The April A to Z Blogging Challenge is a month-long event where I, and more than 2000 other bloggers, will post every day of the month (except Sundays) using a different letter of the alphabet. The theme of my posts will be “What I Love About Pride and Prejudice.” Click the link above or the A to Z badge in my sidebar to visit other participants.
Q is for Quarrelsome
“We will not quarrel for the greater share of blame annexed to that evening,” said Elizabeth; “the conduct of neither, if strickly examined, will be irreproachable.” –Jane Austen Pride & Prejudice
I have said it many times. I love a good argument in a story (in real life, not so much). When it’s between would be lovers who can’t seem to get out of their own way, all the better. So, Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy’s sparring matches in Pride & Prejudice just delight me.
The first hint of an argument between Elizabeth and Darcy is when she refuses to dance with him after Sir William Lucas suggests it. The flame on that one is mostly on her end. Maybe it showed something of a spark in her gaze because that the evening Darcy decided she had ‘fine eyes.’
At Netherfield they go back and forth because Caroline Bingley encouraged Elizabeth to make her seem less attractive to Darcy. The two then disagree about ‘truly accomplished’ females and whether pride is a failing. Darcy comes out of it impressed with Elizabeth’s wit and intelligence. Again, his appreciation of her grows (Sorry Caroline).
The best quarrel takes place in Mr. Collins rectory when Darcy comes to visit her. She had just read a disturbing letter from Jane and heard Colonel Fitzwilliam brag about how Darcy kept his friend (Bingley) from a disadvantaged match (Jane). So, Elizabeth was primed to tear into him when he turned around and did something she never would have expected. He proposed marriage.
It was poorly done, in a backhanded compliment sort of way. Darcy asked her to marry him, but tempered it with regret that he loved her.
She told him no, of course and he took her rejection as wounded pride because he didn’t lie about his concerns. I’m sure she would have refused him anyway, but the fact that he insulted her and her family in the process made her less likely to spare his feelings. Elizabeth threw in his face his arrogance, his supposed misuse of Wickham and his total lack of concern for her sister Jane’s feelings. When it’s was over, he left humiliated and shocked.
These moments of disagreement between Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy are what keep me returning to Pride and Prejudice again and again and again. They are, in fact, the reason I love those moments in any book. Jane Austen set up the example by which every other disagreement between love interests in any story is to be judged.
What do you think about the fight scenes between Darcy and Elizabeth? Can you think of any others?