Tuesday, September 6, 2011

What is it about Mr. Darcy?

Like any good English major, I enjoy a bit of Austen.  Of course I've read some of her work and I've enjoyed various film versions of her works.  I love the "gold-standard" edition the BBC put out in 1995.

I recently watched "Lost in Austen", a British mini-series where the modern day heroine, Amanda Price, switches places with Elizabeth Bennet and reeks havoc with Austen's famous story.  (Spoiler alert!)  All of the couples are tampered with--Mr. Collins and Jane, Bingley and Lydia, and Darcy falls for Amanda!  Amanda, who has loved Jane Austen's classic since she was fifteen, finds herself in love with Darcy.

So, it got me thinking, what is it about Mr. Darcy that makes women swoon?

He's handsome.  He's a gentleman.  He's rich. He's aloof.  He's arrogant.  He's meddlesome.  He's conceited.  

But it seems that every woman is looking for her Darcy.  I had to laugh when I found a wikiHow article entitled: "How to Find a Modern Mr. Darcy."  Darcy is not a particularly likable or sympathetic character early on in the story.  Sure, eventually I was rooting for him to win Elizabeth's heart, but that wasn't until the end!

So, again, why?

He's intelligent.  He's persistent.  He's a provider.  He's honest.  He's loyal.  He has morals.  He cares for his family and friends quite strongly.  He goes to great lengths to "protect" those he cares about.  He eventually is willing to change and learn a little humility.  He also seems to have the capacity to love passionately.

For whatever the reason, Darcy is forever anchored in history as one of the greatest greatest romantic heroes in all literature.

Here's an odd note, I found this statement is near the bottom of the Wiki page on Darcy: "Darcy's status as a romantic hero transcends literature. In 2010 a protein sex pheromone in male mouse urine, that is sexually attractive to female mice, was named Darcin in honour of the character."  Bizarre.


  1. You're an ENGLISH Major!?!?!?!

    I don't love you anymore.

    But anyway, the thing about Darcy isn't complex like all the stuff you listed. It's really quite simple. It's the hair.

    Now, go look at your husband. See what I mean?

    And that is why, I still love Peter. Though mostly because he majored in not English.

  2. I always wondered why women love Darcy so much too. In particular, I could never work out why the wet shirt scene in the BBC adaptation seems to make women go weak at the knees. He's just wearing a soggy shirt!


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