Well said!
Angel Clare treats Tess of the D'Urbervilles like crap too.


A wonderful post.

I think Hardy meant Angel to be a hypocrite, the "not-so-nice-nice-guy" that's the counterpoint to "brutal rapist"; it was Tess' saintly forgiveness that enabled them to get back together after his abandonment. Impossibly saintly creations like Tess might not be seen as precisely feminist in the "placing unrealistic expectations on women" side of things, but the book at least drew attention to the sexual double standards of the time.


You are so right! I hadn't quite been able to articulate Darcy's appeal, but you hit the nail on the head.


Not sure I can quite agree-- one reason that Mr Darcy is considered such a good match for Elizabeth is because she can respect him as a superior (see the part where Elizabeth talks to her father after Darcy has asked permission for her hand), not as an equal. I guess you could argue that this is simply Mr Bennet's take on it, but I don't think that there's much to suggest that Elizabeth or the narrator of the text disagrees with Mr Bennet's point of view in this instance.


Morgana, I dunno, I may be relying too heavily on everyone's favorite screen adaptation, but Elizabeth's initial rejection of Darcy's proposal makes it quite clear that she refuses to marry someone who doesn't value her. That she sees Darcy as the master of the house feels like window dressing after everything that has already happened. Considering that this is Jane Austen, the fact that it is Mr. Bennet who is saying this and not Elizabeth does bring up the question of the author's agreement. Maybe it's just me but Jane Austen always seems to do a fantastic job of making her characters seem just conventional enough to create controversy but not widespread condemnation from the polite society she wrote about, and she does this at times by being ambiguous.

Besides, even if I am relying on BBC's adaptation, most (modern) people's impression of Darcy is through this same lens, so Happy's explanation as to why modern women still love Darcy still holds. Most of us have read the book (several times), but more of us have watched the mini-series several times.


Regardless of what Mr. Bennett says, or what Lizzie may think, the fact is that Mr. Darcy never behaves like Lizzie's his inferior--and Lizzie certainly never behaves like Darcy's her superior. Actions speak louder than words.

The Huntress

True. I find it much more disturbing when women tell me how much they love Mr Rochester. Urgh.


I dunno - one of the things I like about Mr Rochester is that he recognises Jane Eyre's quality. (Though Jane Eyre herself is much more of a feminist heroine: a woman of principle and conviction.)


The difference between Elizabeth Bennet and Scarlett O'Hara is that Elizabeth is honest with herself about who she is. Rhett Butler respects and admires Scarlett when she is being herself, and despises her when she pretends that she fits in with the social norm. Rhett believes he can persuade Scarlett to be herself, and damn the social norm, but he cannot and he ultimately gives up.

The difference between Rhett Butler and Mr. Darcy has as much to do with the women as with the men. Mutual respect requires self-respect.

The Happy Feminist

Oooh -- good point. I never thought of it quite that way.

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