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Pride and Prejudice

by Jane Austen
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In chapter 15 of Pride and Prejudice, what does Mr. Darcy’s interaction with Mr. Wickham reveal about Mr. Darcy’s character?

Mr. Darcy's chilly interaction with Mr. Wickham in chapter 15 of Pride and Prejudice reveals that he is a proud man who seems to possess a sense of his social superiority. Further, the interaction shows that Mr. Darcy is man who will not scruple to allow others to feel their own social inferiority in his presence.

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In chapter 15, the character of Mr. Wickham is first introduced in the novel and to the Bennet sisters as a friend of Mr. Denny's and a member of the militia who are quartered in Meryton, the town near Longbourn. He is attractive and pleasant, and he is just making...

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In chapter 15, the character of Mr. Wickham is first introduced in the novel and to the Bennet sisters as a friend of Mr. Denny's and a member of the militia who are quartered in Meryton, the town near Longbourn. He is attractive and pleasant, and he is just making the sisters' acquaintances when Mr. Bingley rides up. Mr. Bingley had been on his way to Longbourn to ask about Jane Bennet's health, and his friend Mr. Darcy is riding with him.

When Mr. Darcy and Mr. Wickham see one another, "Both changed colour, one looked white, the other red." After a few moments' hesitation, Mr. Wickham respectfully touches his hat, acknowledging Mr. Darcy, but this was a "salutation which Mr. Darcy just deigned to return." This interaction seems to confirm the pride with which Mr. Darcy has already been charged and the haughtiness of which he has already been accused by everyone in the vicinity of the town. For the narrator to say that he only "just deigned" to return Mr. Wickham's greeting suggests that he condescended to do so, that he feels a sense of his own superiority, and that he only stoops to return the salutation, perhaps, out of a sense of propriety and social obligation rather than any desire to actually acknowledge the man.

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