What Happened At The Netherfield Ball?

Updated 30 September, 2023
Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice begins with the Netherfield ball, where Elizabeth is first introduced to Darcy. Their relationship begins on a bad start, and she finds him unlikable, snobby and rather arrogant, when she overhears several of his very condescending remarks about her and her family. Darcy is fascinated by Elizabeth, but doesn't spare her much attention.
Detailed answer:

The novel opens with Mrs. Bennet informing her husband that the estate of Netherfield Park has finally been leased to a young man named Mr. Bingley, who is of great wealth and has yet to find a wife. In hopes of him marrying one of her five daughters, Jane, Elizabeth, Mary, Catherine, or Lydia, Mrs. Bennet seeks out every possible opportunity to get them into acquaintance with him. At the ball that both Mr. Bingley and the Bennet girls attend, the former arrives with his two sisters, the husband of the eldest, and a friend of his, Mr. Darcy. Both Mr. Bingley and Mr. Darcy are greatly admired by every girl in the room upon their arrival, but it is soon distinguished that Mr. Bingley is the agreeable one of the two, whereas Mr. Darcy is discovered to be a rude, prideful man that almost every girl loses interest in upon discovering his distasteful personality.
The Netherfield ball the place where Elizabeth and Darcy met for the first time. Darcy says that Elizabeth is only “tolerable..but not enough to tempt me”, and having heard this, Elizabeth gets angry and comes to the conclusion that Mr Darcy is a man who “makes himself agreeable nowhere”. She goes on to stay that Darcy is a generally cold person but in reality he is just reserved, and uncomfortable in the surroundings. After the ball while talking to Miss Bingley, Elizabeth concludes that Darcy’s defect “is a propensity to hate everyone”, but rebuttals back saying that “she is willfully to misunderstand” the man he really is. Elizabeth bases her judgement of Darcy on the small experiences of this ball, and her comment leads Darcy to think that she has greatly misunderstood his actions. Both characters make false judgements of the other because their pride has rid them of their ability to see each other’s true character.

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