Darcy’s proposal begins with a strange phrase because of his previous dislike of Elizabeth’s family. The class intolerance made Darcy hide his feelings. That is why the request was awkward.
Jane Austen’s novel discusses the Victorian era’s perception of marriage and class. A woman from a poor household in the XIX century was associated with marriage for money. Readers follow the Bennett family. Their five daughters become targets of affection for aristocrats, one of which is Fitzwilliam Darcy.
He is a character whose actions and motives represent prejudice. Wealthy people tend to aim at maximum profit and status. Austen combines his principles with a loving feeling for Bennets’ daughter Elizabeth. In such a way, a complicated situation arises.
Darcy is indecisive because his opinion of the lower-class people was incorrect. He overcomes prejudices and opens up to Elizabeth. But things do not go as planned. The proposal surprised her, but Darcy’s confidence and arrogance were not as inviting as his feelings.
This proposal is also an example of Elizabeth being a feminist. Elizabeth’s denial of Darcy’s affection reflects strong personal beliefs. She does not pursue marriage for status or finance. Her goal is to find a friend to accompany her life journey, not looking down upon her.
The line “In vain have I struggled” is a profound expression. It is not only meant to represent the hardships of love, although they are present as well. It displays class discrimination, the Victorian era’s view of marriage, and strong female characters.