Pride and Prejudice

Lee Li Ann


English 4U

Mr. Benjamin Murray

March 24, 2009

Unit 2: Critical Analysis of Pride and Prejudice

The Secret of Mr. Darcy

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen is a novel that mainly depicts the love story between both the lead characters in the novel, Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy. Darcy’s love towards Elizabeth was portrayed by Jane Austen in the novel as the only source of interest emitted by Darcy towards other women. It was clearly showed that Darcy had only feelings for Elizabeth Bennet, for he ignored Miss Caroline Bingley’s affection towards him. However, the character of Mr. Darcy is largely misinterpreted by the readers, for Mr. Darcy is actually gay and is attracted to other characters of the same sex in the novel. Therefore, Mr. Darcy is homosexual and has affection towards Mr. Bingley and Mr. Wickham, while he only chooses to marry Elizabeth for she was the only female acquaintance of him that exerted masculinity.

Mr. Darcy is actually homosexual as it was portrayed in the novel through his affection towards Mr. Bingley. Darcy had feelings towards Bingley and it can be seen at the beginning of the novel at the Meryton ball. Darcy was given his first description in the novel as an egotistical man; “he was the proudest, most disagreeable man in the world.” (Austen 7). In truth, Darcy wasn’t arrogant; he was just simply annoyed that many women at the ball had set eyes on Bingley and is afraid that Bingley might in return, find a woman in which he is attracted to. In order to hide his true affection towards Bingley, he refused to socialize during the ball and had secluded himself from the crowd that night; “declined being introduced to any other lady, and spent the rest of the evening in walking about the room.” (Austen 7). Other evidence that can be seen at the Meryton ball to verify that Darcy is homosexual is when Bingley insisted on Darcy to dance, for there were many girls present at the ball. Darcy merely replied that he hated the thought of dancing with any of the ladies at the ball, and that it would be a torment to him, and it was shown in the novel, “I certainly shall not. You know how I detest it…there is not another woman in the room, whom it would not be a punishment to me to stand up with.” (Austen 7). Other evidence that suggested Darcy is homosexual is when he admitted to Elizabeth Bennet that he was a part of the reason that the relationship between Bingley and Jane did not work out; “I had detached Mr. Bingley from your sister.” (Austen 150). This shows that Darcy had admitted that he deliberately made Bingley left Netherfield, to stop him from seeing Jane further. This is because he was actually afraid that the relationship between Bingley and Jane Bennet might develop further, for there was already a talk about marriage between the two of them. As soon as Darcy got to know from Sir William Lucas that Bingley intended to marry Jane, as it was shown in the novel, “by Sir William Lucas’s accidental information, that Bingley’s affections to your sister had given rise to a general expectation of their marriage. He spoke of it as a certain event.” (Austen 151). This made Darcy terrified, for he love Bingley and had decided that it was time to pull him out of Netherfield and took him back to London. Other than that, Darcy himself had hinted about his sexual orientation at the Meryton ball when he said that “she is tolerable, but not handsome enough to tempt me.” (Austen 7). This shows that Darcy had hinted his sexual orientation by stating that Elizabeth is not handsome enough to tempt him. Therefore, Mr. Darcy is homosexual for he is certainly attracted to Mr. Bingley.

Mr. Darcy also has affection towards Mr. Wickham. His affection towards Wickham started when he was a child. As Wickham is the godson of his late father, they were both raised together, and they spent time together when they were young as it was stated by Wickham in the novel; “We were born in the same parish, within the same park, the greatest part of our youths was passed together; inmates of the same house, sharing the same amusement, objects of the same parental care.” (Austen 61). This shows that Darcy had developed his affection towards Wickham since young for they were childhood friends. The suppose reason of Darcy’s resentment towards Wickham is that he had once tried to elope with his sister, Georgiana Darcy. In truth, Darcy was angry of Wickham for he had rejected his love, and had decided to elope with his sister instead. Georgiana soon realized her brother’s feelings for Wickham, and decided to stop the elopement for she loved her brother too much to elope with the man he loved; “unable to support the idea of grieving and offending a brother whom she almost looked up to as a father, acknowledged the whole to me.” (Austen 155). This shows that Georgiana decided to put a stop to her relationship with Wickham for she knows it would be devastating for her brother, who had loved Wickham dearly. Other than that, another evidence in the novel that strongly suggested Darcy’s affections towards Wickham can be seen when they both bumped into each other on the street. Darcy turned red in the face while Wickham turned white as it was portrayed in the novel, “both changed color, one looked white, the other red.” (Austen 55). Darcy turned red in the face for he blushed when he saw Wickham on the street, and that he still has feelings for him. However, Wickham turned pale white when he encountered Darcy. This is because he was terrified of Darcy, as he had already learned of his affection towards him through the unsuccessful elopement with Georgiana Darcy. Darcy, seeing the change of color in Wickham’s face, made him realized that Wickham still had not come to love him. Therefore, in a fit of anger and to hide his embarrassment, he rode away quickly and this clearly showed that Darcy is indeed in love with Wickham but was rejected by him.

As the story unfolds, Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet gradually got married and lived happily together. However, Darcy’s sexual orientation had not changed after marrying Elizabeth. In fact, he married Elizabeth only because he could not receive any love from both Bingley and Wickham, and Elizabeth was the next best thing. The reason he chose to marry Elizabeth was also because she was the only woman in his acquaintances that exhibited most masculinity. Elizabeth Bennet is fairly different than the other women in the novel. In the novel, Caroline Bingley mentioned about what a woman should have in order to be a true woman; “A woman must have thorough knowledge of music, singing, drawing, dancing, and the modern languages to deserve the world…she must possess a certain something in her air and manner of walking, the tone of her voice, her address and expressions, or the word will be but half deserved.” (Austen 29). Elizabeth then claimed that she had never seen such a woman before in her life. This is shown in the novel when she said, “I never saw such a woman. I never saw such capacity, and taste, and application, and elegance.” (Austen 29). This showed that Elizabeth does not exhibit nor possess any femininity and this had attracted Darcy. Other than that, the moment where Darcy was captivated by Elizabeth was when she walked into the dinning room at Netherfield, looking wild and dirty for she had walked to Netherfield, through fields, and puddles of mud. This attracted Darcy and it was shown in the novel when Caroline Bingley said that Darcy’s admiration of Elizabeth’s fine eyes may altered after that incident, but he replied that he adored it more, “Not at all, they were brightened by the exercise.” (Austen 26). This shows that Darcy was only captivated by Elizabeth because of her exhibition of masculinity. Therefore, Darcy is still attracted to the people of the same sex and he only married Elizabeth Bennet for she was the only female acquaintance of him that are different than other women.

In conclusion, Fitzwilliam Darcy is definitely homosexual for he had displayed affection to both close male acquaintances of his, Mr. Bingley and Mr. Wickham. His love and affection for Wickham since childhood was rejected by him greatly that it made Darcy angry and embarrassed to see him again. Darcy’s feelings for Bingley however, remained unknown by Bingley for he had given up hope to be with him as he is already with Jane, and this led Darcy to pursue Elizabeth Bennet in which her portrayal of masculinity attracted Darcy.

~ Li Ann

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