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Georgiana Darcy

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Georgiana Darcy is a character in Pride and Prejudice. She is the younger sister of Fitzwilliam Darcy, and is more than ten years his junior (about eleven or twelve years younger). She is the only daughter and second child of the late Mr. Darcy and the late Lady Anne. As of the end of the novel, she is sister-in-law to Elizabeth Bennet Darcy. Her aunt is Lady Catherine de Bourgh and her uncle is Earl Fitzwilliam. She is a cousin of Anne de Bourgh, and Colonel Fitzwilliam, among others.

BiographyEdit

Early LifeEdit

Her parents died when Georgiana was still young so her care and guardianship passed to her elder brother and her cousin, Colonel Fitzwilliam, the youngest child of her uncle Earl Fitzwilliam. She was so much younger than Darcy that he became a father figure in her life, rather than a brother. She has a settlement of £30,000 which would become her husband's when she was married. This made her a prime target for fortune hunters like George Wickham, an old friend of the family who was now a gambler and a blackguard.

When Georgiana was only fifteen, Mr. Wickham tried to convince her of his love in order to get her dowry with the help of Mrs. Younge. She had known him all her life, so she did have an affection for him, and she convinced herself that he did love her. They planned to run away to Gretna Green in Scotland in order to elope[1]. She became so overcome with guilt that she told her brother, who wrote to Wickham and effectively chased him off[2].

Meeting ElizabethEdit

Georgiana made Elizabeth's acquaintance when Elizabeth and Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner were invited to Pemberley. Georgiana was reserved but liked Elizabeth because of her brother's recommendation, since he loved Elizabeth.

Personality Edit

Despite a couple film portrayals which depict Georgiana with an almost Elizabeth-like personality, the final chapter of "Pride and Prejudice" says that she is quite shocked by the way Elizabeth speaks to Mr. Darcy, perhaps pointing towards a meeker personality; it was stated in the novel itself that she was rather shy. Jane Austen claims that she was quite astonished to learn that a wife may take liberties with her husband that a sister cannot always take with her brother (ten years senior). All who meet her describe her as a "sweet girl" (except for George Wickham, who claims she is as proud as her brother. It is safe to say that he is lying when he makes this statement).

Role in Pride and Prejudice Edit

Miss Bingley writes in a letter to Jane Bennet that she doesn't think that Georgiana has "her equal for beauty, elegance, and accomplishments". Miss Bingley also wants her brother to marry Georgiana, stating that he already "admires her greatly"[3]. Lady Catherine, Georgiana's aunt, praises her education and skill, specifically her ability to play the piano and Mr. Darcy assures her that Georgiana doesn't need any encouragement to practice to more often, because she already does so. He also seems quite proud of her, pointing to her being a studious and charming girl.

Georgiana serves little purpose to the main plot of "Pride and Prejudice" except to be an example of George Wickham's bad character. In the letter Mr. Darcy writes to Elizabeth Bennet after she refuses his offer of marriage is the revelation that George Wickham attempted to seduce his sister and cheat him out of a sum of money. Later on, Elizabeth and Georgiana meet in Lambton, have a few scenes together at Pemberley, and Georgiana (for the most part) fades out of the story.

Film Portrayal Edit

Georgiana Darcy doesn't appear at all in the 1940 film version, but is played by Emilia Fox in the 1995 BBC version of Pride and Prejudice, and by Tamzin Merchant in the 2005 version.

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. This was a popular spot for elopements, as a woman did not need the permission of her guardian if she had not reached her majority.
  2. Pride and Prejudice, Volume II, Chapter 12
  3. Pride and Prejudice, Cp. 21

GalleryEdit

Masterpiece-theatre-pride-firth43

Emilia Fox as Georgiana in 1995.

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