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Vanity can be defined as an excessive amount of pride in one’s appearance, qualities, abilities, achievements etc. It is a word that conjures up a negative connotation and suggests a degree of blindness.Someone who is considered vain has a certain attitude towards others, generally a feeling of superiority.The themes of social advancement, morality, and the hollowness of wealth and status are themes which come into play in the novels of Austen, Dickens, and Thackeray.
To avoid poverty, the Bennet sisters must marry well and introducing them to eligible suitors is the obsession of their mother. Bennet is painted as flighty and ridiculous but her efforts to throw her daughters in the path of wealthy men are well-intentioned. Bennet wants what's best for her daughters: to marry well and have a comfortable life. Darcy is introduced into the novel as a man with a large fortune and a vast estate, two qualifications which make him ideal husband material.
Elizabeth begins to realize her love for Darcy and his suitability as a marriage partner during a visit to Pemberley, his estate.
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“Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves, vanity to what we would have others think of us.” ― “Nobody sees anybody truly but all through the flaws of their own egos. Vanity, fear, desire, competition-- all such distortions within our own egos-- condition our vision of those in relation to us.
A woman especially, if she have the misfortune of knowing anything, should conceal it as well as she can.” ― “I was sorry for her; I was amazed, disgusted at her heartless vanity; I wondered why so much beauty should be given to those who made so bad a use of it, and denied to some who would make it a benefit to both themselves and others. There are, I suppose, some men as vain, as selfish, and as heartless as she is, and, perhaps, such women may be useful to punish them.” ― “In some situations, if you say nothing, you are called dull; if you talk, you are thought impertinent and arrogant. The question seems to be, whether your vanity or your prudence predominates.” ― “Whenever an occasion arose in which she needed an opinion on something in the wider world, she borrowed her husband's.
If this had been all there was to her, she wouldn't have bothered anyone, but as is so often the case with such women, she suffered from an incurable case of of pretentiousness.
Elizabeth's vanity clouds her judgment, making her prone to think ill of Darcy and to think well of Wickham.
In the end, Elizabeth's rebukes of Darcy help him to realize his fault and to change accordingly, as demonstrated in his genuinely friendly treatment of the Gardiners, whom he previously would have scorned because of their low social class.
Whether or not you were “common” (from a low social status or with poor breeding) or genteel (from a high social class or with good breeding) defined how society at large saw you.
Those born without wealth or a title envied those who were and did whatever they could to improve their lives through business, education, marriage, or by good luck.