Posted by gkb on December 02, 1997 at 21:16:37:
In response to He doesn't suffer fools gladly!, written by Inko on November 23, 1997 at 15:02:27
]Both Mrs. B. and Collins are foolish, but they had opportunities to improve their minds which they didn't take. That's what he can't forgive, IMHO!
I think perhaps people at that time thought of character as being fixed, almost unchangeable. It was quite acceptable, even fashionable, I believe to critique and judge people's character and their personal appearance to a degree that we free-wheeling, 1990's Americans would find shocking and even cruel. Perhaps Darcy thinks that fools never learn until his own folly makes him suffer. I do think that Austen did not give Mrs. Bennet much benefit of any doubt. Even Lady Bertram was able to perceive the enormity of her daughter's elopement; whereas Mrs. Bennet was so consistently shallow that I think Austen drew her as a caricature figure, a fixed cartoon representing Folly. She did not have much room to grow. Perhaps having so many daughters married relieved her anxiety and her neurotic drive to provide for her chicks, and she could be less of a fussy hen knowing that Kitty and Mary could always have a place in their sisters' homes. But she was probably still very silly, poor woman!
It does show how Darcy grows and changes that he learns to have an attitude of tolerance toward foolish people, regardless of their station in society. It seems that Lizzy's remark "Is not general incivility the very essence of love?" is doubly ironic--for general civility becomes the RESULT of love!
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