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Autor: anton 03 December 2010
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Character Analysis: Mr. Darcy
Introduced to Jane Austenâ€™s Pride and Prejudice as a tall, handsome, self-absorbed aristocrat, Darcy experiences a change in personality and character. In order to dispose of his existent views on money and marriage, Darcy needed to feel something, to fall in love. Although he was well mannered, he did not know how to treat women with respect, especially those of a lesser economic status. The love of Elizabeth Bennet, however, changed his behavior.
The reader is first acquainted with Mr. Darcyâ€™s arrogance at the Meryton Ball. Speaking of Elizabeth Bennet, he so snobbishly says that she was, â€œâ€¦tolerable, but not handsome enough to tempt meâ€ (Austen 9). His feelings of superiority to the people of the town lend Mr. Darcy to be judged as a man with a repulsive and cruel personality. The women, who had found him dashingly attractive at first glance, deemed him a man unworthy of marriage because he offered no positive qualities other than wealth. Not only did Darcy refuse to dance with Elizabeth, but he makes it clear that no woman in the room was worthy or met his standards of a suitable partner stating that, â€œâ€¦there is not another woman in this room, whom it would not be a punishment to me to stand up withâ€ (Austen 8). In the beginning of the novel, Mr. Darcy is only concerned with the wealth and social standing of the people in the town. Because of their lesser social rank, he feels they are un-deserving of his presence and refuses to communicate with them. As the novel progressed, however, Darcy became more and more accepting of the Bennet family. Growing most fond of Elizabeth Bennet, the straightforward, clever daughter, he finally breaks and confesses his true feelings of love for her. â€œIn 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 youâ€ (Austen 125). These words spoken in such admiration of Elizabeth display the vastness of his change to something that seemed so important to him from the first introduction of his character.
Although Darcyâ€™s words revealed a large metamorphism in his disposition, his actions are more evident and show his true ability to change. At Mr. Darcyâ€™s introduction to the novel he is immediately described as â€œâ€¦haughty, reserved, and fastidious, and his manners, though well bred, were not invitingâ€ (Austen 12). Austen introduces Darcy with all of his pretentious nature. Following the Meryton ball, Austen continues to display that unattractive nature of Darcy by comparing him to Bingley. â€œDarcy, on the contrary, had seen a collection of people in whom there was little beauty and no fashion, for none of whom he had felt the smallest interest, and from none received either attention or pleasureâ€ (Austen 12). This statement reinforces the idea that Mr. Darcy is only concerned with talented women of great importance. It is Elizabeth, however, who wins his heart with her liveliness and witty remarks.
Falling in love with Miss Bennet caused Darcy to soften his actions and sweeten his personality. One example is the letter he wrote to Elizabeth to explain his reasoning for his separating Elizabethâ€™s older sister, Jane, and Mr. Bingley. Never, before Lizzy, would Darcy admit to his mistakes or apologize to someone, especially someone who he felt was socioeconomically beneath him. Admitting his mistakes, Darcy writes, â€œTwo offences of a very different nature, and by no means of equal magnitude, you last night laid to my chargeâ€ (Austen 129). Here the reader begins to realize that Mr. Darcy has fallen in love with Elizabeth and because of his love he has humbled himself and apologized, an act that before the realization of his love for Elizabeth would have never crossed his mind.
It is not only Darcy who experiences a change in character due to the forces of love. Elizabeth, with her strong personality and stubbornness is equally won-over by Darcy and his ability to keep her on the edge of her seat. In the beginning of the novel, as noted previously, Miss Bennet and Darcy did not appreciate each otherâ€™s company. As the novel progressed a mutual understanding between the two was slowly reached. When visiting Pemberley, although trying to avoid him, Elizabeth and her aunt and uncle encounter Darcy. After requesting a visit between Elizabeth and his sister, Darcy departed the family for the time being. That night Lizzy â€œâ€¦retracted from the window, fearful of being seen; and as she walked up and down the room endeavoring to compose herself, saw such looks of enquiring surprise in her uncle and aunt, as made everything worseâ€ (Austen 169). The fact that Elizabeth could not sleep and found herself pacing all night shows the reader that her views of Darcy have began to change, that perhaps his marriage proposal was what she now wanted. Quiet possibly the most surprising influence that Darcy had on Elizabeth was late in the novel when Lizzy finally allowed Darcy to understand her true feelings for him and she was speechless. â€œElizabeth was too much embarrassed to say a wordâ€¦Had Elizabeth been able to encounter his eye, she might have seen how well the expression of heartfelt delight, diffused over his face, became himâ€ (Austen 239). Both in awe of each other and in love, although when first introduced had an odd dislike for each other shows the character and personality change in Darcy from an ostentatious man to a man of love.
Love changes Mr. Darcy. It is because of this strong emotion that he was willing to place aside prior notions that a woman must come from a wealthy family to even be looked upon. Because of Elizabethâ€™s strong will and amiable personality she caught the eye and heart of Darcy, and after falling in love with her he did not hesitate to get rid of his old standards in order to let in the love of his life, the least expected.
Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice. Ed. Donald Gray. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2001.
Pride and Prejudice. Dir. Joe Wright. Perf. Keira Knightley and Matthew Mcfadyen. 2005. DVD. Focus Features, 2006.
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