Throughout the course of ‘Pride and Prejudice’ the reader sees a clear development in Darcy’s character. His character undergoes a very deep alteration. In ‘Macbeth’, Macbeth character develops throughout the play. Towards the beginning of ‘Macbeth’ his character is perceived as a brave and respectful warrior, yet further in the play the audience notices a change in his character. At first Macbeth comes across as an ambitious, impressive, honorable and very much loved character.
However, following his meeting with the three witches Macbeth’s character changes and his faults become apparent- he is too obsessed with power and becomes too over-confident about his future. This meeting sets up a chain of events which leads Macbeth to murder the king of Scotland, and eventually concludes with his own death. Although in ‘Pride and Prejudice’ Darcy’s character similarly does change from how he comes across at the beginning to how he is perceived at the end, although his character is very different to Macbeth’s.
When Darcy first appears in the novel we are quickly able to create the image and personality of Darcy in our minds. These personality features are quickly formed into an arrogant, proud and vain man. As the novel progresses our thoughts and opinions of Darcy’s character change drastically. By the end of the novel the reader may feel sorry for Darcy. They may feel he’s misunderstood. His character has transformed, by the power of his love for Elizabeth, into one that shows caring, kindness and heroic behavior.
Macbeth’s and Darcy’s character both change from beginning to end. Macbeth first appears as a loved, heroic character, just how Darcy is perceived at the end. Macbeth and Darcy seem to ‘flip’ characters, in such a way. Throughout ‘Macbeth’ the audience can see a clear change in Macbeth’s character. At the beginning of the play Macbeth comes across as a very brave and respected warrior. In Act 1 Scene 2, he is very highly looked up to by many people. This shows when a captain speaks about him saying “Brave Macbeth- Well he deserves that name. Even at the very beginning of the play people are commenting on his bravery including the king and many other high status people. This shows many people are aware of his bravery and courage and he’s already made a good name for himself. Although with his strong determination he craves power and high status, as the play progresses the audience can easily notice the development of his character from the brave warrior into a sinful, disloyal, devious, self-obsessed character.
Act 1 Scene 3 shows Macbeth is very respected by many important people. He gets crowned ‘Thane of Cawdor’, just after being told by the witches that this will happen. Ross, greets him with “Hail most worthy thane…” This shows even though he’s just been crowned a thane and the other thanes have had that title for a longer period of time, they have just has much respect him for him as they do for one another. They believe he will be a good loyal person for this title. Later in the play, Act 1 Scene 7 shows a more ambitious side to Macbeth.
Whilst debating whether or not to go through with the murder of King Duncan, he says “I have no spur to prick the side of my intent, but only vaulting ambition…” We realize from the speech that he does not want to commit to the murder, even though he still really wants the power of being King. His ambition to rule the country overcomes his conscience and drives him on to carry out the murder of the king Duncan, the King of his country. From as early in the play as Act 1 scene 7 we see a devious and disloyal and selfish side to Macbeth.
After convincing himself- with the help of Lady Macbeth- to go through with the killing of King Duncan, we start to see one of the biggest changes in him and this point of the play. “Will it not be received, when we have marked with blood those sleepy two of his own chamber, and used their very daggers that they have done? ” He asks Lady Macbeth. These words in themselves show him being devious by lying to everyone and framing the innocent people that have no business being a part of this, as long as he is not found out.
Additionally, disloyal, to King Duncan not just for being the King who you show respect too but as well as them being cousins and close family members. In act 2 Scene 1 Macbeth is showing his dishonest nature even more explicitly. Banquo comes to him to talk about the three witches, he tells Macbeth, “I dreamed last night of the three weird sisters. ” Macbeth’s reply is short and quick to try and avoid the subject “I think not of them. ” Since Macbeth’s meeting with the three witches, it is all that’s been on his mind. He’s just lied to a good loyal friend, hoping Banquo won’t start to suspect that he will have omething to do with the future murder of King Duncan. Act 2 Scene 2 shows that here Macbeth still has a conscience and is still able to address his feelings. This Scene shows he’s feeling very guilty about the murder of King Duncan. “No more sleep..! I could not say Amen… ” He repeats again and again. He becomes completely obsessed with his inability to never say Amen again. He feels he has now broken one of the Ten Commandments and has gone completely behind God’s back; Macbeth is unable say Amen as he is beyond prayer and salvation.
During the banquet in Act 3 Scene 4, we see paranoia in Macbeth. He’s just had Banquo, a close friend to him, murdered and is adamant that his ghost has come back to haunt him. “Were the graced person for our Banquo present… If I stand here I saw him…” Macbeth starts to panic and disrupts the room full of Lords; no one else can see the ‘ghost’. Being paranoid shows he’s still guilty and fearful at this point. He overreacts about it by shouting and showing he’s very frightened. Should this be an image he wants to have after just being crowned King?
In Act 5 Scene 3 we see Macbeth has turned fearless. After being told his future, by the witches again, he’s overcome with power as he believes no one can harm him. “Till Birnam Wood remove to Dunsinane, I cannot taint with fear. What’s the boy Malcolm? Was he not born of women? ” Macbeth boasts. He has taken the witches’ prophecies literally. He’s has his fearless mindset rebooted believing he’s become invincible to anyone. The witches have told him he cannot fear unless Birnam Wood moves, and cannot be harmed by anyone born of a women.
He is now certain that he will not be harmed; Macbeth is no longer scared by anyone as he is just focused on himself. Macbeth thinks he is able to do anything he wants now, that he cannot be conquered. In the last scene Macbeth appears in, he was able to redeem himself just a little. Act 5 Scene 8 shows that after all he still has bravery and determination, although throughout the play he hasn’t lost either of these characteristics but he hasn’t used them in the right way he should have. “I will not yield. Though Birnam Wood be come to Dunsinane, and thou opposed, being of no woman born, yet I will try the last. Macbeth says almost knowing he’s going to be killed at this point, yet he is still determined and brave enough to fight to death to prove he isn’t a coward. Throughout the course of the play we see great changes in Macbeth. Even from the beginning in Act1 to the end of Act1 we see changes in him. At first he is portrayed as a brave, strong warrior who is loyal to his country. His determination shines through when he realizes he could be King and the idea of obtaining that lofty power and position seizes him and brings out the worst of his personality. The audience also sees more sides to him as the play goes on.
We see him transform from war hero and champion of the nation into a treacherous and devious liar, a disloyal and power crazed individual who will stop at nothing to achieve his aims. These can’t be good qualities for a King to have, though perhaps essential in medieval times to rise to the top. At the end of the play we see glimpses of the old Macbeth again, not the faithful heroic side, but his brave nature. We see he is not a coward, he fights till death. Similarly to ‘Macbeth’ we can notice a great change in the character of Darcy from ‘Pride and Prejudice’.
Although both of these characters develop with the help of the ones they love. They contrast very much with how they have both changed. In some sense they have ‘flipped’ characters. We admire both of these characters at different point of the play. How Macbeth is perceived at the beginning of the play, is similar to how Darcy is perceived by the end of the novel. Throughout ‘Pride and Prejudice’ the reader sees a clear development in Darcy’s character. His character undergoes a very deep alteration; at the beginning Darcy is proud and wants only the best of everything, he is rude and arrogant.
He looks down on people that he perceives to be of a lower status than himself. Yet with the strength of his love and feelings for Lizzy he changes and overcomes his old attitude and behavior. The change Darcy undergoes is vital in helping to change Lizzy’s opinion of him and despite her strong opinions and morals; she comes to fall in love with Darcy. By the end of the novel he is perceived as a gentleman like character who is kind, helpful and heroic. Chapter three is the first time we meet Mr. Darcy, during the Netherfield ball.
He first comes across to the reader as a proud, disagreeable and arrogant man. When we first encounter him, Jane Austen describes him very favorably at first; “Mr. Darcy soon drew the attention of the room by his fine, tall, handsome features” Then Quickly mention his wealth of 10 thousand a year. After a very superficial description of Darcy she swiftly moves on to his personality. “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; for he was discovered to be proud. ” We also find out e had ‘The most forbiden, disagreeable countenance, and being unworthy to be compared with his friend. ’ Here the author is trying to portray him as unpleasant, offensive, rude and unfriendly; not to anyone’s liking. We learn this much within the first paragraph of meeting him. It’s also important here to recognize that he doesn’t make an effort with anyone, he only speaks when spoken to and when he does speak it’s only very briefly. Mr. Bingley tried to have Darcy get involved with the dance. He points out that Lizzy is free to dance and she is very pretty and agreeable.
Darcy looks at Lizzy catching her eye and coldly said “She is tolerable, but not handsome enough to tempt me. ” It is clear that the author is trying to paint Darcy’s character initially in the novel as a man who keeps his distance from others as he does not want to mix or condescend himself to mix with lesser people. In chapters four and six we begin to see a different side to Darcy’s character and learn that he is considered very amiable by the people he knows well however he again behaves very disagreeably towards almost everyone at Meryton due to his pride and knowing that they’re lower class than him.
He has a mindset of ‘it doesn’t matter how people view me in Meryton as they’re all beneath me’ he doesn’t see the need in taking his time and effort to be friendly towards them. ” Darcy was continually giving offence. And his manners, though well-bred were not inviting. ” During chapter six when the ladies of Longbourn and Netherfield exchange visits everyone was gathered having a pleasant conversation yet Jane Austen tells us “Darcy stood near them in silent indignation at such a mode of passing the evening to the exclusion. Both these chapters show evidence that Darcy just doesn’t want to get involved with everyone at Meryton and its clear he doesn’t care what their perception of him is. In chapter thirty-two, we see Darcy becomes open and interested in Lizzy. He clearly enjoys being teased by her. Mr. Darcy comes to the Collins’ house and finds Elizabeth alone. Jane Austen describes their conversation as ‘calm and concise’. Darcy’s flow of conversation is better, showing he’s becoming less awkward with Lizzy.
The language and tone used is less grand and formal. After his change in atitude towards Lizzy he’s come to believe that after some friendliness and civility he has her in his hand. However, in chapter thirty-four this shows it’s not the case. After their conversation at the Collins’ house he believes she must love him. He comes to propose to Lizzy, she finds it a very unexpected shock. The manner of his proposal is again arrogant and although it’s meant with feeling it comes across as rude and without understanding of Lizzy and her values.
He assumes Lizzy’s answer will straight away be ‘yes’ without even considering ‘no’ as an option, showing his inflated ego and pride. During the proposal he also managed to insult her family. After she answers with a ‘no’ he is very much shocked and offended and begins to insult her. His arrogance then shows even more strongly when he comes to ask Lizzy why she rejected him then tells her it’s of “Small importance” anyway. In chapter thirty-five it shows Darcy has realized he can’t always get what he wants, that he’s slowly learning not to be as proud, arrogant and aloof as he previously was.
This change is down to his love for Lizzy and her rejection opens his eyes and he’s seen that acting in an arrogant, rude and unfriendly manner towards people of lower status does him no favors and wins him no friends. Lizzy receives a letter from Darcy completely altering her opinion and feelings towards him. In the letter Darcy tries his best to justify his actions. This letter shows how much he’s in love with Lizzy as he confines in her such a big, personal secret and holds the trust in her that she will keep it to herself. In the letter he writes “It pains me to offend you. He clearly hates the fact that he was so rude to Lizzy on the day of his proposal. He apologies for insulting her family and says “I was not then the master of myself. ” He’s saying here, that when she rejected his proposal he was shocked, angry and upset. Therefore a lot of the rude comments he made towards her were in a fit of rage. In chapter forty-three there is another, even more major change in Darcy’s charter. Lizzy and her uncle and aunt (the Gardiners) visit Mr. Darcy’s house for a tour. Mrs Reynolds, who has been Darcy’s housekeeper since he was a young boy- so knows him well . The compliments of Mrs.
Reynolds reveal a different side of Mr. Darcy that makes Elizabeth wonder “Can this be Mr. Darcy she’s talking about? ” Mrs. Reynolds continuously praises Mr. Darcy. However when she says “I have never had a cross word from him…” and “He’s the sweetest tempered most generous hearted boy in the world. ” Lizzy finds this ‘most extraordinary’. The idea of a kind and caring Mr. Darcy is shocking to her and it is revealed that Mr. Darcy is also “affable to the poor” just like his father was. To Elizabeth this seems unbelievable as he has treated those of lesser class than him with indifference including herself.
Mr. Darcy’s caring nature is shown through the way he treats his sister. When asked about this Mrs. Reynolds says “Whenever he can give his sister any pleasure is sure to be done in a moment. ” Jane Austen shows that Darcy is a good brother through this. The changes do not end here. Elizabeth herself experiences a variety of emotions towards Darcy which is shown by the way she stood in-front of a portrait of a smiling Mr. Darcy for several minutes and also returned to it again before they left the gallery. This may show either respect or romantic feelings towards him on Elizabeth’s part.
Later during the visit Darcy returns to his house and sees Lizzy. The change in this part of the novel Jane Austen describes as “strikingly altered behaviour”. Mr. Darcy has become far more friendly and civil than before. We see Jane Austen highlighting this by using the word, ’civil’ 6 times when describing Darcy with 5 of them being used by Lizzy herself to describe his strikingly altered behaviour. Darcy still retains a small sense of pride and high class status which Mrs. Gardiner observes as having “something a little stately in him” however Mr. Darcy remains a gentleman as Mrs.
Gardiner continues to observe that his stateliness is confined to his air. Mr. Darcy has also become more accepting of Elizabeth’s relations, being lower class as his civil inquiries after her family show. Through the tone of his speaking we can see he wants to stay in conversation with Lizzy and the Gardiners, he seems interested and asks them questions. We can see he’s clearly taken in what Lizzy has told him and he’s seriously considering his attitude and personality towards her by making an effort to act upon those comments she made. Even when he finds out the Gardiners are working class people he is still just as friendly towards them.
He even then invites Mr. Gardiner fishing with him and in doing so, the author is not just illustrating a change in his words but his actions too. In chapter fifty-three, Darcy’s true nature and developed character is more clearly evidenced. Darcy is shown not only as friendly, inviting and kind as we began to see in chapter forty-three, but also as a helpful, heroic and caring character. When Lizzy thanks Darcy for paying Wickham off to marry Lydia, which helped save her family’s disgrace, he tells her “Your family owe me nothing. ” He also tells her he only did what he did thinking for her.
Darcy would have had very little respect for Lydia. He would have also disliked paying Wickham money for something that very much didn’t concern him. This not only shows how strong his affection still is for her, but also how much he has changed as a person. He then declares his love for Lizzy by telling her he’s still “violently in love” with her. To me ‘Pride and Prejudice’ is at its core a love story, but the stubborn characteristics of the two main characters have to be challenged, changed and evolved in order for them to both find each other and realise the true nature, personality and characteristics of one another.
For Darcy we either see a big change, or just a different side of him. I think it’s up to you and how you interpret the novel, perhaps he is just painfully shy or awkward with people he does not know well and that’s why it took him so long to relax with Lizzy. On one level, there is an obvious change in Darcy’s character or certainly how Lizzy perceives him as he changes from stiff and distant to relaxed and informal in his approach and manner. Was he shy and uncomfortable in her presence or did he look down on Lizzy as of lower status?
To me, what is important is the testimony of Darcy’s housekeeper, somebody who knew him very well from a small child. She believed Darcy to be a friendly, loving, kind character’. As such, it is difficult to perceive Darcy as somebody who judges people who are socially beneath him as lesser individuals who he treats with indifference. There are distinct parallels in the two texts we have studied in that the main male characters undergo significant transformations in their personalities throughout the evolution of the respective plots. It can also be argued that the changes in these personalities are driven by deep personal desires.
In the case of Darcy in ‘Pride and Prejudice’ the alteration of character is driven by his infatuation of Elizabeth. In the case of Macbeth, it is driven by his infatuation of power and desire to become the King of Scotland. Consequently, the change in their respective personalities runs contradictory to one another. In the case of Darcy we see distinct improvements in his personality and character, or at least how we perceive him. In ‘Macbeth’ we see the inverse, driven by his desire for power and control we see Macbeth’s personality and character degenerate from accomplished war hero to treacherous, devious murderer.