Character Analysis Fitzwilliam Darcy


Darcy exhibits all the good and bad qualities of the ideal English aristocrat — snobbish and arrogant, he is also completely honest and sure of himself. Darcy is not actually a titled nobleman, but he is one of the wealthiest members of the landed gentry — the same legal class that Elizabeth's much poorer family belongs to. While Darcy's sense of social superiority offends people, it also promotes some of his better traits. As Wickham notes in his sly assessment, "His pride never deserts him; but with the rich, he is liberal-minded, just, sincere, rational, honorable, and perhaps agreeable — allowing for fortune and figure."

It is, in fact, his ideal of nobility that makes Darcy truly change in the novel. When Elizabeth flatly turns down his marriage proposal and tells him that it was ungentlemanly, Darcy is startled into realizing just how arrogant and assuming he has been. He reflects later on why he was that way: "I was spoiled by my parents, who though good themselves . . . allowed, encouraged, almost taught me to be selfish and overbearing . . . to think meanly of all the rest of the world." Darcy's humbling makes him more sensitive to what other people feel. In the end, he is willing to marry into a family with three silly daughters, an embarrassing mother, and Wickham as a brother-in-law. It may be that he becomes more easygoing about other people's faults because he is now aware of his own.

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