Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Jane Austen uses devices and techniques to develop the characters in
the book "Pride and Prejudice". Looking at the complex character of Mr
Darcy provides a good example of how she does this. Mr Darcy is a
thought provoking man, whose character develops slowly throughout the
novel. We start off knowing very little, and then move on to acquiring
more knowledge about him throughout the course of the novel.
We first meet Mr Darcy's character at the famous Meryton Ball. Jane
Austen shows Darcy, although handsome, as cold, distant and
unfriendly. This is shown in chapter 3 where he refuses to dance with
Lizzy, calling her "tolerable, but not handsome enough to tempt me"
Although Lizzy laughs off the insult; it causes Mrs Bennett to "quite
detest the man". This portrayal of Darcy seem to become worse, due to
the good-natured and outgoing Mr Bingley, that Jane Austen seems to be
comparing Darcy with. By showing them both in the same scene, we draw
the line between them and feel that Darcy is the disagreeable one.
Bingley dancing twice with Jane and charming the whole company shows
this. Whereas in comparison to that, Darcy refuses to take part and
walks off leaving Elizabeth with "no very cordial feelings towards
him" (chap. 3).
As we read on, we see a change in Darcy, and feel that his heart of
iron is capable of melting. We find out that he finds himself
attracted to Elizabeth, and calls "Miss Elizabeth Bennett" the object
of his admiration. Jane Austen uses these words, which make us see him
in a different light. The way Jane Austen writes his actions makes him
seem a reserved, shy man. We can tell this by the way he tells
Bingley's sister about his feelings, rather that straight to
Elizabeth's face. We see him admitting that Lizzy's background would
be a "handicap in the marriage", but later on, he refuses to agree
with Miss Bingley's remarks about Elisabeth, despite her mother's
appalling behaviour. This type of cancelling out his own good and bad
actions that Jane Austen presents is exactly what confuses us from
deciding what his temperament is really like.
As the novel goes on and Darcy finds himself trying to write a letter,
he finds himself "bewitched" with Lizzy and admires her readiness to
argue with him. This gradual but noticeable change in Darcy, leads us
to believe that there is some potential in him to change after all. So
far, we have seen a lot to do with Darcy's infamous pride, as Jane
Austen showed it at the assembly.
Jane Austen also succeeds in changing our opinion of Darcy, by the
facts she puts across against him. When Wickham reveals that Darcy
denied him his rightful entitlement to a living, we are shocked at the
cruel-heartedness of it and develop a hatred for him. This is even
more so when she writes of him...