For this incredibly one-of-a-kind post-Valentine’s Day edition of Anatomy of a Scene, I am mirroring my love for you all by giving you an extremely unique gift: a Pride and Prejudice item that doesn’t start through a cutesy “it is a reality universally acknowledged …” joke. Because yes, I think we deserve to all safely agree that Pride and also Prejudice has actually rightly earned its location as one of the a lot of renowned and acdeclared novels in the English literary canon and that it features among the a lot of widely-beloved romantic pairings. Jane Austen’s novel has actually motivated film, tv, radio and also theatre adaptations, apparel and also accessories, a host of unofficial sequels and also spin-offs, and also of course fanfiction. We love us some Lizzie and also Darcy.

Usually speaking when I create this attribute I attempt to walk a fine line as soon as choosing a scene to study. The scene needs to be vital sufficient to the story to make the cut in multiple adaptations yet not so ubiquitous that I feel choose it’s been done to death. When it comes to Elizabeth and Darcy, though, eexceptionally scene feels iconic. That shelp and seeing as it’s Valentine’s Day, I’ll run the danger of being trite and talk around among the the majority of memorable moments in Austen’s novel: Darcy’s first proposal.

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After a collection of prickly, charged, and periodically awkward encounters, Darcy confesses his love for Elizabeth and also proposes to her in this scene. Darcy (arrogantly, obliviously) declares that his feelings for Elizabeth exist against his will and, because of her inferior condition, his better judgement, but that they cannot be assisted. Elizabeth, understandably offended and also still reeling from the expertise that it was by Darcy’s hand also that Jane and Bingley were separated and (she is led to believe) that Wickham has actually experienced a shocking disinheritance, refuses.


The scene happens at approximately the halfmethod allude of the novel and certainly its turning point. The adaptations of this scene I’ll be looking at are from: the 1995 miniseries adjusted by Anattracted Davies and also directed by Simon Langton; Garinder Chadha’s 2004 Bollywood-affected romcom modernization, Bride and also Prejudice; and also the 2005 Joe Wappropriate film.

First up: the now-classical Pride and also Prejudice miniseries, first broadcast on the BBC in the fall of 1995. Clocking in at 3 hundred and twenty minutes, Davies and also Langton’s adaptation have the right to certainly boast being the a lot of thostormy adaptation of Austen’s novel. Little is truncates or sacrificed here and Davies has actually received incredible phrase for maintaining as a lot of her plot and prose as feasible and also for brilliantly rendering the manners of Austen’s civilization on the display.


In this variation, Elizabeth Bennett is played by Jennifer Ehle and also Fitzwilliam Darcy is famously played by Colin Firth. Cards on the table: it’s tough to be objective around Colin Firth’s Darcy. For me and, I suspect, many type of women of my generation, he is Darcy. He’s the initially Darcy we saw on display screen and also saturated late-’90s literary pop society to such an degree that he was the Darcy some of us were already imagining when we initially picked up Austen’s novel

But imprinting aside, I believe there’s a reason Colin Firth is the Darcy of our hearts (and it’s not just his lush head of curls, strong chin, or his wet shirt). Firth gets it. He gets what makes Darcy tick and also what provides his female audience tick: a throbbing heart trapped under layers of shyness, prestress and anxiety, and also social convention a meter thick.


Up till this allude Firth gives a fairly restrained performance yet in this scene his Darcy literally cannot sit still. When he comes to contact on Elizabeth at the Collins’ home, she sits down and invites him to follow suit. He does, for a minute, but he’s automatically up aobtain.

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He literally cannot sit still: one minute he paces the room and the following turning to challenge Elizabeth, and then the next turning his ago on her. Firth’s performance offers the impression of a male alongside himself; a guy conquer, undone, and also practically helpmuch less. Ehle’s Elizabeth, by comparison, barely moves, the regulated flash of an eye or tilt of the chin conveying the selection of eactivities she is suffering.

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The actors’ performances, merged with Langton’s expert blocking, indicate the power dynamics between Lizzie and Darcy. Throughout the scene, Elizabeth is seated while Darcy stands however rather than shoring up Darcy’s power, this contrast undermines it. Darcy may have the better some interesting standing, however he is still the one literally out of manage. Elizabeth have the right to reprimary seated and still have actually command also of the scene.

Firth’s distribution mirrors this indecisive, frenetic action. Several times he opens his mouth to speak before reasoning the much better of it. By the moment he actually does work up the courage, he’s almost gasping. His line delivery, always clipped and abrupt, is hurried here, as if he is trying to press the words out of his mouth to obtain it almost everywhere via.

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Most considerably, as soon as he states the word “love” his voice breaks slightly and also he drops it to a near-whisper. Documents this under “Firth gets it”: in this one word he conveys that Darcy is completely enamoured yet likewise so entirely embarrassed. It’s exactly this stress and anxiety that makes Darcy all at once nearly-irresisecure yet utterly unmarriageable. Sure, it’s romantic to have a man admit his feelings for you, yet if he can’t say the human being “love” without flinching, he isn’t for you (yet).

Langton visually demonstrates the distance and distinction between Elizabeth and also Darcy by shooting the two personalities in contrasting backdrops within the same set. Throughout the scene Elizabeth is swarm in front of a window partially obscured by a white, gauzy curtain and also partly open to expose a sun-drenched lawn.This backdrop suggests a wholesomeness and also absence of preanxiety Langton reinpressures throughout the series (check out shots of Elizabeth frolicking via a dog or literally skipping with a field).

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Darcy, by contrast, is swarm versus the living room wall through the fussy, suffocating brocade wallpaper nearly overwhelming him. Wbelow Elizabeth’s backdrop is evocative of a naturalness or even wildness, Darcy’s is an aesthetic depiction of the weight of convention cshedding in on him.

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If we review this scene this method, it visually lays the groundjob-related for things to come. Sucount it’s no coincidence that, later on in the series, the moment Elizabeth begins to develop feelings for Darcy is the very same minute as the inrenowned lake scene — Darcy’s own moment of wildness and also communion through nature.

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Bride andPrejudice is Gurinder Chadha’s 2004 romcom modernization of Austen’s novel, a joyous genre-bender and also culture-blender that mixes Austen’s novel with cheerful Bollywood-motivated musical sequences and also surprisingly frank social commentary.

In Chadha’s film, Lizzie Bennett becomes Lalita Bakshi, a farmer’s daughter living through her sisters in the village of Amritsar and also Fitzilliam Darcy comes William Darcy, an Amerihave the right to hotelier that is visiting India through his friend, Balraj. Darcy is automatically taken through Lalita, but much less so through India. In this true modernization of Austen’s story, Chadha insightfully recasts Darcy’s classism and snobbery as racist stereoinputting and ignorance: he refers to the people of her village as Indian “hicks,” he suggests that Indian womales are “just more simple” than American woguys, and he is disdainful of arranged marriperiods. Lalita is understandably offended and also dismisses him.

Darcy here is played by Martin Henderboy and also, via no offense intended to Mr. Henderkid, his spreading is the film’s best flaw. He’s aggressively fine: handsome in a square-jawed, even-featured Abercrombie kind of method means, yet slightly bland and also definitely no match for the incandescent Aishwarya Rai. Rai is a fantastic contemporary Lizzie; she’s lively, imperious, and also quick-witted, through a truly exceptional glare that she deploys throughout this particular scene to good effect.

In this variation of the scene — not a proposal however its modern-day narrative analogue, the first “I love you” — Lalita, her sisters and her mommy have left India to attend the wedding of their family member, Mr. Kohli, and also Lalita’s ideal frifinish, Chandra Lamba. The cross-cultural influence of the film are on complete screen in this scene of a heart-to-heart in between an Indian woguy and also an American guy throughout an Indian wedding on the grounds of an LA hotel landscaped to conjure an English garden.

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Chadha’s adaptation of this scene hits on all the important points from the novel: Darcy is in love via Lalita in spite of his better judgement and also his mother’s wishes; Lalita is insulted on her own befifty percent and incensed on behalf of the wronged Wickham and particularly her heartbroken sister, Jaya; Lalita declares that Darcy is the last perchild she might ever before desire. In fact, among Chadha’s biggest tasks of cinematic wizardry is the fact that her film maneras to incorporate all of Austen’s significant plot points and multiple musical numbers in a running time of less than two hrs.

While a lot of the interpretation has been preserved, Austen’s prose itself has been accordingly modernized below. Tbelow is “no ardent admiration,” only love, and Darcy clearly admits that he is jealous of Wickham rather than pettishly commenting on Elizabeth’s “interemainder in that gentleman’s affairs.” Many considerably, though, is that Lalita not only accprovides Darcy of pride and also arrogance, but also — in a callback to their first meeting once she sized him up as an Amerihave the right to imperialist — of intolerance and also insensitivity. This comment is especially pointed bereason in this variation, the audience has already watched the advance of Darcy as a legitimate romantic interemainder and also potential partner for Lalita and also a basically excellent guy well-favored by his child sister.

This leads me to an additional amazing aspect of this scene: where it drops in the larger story. In Austen’s novel, Darcy’s initially proposal comes before he and also Elizabeth start to spend more time together. It happens before she sees Pemberley and also hears exactly how extremely civilization speak of him and also before she meets his sister.

But Chadha is exceptionally adept at restructuring Austen’s marriage plot to fit the contours of the typical romcom plot. Usually speaking, the romcom creates alengthy the adhering to lines: a meet-cute, sometimes adhered to by a clash, and then a sluggish romantic build-up. Just once the connection appears cshed to being realized (frequently by a declaration of love), tbelow is some type of misunderstanding that drives the couple acomponent briefly before the last reunion.

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Chadha smartly pushes this scene forward and also supplies it, particularly Lalita’s discovery of Darcy’s role in parting Jaya and also Balraj, as the Misknowledge. It’s a clever before narrative relocate and also demonstprices her capacity to truly adapt and also update Austen and to make the classic novel her own.

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Joe Wright’s 2005 adaptation of Pride and also Prejudice (coming only a year after Chadha’s) has actually been rightly lauded by film critics, however occupies a rather unsimple place in Austen academic and also fan circles. It is often regarded as being not faithful enough or trying too tough to be modern, and also it appears to exist under the shadow of the BBC miniseries of a decade earlier.

To my mind, what really distinguishes a good or at least amazing adaptation is ssuggest having actually a take. There can just be so many scrupulously faithful adaptations of classic novels and also if you’re adapting one that already has an exceptionally faithful and also incredibly well-known adaptation in existing memory, well, you could as well attempt an angle.

Wright’s film is not so much an adaptation of a novel however of a analysis endure. His Pride and also Prejudice, to my mind, captures the feeling of reading (and also loving) Pride and Prejudice for the initially time. The even more you recheck out Austen, especially as an adult, the more you appreciate the sheer perfection of her novels: their intellectualism, wit, building, prose, and also exact advancement of personalities. But I think younger, first-time readers — particularly of the romantically-inclined variety — obtain swept away in the swoon of it all and this is the Pride and also Prejudice that appears aimed squacount at them.

Deborah Moggach’s screenplay mixes some Austen’spincreased via a good deal of original dialogue, which sometimes functions and also occasionally lands through a little bit of a clang, as shown in this specific scene (“Well that’s because she’s shy!” is the type of formulation it’s hard to buy as eighteenth-century speech).

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Visually, Wright’s Pride and Prejudice is prefer Jane Austen by method of the Brontë sisters, via gorgeous, saturated cinematography that’s all rolling, heathered hills, moody moors and rain-drenched stone. The tamong the film is all at once more sensual and also even more youthful than many Austen on display.

The later is especially true of Keira Knightley’s Elizabeth. Elizabeth is, after all, not yet one-and-twenty, and there is a youthful impulsiveness to Knightley’s Lizzie that is quite different from Ehle’s centered, near-unflappable performance. Knightley’s line deliveries are even more emotionally charged; regularly she blurts out some of Lizzie’s most famous quips and also then looks slightly shocked at herself. It’s an insightful choice actually rather regular with a character that is quick to make judgements.

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The proposal scene is a great instance of this impetuousness; Elizabeth begins the scene coolly, but her emovements seem to escalate till, by the finish, she is nearly shouting at Darcy.

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While the emotional weight of the BBC miniseries adaptation of this scene fell to Darcy, here it belongs to Elizabeth. Macfadyen’s yearning, hangdog expression changes just slightly from as soon as he makes his original declaration to as soon as he realizes his rejection; it gives the impression of a Darcy that approached this proposal through something less choose a genuine hope and even more favor a require for an emotional exorcism.

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MacFadyen as well delivers Darcy’s first few lines in rapid-fire succession. Even Knightley’s Elizabeth looks confused; it’s only till he blurts “I love you” that she really appears able to comprehend his meaning.

Wright pulls out all the stops to offer the scene a distinctly sex-related charge. He borrows a variety of tropes from romance novels and films including the pouring rain that leaves his hero and heroine sopping wet and also the the swelling music that opens up the scene. Lizzie, overcome through exertion from fleeing a church, loosens her collar as she leans versus a pillar.

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Wideal also has Darcy accidentally startle Elizabeth, establishing the phase for his speech with a jolt of adrenaline coursing with Elizabeth’s body. The majority of the conversation starts through the pair standing a number of feet apart. When Elizabeth mentions Wickham — Darcy’s romantic and, if we follow that line to its endsuggest, sexual rival — that Darcy takes a action closer.

And then, of course, tbelow is the controversial almost-kiss. After Elizabeth shoots out that he is “the last man I could ever be prevailed upon to marry,” this Darcy appears also even more attracted to her, cshedding his eyes and also inclining his mouth towards her. For her part, Elizabeth doesn’t flinch yet actually leans right into him before illustration ago, aget looking surprised at herself.

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What Wbest presents is a passionate physical attractivity that has actually been underpinning Darcy and Elizabeth’s interactions considering that they first met, one that has actually pertained to a near-orgasm in this minute, the apex of his admiration and also her indigcountry. Is this what Austen intended? Althe majority of certainly not, but, on the other hand also it’s not rather a fabrication (after all, Darcy does admire Elizabeth’s “fine eyes” and also she later on admits him“handsome”) as an acceleration and also acase of making the submessage message.

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Even with just a decade between all 3 adaptationsthese feel choose three exceptionally various interpretations of the scene, through different chronological, historicaland also physical settings and reasonably various performances and also tones. But all three, I think, hit on what renders this scene so perennially appealing: the combicountry of anticipation, disappointment, and also promise. Some of the best pleasure is pleasure either anticipated or deferred and this scene supplies both. Readers acquire therealized pleacertain of theemotional declarationtheyhave actually sudepend been anticipating since the moment Elizabeth and Darcy metcombined withthe thrill of discovering they’ll gain to watch the romance continue to unfold bereason that proposal? They’ll have to wait for it.