You’ve read the book, watched the various film adaptations more times than you can count and it’s usually for the same reason: Mr Darcy. In Jane Austen’s most memorable work, Pride and Prejudice, she gave us the most memorable and desired character in literary history that women have been pining after for hundreds of years.
The story is a classic and has set-up a standard template for many a romance story; Boy meets girl, boy and girl do not get on, feelings start to develop, a massive misunderstanding keeps them apart, boy and girl eventually get together and live happily ever after. The story itself has inspired many film adaptations including a Bollywood version, and Bridget Jones’ diary is a modern re-telling of the tale.
However, there was something about the Mr. Darcy character that appealed to women all over the globe, even before the BBC adaptation with Colin Firth in that famous wet white shirt scene. Even I have to admit that I have stated on many an occasion that my ideal man would be Mr. Darcy and yes I am aware of how sad that makes me.
The character of Elizabeth Bennett, the heroine in Pride and Prejudice, has always struck a chord with me and I happen to see a lot of myself in her. She has an inability to keep her opinions to herself, isn’t a great beauty but by no means ugly and often makes snap judgements about people who she barely knows. Therefore, I feel it is only natural to assume that I would want to end up with the same man that she does. However, being attracted to guys with Darcy-esque characteristics can often be more trouble than it is worth.
The character is defined by being slightly snooty and superior, never cracking a smile and remaining aloof and moody. As a girl who tends to wear her heart on her sleeve, meeting someone who gives nothing away is bound to catch my attention and leave me wanting to find out more. In the story this supposed arrogance and pride was a result of the character’s shyness, wanting to protect the honour of his sister and uphold decent principles. In reality however I have usually found this to be a sign that they do genuinely think that they are better than you: and as for the not giving anything away, it is mainly down to the fact that they don’t have anything interesting or worthwhile to contribute.
I have always been a very opinionated person who could never be with a guy who shies away from a debate or one who wouldn’t challenge me when necessary. The war of words between Elizabeth and Darcy is fascinating and I have always wanting that level of sparring in any future partner of mine. I’ve never been attracted to guys who just agree with me for the sake of it and get extremely annoyed if they think that sucking up to me will spark my interest. Unfortunately this has lead to me to turn down some really nice guys in the past, problem being they were TOO nice, and I’m sure I will regret this in the future. As for finding someone to spar with it more often than not has lead to months of uncertainty, low self-esteem and wasted time.
The reason why Mr. Darcy is so appealing to women is because we want to have it all. We want a man who is masculine, intelligent and strong on the one hand yet sensitive, shy and misunderstood on the other. There is nothing wrong with wanting it all, as long as we don’t settle for a miserable, stuck-up snob thinking he will reveal something deeper because he probably won’t. You can’t change what type of man you are attracted to but needless to say that Miss Austen has a lot to answer for.
The whole point of the story of Pride and Prejudice is that first impressions can be deceiving, but when the second, third and fourth impressions aren’t much better then something is probably not right.