In Meryton EditMr. Darcy is a wealthy gentleman with an income exceeding £10,000 a year, and the proprietor of Pemberley, a large estate in Derbyshire, England. Darcy slighted Elizabeth Bennet at their first meeting; however, he soon realizes that his first impression was not the whole of it, and upon discovering her playful spirit, among other characteristics, he found himself attracted to her. He later attempted to court her while simultaneously struggling against the beliefs about class that he has grown up with. At the same time, Darcy disapproved when his friend Mr. Bingley expressed his love for Elizabeth's elder sister Jane and subtly convinced Bingley that Jane does not return his feelings, something which he honestly believed. He secretly felt guilty because he knew he himself had fallen in love with a social inferior: Elizabeth Bennet. It was therefore hypocritical of him to separate Charles Bingley and Jane. Upon reflection he knew this, so he decided to thereafter suppress his feelings for Elizabeth and pay her less attention. And although he didn't realize it, Elizabeth's discovery of Darcy's interference in Bingley and Jane's budding relationship and Mr. Wickham's tale of his mistreatment by Darcy had caused her to dislike him intensely, even more so than she had before.
First proposal and letter to Elizabeth Edit
Eventually, Mr. Darcy declared his love for Elizabeth and proposed; yet, while expressing his ardent love, he kept reminding her of the large gap in their social status. Elizabeth was offended and vehemently refused him, expressing her reasons for disliking him, including her knowledge of his interference with Jane and Bingley and the account she received from Mr. Wickham of Darcy's alleged unfair treatment toward him. Further insulted by Darcy's hurt retorts, Elizabeth claimed that the manner in which he proposed to her prevented her from feeling concern for him she "might have felt had [he] behaved in a more gentlemanlike manner". Darcy departed in anger and mortification and, that night, penned a letter to Elizabeth in which he defended his honor, revealed the motives for his interference in Jane and Bingley's relationship, and gave a thorough account of his lifelong dealings with Wickham, who attempted to seduce and elope with Darcy's younger sister, Georgiana, the previous summer. He later said that he had been feeling very much wronged while writing this letter, which explained the heat of his defenses and his haste in writing.
Realizations and visit at Pemberley Edit
Although initially angered by Elizabeth's vehement refusal and harsh criticism, Darcy was surprised to discover the reality of how his behaviour was perceived by others, particularly Elizabeth, and commited himself to re-evaluating his actions. A few months later, Darcy unexpectedly encountered Elizabeth during her visit to his estate in Derbyshire with her aunt and uncle. Elizabeth was first mortified to be discovered at Pemberley, having only visited on the belief that Darcy was absent; however, she was surprised to discover a marked change in Darcy's manner. In response to Elizabeth's criticism and due to his subsequent realizations, Darcy was determined to display the "gentlemanlike manner" she accused him of lacking, and astonished her with his kindness towards both her and her relations. He was more courteous and less reserved than he had been previously, surpassing, therefore, not just Elizabeth but her aunt and uncle as well.
Confronting Wickham and finding Lydia Edit
Darcy eventually found Lydia and Wickham, although he tried to hush the matter up. Only Elizabeth's aunt and uncle, outside of Wickham himself and Lydia, knew of Darcy's involvement in the affair. It would have continued this way had Lydia not dropped hint. That hint prompted Elizabeth to write to her aunt to tell them the truth, which her aunt couldn't refuse. Darcy later told her that he had seen the distress the elopement had caused her, spurring him to find the couple. He revealed that he did not do it to earn Elizabeth's gratitude, but rather to ease her distress. Darcy also did so because he felt himself partially responsible for the event, in failing to warn both the Bennet family and the public of Wickham's true character. It is hinted that Darcy's intervention to help Elizabeth cost him as much as a year's income; in addition, to find Lydia he had to confront Wickham, which was hardly an agreeable experience for either. He may or may not have threatened Wickham and/or paid him additional sums to convince him to marry Lydia.
Second proposal Edit
Darcy then released Mr. Bingley to return to Longbourn and woo Jane, accepting his misjudgement of her character. While calling at Longbourn after Mr. Bingley and Jane's engagement is announced, Mr. Bingley offers a walk. This offer is accepted only by Darcy, Elizabeth, Jane, and Kitty. Bingley and Jane soon drop behind, and, leaving Kitty with the Lucases, Darcy and Elizabeth are alone. Her conversation with his aunt previously made him hope, at last, that Elizabeth reciprocated his feelings. Once he was sure it was true, Darcy proposed to Elizabeth again, who accepted him this time. The couple reflected on their mistakes, and Darcy thanked Elizabeth for showing him the error of his ways: "By you, I was properly humbled."
His manners drew the contempt of many in Meryton as they perceived him as proud, sanctimonious and inconsiderate due to his status. He is shown to be cold and aloof, with such a temperament being misconstrued as sheer arrogance. The narrator describes him as clever but also as "haughty, reserved, and fastidious," with manners that, "though well bred, were not inviting." This is shown to be only natural reserve and a discomfort in company that makes him uneasy and defensive. Darcy struggles to make new friends, which suggests that he is shy. He tells Elizabeth on their walk that he was brought up to do the right thing, but not taught to humble. Because of his status and his state of an only child, his parents never taught him to control his temper or his pride. This proves true, as his distant manner and apparent contempt for those around him earned the disdain of Elizabeth and many others, particularly in light of the claims of the charming George Wickham—that he was wronged by Darcy, however, it is eventually revealed that these first impressions were erroneous: Darcy's seemingly arrogant character masked a sincerely generous and upright nature, and it was Darcy, in fact, who was wronged, by Wickham, whose own character is revealed to be untrustworthy and duplicitous. As the novel progresses, Darcy is eventually revealed to be a conscientious landlord who is generous, kind and unselfish, a caring brother, a good friend - his impulsive interference between Jane and Bingley was motivated by genuine concern for his friend rather than malice - and a scrupulous and extremely honourable man who is protective of and self-sacrificing for those he cares about. Despite his pride, he is willing, to an extent, to admit wrongdoing. And while he possesses ingenious judgement, he is shown to not completely doubt the heart, especially his own.
Usually known asEdit
- Mr. Darcy - Following his father's death, people who are are unable (by entitlement or privilege) to call him by another name have addressed him as such. Before his father's death, he might have been Mr. Darcy in circumstances in which his father was not present or where it was obvious that his father was not being referred to; he may also have been addressed as the younger Mr. Darcy.
- Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy - Before Darcy's father passed, this would have been the primary way for people who weren't friends or family to address Darcy, as he was not the senior nor the only Mr. Darcy.
- Master Fitzwilliam / Master Darcy - It is likely that Darcy was called this by servants, as well as those who were not close enough or did not hold enough social clout to use his first name when he was a young child.
- The master/your master/my master - He is addressed as such when being referred to as the owner of Pemberley Estate.
Notes and referencesEdit
- ↑ Equivalent of 331,300 USD in 1988 according to this article. Using an inflation calculator, it's around 671,700 USD in April of 2017.
- ↑ The equivalent of around 670,000 USD as of April, 2017
Depictions in film and televisionEdit
- 1938: Andrew Osborn
- 1952: Peter Curshing
- 1940: Laurence Olivier
- 1967: Lewis Fiander
- 1980: David Rintoul
- 1995: Colin Firth
- 2004: Martin Henderson (Bride and Prejudice)
- 2005: Matthew Macfadyen
- 2008: Elliot Cowen
- 2012-2013: Daniel Vincent Gordh
- 2013: Matthew Rhys (Death Comes to Pemberley)
- 2016: Sam Riley