How many men have actually read Pride and Prejudice? How many will even endeavor to read it just because the woman they love is so fascinated and even bordering on obsession with this particular story and even singular Darcy. Other than the exception of one Joe Fox (Tom hanks) in the movie you’ve got a mail, none I guess. Sigh.
The BBC series broadcast of Pride and Prejudice playing every Friday on Zee studio has pulled me yet again into this world of Darcy’s, Bennett’s and Collin’s. I cannot help it. This is one of the greatest romantic stories ever written. It is at its idealistic best, for in the real world where you and I live in; there never will be a Darcy or a romance as such.
So what is different about this particular story from the other thousands of historical romances? The story though pretty much usual becomes different because of the way the characters come alive and dance though the pages making you want to believe in romance like theirs.
Lets start with Elizabeth; a woman of wit and intelligence and fine character. She is not the most beautiful, for there is Jane her sister who has a face far fairer than any. She is not as good with the piano as Darcy’s sister Geeorgina. Her skills with drawing are found to be lacking by Lady Catherine at Rosisngs and even her clothes are pale compared to Caroline. Her family has little wealth, almost nil consequence and found many times completely lacking in propriety. But yet she shines bold and bright.
You see most women relate to her. For there will always someone who is more beautiful, better dressed, a tad richer or more skilled at any place at any point of time. And who has not been embarrassed by the behavior of close relatives and then not been condemned by association? So every woman sees an Elizabeth in herself and every Elizabeth needs a Darcy.
Mr. Darcy is a man of very few words which builds an aura of unattainable around him. Most consider him arrogant but yet women vive to be acquainted with him. His introduction shows him as an arrogant man who is not interested in Elizabeth but his admiration for her grows as he gets to know her. Now which woman would not want that? To be loved for what you are. I for one will be totally floored with a man who waits to say the three important words till he gets to know me better.
Darcy is a kind of man who wants Elizabeth’s opinion of his home because her good opinion is scarcely bestowed hence all the more valuable. This disposition is surprising given that Pemberlly is accepted as one of the best places to live by almost all. He is the man who in spite of being rejected once, comes back to say, “My object was to show you by every civility in my power that I was not so mean as to resent the past; and I hoped to obtain your forgiveness, to lessen your ill-opinion, by letting you see that your reproofs had been attended to.”
Now which other man will ever say this? None.
In addition to all this women love repressed desire, a passion which cannot be expressed.
Looking it from this angle Elizabeth and Darcy do not exchange flattering words and even when they do converse, it is a battle of wits which is as tart as it can get. That does work wonders.
The BBC series version of pride and prejudice is second only to the book. The one with Keira Knightley fails pathetically and is no where near the perfection of the book or even the BBC series version. If I were to imagine Darcy he would be like the Colin Firth. No one could have been more right for the role. I read somewhere that Colin had to think all the lines he would like to say in each scene so as to catch the exact emotions that would have to flash though this face. Well kudos to him, for he did succeed. His lone look at Elizabeth was all it took, to convince me of his fierce passion and love for her. True to the book, their language is always formal and even when they are hostile to each other, manners and politeness reign. It builds the tension slowly and steadily until it is almost unbearable. It’s tantric sex, but in conversations completely devoid of allusions to anything physical. If you have read the book you know will it is around 350-400 pages of that heart wrenching tension and if you have seen the BBC series version you know it is 6 episodes of guilt free indulgence. No man in literature or TV can keep a woman excited for so long without displacing a single strand of hair. There in lies his prowess.
To sum it up, there is nothing more potently attractive to a woman than a man who wants to know what she is thinking, a man who will be unimpressed by pretty smiles, wiles and tricks of the more beautiful women, a man who will notice her because she is good, intelligent and worthy of love. Since every woman sees Elizabeth is herself, she cannot help but love Darcy and the story that involves triumph of their love will always remain very close to her heart .If you are a woman you know what I am talking about. If you are a man, well I know you will never understand. Hence I shall not appeal for the same.