from winning her until he overcomes it and reverses himself by bringing Jane and Bingley together and marrying Wickham and Lydia.
Interference with Bingley -- Until he reverses his interference in the genuine affection between Jane and Bingley, he cannot marry Eliza.
Reversing his abuse of Elizas low connections -- Having abused the Gardiners as Elizas low connections at Hunsford, he has to physically reverse by treating them cordially as honored guests at Pemberley.
His Fathers sentiment for Wickham -- The blind affection of Darcys father for a low man made the family vulnerable to misfortune. Wickham is as much a part of Darcys life as he is of Elizas. He is the low link between them. Darcy inherits his fathers dullness of mind, which is vulnerable to a clever, false man. Darcy lacks the alertness to know his sister is in danger. Until Wickham is settled in marriage, Darcy is unable to marry Eliza.
Secrecy -- He keeps secret his help to Lydia. Life responds by disclosing to him Elizas willingness through Lady Catherine.
Taking responsibility After Lydias elopement, Darcy has recognized that he is at fault in not disclosing Wickhams behavior with Georgiana. He takes the consciousness responsibility to rectify what occurred because he kept silent about Wickham to protect his familys reputation. He is the first person to know that Wickham is a scoundrel and for his own personal self-interest of keeping the scandal quiet, he has kept quiet. Now other people have been victimized. He is a conscientious good man. His ideal is to be a good character, not to do just what will please other people and make them respect him, but to be an individual character that respects himself. He has lost respect for himself, he feels he was wrong and first he has to be right in his own eyes. Therefore, he decides to go after Wickham himself and try to personally save the situation.
Right results come only from a real change of heart -- After being abused and rejected, Darcy still hopes Eliza will change her mind. He reverses his attitudes toward her family and she reverses hers toward him. Darcy takes Elizas criticisms to heart and completely drops his arrogant proud behavior. Darcy goes to London, finds Lydia, negotiates with Wickham, pays for a settlement and attends the wedding. Still, when Darcy returns to Longbourn after Lydias marriage, he has not yet told Bingley about Janes visit to London or affection for him. He is unable to meet and converse with Eliza. Eliza wishes she may never see him again. Only after Darcy confesses to Bingley, Eliza speaks to him and they are reconciled. His confession marks his complete change of heart.
Why does Darcy end up paying Wickham three times when he gives up the church, to marry Lydia, and continuously to support them in marriage?
Darcy needs Wickham for his progress. Their personalities are complementary. That is why they arrive at Meryton at the same time. The affection of Darcys father for his godson is fulfilled in life and must be honored by Darcy despite what Wickham is. Wickham is a man raised in proximity to wealth and high status. He possesses a handsome appearance, intelligence, pleasing social skills, and an intense aspiration to rise. He is encouraged to aspire for high achievement because he sees that Darcy is inferior to him in appearance, intelligence and social skill and Darcys father has embraced him almost as a son. What Wickham lacks is Darcys goodness and integrity, his character. He possesses the form needed for high achievement, not the content. Wickham succeeds through polished behavior and handsome appearance despite his rogue character, because society gives so much importance to appearances.
Years earlier Wickham refused the living at Pemberley because it did not match his aspirations. Darcy paid Wickham £3000 at the time. Wickham threw away that money in dissipation. Wickham responds to Darcys generosity by trying to elope with Georgiana. His response is typical of human beings when they aspire to rise. His first impulse is to try to rise by taking rather than by effort to acquire the necessary endowments. Wickham has the added motive of trying to destroy Darcys family, which is the other natural response of those below who envy those above them. Darcy was vulnerable to this hostile attack because he had paid £3000 to an undeserving man. Giving should be out of strength and knowledge, not weakness and ignorance. He was ignorant of Wickhams capabilities and motives. His effort at charity or aid to an undeserving man did not help Wickham. All the money was lost. It only supported bad habits for a while.
Yet, later in the story Darcy is compelled by his emotions and by circumstance to spend on Wickham an amount 3 or 4 times greater in order to get him married to Lydia. If payments to Wickham had such negative effect earlier, why and how does life sanction much larger payments by Darcy to Wickham later on? This shows there is a truth in Wickhams falsehood.
From Wickhams personal point of view, the difference in the nature of the payments was significant. The first was a gift of cash, which he dissipated. The second installment consisted mainly of payments to clear his past acts of dissipation and make him respectable by purchasing a military officers commission. This money never went into his hands. It went to wipe out his past sins. The possibility of future payments, including those which Eliza made to Lydia from time to time, were an incentive for Wickham to remain on good behavior. These payments were spurs for the development of his character and behavior, not payments to get rid of him. What Wickham wanted to take from Darcy by ruse or win from life by luck in gambling, life makes him earn by self-restraint and respectable social behavior within the system. The fact that Wickham eventually becomes Darcys brother-in-law through marriage with Lydia shows the basic truth of Wickhams aspiration to rise by eloping with Georgiana. His aspiration is sanctioned by life, not his method for fulfilling it. He has the social skills and intelligence for higher-level accomplishment, not the inner character.
From Darcys personal perspective, life sanctions these later payments because they are an exchange for Wickhams service in helping Darcy win Eliza, which Wickham does first through his lies and later by removing himself from Elizas field of eligible men by proposing to Mary King and then eloping with Lydia. Darcy also pays Wickham to marry Lydia and maintain the respectability of Elizas family, which is essential for Darcy to marry Eliza.
From the perspective of Darcys personal evolution, Darcy has to progress from the false values of money and status to the true values of goodness, humility and generosity. He thinks meanly of all those without wealth or status, which are false values that do not make for real character or merit. As Darcy said, he was raised to be good in principle, but allowed to be selfish in practice. He outgrows the false values of money and status by giving both to an undeserving Wickham. Darcy gives Wickham money and the status of a brother-in-law, so that Darcy may grow in character to become a generous, good, unpretentious man.
From the perspective of social development, society is trying to evolve peacefully without resort to a violent revolution that destroys its institutions. Society sanctions and supports the rise of people such as Wickham on merit, so long as they remain within the system. His merit is his personal appearance, boldness and cleverness. Darcy pays Wickham to rise within the system as a respectable member of society rather than by ruining the system, which is revolutionary destruction.
As a general principle of social development, Darcys obligation to pay and elevate Wickham is the life obligation of every man who has accumulated money or power with the aid of other people. No man accomplishes on his own strength, therefore none can claim sole ownership. Wickhams father as steward has claim to some part of what Darcy has inherited. This is the life justification for all those who possess knowledge, power or wealth to give it freely before it is demanded or taken away. The refusal to give prevents us from receiving more, e.g. the unwillingness of the rich to pay taxes keeps the country impoverished and fosters corruption.
Life offers Bingley the opportunity to rise in marriage to Georgiana, but Bingley shows no inclination for psychological effort, so he ends up with Jane. His only aspiration is for a mild, pleasant pretty wife of like temperament to his own and he gets one. Jane is what can come to him with no effort, based on his present endowments and status. His attraction to Darcy is fulfilled by becoming Darcys brother-in-law through Jane and Eliza.
Jane has dedicated her life to developing a positive, pleasant behavior lacking all the vulgar, offending aspects exhibited by Mrs. Bennet. It required an intense psychological discipline on the surface of her personality never to think, speak or act badly toward anyone. Life rewards that inner effort by elevating her to Bingleys level.
Elizas goodwill and aspiration for Jane is a major force for Janes higher accomplishment, which is made possible by Elizas direct intervention with Darcy. The two sisters genuine love and affection for each other is a powerful force for accomplishment. Elizas initiative with Darcy revives Janes prospects with Bingley. Bingleys renewed courtship brings Eliza and Darcy back together, so that their relationship can mature. When Bingley proposes, Janes one thought is that Eliza too should be happy.
Lydia fulfills her aspiration of marrying a handsome, dashing young man.
Energy -- She accomplishes on the strength of fresh creative energy unhindered by any inner conflicts or restraints. She has a cheerful, expansive disposition. Lydia is alive and refuses to be cowed by the society.
Courage -- She is fearless in action, never hesitating for a moment to elope with Wickham or fearing for her own future. Life responds to her courage by taking initiative to rescue her and provide for her when she pursues her own path with full energy.
Lack of inhibitions -- Lydia accomplishes by completely disregarding social norms and public opinion and acting with full, uninhibited energy to achieve what she wants. Nothing in her personality shrinks or feels constrained by social approbation, so her energy fully expresses. She is not disturbed by the threat of being abandoned. She is shameless and untouched by social concerns. Only others are disturbed and embarrassed on her behalf.
Genuine attraction to Wickham She is genuinely and passionately attracted to Wickham. Her feelings may not be deep emotions of love, but they are intense. Intensity accomplishes.
No ill will or perversity Lydia is low, uncultured and shameless but she is not false, perverse or negative. Therefore, she is saved from the direst consequences of elopement.
Lydias fall is sanctioned -- Lydia herself is delighted and feels nothing wrong with the elopement. Her mother cares only that the girls get married. She actively supports Lydias desire to go to Brighton. Eliza too was strongly attracted to Wickham, failing to see the rogue he was. Kitty conceals her foreknowledge of Lydias intentions. Mr. Bennet refuses to exercise his authority to keep her under control. The whole family are accomplices in her elopement.
Lydias fall directly leads to Elizas rise -- What looks like a fall or an evil in Lydias life leads to a rise or a good in Elizas. Because Lydia needed help, Darcy could offer it and it became a means for him to win Eliza.
Mrs. Bennet succeeds in marrying three daughters by an energetic, uncompromising aspiration and eager pursuit of their marriages. Her behavior is vulgar, but her energy and intention are effective. Her initiatives fail, her stratagems delay, but her aspiration accomplishes. She is undeterred by social inhibitions or opinions of others. She has the energy and aspiration to accomplish, not the organized character for successful initiatives. Therefore, successful initiatives must come from others.
Charlotte succeeds by a realistic, rational evaluation of her circumstances and a willingness to subordinate her dreams to social realities, to discipline herself, to calmly and cheerfully accept what is available. Her intense goodwill for Eliza qualifies her for much higher achievement, but her strong need for security (money value) and her lack of faith in what the future will bring limit her accomplishment to Collins. Collins also succeeds in obtaining exactly what he wants. Through the marriage of his cousins, he becomes distantly related to Lady Catherine.
Lady Catherines position is weak because her own daughter Anne is frail and unattractive. The intention of Darcys dead mother to marry her son to Anne no longer has force. Lady Catherine wants to rely on family relation and sentiment, whereas Darcy seeks a woman of character. The social climate is one in which the power of aristocracy is in decline, therefore her assertion of privilege does not carry the same weight as it would have in a previous position. She seeks to use her social position against Darcy, who as her equal need not accept her authority, and against Eliza, who as a formed personality resents such intrusion. Lady Catherine relies on the strength of her external position, not the strength of her right intentions (will) or right understanding (knowledge, rationality or fairness).
In an earlier period, Lady Catherines social strength would have been sufficient to force Eliza to comply and give up Darcy, even by threat of physical violence. In a later period, Lady Catherine would have been helpless to protest. The fact that she comes to Eliza shows she is weak socially, though strong personally. She fails to defeat by resort to brute, vulgar force one who despises the arrogance of superior airs. It would have worked with Collins, not Eliza. In this case, her boorish offensive behavior actually releases energy and evokes outrage in Eliza. The release of Elizas energy accomplishes her purpose. When a life circumstance is changing and those who have occupied the strong position try to assert their strength after it is no longer accepted, the results may be opposite.
Caroline fails to win Darcy through resort to fawning, meanness and stratagems to win the hand of a man of character who is at a higher level of society than she is and who dislikes insincerity and lack of character.
Although Pride and Prejudice may be commonly characterized as a love story, it is much more a story of social accomplishment and evolution. Money is a central theme and factor in the story.
In financial terms, Elizabeths marriage to Darcy represents a 200-fold rise in her fortunes (from £50 to £10,000 a year). What is the basis for her monetary accomplishment?
Delight -- Eliza discovers the vital delight of being passionately loved by a man she admires and she rises to become Mistress of Pemberley. Money is only one expression and measure of the satisfaction she feels by rising to that level.
Goodwill -- Elizas aspiration to marry Jane to a man of £4000 gets her a man of £10,000.
Non-mercenary motives -- Eliza refuses a proposal from odious Collins with £2000 and the entail for Longbourn. She gets a man of character and affection with £10,000.
Generosity and absence of jealousy or meanness -- Eliza shows no traces of jealousy or meanness or resentment of others good fortune. Collins comes offering goodwill. Eliza never resents that Collins and her friend Charlotte will get Longbourn. Nor does she want to offend him when Collins proposes. Through both of them, she meets Darcy at Hunsford, and gets Pemberley.
Mind creates money -- Her mental effort at personal progress (recognition of her vanity and acceptance of self-knowledge) leads to Pemberley.
Lydias marriage is an evolutionary act. Since it is an act that preserves and revitalizes the aristocracy, since it helps Darcy win Elizabeth, the aristocracy should pay, not the bourgeoisie. Mr. Gardiner is fully willing to assume the responsibility that is not his to bear. Life pays for him and gives him full credit. Darcy pays on Mr. Gardiners behalf in gratitude to the Gardiners for bringing Eliza to him. Darcy gets what he wants when money loses value for him.
Wickham is the one person who consciously tries to take more than his due by force and false means. He gets the bare minimum. Lydia spends wantonly and marries a wanton spender. Wickham and Lydia get money for their subconscious service to Darcy and Eliza, not for their conscious acts. Lydia makes Jane and Eliza pay for lunch. Later Jane and Eliza must continue to pay small amounts to her. She demands a small gift and that continues.
 P&P, p.96.
 Eliza frankly acknowledges to Jane that she became conscious of her positive feelings for Darcy only after her visit to Pemberley. But her earlier refusal of a man she very well knew was among the wealthiest in England with £10,000 annual income clearly shows that her decision was not governed by mercenary motives. As she felt a biological attraction to Wickham, the physical experience of being among the abundant luxury and prosperity of Pemberley was physically pleasing to her body and helped sweep away the remnants of discomfort and embarrassment which she associated with Darcy. Therefore, the sensation of enjoyment she feels is immediately followed by his surprise arrival.
 P&P, p.232.
 P&P, p.299.
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