The novel tells about the relationship between Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy. He proposes to Elizabeth when she stays at the Hunsford Parsonage. Elisa rejects him because Darcy is arrogant and insults her family. This refusal sets the stage for character development. It leads Darcy to a humbler and more successful second proposal.
Darcy’s first marriage proposal at the Hunsford Parsonage comes as a surprise to Elizabeth. Until that point, their relationship seemed to be one of mutual antipathy. Although touched by his confession of love, Elizabeth feels insulted. He presents her family’s inferior status as an obstacle. Earlier information about Darcy’s meddling in her relatives’ lives also shapes her reaction. Elizabeth rejects Darcy and accuses him of being unlovable.
This failed proposal plays a pivotal role in the narrative. It encourages the evolution of both characters. This conversation underlines Darcy’s selfishness and pride, along with Elizabeth’s tendency to judge. More importantly, it brings those flaws to the characters’ attention. Darcy is taken aback by the rejection and needs to reconsider his behavior. This scene is a sudden and dramatic confrontation that compels the self-examination of the people.
Darcy confesses his love for Elizabeth in the 34th chapter of the novel. The second proposal comes only in the 58th chapter. The change in his behavior in the second proposal is striking. He is humbled and learns to be less self-centered. The contrast with his conduct during the first proposal allows him to win over Elizabeth.