Mr.Darcy is more than a fat wallet and handsome face.
I confess to complete enjoyment of Jane Austen’s writing. There are layers to it. Today I want to write about Mr.Darcy.
He is rich. So he is the dreamy catch of the day. Most people wouldn’t care how rude he was because of his wealth. I imagine that single women were constantly being shoved in his face & doing their best to secure him. It’s no wonder that when he comes to Meryton that he behaves as he does. It’s more than social awkwardness. It’s part self-preservation and part being socially ranked above everyone else.
Being a wealthy man he has lived a life of privilege that has given him the belief that he has a superior understanding of everything. He also knows what it is like to have someone try and take advantage of his wealth. He is understandably on guard. Though we don’t know that when we first meet him.
When he proposes to Elizabeth and gets so completely shut down. It’s a wholly new experience for him. Just like Mr. Collins, he fully expects her to say yes. He probably has never been told no by any woman in his life. It gives him a view of his behavior that he’s never had before.
Sure he is shocked by Elizabeth’s behavior, but I think he is more shocked by the opinion of him that his behavior has created in her. I don’t think he ever thought his behavior was such that it would cause anyone to form such a negative opinion of him.
It’s at this point Mr.Darcy has a choice. He can think ill of Elizabeth and go on the same as he always has or he can listen to her. He could be a shining example of toxic masculinity by using his wealth and status to completely destroy Elizabeth and her family. He could use the women in his acquaintance as emotional labor and give the appearance of being a better man through all of there hard work.
He doesn’t. He listens to Elizabeth. He takes a fresh look at his actions and sees the hurt he has caused. He sets out to repair the damage he has done. He does it without bragging or expecting reward.
He didn’t warn anyone about Mr.Wickham. How often do the men in our lives know other men are predators, but do/say nothing about it and allow them to continue to prey on women?
With Jane and Mr.Bingley, he realizes he doesn’t know best about everything and takes action to fix that mistake.
He takes responsibility, admits to his mistake, learns from it and does his best to make things right.
He doesn’t victim blame. He doesn’t try make everything someone else’s fault or put the responsibility for fixing things on someone else.
He is an example of what an actual good man (person) is like. Even without his wealth, he’d still be a good catch. I think that gets skipped over when people talk about how wonderful Mr.Darcy is. It’s all about his wealth and how handsome he is.
Mr.Darcy’s character ark is one I’d love to see more of in male characters. Or in real live non-fictional men. He isn’t perfect and his wealth plays a big part in why he is a popular dream guy. It’s good to look past his wealth and the wealth of every Mr.Darcy look a like that has been written and see their actions as men before falling in love with their wallets.
His character is one that is so easy to get wrong. It’s easy for modern writers to be influenced by toxic masculinity and write a character that is abusive, doesn’t do any of the work of growing as a person, and still gets the girl. He is rich so he can do whatever he likes. He was sorta nice to me so all the other messed up things he did are ok. Which is something that happens a lot in romantic fiction.