“If I may so express it, he has a right to be proud.”
“That is very true,” replied Elizabeth, “and I could easily forgive his pride, if he had not mortified mine.”
This conversation between Charlotte and Elizabeth highlights one of the primary reasons why Elizabeth clings for so long and so stubbornly onto her bad opinion of Mr. Darcy. While his snobby attitude at the Meryton ball is enough to make a bad first impression, what really bothers Elizabeth is that he has injured her pride. For just as Darcy is extremely proud of his accomplishments, Elizabeth is proud of her judgment, wit, and appearance. The sting of insult makes it very difficult for Elizabeth to see him clearly after this point.
Elizabeth, feeling really anxious, determined to go to her, though the carriage was not to be had: and as she was no horsewoman, walking was her only alternative. She declared her resolution.
Elizabeth’s choice to walk the three miles to Netherfield and check on Jane’s health demonstrates that underneath her witticisms, she is a deeply caring person who loves her sister. Miss Bingley and Mrs. Hurst judge Elizabeth harshly for her journey, shocked that she’d risk getting unfashionably tanned and dirty her clothing. However, her decision here shows Darcy that she’s willing to break trivial societal rules around appearance out of love. Since Darcy is a man who values truth over appearance, Elizabeth placing more value on her sister’s health than her looks makes her very attractive.
There is a stubbornness about me that never can bear to be frightened at the will of others. My courage always rises with every attempt to intimidate me.
Elizabeth makes this comment when she is asked to play piano at Netherfield, and she erroneously assumes Darcy’s interest is an attempt to intimidate her. At this point, Elizabeth’s reading the most negative possible interpretations into Darcy’s actions has grown comic, and we see how prejudiced she has become. She acts as though Darcy is the sort of person to actively antagonize people, an analysis which does not match his generally introverted demeanor. However, Elizabeth’s acknowledgement of her own stubbornness prefigures later scenes with Lady Catherine de Bourgh, who actually is attempting to intimidate her.
I, who have prided myself on my discernment! I have courted prepossession and ignorance, and driven reason away where either were concerned. Till this moment, I never knew myself.
Upon reading Darcy’s letter, Elizabeth is forced to reconsider how she’s judged Darcy’s behavior up to that point in the novel and realizes that her desire to think ill of him has prejudiced her judgment. For as much as she’s judged Darcy’s pride, her own pride kept her from acknowledging Darcy’s true character. Because Elizabeth’s belief in her own sound reason is so important to her self-image, this realization is extremely humbling and difficult. Her ability to reflect upon and grow from this experience demonstrates her strength of character.
But think no more of the letter. The feelings of the person who wrote and the person who received it are now so widely different from what they were then, that every unpleasant circumstance attending it ought to be forgotten.
Elizabeth's take on the letter here shows her approach to dealing with mistakes and regret. She acknowledges that both she and Darcy have grown since then and chooses to focus on only the letter’s hand in bringing them together. However, Darcy’s difficulty in forgiving others also extends to himself, and he has a hard time forgiving himself for his bad behavior. Despite having very different takes, this difference bodes well for their marriage. Elizabeth brings lightness to Mr. Darcy’s seriousness while maintaining respect between them, an auspicious balance.