And two hundred years later, the book (and its various film adaptations) are still beloved by women (and men) the world round. After all, who can ever forget the chemistry sizzling between the awkward Colin Firth and the defiant Jennifer Ehle in the 1995 BBC adaptation or the awkward brooding of Matthew MacFayden in the the 2005 edition?
So why is this story so popular? What makes this brooding, shy man so attractive to women of the 21st century?
Is it that we just all love the thought of Colin Firth in a waistcoat and cravat? Is it because all women see themselves as Elizabeth Bennet and their best friend as Jane Benent? Or is it something in his air, his manner of speaking, his manner of treating his beloved Elizabeth that strikes us? Is it his strong morals and his devotion to those he loves that resonates with us?
Well, I can’t speak for all the Janeites, but I can speak for myself.
Fitzwilliam Darcy is a strong, proud, reserved man. He is well-educated, both at an academic level and a personal level. (Have you heard about his library?) He holds firmly to his beliefs-although he does accept correction when it is needed. He defends what he believes in. He isn’t perfect as he himself will admit, and this admission is not false modesty but a sincere fact. He will do anything for those people he loves-his sister, Georgiana, Charles Bingley, Elizabeth Bennet etc. And this is endearing to me.
And then there is Elizabeth. She is a strong woman who knows her mind. She is intelligent. Like Darcy, she is protective of those she loves. She is stubborn but willing to be corrected when necessary. She is impetuous and not always the most discerning. But she is a very intelligent young lady.
The supporting cast is also realistic. While they are not as strongly and intricately drawn as the main characters, they are still realistic and relatable. We’ve all known some variation on Caroline Bingley and Colonel Fitzwilliam. Like it or not, we’ve all met a Wickham.
So why is Pride and Prejudice so popular after two hundred years? Because it’s realistic and relatable-at least that’s my take on it. (And because while these two are stinking adorable,
These two are just as adorable…
What do you think? Why do you think that a book about relationships (not just romantic relationships but friendships and family relationships) has endured for 200 years? Please let me know in the comments.