Fitzwilliam Darcy, Basic Character Information

Fitzwilliam Darcy is Pride and Prejudice‘s snobbish but good principled leading man.

Basic Information:

Age: 28 (probably), he mentions his age at the end of the novel (most likely in the month of October). However since he is referring to a change that began back in April, he could have already turned 29 (unlikely in my opinion) or he could have more recently turned 28.

Spouse: Elizabeth Darcy nee Bennet (end of novel)

Income: 10,000£ per year, this is one of the first things we learn about him. However, in chapter 16, Wickham, the son of a former Pemberley steward, describes his income as a clear 10,000£, meaning the 10,000£ would be after estate expenses were paid.

Primary Residence: Pemberley Estate, in Derbyshire, where his housekeeper estimates he spends half his time, it is speculated that he will spend more time there after he marries. He also keeps a house in London.

Physical Characteristics: Tall, with handsome features and a noble mein.

Personality Characteristics: Our dear Darcy is a bit of a snob, but as I said above he does have good principles (which in the end triumph over his snobbery). Almost immediately after his introduction, his manners disgust the people of Meryton as they show he is proud, inconsiderate and uninterested in them. The narrator describes him as being clever but that he was also “haughty, reserved, and fastidious, and his manners, though well bred, were not inviting[,]” making it perhaps not surprising that he “was continually giving offense.” In spite of all of this he does have some good qualities beyond well bred but uninviting manners, he is a conscientuous landlord who takes care of his tenants and does good among the poor, takes care of his sister and is helpful towards his friends, as well as the ability to forgive those he cares about.

What to call him:

  • Darcy – This is what the narrator calls him, as well as his friends Bingley and Colonel Fitzwilliam.
  • Mr. Darcy – Following his father’s death, people who are not entitled or privileged to call him Darcy or by some other name. Before his father’s death he might have been Mr. Darcy in circumstances where his father was not present or where it was obvious that his father was not being referred to, he might also have been called young Mr. Darcy.
  • Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy – Before Darcy’s father died, this would have been the primary way for people who weren’t friends or family to address Darcy as he was not the most important Mr. Darcy around. Following his father’s death, not so much though still if you wanted to distinguish him from another past Mr. Darcy it might be used.
  • Master Fitzwilliam / Master Darcy – It is likely that Darcy was called this by servants and other people who were not close enough or did not hold enough social clout to use his first name when he was a young child. It is possible that some might still use it.
  • The master/your master/my master – this is in reference to his position as the owner of Pemberley Estate or as his position as a servant’s employer.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Sylwia

    Oh, I like the way you’re collecting the details. Just to add to your observations… Lady Catherine too calls Darcy “Darcy”, while his father is “Mr. Darcy” to her. Mrs. Gardiner called Darcy “Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy” referring to the times when his father was still alive.

    I don’t think that anyone would still call Darcy “Master Fitzwilliam”. It’d be patronising in reference to an adult man and a master of Pemberley. I also think that as the eldest son he was always called “Master Darcy” by servants or school teachers. At school “Master” tended to be dropped when one was about 15.

  2. Melissa Renee

    Thank you for the added information

    I think you are right that “Master Darcy” would be the most common usage, but I do think that when he was a very young child “Master Fitzwilliam” would have been possible, particularly when he was very young. As far as someone still using the title “master” with his name, I was thinking along the lines of a very elderly servant (someone who has been around even longer than Mrs. Reynolds) who acted as his nurse.

    It does appear that I need to do some more digging on the proper use of that title.

  3. austenette

    I know what you mean, but I’m not sure people sought this kind of familiarity.

    I think that, like many things in Austen’s times, it was in transition. I.e. we never see the older generations addressing each other per Christian names, but we assume that the younger will, so Darcy will call Lizzy “Elizabeth”, and not “Mrs. Darcy”, while her own father calls her mother “Mrs. Bennet” in a strictly family setting – only the two of them and their kids.

    People were slowly becoming less formal, but within the older generation of the upper class it’s very likely that Darcy was never “Fitzwilliam” to anyone, not even his own mother. He is “Darcy” to his aunt, and likely it’s true that she’s his nearly closest relation. Georgiana might call him “Brother” instead of “Fitzwilliam”. I.e. Fanny often thinks of Edmund as “Edmund” but addresses him as “Cousin”.

    Additionally, the problem with Fitzwilliam is that it’s not very personal a name. Actually it’s stiff and official, since it’s given after his mother’s grand family. Perhaps he had some second name women would use instead, but I think that if he did he’d use it in his letter to Elizabeth. The fact that he used his first name at all makes the letter more personal. People like him usually signed with their last name only.

    On the other hand, the Fitzwilliam in him symbolizes what’s grand and proud, linking him to the Earl and Lady Catherine, while the Darcy part in him is less formal and kinder, linking him to his father. Hmm… just musing aloud. See? That’s what happens when people’s thoughtful posts make me think of the novel! 🙂

  4. Melissa Renee

    Thank you! I try to be thoughtful in my posts.

    You do have some good points. I’m not going to make any changes as yet, but I do wish the novel included Georgiana or (post-engagement) Elizabeth addressing him by name so we could know what they would call him, maybe Jane Austen herself wasn’t certain.

    I agree that if he had some other name that the women in his life used, he would have most likely used it in The Letter. I had never considered your final point that it is the Darcy part of him that is actually less formal, though it would make sense since everyone is always referring to his father’s goodness and compassion etc. while his mother’s family does include Lady Catherine. 😉

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