Social Atmosphere Portrayed through the Ball Scene.
Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen, contains numerous scenes involving parties or other social occasions. One extremely significant social event is the ball at which Elizabeth first encounters Darcy. This scene thoroughly portrays the society to which they belong, as well as the pride, prejudice, and general feelings of superiority of many of the characters.
The society that the Bennets belong to is the upper middle class; below royalty, but still wealthy. The society in general is extremely superficial. When Darcy, Bingley, and their companions enter the ball, " Mr. Darcy soon [draws] the attention of the room by his fine, tall person, handsome features, noble mien "and the report which [is] in general circulation within five minutes after his entrance of his having ten thousand a year- (Austen 6). The society is also very capricious; first declaring Darcy to be an exemplary man, then deciding that he is not worth comparing to Bingley. .
The gentlemen pronounced him to be a fine figure of a man, the ladies declared he was much handsomer than Mr. Bingley, and he was looked at with great admiration for about half the evening, till his manners gave a disgust which turned the tide of his popularity; for he was discovered to be proud, to be above his company, and above being pleased; and not all his large estate in Derbyshire could then save him from having a most forbidding, disagreeable countenance, and being unworthy to be compared with his friend. (Austen 6).
The society's first prejudgment is that Bingley is very desirable, but after observing his arrogance, they deem him entirely unworthy of notice. The novel's conclusion, however, reflects a much more honorable character. The judgmental society makes two completely false characterizations. .
The scene of the ball depicts the pride in the characters, particularly in Darcy.