Snobbery to Husbandry: Reassessing Ideals of Mr. Darcy
As Jane Austin establishes, through the voice of Mrs. Bennet, “…Lizzy does not lose much by suiting his fancy; for he is a most disagreeable, horrid man, not at all worth pleasing” (Austen 9) she forms the general consensus of the sentiment that a majority of the characters feel for Mr. Darcy throughout Pride and Prejudice. Cold, rude, arrogant, and snobbish are what many characters consider Darcy due to his actions towards society and, especially, Elizabeth, Jane, and Wickham throughout the story. At the commencement of the tale, Darcy refuses to dance with Elizabeth due to his premature prejudices against her looks and “inferior connections” (8). However, at the story’s conclusion, he transforms into a more empathetic person. Disobeying the wishes of the Lady Catherine de Bourgh, Darcy proposes to Elizabeth. When Darcy realizes that he need not follow the strict societal rank rules that he learned during his childhood in the manner that he obeys them, he undergoes a mental awakening,. Darcy believes that his principles are moral and correct; however he does not take into accord the emotions and feelings of others. This leads him to act snobbishly while assuming himself to be righteous. Once Darcy overcomes the flaws in his belief, he realizes that he has the freedom to marry whomever he wishes. Though initially highly prejudicial and, in the opinion of other characters, evil, Darcy’s psychological awakening creates a spiritual reassessment within him, which has a significant impact on the story as a whole.
Throughout Pride and Prejudice, a majority of the characters consider Darcy a social elitist because of plot occurrences from the rising action of the novel. At the Meryton ball, the first instance occurs. Darcy repudiates a suggestion to dance with Elizabeth asserting “She is tolerable; but not handsome enough to tempt me; and I am in no humour at present to give consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other men” (8). This particular excerpt showcased his self-important and superior attitude. Darcy knows nothing of the girl proposed to him, but he automatically assumes that she is beneath him. Further on in the story, Elizabeth meets Wickham who tells her of how Darcy wrongs him and tries to cheat him out of an inheritance as a result of Darcy’s jealousy. Not only does Austen portray Darcy as a sadistic person through this account, but also adds to objectionable feelings of him growing within the audience and other characters (64-5). The separation of Jane and Bingley is a subsequent display of Darcy’s elitist behavior. Upon learning of the occurrence, Elizabeth’s first impression is that Darcy does this because he feels that Jane is an inferior match for Mr. Bingley and not worthy of his friend. Darcy does this to protect his friend because he does not believe Jane to have mutual feelings for Bingley. The audience’s learning of these pure motives though,...