Mr Darcy Revision Notes

Revision notes of the various aspects of Mr Darcy's character

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Mr Fitzwilliam Darcy
Introduction:
Darcy is, in many respects, repulsive at the start of the novel. Austen seems to enjoy creating
difficult characters, but Darcy is difficult to accept in a manner quite different from her
caricatures.
At Netherfield, Elizabeth manages to confront Darcy with some of his potential failings, in
witty discussion of the fact that 'Mr Darcy is not to be laughed at'. She concludes that he is
implacably resentful and hates everybody.
However, the larger events of the novel show that Darcy s not at all implacably resentful. In
his careful, dignified and secretive pursuit of Elizabeth after her angry refusal of his proposal,
Darcy is shown to be more capable of change than any other character in the novel, including
Elizabeth.
Mr. Darcy is drawn to Bingley by the contrasts in their personalities, and this seems to be also
the attraction that Elizabeth presents - she can supply a 'liveliness' that he knows himself to
lack.
The contrasts between Darcy and his friend Bingley, whose 'lively and unreserved' manner
makes Darcy seem even more 'haughty, reserved and fastidious' - therefore, whilst Bingley
is 'sure of being liked', Darcy is someone who is 'continually giving offence'.
The Netherfield Episode
This episode is the first means of developing Darcy's character beyond first impressions.
Bingley, at Netherfield, is Darcy's foil in a rather different way compared to the Meryton Ball:
Darcy's concern for developing his library at Pemberley marks him as a thoughtful,
serious man with an interest in learning and culture - compared to Bingley, who is by
his own admission 'an idle fellow' when it comes to books.
In the course of the discussion that follows about the nature of a properly
'accomplished' woman, Darcy's very high standards are set against Bingley's rather
commonplace ones. - Darcy's expectations extend well beyond Bingley's, who
considers the fashionable achievements of being able to 'paint tables, cover skreens
and net purses' to make a women accomplished, to music, arts, modern languages,
elegance of speech and bearing, and most importantly, to 'the improvement of [the]
mind by extensive reading'.
When Mr Darcy is presented in the private setting of Netherfield, the more likeable side of
his personality emerges:
Darcy is attracted to Elizabeth for all the right reasons - not merely due to her
appearance. He thinks her expression is 'uncommonly intelligent' and he is drawn to
her kindness and liveliness.
He is not affected by Miss Bingley's flattery - he listens to her with 'indifference' and
does not allow her compliments to 'go to his head'. He is not as arrogant as he
seems.
He seems to have strong morals. For example, he says, 'whatever bears affinity to
cunning is despicable' which suggests that he doesn't like people who are sly or
dishonest - subtly slighting Miss Bingley.

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However, within this setting, his snobbish attitude is also developed. He thinks country
society is 'confined and unvarying' and doesn't want to be attracted to Elizabeth because of
the 'inferiority of her connections'.
As the Netherfield episode goes on, we begin to see emotional depth in Darcy, as well as an
intellectual one.…read more

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Such an opening to a proposal cannot help but win the reader to his side - his language of
genuine passion contrasts greatly with the absurd and empty pretence of Mr Collins during
his proposal, giving the statement an even greater impact.
However, at this point, Darcy's genuine passion is mixed with his great pride, which causes
him to say to the woman he is proposing to that he had to bring himself to overcome the
'degradation' of her family.…read more

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Darcy's housekeeper also reveals much to the reader about his character:
His housekeeper describes him as 'best landlord, and the best master', superior to 'the wild
young men nowadays' - here we are reminded of his contrast to Wickham - who is
benevolent to servants and tenants, and one who has never spoken a cross word.…read more

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Darcy's main flaws are pride in his social status and prejudice against people who are socially
'inferior'. The flaws are obstacles to his relationship with Elizabeth - he is forced to overcome
them before they can be united.
Darcy's first proposal is important for his development as a character. Elizabeth's criticisms of
his 'arrogance...conceit, and .... selfish disdain' make him start to realise that his proud, socially
conceited manners and his social prejudice are 'unpardonable'.…read more

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He is introduced to the reader in a very public setting - the Meryton Ball - which
presents Darcy's worst qualities.
His character is shown mainly through the opinions of others - and his actions are
interpreted very negatively by the crowd - Darcy dances only twice, and only speaks
to people he already knows. Based on these actions, the assembly at the ball
decides that Darcy is 'forbidding', 'above his company' (proud), and 'disagreeable'.…read more

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