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|Darcy paraphrases Shakespeare again
Written by Margaret S
(5/10/2007 4:59 p.m.)
Darcy, too, refers indirectly to this play [Hamlet]: ‘There is, I believe in every disposition a tendency to some particular evil, a natural defect, which not even the best education can overcome.’ Hamlet’s remarks, from which Darcy’s derive, reflect Elizabethan theories concerning human character and behaviour:
So, oft it chances in particular men,
Here, as in the case of Henry Crawford, there is an element of unconscious irony. For the viciousness of Darcy is due to his birth and his mistaken pride in his rank, and he has to learn to eradicate this defect. The element of evil in Darcy mars and flaws the essential nobility of his nature, and leads to a scandalous impropriety of behaviour. The psychology that lies behind Darcy’s self-criticism can be traced back through the eighteenth-century doctrine of the prevailing passion, familiar through Pope’s An Essay on man, to Jonson’s theory of humours, reflected in Hamlet’s speech.
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