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Mr. Darcy's Conflicts in Pride and Prejudice

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Kate McDannold

on 21 April 2014

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Transcript of Mr. Darcy's Conflicts in Pride and Prejudice

""In vain I have struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.""

Inner Conflict #1
Inner Conflict #3
The scandal between Wickham and Darcy is one of the most important side plots of the book, as it determines both men's characters and proves that Darcy is a better person than the slimy, lying Wickham. The two men have enough propriety to avoid a true, physical confrontation, but their discussions about each other and the personal sacrifices Darcy makes for Elizabeth truly help develop them both as characters.
External Conflict #1
Inner Conflict #2
Darcy also experienced some internal conflict regarding his treatment of his friend's relationship with Miss Jane Bennet. He chose to separate the two for his friend's sake as he didn't want Bingley to be led on. In order to help his friend, he forced Bingley to return to London to avoid the heartbreak he thought Jane would cause.
Kate McDannold
AP A Day

Mr. Darcy's Conflicts in Pride and Prejudice
External Conflict #2
Darcy isn't immediately accepted into Elizabeth's family. In fact, her mother can't stand him and her father gives Darcy permission to marry Elizabeth as a joke. Mr. Darcy has to overcome these false pretenses about his character and gain acceptance within the Bennet family. This isn't a hard task- however, it is important to the happiness of Elizabeth and Darcy's marriage.
External Conflict #3
Perhaps one of the most entertaining conflicts in the book, the banter between Elizabeth and Darcy is always fun to read as they playfully (and occasionally, angrily) argue back and forth. These small conflicts between the two help us see how their intelligence brings them together and shows us their compatibility, even if it is through small squabbles.
One of Darcy's biggest problems in Pride and Prejudice is overcoming his own emotions and accepting his love for Elizabeth. As a man of high social standing, his feelings for a middle class girl are scandalous for his time period, so he is understandably hesitant about allowing himself to love a girl he views as "beneath" him in life.
"Could you expect me to rejoice in the inferiority of your connections?—to congratulate myself on the hope of relations, whose condition in life is so decidedly beneath my own?"
- Mr. Darcy, Chapter 35
He declared himself to be totally unsuspicious of her sister's attachment; and she could not help remembering what Charlotte's opinion had always been.
-Chapter 36
After his new friendship with Elizabeth is established at Pemberley, Darcy is still unsure if he can approach her about marriage again. This conflict causes him to keep silent on the topic until his aunt gets involved. Ironically enough, by trying to stop any relationship from forming, she leads to their marriage. By forcing Elizabeth to admit she wouldn't turn down another proposal, she gives Darcy hope and motivates him to try once more to earn Elizabeth's hand in marriage.
"It taught me to hope," said he, "as I had scarcely ever allowed myself to hope before. I knew enough of your disposition to be certain that, had you been absolutely, irrevocably decided against me, you would have acknowledged it to Lady Catherine, frankly and openly."
-Mr. Darcy, Chapter 58
And with regard to the resentment of his family, or the indignation of the world, if the former were excited by his marrying me, it would not give me one moment's concern—and the world in general would have too much sense to join in the scorn."
-Elizabeth, Chapter 56
"Mr. Darcy, I am a very selfish creature; and, for the sake of giving relief to my own feelings, care not how much I may be wounding yours. I can no longer help thanking you for your unexampled kindness to my poor sister. Ever since I have known it, I have been most anxious to acknowledge to you how gratefully I feel it. Were it known to the rest of my family, I should not have merely my own gratitude to express."
-Elizabeth, Chapter 58
Classy Mrs. Bennet
"Good gracious!" cried Mrs. Bennet, as she stood at a window the next morning, "if that disagreeable Mr. Darcy is not coming here again with our dear Bingley! What can he mean by being so tiresome as to be always coming here? "
-Mrs. Bennet, Chapter 59
What Does It Mean?
Darcy himself admits he is a proud man; however, he realizes he hasn't behaved like a gentleman because of his pride. This causes him to evolve as a character as he attempts to overcome this personality flaw. Fortunately for him (and Elizabeth), he is able to show what a good person he is, stepping away from his prideful exterior and revealing the caring, loving man beneath.
The MOWW here is pride- it can be a huge character flaw if it is allowed to run rampant. However, by overcoming his prideful nature, Darcy becomes a better man and gains Elizabeth's love.

What Does It Mean?
The themes of marriage and love are central to Mr. Darcy's actions. He doesn't want his friend to be heartbroken after he is rejected by someone who shows no interest in him, nor does he want him to marry a girl who doesn't seem to enjoy his company. Although he acknowledges they get along, Jane almost never shows any signs of romantic interest, causing Darcy to urge Bingley to end the relationship and move away.

We learn here that Darcy is a good friend looking out for Bingley, even if he is mistaken about Jane's feelings. It isn't intended to be malicious towards Elizabeth's family- he simply thinks his friend will get hurt, so he tries to fix the situation.
What Does It Mean?
This rather humorous situation shows us that class and prestige don't have to affect a loving relationship. Darcy's hopes for marrying Elizabeth have been validated because of Lady Catherine's attempts to drive them apart. No social expectations can come between the two of them anymore, and this love, rare in this time period, conquers all. Darcy has stopped caring, and even embraced, Elizabeth's social standing- it no longer matters to him because he has evolved as a character.
What Does It Mean?
Wickham is Darcy's foil. He proves that people from a high social class can still be horrible people without morals or good judgment. Instead of maintaining respect for Darcy and keeping quiet about his negative opinions, he makes it his personal mission to slander Darcy's name, while Darcy attempts to avoid talking about Wickham as much as possible.
Wickham's prejudice against Darcy causes Elizabeth to doubt Darcy's good character for a while, but ultimately causes her to realize what a selfish individual Wickham has proven himself to be. When Darcy helps the Bennets by paying off Wickham, we see how selfless he is. He is willing to overcome his personal feelings against Wickham to help the woman he loves at any cost.
What Does It Mean?
Elizabeth's family exhibits prejudice against Mr. Darcy throughout most of the book as they've never really talked to him. They take Wickham's negative account of Darcy seriously and view him as arrogant and rude.
However, Elizabeth's love for him causes her family to give him a second chance in their eyes. They learn to accept him and overcome their negative opinions of the man Elizabeth loves.
What Does It Mean?
The romance between Elizabeth and Darcy shows us how social status can always be overlooked for the sake of love and happiness. Darcy overcomes his pride and accepts Elizabeth's family, while Elizabeth learns to let go of her prejudice (and her own pride) and accept Mr. Darcy as the caring man he is.
By overcoming these personal flaws, the two of them are able to love one another and cast away the negative social expectations around them.
How Does Jane Austen Address These Conflicts?
Austen shows us how conflicts can lead to personal development and growth. By using these obstacles, she shows us how Darcy is able to let go of his pride and become a better person. Through her use of a foil (Wickham) and, quite often, humor (the awkwardness of his first proposal), it is easy to see how she wants Darcy to be viewed- as a proud, yet good man intent on expressing his feelings and open to improving himself.
Seldom, very seldom, does complete truth belong to any human disclosure; seldom can it happen that something is not a little disguised, or a little mistaken.

-Jane Austen
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