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Character Analysis: Mr. Darcy

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Character Analysis: Mr. Darcy

Introduced to Jane Austen'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. Darcy's arrogance at the Meryton Ball. Speaking of Elizabeth Bennet, he so snobbishly says that she was, "...tolerable, but not handsome enough to tempt me" (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, "...there is not another woman in this room, whom it would not be a punishment to me to stand up with" (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. "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" (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 Darcy's words revealed a large metamorphism in his disposition, his actions are more evident and show his true ability to change. At Mr. Darcy's introduction to the novel he is immediately described as "...haughty, reserved, and fastidious, and his manners, though well bred, were not inviting" (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. "Darcy, 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 pleasure" (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 Elizabeth'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, "Two offences of a very different nature, and by no means of equal magnitude, you last night laid to my charge" (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



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