In high school, my enjoyment of old European art was always hampered by my gratitude that I'm not any of these exasperating people or in any of their stifling situations. I felt so blessed and superior that I escaped sitting around mending bonnets all day, waiting to go on a walk- how boring and pathetic! Upon rereading this years later, I was able to let go of these old prejudices and more objectively view the characters in the situation they were in. That was when I realized Austen is a genius: I saw how much she understands and subtly, humorously conveys, and how little I'd understood before. Now I actually consider this to be a work of rationalist literature, in addition to a brilliant romantic comedy.
In my previous reading, I thought that the only intelligent, reasonable character was Mr. Darcy, and that everyone else's problems was brought on by their own idiocy, of which their unjust hatred of the virtuous, blameless Mr. Darcy was only further evidence. This time around, I realized that he caused some of these problems himself. Mr. Darcy's arrogance caused problems he could've easily avoided by being slightly nicer. Instead, he prided himself in his bluntness and in his own virtuousness, thus causing people to resent him, because who likes someone who thinks he's better than you, even if he actually is? Similarly, Lizzy demonstrates all of our tendencies to like and be less questioning of information coming from someone who flatters us. This causes us to have errors in judgment and believe things we would otherwise be more critical of. Mr. Darcy shows an amazing ability to step outside personal biases and view things from other's perspectives- a rationalist romantic hero! Austen understood the female wish: a rich, moral, loyal man completely rational about all things, except for his irrational love for his weird woman.