In the novel Pride and Prejudice, written by Jane Austen, several, if not all of her characters, can verify the idea that in order to achieve happiness one must abandon their pride and in turn, replace it with self-respect accompanied by some humility. In addition, tolerance and mutual respect must replace ones prejudice.
In the inception of the novel, the Bingley sisters, Caroline and Mrs. Hurst, exhibit their prejudice towards Jane because of their differences in social status. It is their pride that forces them to believe they are better than others solely because of the amount of money they have. It is their prejudice that causes them to earnestly avoid people of different social status and do everything their powers allow to protecting family members such as Mr. Bingley from people of the lower class. Instead of realizing the love Mr. Bingley and Jane had towards each other, they allow their pride to blind them of the truth and foolishly assume that only a lady of equal status as theirs is worthy of their brothers love. To destroy any hopes Jane might entertain of marrying Mr. Bingley, the sisters connivingly convince her that that her love for Bingley is unrequited. They continue by saying that the marriage of Bingley to Miss Darcy, who will be hereafter our their sister will secure the happiness of so many people. But towards the end of the novel, even after all their efforts and hopes of separating the two, Jane and Bingley manage to get married. Miss Bingley and Mrs. Hurst are forced to swallow their pride and make amends with Jane because they know that if they didnt, Mr. Bingley would never like them. The Bingley sisters displayed their tolerance and mutual respect towards Jane after the lower social class prejudice was removed.
Caroline Bingleys attempts to seek the affection of Mr. Darcy are another example of her lack of self-respect. Her excessive pride is evident in her confidence that Darcy belongs to her because of their similarities in social status. Her prejudice towards Elizabeth is evident in Carolines constant insults of her. She comments to Elizabeth that Darcy is a gentleman and is out of her league. Caroline foolishly believes that she can win Darcys affection by fawning over him. She fails to get Darcys affection because she does not have a genuine affection for him. She seeks only to win him using her money and status in society. Because of her pride and prejudice Caroline falsely believes that she can sour Darcys feelings for Elizabeth by commenting on her low social status. Because of her prejudice towards those of “lower status” she believes that such superficial reasons will redirect Darcys attention. She does not realize that his affection for Elizabeth is much deeper. The end result is that social status, money, or any other force can not overcome that of love. Caroline gives up her pride to attain a slight, but not negligible, sense of self-respect. Before she viewed herself as a fat lump of money and nothing else. But after relinquishing her pride, she realizes that people should be judged based on character and not on how much money they have. This also relates to Carolines replacement of prejudice with tolerance towards Elizabeth.