Thursday, July 26, 2012

Colonel Brandon

I have recently been reading the Diary series (by Amanda Grange) which re-tells Austen's stories, but from the heroes point of view. (I am loving them and will soon post my thoughts about them!)

The latest one I have read was Colonel Brandon's diary, and it really let me see a new and different side to him. He became a much deeper and intriguing character, and this diary has moved him up leaps and bounds in my estimation! So, I was compelled to write about him.

I think three words to describe Colonel Brandon would be calm (but still passionate), patient and faithful.

I found this description of his character on 'The Jane Austen Wiki' and to me, it sums him up beautifully.(

"Ever heard the expression, "Still waters run deep"? That's basically Colonel Brandon. On the outside, he's a quiet guy – at 35, he's a bachelor approaching middle age, and he doesn't seem to have any family to speak of. He's dignified and well-to-do, but beyond that, we don't get much from first impressions. The Colonel appears to be rather dull to the insensitive eye, but beneath his tranquil surface, there's a whole lot going on. Elinor is the first to appreciate this, but gradually, other characters (including, finally, Marianne , when she decides to marry him) realise that he's a whole lot more than meets the eye.

First of all, Colonel Brandon is clearly a sensitive soul, even though his exterior seems unflappable and even rather remote. He's the only person who appreciates Marianne's music the same way she does – respectfully and thoughtfully – and we get the impression that his quiet persona hides a deeply intellectual inner self. Colonel Brandon is also by far the character with the most significant emotional trauma to deal with, which he manages to do in an admirably mature, applause-worthy fashion. He's the ultimate combination of feeling and logic, and comes off as the only real grown-up in this whole cast of characters.

All in all, Colonel Brandon may seem to be on the boring side, but he's actually not – he's just more under control than the other folks we meet here. We don't get to know him too well, but we can imagine that he's a pretty rewarding friend to have, once you get past his rather stiff exterior."

I felt this was a very good description of Colonel Brandon.

My first experience of Colonel Brandon was when I watched the 1995 film (with Alan Rickman) To begin with, Brandon to me was a very placid character, and very much in the background.  As the film progressed he became a more sweet and caring person, with a horrid past, but still he was not too appealing to me. Next, I read the book. As I heard more about him from the novel, he seemed to be actually quite deep, and his faithfulness to his first love, Eliza, was truly honourable. Shortly after reading it, I saw the 2008 series (with David Morrissey), and Brandon was slowly working his way up in my estimation. The 'extra scenes' which showed more of his courtship of Marianne at the end, helped to flesh out his relationship with her, and the way Morrissey portrayed him made him seem, to me, heart-broken, and yet very passionate underneath.  Finally came the diary, and now Brandon is one of my favourite heroes! 

The diary started when Brandon was 19, and he wrote about his time with Eliza, continuing onto when they almost eloped when Eliza was forced to marry his brother. The separation was heart-wrenching! We then see some of his time in the Indies, away from his home life after it made him so unhappy, and then receiving a letter to say that Eliza was divorced. We then have an account of all the Brandon did to find her, and then once found, the last few days they spent together until her death, which reduced me to tears! All this background gave a whole new dimension to Brandon, as he is portrayed as a very fun and happy person when he was with Eliza, meaning the separation and loss of his love is what subdued him to how we meet him in the novel.

We then are taken to the time of the novel, and see his thoughts about Marianne, and shortly afterwards, Willoughby. I felt so sorry for him as he was coming to terms with his new affection, having previously believed that he would never love again. This continues and then comes the day of the picnic. You see what was in that letter which took him off to London so quickly, and then all his ventures in London, trying to save his wards reputation as much as possible. He comes across as so caring in these scenes, and I felt that he would make a great father.

The next entries, once he found out about Willoughby, shows his frustration that he abandoned his ward, and that now he was messing with Marianne! The entry about the duel was wonderful, making him appear very powerful and strong, and I really respected his action; risking his life for his ward, (and Marianne)! You can't help but feel sorry for him as he is tyring to deal with the news that Marianne is to marry Willoughby, which everyone seems to be talking of!

Once the truth has been revealed, Brandon's sincerity towards the Dashwood's and the friendship he offers them is really admirable. Seeing his feelings as he sees Marianne struggle and suffer as a result of Willoughby's treatment of her, and once she falls ill, how he fears he will loose his love for a second time!  You really feel for him, and see that he really does love Marianne, and to see her suffer, just as Eliza did, is so painful for Brandon! 

You really start to see the nature of his affection once Marianne is recovering, and the fact that he does not rush his courtship as he wishes Marianne to accept him for who he is and not as a safety blanket after Willoughby, is very right, and very romantic. The extra parts you see of Marianne and Brandon are perfect, and gives a lovely incite into their increasing relationship, which I wished we had seen in the novel. It also made their marriage not seem as rushed and sudden. The ending itself was delightful and a perfect ending to this diary!

All these events and unseen parts which appear in his diary give a deep incite into the real Brandon, making him a more major character, who is more than he first appears and who actually has a lot going on under the surface!

Brandon is the romantic hero in this story, not Willoughby. He is the one who has true, deep feelings and is very passionate, insightful and devoted, making him seem to me, a very desirable friend, and even a very attractive husband!  

Your affectionate friend,
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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

I am half agony, half hope...

Persuasion is a heart wrenching tale of two people, who were divided by the cruel consequences of the importance placed on social standing and money. And then, 8 years later, after they have met once more, Anne Elliot receives a letter from Captain Wentworth.

This letter is one of the most romantic and heart-felt I have ever come across! (And I am tempted to say in all of literature, but I can't as I haven't read enough for that claim!) 

For anyone who has not read Persuasion, this one letter is worth reading it for! I feel as if I am giving it away for those who haven't, but even so, this will mean a lot more and seem even more wonderful, once placed in the context of the story, when you know what has happened before this. (And also, I just has to post this!)

"I can listen no longer in silence. I must speak to you by such means as are within my reach. You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone for ever. I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own than when you almost broke it, eight years and a half ago.

Dare not say that man forgets sooner than woman, that his love has an earlier death. I have loved none but you. Unjust I may have been, weak and resentful I have been, but never inconstant. You alone have brought me to Bath. For you alone, I think and plan. Have you not seen this? Can you fail to have understood my wishes?

I had not waited even these ten days, could I have read your feelings, as I think you must have penetrated mine. I can hardly write. I am every instant hearing something which overpowers me. You sink your voice, but I can distinguish the tones of that voice when they would be lost on others.

Too good, too excellent creature! You do us justice, indeed. You do believe that there is true attachment and constancy among men. Believe it to be most fervent, most undeviating, in
F. W. 

I must go, uncertain of my fate; but I shall return hither, or follow your party, as soon as possible. A word, a look, will be enough to decide whether I enter your father's house this evening or never."

*sigh...* If I was to have a letter written to me like that, I would be a very happy woman!

Your affectionate friend,

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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Some can wear it, and some can't!

Watching the Austen adaptation's, I find that some actors suit the regency clothes more than others. Some people just don't look comfortable in their costumes!

This is purely my own opinion, so please disagree with me! :) And I am judging it on how they look in the regency costumes, not on their performances or the costumes in general :)

First up, of course ;), the wonderful Mr Darcy.

Here we have Matthew Macfadyen (2005) on the left and Colin Firth (1995) on the right.

I think they both look pretty good in the regency clothes, and all the outfits either of them wear seem to suit them. There are a few outfits in particular which each actor suits really well.

For Macfadyen it would be the Pemberley outfit (which he is wearing in the picture) and also he looks rather dashing at the Netherfield Ball, with his black coat.
And for Firth it would also be the Pemberley outfit (with the green coat and beige trousers) and the outfits he wears at Netherfield while Lizzie visits the poorly Jane. 
And not to mention the shirt and coat flying in the wind at the end of the film and the dripping wet shirt in the series; both of which really suit the actors! ;)


And to continue with Pride and Prejudice, the sweet Mr Bingley.

Simon Woods (2005) on the left and Crispin Bonham-Carter (1995) on the right.

I would say that the clothes for Bingley in the 1995 are more regency than in the 2005. I think they both suit their outfits, and both look inferior to Darcy, which is how it should be.
I think the colour differences in the film are good, as generally Bingley's clothes are lighter than Darcy's, like his character (similar with the horses, Bingley's is white and Darcy's is black).  I also think that the clothes suit his bright hair colour! So, maybe I think Simon Woods's outfits are better, even though they both suit the regency styles.  

And finally from Pride and Prejudice, the insufferable Mr Wickham.

Rupert Friend (2005) on the left and Adrian Lukis (1995) on the right.

I think the military outfits are wonderful and very authentic in both the series and the film.
But I find that the outfit seems to suit Simon Woods more. They are in fact very similar, but I think he looks more comfortable in the outfit. He also looks good in the outfit he wears when he brings Lydia home to Longbourn. But, saying that, Adrian Lukis looks rather dashing in the other clothes he wears, which isn't the red coat.

Next, Sense and Sensibility, and the patient Colonel Brandon.

David Morrissey (2008) on the left and Alan Rickman (1995) on the right.  

This one is a little easier, as I think that David Morrissey looks very dashing in the regency clothes, and I find he just suits them more than Alan Rickman (not to say that Alan Rickman doesn't suit them.) I think Morrissey looks great in the coat in the picture, and all he outfits look great. But the boots they both wear are great, and actually I think Rickman suits the outfit he wears at the wedding - he suits the red coat!

And now the loyal Edward Ferrars.

Dan Stevens (2008) on the left and Hugh Grant (1995) on the right.

For me, I think, in general, Stevens suits the clothes more (even though Grant actually looks pretty good in the picture I have chosen!) I thought that at some stages in the film Grant looked a bit uncomfortable in the clothes and they didn't quite suit him. Whereas, I think Stevens suits the outfits throughout the series, and he seems to fit the regency style rather well. 

And lastly from Sense and Sensibility, the abominable Mr Willoughby!

Dominic Cooper (2008) on the left and Greg Wise (1995) on the right.

Both look annoyingly dashing in their regency clothes, but I think if I was Marianne I would fall for Cooper as Willoughby as his clothes really seem to suit him! The colours chosen match his character, and he looks very comfortable in the clothes. Wise looks pretty good in the clothes as well, and in the picture I have chosen, they colour coordinate with Marianne's very well! But, overall, I think Cooper looks more easy in the regency outfits.

And now Emma, and the lovely Mr Knightley.

Jonny Lee Miller (2009) on the left and Jeremy Northam (1996) on the right.

This was quite a though choice as they both suit the style of clothing, but, overall, I think Northam can pull it off more (though, again, the picture I have chosen is one the Miller's best outfits). I do love the colours used for Miller's outfits, and (as shown in both pictures) I again love the boots they are wearing! But, Northam (to me) looked completely relaxed in the clothes all the time, but Miller looked very good too! 


And again from Emma, the devious Mr Churchill.

Rupert Evans (2009) on the left and Ewan McGregor (1996) on the right.

This has to go to Evans, as he looked remarkable well in the regency clothing; they really seemed to suit him, whereas, I don't think McGregor looked that comfortable, not to mention the hair! (But that's a different matter!)

Persuasion, and the deeply romantic Captain Wentworth.

Rupert Penry-Jones (2007) on the left and CiarĂ¡n Hinds (1995) on the right.

Although the Navy uniform worn by Hinds is nice to see, I think Penry-Jones looks better in the outfits; he looks very dashing!  He looks very easy in the clothing, and he really fits in with the period. Hinds just doesn't quite look as comfortable!

And from Mansfield Park, the considerate Edmund Bertram, portrayed here by Blake Ritson (2007).

I think he looks quite good in the regency clothes and fairly comfortable.Thinking about him as Bertram, and than as Elton, I think he looked more easy, clothing wise, as Bertram.

 And finally Northanger Abbey, and the teasing Mr Tilney, portrayed here by J.J. Field (2007).

I think Field really suits regency outfits. He looks very happy in them and they make him fit in with the period very well, and the outfits chosen match his character really well.

And finally, also from Northanger Abbey, John Thorpe, as portrayed here by William Beck (2007).

I didn't think he looked at all comfortable in the regency clothing. He looked very uncomfortable! But, at least he is the baddie, so it doesn't matter!

I think I will sometime do a similar post for the woman :)

Hope you enjoyed this post and if you disagree with me, tell me what you think.

Your affectionate friend,

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Sunday, July 08, 2012

Mr Darcy - proud? amiable? disagreeable? handsome?

I am sorry for my recent silence, I have been away, so here is another essay from my school work which I have converted into a blog post :)

It is clear that in ‘Pride and Prejudice’ there are many contrasting views on the character of Mr. Darcy, which present themselves in many different ways through the story. 

I think that there are three main ways in which contrasting views are presented; through the different opinions of him in different places, for example in Hartfordshire compared with Derbyshire, Elizabeth’s dramatically altering opinion of Darcy as the story develops, and through comparing the opinions of different characters, for example Wickham and Bingley’s views.

Firstly, Hartfordshire vs. Derbyshire.
In Meryton (Hartforshire), Darcy is very quickly “discovered to be proud, to be above his company, and above being pleased”, even though just before that he was thought a handsome young man, infinitely superior to his friend - nothing to do with wealth I'm sure! Whereas the general opinion in Derbyshire is quite the opposite.  This is where the housekeeper comes in and plays a very important role!
She says “He is the best landlord, and the best master” completely contradictory of the opinion in Meryton! He is considered in Derbyshire to be a very good man who is liked by all his tenets and all his acquaintances! How opposite to the Darcy we met in Meryton! 
She goes on further to say “I have never had a cross word from him in my life, and I have known him ever since he was four years old.”  I think this is a very valid, and interesting point.  The opinion of Darcy in Meryton is formed based on first impressions.  After just one evening, it is decided that he is proud because that’s how his behaviour has been interpreted - “he was looked at with great admiration for about half the evening, till his manners gave a disgust which turned the tide of his popularity.”  This harsh judgement is perhaps a little unfair! His behaviour could have been misunderstood!  Darcy first met with the residents at Meryton at a Meryton assembly - new and unfamiliar territory for him - and he would have known nobody beyond his own party.  So, he could have acted like that as he was uncomfortable among strangers and felt left out.  He even says himself that “Ixz\ certainly have not the talent which some people possess, of conversing easily with those I have never seen before.” (Bless!) 
Another reason, not helping to improve the opinion of him, is down to the insufferable Wickham! He begins to tell people about his past experiences with him - which are all a lie, or if not a lie, they are all... reversed! Wickham is prejudice against Darcy anyway making the judgement of him again, unfair and unreliable - poor Darcy! He doesn't do well in Meryton!
But, in Derbyshire, he has lived there all his life so the people living there would know his true character, like the housekeeper says about knowing him since he was four. So, I think the view of his character is more reliable in Derbyshire as they have not based their judgement of him on a very short acquaintance. 

Also, in Derbyshire, he is likely to feel more relaxed as it is his own environment which he is used to and where he is not a stranger.  Austen has presented two general opinions of Darcy differing in different places. This just shows how first impressions aren’t everything!  Also, the fact that we don’t hear about these high praises of Darcy until later in the story follows how Lizzie’s opinion changes as the book develops.  So, when Lizzie visits Pemberley, where she discovers the truth about Darcy’s character from the housekeeper, it reinstates Lizzie’s changing opinion, and showing it from another angle, informing us that Lizzie’s new opinion isn’t merely based on Lizzie’s own observations but from a reliable source that would be considered un-bias, how could the housekeeper know of the general view of his character in Meryton? She doesn't!

Of course, the most obvious contrast of opinions of Darcy’s character is that of Elizabeth’s.  Lizzie is very prejudice towards Darcy for the first half of the book, but for latter part, her opinion begins to change. 

Lizzie’s prejudice of Darcy is based on three things. 

1. The incident at the Meryton ball.  When Darcy was approached by Bingley in the hope to make him dance, Bingley suggests Lizzie as a desirable partner stating that she “is very pretty, and I dare say very agreeable”, however Darcy will not yield to Bingley’s wishes, saying in reply “She is tolerable; but not handsome enough to tempt me.”  Unfortunately, Lizzie was near enough at the time to be able to hear this remark! (Whoopsy daisy Darcy!)  Therefore, it leaves Lizzie against Darcy from the earliest moments of their acquaintance - I think I would be pretty annoyed!

2. One word, Wickham!  Lizzie makes a new acquaintance in Wickham, who, when he learns that she is acquainted with Darcy, relates a terrible story (yeah... wasn't it terrible, for Darcy, not you!) to Lizzie about the previous events which have passed between Wickham and Darcy.  It didn't help that Lizzie was quite keen on Wickham, and wouldn't you be more inclined to believe a handsome, agreeable man, than a proud, disagreeable one!

3. Finally, poor Jane and poor Bingley!  She discovers, not long before Darcy proposes, not a great moment for Lizzie to find out for Darcy, that it was Darcy who separated her sister and Bingley!  I think, unfortunately, I agree with Lizzie when she says "do you think that any consideration would tempt me to accept the man, who has been the means of ruining, perhaps forever, the happiness of a most beloved sister?” 

Austen presents Lizzie's opinion very clearly - VERY clearly - through comments made by Lizzie about Darcy, or even to Darcy!  For example, when she is talking to Wickham about Darcy she says “I have spent four days in the same house with him, and I think him very disagreeable.”  Because 4 days is long enough to get to know a person Lizzie...

When she is dancing with Darcy at the Netherfield ball, she is determined to tease him and make him feel as uncomfortable as possible, to Darcy's despair! An example of this is when she says, sarcastically, “He has been so unlucky as to lose your friendship,". 

One of the most important quotes showing just how much she really does dislike Darcy is in her refusal, and strangely enough, this is one of my favourite quotes...
“From the very beginning, from the first moment I may almost say, of my acquaintance with you, your manners, impressing me with the fullest belief of your arrogance, your conceit, and your selfish disdain of the feelings of others, were such as to form that ground-work of disapprobation, on which succeeding events have built so immovable a dislike; and I had not known you a month before I felt that you were the last man in the world whom I could ever be prevailed on to marry.”  (Ohhhhhhh.... ;) ) Well, this resolution wasn't kept as she does marry him, so clearly her opinion must change from the one stated here!

These views and very strong opinions against Darcy are hugely contrasting to what she begins to feel when she reads the letter given to her after the proposal.  The letter plays a very important part in starting to alter Lizzie’s view on Darcy as it informs her of the true past between Wickham and Darcy. (Ha ha Wickham!) This makes her feel very embarrassed about ever blaming Darcy for any cruelty towards Wickham and for being so deceived in Wickham’s character - see Lizzie? First impression are not everything!   She says later when talking to Jane about the matter, “One has got all the goodness, and the other all the appearance of it” as she realises and accepts that she has allowed herself to be blinded by prejudice. 

The next point which assists in the altering opinion of Darcy is during her visit to Pemberley with the Gardiners.  When they first see the house and are shown all its natural beauties it is “at that moment she felt that to be mistress of Pemberley might be something!”  Also, when they unexpectedly meet Darcy at Pemberley it is then when she sees how altered Darcy’s character really is.  This change is presented mainly through Darcy’s actions towards others.  How gentlemanly he seems when “she heard Mr. Darcy invite him, with the greatest civility, to fish there as often as he chose while he continued in the neighbourhood”.  Very shocking behaviour on Darcy's part as the Gardiners live in Cheapside!  He is also surprisingly civil towards Lizzie herself and even wishes her to meet his sister!  After her behaviour towards him at their last meeting she wouldn’t expect him to talk to her at all let alone want to introduce her to his sister! She would expect him to be her greatest enemy!

After both these revelations, her opinion is already extremely different and two of the three prejudices having being thus removed, the only one remaining is the one regarding Jane and Bingley.
Shortly after this meeting, there is a letter from Jane informing Lizzie of Lydia’s elopement with Wickham and the next turning point in Lizzie’s feelings is as a result of this.  It is when Lizzie discovers that it was in fact Darcy who discovered Lydia and Wickham in London, made Wickham marry her, paid off all his debts and paid for his commission.  Lizzie is so shocked by this news, that it “threw Elizabeth into a flutter of spirits”! This was not one of Lizzie's prejudices, but this was just an extra one ;)

And finally, the last problem is removed, as Jane and Bingley are engaged, further fixing Lizzie's new opinion of Darcy!  “That is to say, you had given your permission. I guessed as much.” Lizzie is pleased that he 'allowed' his friend to marry Jane even with her low connections and embarrassing family (which was always a little bit hypocritical given that he proposed to Lizzie, Jane's sister, with the same connections and family...) It pleases Lizzie also pleases her that “Darcy was delighted with their engagement” as it shows that he really was pleased with the match, and that Darcy was now thinking more about his friends and Jane’s happiness over social class and what would be considered 'correct' in society. 

After all these events, proving to Lizzie that Darcy really isn't as bad as first thought, Lizzie was happy to accept his second marriage proposal.  Lizzie’s contrasting opinions of Darcy are a very important to the story, well, they make the story!

The other way in which Austen presents contrasting opinions of Darcy’s character is through comparisons of views held by different characters. 

A good example would Elizabeth's opinion vs. Caroline Bingley’s, whose views are quite the opposite.  Lizzie and Caroline are two of the main woman in ‘Pride and Prejudice’.  Lizzie is from a lower social class than Darcy, and Caroline is from an equal class and one of the main themes in ‘Pride and Prejudice’ is social status, so to have a opinion from each is important, and interesting. Also, it is fair to say that Caroline is after Darcy!  And her attempts to impress him aren't the most subtle; for example when Darcy is writing a letter to his sister is says how Caroline sat, watching him, commenting on “his hand-writing, or on the evenness of his lines, or on the length of his letter.”  It also says how when Darcy was reading a book, she also began reading a book “which she had only chosen because it was the second volume of his.”  Lizzie, however, is quite the contrary and does not care for or want his good opinion, and she is the one who Darcy is after!  She says how she is “determined” to hate him, because of her prejudice, but unfortunately for her, she believes he does not think any better of her than she does of him! So Caroline is trying her hardest to think highly of Darcy’s character and for him to think well of her, whereas Lizzie is trying her hardest to dislike his character and for him to dislike her. 

The other, more prominent reason why their views contrast is again linked to Wickham; Lizzie knows nothing of the truth, but Caroline at least knows something. Up to this point, we don't really like Caroline because of her manner towards Lizzie!  This means that when Caroline approaches Lizzie and says “Let me recommend you, however, as a friend, not to give implicit confidence to all his assertions; for as to Mr. Darcy's using him ill, it is perfectly false; for, on the contrary, he has been always remarkably kind to him, though George Wickham has treated Mr. Darcy, in a most infamous manner”, warning her that Wickham is not to be trusted, Lizzie, and likely us, won't really believe her.  As Caroline then adds “I do not know the particulars”, Lizzie doubts the story even more, as it all sounds a bit vague, and when talking to Jane shortly after about the conversation passed between them, she believes that “this account then is what he has received from Mr. Darcy.”  She is referring directly to Bingley here, but it is likely that she believes Bingley, Caroline and all his acquaintances would have had the account from Darcy and therefore believe his explanation so she does not believe Caroline’s story at all!

Next up, the Bennets vs. the Gardiners.  The Bennet family, excluding Lizzie and Jane, see Darcy only during his time in Meryton, predominantly when they first come to the neighbourhood. Therefore, their opinion of Darcy is bad.  But, I guess it is understandable why they take this opinion.  For Mrs. Bennet, Darcy, having insulted one of her daughters, is nothing more that a very disagreeable man! Who could insult her beautiful daughters? Unfortunately, she is not reserved in letting her feelings be known, even to Darcy.  Shortly after the Meryton assembly she tells Lizzie that another time “I would not dance with him, if I were you,” and when she is visiting Jane at Netherfield and are enquiring whether Bingley is planning to stay in the country, she says, when offended by his apparent dislike of the country, ““But that gentleman,” looking at Darcy, “seemed to think the country was nothing at all.””  Mr. Bennet is likely to dislike Darcy for the same reason, as Lizzie is his favourite daughter, but as well as this, the family is likely to follow the general opinion held in Meryton which is bad. 

The Gardiners on the other hand, hold quite a different view.  The Gardiners first met Darcy at Pemberley during their tour of Derbyshire with Lizzie.  Darcy’s character is at this point in the story very different to how the Bennets knew it to be in Meryton.  It does not correspond to the opinion and views that they had heard about from Mrs. Benet and residents in Meryton.  Mrs. Gardiner even said herself that “This fine account of him is not quite consistent with his behaviour to our poor friend.”  Darcy is by this point very changed and a lot more civil hence why the Gardiners are confused about the fine account from the housekeeper and their first impression of Darcy when they meet him!  This excellent opinion is further increased when they are invited to Pemberley and Mr. Gardiner to fish. They are surprised by this behaviour, and Mrs Gardiner says “From what we have seen of him, I really should not have thought that he could have behaved in so cruel a way by anybody.” 

The opinions are very different and the contrasts are based on first impressions.  The opinion held by the Bennets is mainly based on a first impression, as is with the Gardiners opinion.  This is very important as, of course, first impressions is a major theme in ‘Pride and Prejudice’ and even more so, as ‘Pride and Prejudice’ was originally going to be called ‘First Impressions’.

Another important one would be Wickham vs. Bingley's opinion.  Both are close to Darcy and know him well as Bingley is a good friend of Darcy’s and Wickham was once close to him as they spent all their childhood together. 

It is clear that Bingley thinks highly of Darcy and vice versa whereas Wickham definitely does not.  He even goes as far as to tell Lizzie about his past with Darcy, on a very slight of an acquaintance (which always seemed strange to me), and shortly after this he informs many in Meryton on the same topic!  This account spread by Wickham is discovered to be false, which contrasts to Bingley as Bingley was always loyal to his friend, believing Darcy in the matter of his connections with Wickham.  Austen has presented here two people, both who are or have been close to Darcy, one who has remained loyal to him and the other who has not, holding contrasting views on his character because of this. 

Another opinion would be Jane and Lizzie’s slightly differing views on Darcy. Jane and Lizzie are an important contrast as they are two of the major character in ‘Pride and Prejudice’ and they are the two older sisters in the Bennet family.  Also, they are the closest of all characters, I think, sharing all their opinion and feelings more openly with each other than with any other characters. Jane has such a disposition which means she does not want to think badly of anyone, consequently she does not think, or doesn’t want to think, Darcy so very bad as Lizzie does on such short an acquaintance.  She is also more inclined to believe in what she has heard from Bingley, who she has known for longer, about the past between Wickham and Darcy.  She is also not as deceived in Wickham’s character or able to believe Wickham so intently after so short an acquaintance, unlike Lizzie. Lizzie is very much the opposite, being totally deceived in Wickham’s character, because of her partiality towards him and prejudice against Darcy, and she believes Bingley to have been imposed upon by Darcy as they are good friends. She also believes that Jane is partial toward Bingley which is why she is inclined to think Bingley a more reliable source. 

A final contrast would be Wickham vs. Collins’s view.  These two characters are an interesting contrast as they are presented as the two other possible partners for Lizzie in ‘Pride and Prejudice’.  Collins makes an offer of marriage to Lizzie and it is hinted that it could have been an eventuality between Lizzie and Wickham, had there not been the problem of money.  As I have already said before, Wickham is clearly against Darcy.  However, it is hard to interpret Collins’s real feelings about Darcy as they are not clearly stated however he cannot be against Darcy, mainly, because Darcy is the nephew of Lady Catherine de Bough, his "esteemed patroness", and of course he never wants to upset her Ladyship and is always trying his best to please her!  It is also interesting as these views are the opinion of Lizzie's almost husbands about Lizzie's eventual husband!

These are the ways in which I think Austen mainly presents the contrasting views on Darcy’s character and they are a very important part of ‘Pride and Prejudice’ as they highlight many of the major themes such as first impressions and social status.  Also, as we are rarely informed about Darcy’s true feelings and thoughts throughout the book, especially at the beginning, these contrasting views presented how they are, through others views and opinions, provoke us to think about who Darcy really is, I mean, "I hear such different accounts of you as to puzzle me exceedingly." 

Your affectionate friend,

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