In the fashion that orange is the new pink, is Edward Cullen to be touted as the ideal man for future generations in the same manner Mr. Darcy has been glorified? I’m not saying that Edward Cullen is a Darcy Double or Darcy Reincarnated or even a Darcy Sequel. Edward Cullen is as far from Darcy as a literary romantic hero can be – he’s the undead after all.
Women of all ages and ethnicities have fallen at the feet of the passionate and feral Edward Cullen. He is as impossible a character as Mr. Darcy with his moodiness, aloofness, and let’s face it overbearing behavior. Elizabeth Bennet would not have stood for it, but Bella is enchanted by it. What Edward Cullen can get away with on paper no man in his right mind would try in real life. It is one thing to love Edward’s protective stalker tendencies and quite another to experience it first hand. I’ll be the first to admit I love every aspect of Edward Cullen’s character, so by pointing out the obvious I’m not dismissing his infinite appeal.
Edward Cullen watches over Bella Swan in a similar manner that Angel watched over Buffy in season one. Of course when Angel loses his soul in season two and hovers over Buffy while she sleeps it’s seen as creepy and more than slightly unnerving. Naturally, there is a dramatic difference between being watched over by a protective presence than a sinister one. I’m quite sure Buffy would not have minded Angel watching her; it was Angelus that was the demonic and unwanted presence. Edward does not behave like Angelus and of course Bella wants him around. She thrives off his very presence and noticeably misses his absence awake or asleep. It also helps that as the reader we are enlightened to Edward’s true motivations and can be sure of him. Edward is seen as a guardian angel… and who would tell a guardian angel to go away? That would indeed be madness.
Speaking of madness, this brings me to the next point; to be desired as Bella or Elizabeth is every woman’s secret fantasy. Darcy loved Elizabeth ardently; Edward loved Bella fiercely. It is a heady thing to be wanted so much that to be parted from you is sheer agony of spirit and body. Darcy would do anything for Elizabeth, including reunite her sister with the man she loved or patch up one seriously incriminating scandal; Edward would kill for Bella… he would even leave her if he thought it best… and he did. Both. Edward even tolerated the presence of his competition, Jacob, because to do otherwise caused Bella great distress.
Darcy and Edward share many characteristics, being men born to a similar time. They are strong-willed, powerful, imposing and dependable. Despite their good qualities, both literary heroes exhibit some very negative qualities that at the whim of one stroke of a pen or tap of the keyboard could easily have alienated them permanently from their loves. Including a severe lack of the society grace for small talking, Darcy showed the character flaws of pride and prejudice. Also suffering under a lack of social graces, Edward’s more serious flaws are arrogance and a stubborn certainty that he is always right. He is so determined to protect Bella from himself he fails to admit her feelings or opinions have merit. This grossly unacceptable behavior throws the star-crossed lovers into intensely charged conversations and months of grief stricken paralysis, where both are unable to function because of their emotional wounds.
Luckily for both men they get out of their own way and win against all odds love, happiness, and peace. Nothing could be sweeter to readers or more potent. As I’ve demonstrated, Edward while similar to Darcy is distinctly set apart and it’s not just because he’s immortal. His very presence has rocked the foundations of the great romantic literary heroes and they have shifted aside to give him space. It’s yet to be seen if Edward will match Darcy’s fame in the generations to come or perhaps to even eclipse the brooding figure all together.
For those who have read both love stories what are your thoughts on the subject? If you haven’t you need to read them right away!
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