Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice: Character Analysis & Concept

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  • 0:01 Darcy's Character
  • 1:05 Renting Netherfield
  • 2:19 Darcy's Family
  • 3:03 Darcy's Friends
  • 4:25 Darcy's Romance
  • 5:58 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Debbie Notari
In this lesson, we get to know the somewhat arrogant character Mr. Darcy from Jane Austen's novel ''Pride and Prejudice.'' Although he tries to keep his heart in check, he eventually falls deeply in love with Elizabeth Bennet, a woman who can't stand him - at least at first.

Darcy's Character

Fitzwilliam Darcy is a very arrogant man of England's upper crust. He is lord of Pemberley, an expensive estate located in the county of Derbyshire. He is fairly tall and handsome, but his demeanor is unfriendly, aloof, and unapproachable.

He has a sister, Georgiana, who adores him, and the feeling is mutual. It seems safe to assume that Darcy is a private man and that his upbringing has highly influenced his opinions of those around him. He is arrogant almost without knowing it, such has been the entitled world he has known.

We know that his housekeeper speaks highly of him, as she praises Darcy for being such a kind master in front of Elizabeth Bennet and her aunt and uncle, the Gardiners, when they take a tour of Pemberley. As is often the case with people, the negative first impression Darcy gives is not an accurate reflection of his noble character, though he has his flaws.

Renting Netherfield

Mr. Darcy's flaws are best seen in the difficulty he has with relationships. Although he is loyal to those who are close to him, he doesn't seem to see the need to develop new friendships, particularly with those he feels are beneath him socially.

However, Mr. Bingley, Darcy's best friend, rents Netherfield Hall, an estate in the country near the Bennet family. Mrs. Bennet, whose one aim is to marry off her daughters to wealthy men, insists that her husband go and introduce himself. She hopes the Bingleys throw a ball, and they do. The idea of a ball most likely annoys Darcy, as he sees no need to associate with 'country bumpkins.'

Almost instantly, the eldest Bennet daughter, Jane, and Mr. Bingley fall in love. At the ball, Elizabeth overhears Darcy say of her, 'She is tolerable, but not handsome enough to tempt me.' She concludes that he is the most arrogant and prideful of men. She wants nothing to do with him. Sometimes first impressions are not completely accurate. Ironically, Darcy comes to think of Elizabeth as one of the most attractive women he has ever met, and Elizabeth's view of Darcy changes, as well.

Darcy's Family

While Darcy disdains the company of strangers, he is extremely loyal and kind to those who are closest to him. Darcy only has one sibling, Georgiana, and his parents have passed, leaving their vast estate and fortune to Darcy. Darcy is Georgiana's guardian and protects her. When a former friend of the family, the charming Mr. Wickham, tries to seduce Georgiana as part of a nefarious scheme to obtain part of the Darcy fortune, Darcy learns of it and sends him away. Darcy's protective nature keeps his sister from making a terrible mistake. Wickham then joins the military, and before long, elopes with Lydia Bennet, Elizabeth's imprudent sister.

Darcy's Friends

The characters in this story weave in and out of each other's lives like a graceful dance. As Darcy protects his sister, he also feels protective of his best friend, Charles Bingley. Bingley is his polar opposite in personality and demeanor. He is kind, open, and friendly, where Darcy is proud, slow to accept others, and reserved. But Darcy is deeply loyal.

Mr. Bingley's sister, Caroline, has her cap set for Darcy and thinks she will win him over with snide, caustic remarks about the Bennet sisters, particularly Elizabeth. Her plan backfires; it seems that everything she says about Elizabeth only causes Darcy to become more and more interested in her. Elizabeth is becoming a part of Darcy's inner circle, and he is beginning to defend her, just as he defends his sister and Bingley.

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