Analyze Darcy's character in Pride and Prejudice.

1 Answer | Add Yours

accessteacher's profile pic

accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Darcy is a character who is defined by his pride and prejudice, as this is the early impression that the reader receives of him through his treatment of Lizzy Bennet in the early chapters of this novel. In Chapter III, his snubbing of Lizzy does clearly mark him out as a man full of the wrong sort of pride, which, in spite of his handsome features and evident wealth, loses him the good opinion of the social circle of the Bennets. Note what he says to Bingley about Lizzy:

She is tolerable; but not handsome enough to tempt me; and I am in no humour at present to give consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other men.

Rightly, he is censured for these words and for such arrogant behaviour. However, as the novel progresses, the opinon that the reader, and Lizzy, has of Darcy changes. This is cemented through the physical description of Pemberley which is used symbolically to comment upon Darcy's character:

It was a large, handsome, stone building, standing well on rising ground, and backed by a ridge of high woody hills; and in front, a stream of some natural importance was swelled into greater, but without any artificial appearance. Its banks were neither formal, nor falsely adorned.

As Lizzy comes to realise, the appearance of Pemberley matches perfectly with the real character of its owner. Just as Pemberley is "without any artificial appearance," so Darcy is who he says he is without artifice and pretense. Whilst Pemberley is of "some natural importance," this is only due to its natural appearance, which ties in with Darcy's correct level of pride that he does claim due to his station and character. Austen's original title for this novel was First Impressions, and through the character of Darcy she shows how dangerous they can be in terms of preventing characters seeing other people for who they really are. Fortunately, Lizzy is able to break through her prejudice to see Darcy for who he really is.

Sources:

We’ve answered 318,982 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question