Illustration of Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy with neutral expressions on their faces

Pride and Prejudice

by Jane Austen

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Compare Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley in chapter 10 of Pride and Prejudice.

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Certainly, it could be said that Mr. Darcy demonstrates uncharacteristic behavior in this chapter, as he is shown to be in the process of writing a letter at its beginning. Mr. Bingley's behavior could then be construed as overly deferential to Mr. Darcy in his capacity as a suitor toward Miss Bennett, as he laments his own writing ability as subpar in terms of penmanship, which therefore somehow excuses Mr. Darcy for his unapproachable countenance earlier on in the book. Bingley therefore acts more or less in line with his previous behavior, as he was open to Darcy's advances at the beginning of the story, while Darcy is shown to already have adjusted to a more friendly and amicable demeanor that is somewhat similar to Mr. Bingley.

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Chapter Ten begins with Mr. Darcy writing his sister a letter and Miss Binlgey commenting on his exceptional letter writing skills.  Their conversation quickly gives rise to a discussion of the merits of humility and pretense.  Bingley, once again demonstrating his eagerness to please and be pleased, comments that his penmanship is astoundinly horrible, to which Darcy comments that Bingley really must be proud of his defects and is only projecting false humility.  Mr. Bingley bears his friend's censure very well.  In this chapter, Darcy continues to be serious and circumspect, whereas Austen portrays Bingley as being very jovial and good-natured.  In the end, Darcy points out that Mr. Bingley dislikes arguments, and the discussion ends.

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