Fitzwilliam Darcy also known as Mr. Darcy is hero of “Pride and Prejudice”. In start of the novel we see him a tall, handsome twenty-seven years old disdainful wealthy bachelor. He is owner of Pamberley estate worth ten thousand pounds a year. He learns from his faults and at the end becomes a true gentleman. Jane Austen compares him several times in the novel to his friend Mr. Bingley. He seems a haughty and fastidious person. As compared to him, Mr. Bingley is well liked because of his friendly behavior. Jane Austen differentiates Mr. Darcy from Mr Bingley in “Pride and Prejudice”. She writes:
“Bingley was sure of being liked wherever he appeared, Darcy was continually giving offence.”Comparison of Mr. Darcy and Mr Bingaly in Pride and Prejudice
He may be offensive but he is a man of principles. On many occasions he proves his high standards of conduct. Elizabeth considers him an arrogant person but not everyone looks at him in this way. His friend Bingley does not see pride in him. Charlotte Lucas considers his birth right to be proud. She expresses her opinion after the ball and tells Elizabeth that he has every right to act like he acted in the party. Besides, he does not hide his shortcomings. When he proposes Elizabeth Bennet for the first time, he straightly introduces himself to her. He honestly confesses his mistakes. However, he calls them just and natural.
Lydia elopes with Wickham and when Darcy knows about the incident he confidentially solves the matter. He helps Bennet family and compels Wickham due to which he marries Lydia. In this way, he saves their dignity. Apart from this incident, on many other occasions he helps Elizabeth and her sisters. Thus, Mr. Darcy in a true sense is portrayed as a man of certain principles in “Pride and Prejudice”.
He is a loyal friend of Mr. Bingley. No one should be judged by his first impression, shows Jane Austen in this novel. He may have offended Elizabeth but he is not entirely a bad man. He is good to his family and his sisters. He proves his goodness when he helps Bennet family without any benefit of his own. Furthermore, he is a a considerate master. His servants loves him because he loves them back. This fact comes into our knowledge when Elizabeth visits Pemberley estate. Darcy’s tenant appreciates his kindness in following words:
“He is the best landlord, and the best master, that ever lived; not like the wild young-men now-a-days, who think of nothing but themselves. There is not one of this tenants or servants but what will give him a good name.”
Indeed, Mr. Darcy has been demonstrated as a true friend, loving brother and a considerate master in “Pride and Prejudice”.
Mr. Wickham’s opinions best express Darcy’s pride. He tells Elizabeth about his haughty nature.
“Almost all his [Darcy’s] actions may be traced to pride, and pride has often been his best friend”.Wickham – Pride and Prejudice
For the first time we see his arrogant behavior at ball. He offends Elizabeth while saying that “She is not handsome enough to tempt me.” His remarks reveal his identity to Elizabeth. However, many characters does not consider him a haughty person. For instance, Charlotte Lucas is of the considered view that it is just his natures. Similarly, Mrs. Reynolds does not find him arrogant. She says:
“Some people call him proud, but I am sure I never saw anything of it. To my fancy, it is only because he does not rattle away like other young-men. ”Mrs. Reynolds in Pride and Prejudice
We also know that first title of the novel was “First Impression”. Subsequently it was altered and new name “Pride and Prejudice” was given and we were sure that it was given because of first impression of Darcy in front of Elizabeth. His first impression ruins his image in front of others. Only Elizabeth does not consider him unfriendly but also other people of vicinity. After the ball, everyone is seen appreciating Mr. Bingley and disparaging Mr. Darcy. Due to pride of Darcy, people express their prejudice opinions.
Suffice is to say that pride completes Darcy’s character. Charlotte Lucas may see him through another angle yet she does not disagree with the fact that Mr. Darcy has pride. She just says that his pride is justified.
Novel “Pride and Prejudice” is journey of learning for Darcy. He in start of the play can be seen egoistic whereas a the end seems a different person. Perhaps, love forces him to change his nature. Elizabeth who once has rejected his proposal accepts him as her husband. With the passage of time Darcy learns from his mistakes. He becomes gentleman in a true sense at the end of novel. He learns how to behave with ladies. He starts giving respect to everyone. This novel seems a journey of learning through mistakes. He himself admits that:
What do I not owe you [Elizabeth]? You taught me a lesson, hard indeed at first, but most advantageous. By you I was properly humbled. I came to you without a doubt of my reception. You showed me how insufficient were all my pretensions to please a woman worth of being pleased.Mr. Darcy in “Pride and Prejudice”
In short, Jane Austen sketches Mr. Darcy the second best character in “Pride and Prejudice“. Elizabeth is at first in this regard. He may not be perfect but he has some characteristics that make him best. Mostly, we see him through Elizabeth’s eyes. She considers him arrogant and we believe in her without knowing other side of the story. We know real Darcy when his tenant defends him or when we know that he saved Bennet family from disgrace. Jane Austen compares him to Binglay in start of the novel and we think that Bingley is superior to him but after knowing his complete personality traits we realize that he is far better than him. Thus, Mr. Darcy may not be a perfect person but his character development reveals Jane Austen‘s strong art of characterization.
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