Darcy is proposing to Elizabeth, and is informing her of the inferiority of her family and connections. This passage is significant because it is one of the few times where the characters openly acknowledge that the sole purpose of a person’s life is to achieve a high salary and a high social position. It is evident from every point of the story that all people care about is marrying into a higher social rank. And even for those who are comfortable with their current status, it is imperative that they only marry someone of at least equivalent rank. This idea possesses every character in the story and seems to motivate every action that is taken. The superficiality of this idea goes so far as to break the bonds of love.
Darcy is willing to insult a girl as he is proposing to her, just to inform her of the what he has to go through in order to stoop to someone of her level. Regardless of what Darcy thoughthis chances were at acceptance, he was still addressing a girl that barely knows him, and actually dislikes him. That is not a situation where insults are likely to bring results. This point is compounded because Elizabeth only gets slightly insulted by this comment. Her initial refusal of Darcy was basedalmost totally on his actions towards Jane and Bingley’s relationship, and his treatment of Mr. Wickham.
However, she is barely perturbed by this comment of Darcy regarding her family. This is so strange because one would expect Elizabeth to at least be equally mad for personal insults as well as for what was done to others. Pride and Prejudice ends with Elizabeth and Darcy each overcoming their anger against each other, and falling in love. However, this touching scene is ruined because of the appearance of Lady Catherine. She demands Elizabeth to marry Darcy, and tells Darcy that it would look very negatively on his family if he were to marry someone as “low class” as Elizabeth.
So even one’s family is willing to break up “true love” in order to maintain rank. This theme runs throughout the entire story and really destroys the entire thing. Other stories, such as Romeo and Juliet, have the same sort of “forbidden” marriages, and since those arrive out of real situations, they add more interest to the story. Here, it is simply prejudice by rich people against poorer people, which only detracts from the writing. So while this theme may have existed in reality during Jane Austen’s lifetime, it should not have been included in the story.