The Significance of First Impressions in the Victorian Age Portrayed in Pride and Prejudice and The Importance of Being Ernest
First impressions are very important. In the Victorian age, people based their whole opinion of someone on first impressions. Most times the first impression of someone is not the way they truly are. Sometimes a first impression can cause you to think negative of someone but later you find out that they are very nice and a very positive person. One example is when Mr. Darcy meets Elizabeth in the book, Pride and Prejudice. Elizabeth thinks Mr. Darcy is a cruel and arrogant person, but she later finds out that he is not. Also in, Pride and Prejudice when Elizabeth meets Mr. Wickham she gets the impression that he is very nice and gentlemen like, but she finds different with him too. In the story “The Importance of being Ernest” Lady Bracknell does not like Jack because he does not have any money and does not live up to her standards, but little does she know. In “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen, Elizabeth thinks Mr. Darcy is a very rude and self-centered person based on what she saw the first time they met or actually the first time they saw each other. Elizabeth overheard Mr. Darcy talking to Mr. Bingley at a ball and didn’t really like what she heard. “She is tolerable; but not handsome enough to tempt me.” Mr. Darcy thinks he is much too good for some people and has very high expectations. At one point in the story Mr. Darcy starts to fall in love with Elizabeth. Elizabeth knows he has changed but realizes he is beginning to act like Mr. Bingley. “In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.” Elizabeth does not have the same feelings for him, and why should she he was very rude and arrogant towards her. “In such cases as this, it is, I believe, the established mode to express a sense of obligation for the sentiments avowed, however unequally they may be returned.
It is natural that obligation should be felt, and if I could feel gratitude, I would now thank you. But I cannot- I have never desired your good opinion, and you have certainly bestowed it most unwillingly. I am sorry to have occasioned pain to anyone.” Later Elizabeth sees how she could have been a part of Mr. Darcy’s mansion she could have been his mistress. While she is there she learns of the real Mr. Darcy, and the part of him she never knew. When Elizabeth meets Mr. Wickham in “Pride and Prejudice”, she sees that he is a very nice and sweet person. But little did she know! At first Elizabeth is interested in him, and she thinks he is interested in her too and would like to keep seeing him. Mr. Darcy explains to Elizabeth about what jerk he is and how self-centered he is. Elizabeth is still kind of interested in him, after all her first impression of him was a very positive one. She starts to compare between Mr. Darcy and MR. Wickham because she still thinks Mr. Wickham is interested in her. “One has got all the goodness and the other all the appearance of it.” Elizabeth finds out what a jerk Mr. Wickham is when he does not show up at the ball.
Then ends up running off with Lydia, Elizabeth feels that she could have stopped it from happening. When Lady Bracknell first meets Jack in the story “The Importance of being Earnest she thinks he’s a failure and has no parents. Lady Bracknell refuses to the marriage. She thinks that Jack is very poor and knows that he was found in a hand bag at the cloak room at the Victorian Railroad station.. “I confess I fell somewhat bewildered by what you just told me. To be born or at any rate bred in a handbag, weather it had handles on it or not, seems to me to display a contempt for the ordinary decencies of family life that reminds one of the worst excesses of the French Revolution. As for the particular locality in which the handbag was found, a cloak room at a railway station might serve to conceal a social indiscretion.” Lady Bracknell is a very greedy person, later in the story she finds out that Jack really does have parents and has a lot of money. She now excepts Jack but only because of the money and the fact that he has parents. First impression were more important back in the Victorian age. As you can see in both of these stories everybody judges by their first impressions. Most of them are wrong, first impressions should always be reexamined.