Is Edward Cullen the new Mr. Darcy?

edwardcullenIn 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.

mrdarcySpeaking 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!

Buy: Pride and Prejudice Novel, Pride and Prejudice Movie.

Buy: The Twilight Saga Collection, Twilight Movie.

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  1. This is very interesting, Keira. I saw somewhere else where a comparison was made between Darcy and Edward. Here I write about the former and am a huge fan of the latter, yet the comparison had not struck me. As you say, there are many differences, yet the similarities are clearly there. I think it does come down to our innate desire to be so loved and to be protected. The modern woman in us shrinks from both, shouting ‘I am Woman!’ at the top of our lungs. But the feminine side of us knows that we want it.

    Of course, with both couples, it ends up that Bella and Lizzy are just as necessary to our heroes’ happiness. It isn’t a one way street. Edward and Darcy are completed, if you will, by the presence of Bella and Lizzy. True soulmates. That is the other side of the dream. We want to be wholeheartedly loved, but we want that man to need us to fulfill them. As God intended it, IMHO.

    Great essay! Thanks, Sharon

  2. Thanks Sharon! I completely agree with that! It must be an equal equation otherwise the men become pathetic and the women who are their love interests become cold/heartless. There has to be equal love between the protagonists or the situation breaks. Unrequited love is only acceptable under certain instances such as when it becomes requited, or if the current situation does not allow them to be together and even in that instance we project a time and place when the love can be requited.

  3. Samanther

    “Whoever said orange was the new pink was seriously disturbed.” I stand by Elle Woods on this one.

    Darcy is simply more classic than Edward. Darcy’s only obstacle is himself, whereas Edward has others to get in his way. While it might be a difference of the time period and social standing (i.e., Darcy and Elizabeth weren’t in high school), it’s just more powerful when your moody male character is moody all on his own. And besides, there’s just something a lot hotter about someone who *isn’t* the undead.

    I note, as well, my disappointment that you show the “new” Mr. Darcy, and not the original as played by Colin Firth (mm, hello hotness). That is all. 😛

  4. What can I say? While I love Colin Firth I am so partial to Matthew MacFayden… he’s just my kind of dreamboat.

    Of course your points on Edward vs Darcy are all quite valid. High school romance is well high school… does it even stand a chance against a more mature love?

    That being said, you shouldn’t judge it by the ages (Darcy 28, Edward 18 and well some change). After all aren’t all fairy tales centered around protagonists who are of the same or similar ages of those in modern day high school? I think 16 is prevalent– amongst princess tales especially and those are all considered classic, well loved stories.

  5. Samanther

    Yes, I have noticed the varying ages of characters – but I think it’s usually more focused on the era’s “marrying age,” which makes Twilight even more of an anomaly, since it’s now very rare for kids to get married right out of (or still in, HA) high school. My understanding of P&P was that Elizabeth (and Jane) were approaching the upper end of the marrying age, which made Darcy that much more important.

    Also, I tend to discount the classical value of Twilight because my fifth-grader sister is reading the series.

  6. Haha. Apples and oranges, I know.

    Wasn’t though P&P originally one of those penny press novels and accessible to everyone and popular enough to be read by said everyone, including especially all the insensible silly young girls?

    To quote wikipedia, Pride and Prejudice was “the fashionable novel.”

  7. Samanther

    I’d say it was so fashionable because of Mr. Darcy’s wet tshirt. 😉 Oh, wait, that wasn’t until 1994… bah. The world was missing out!

  8. Apples and oranges to a degree, yes. And obviously we know where my preference lies!

    But, remember that Edward was NOT 17 but well over 100 years with a wealth of experience not usual to most men, even Darcy. Bella was young, but written as a mature soul to some degree (although she acted pretty stupid over the Jacob stuff, IMHO, but that is another essay!)

    And don’t discount what a teenager reads, Samanther. I was reading JRR Tolkien at 12, classics like Gone With The Wind, the Iliad and the Odyssey, Le Morte de Artur, and other books 3inches thick while still in grade school. I am not tooting my horn but simply pointing out that the young do not just read comic books! Plus, Twilight is read by all age groups.

  9. Oh you’re right Sharon he was 17 when he was turned wasn’t he?! Shoot there goes my Twilight Trivia Master award pin… lol at least I still have my Harry Potter one.

    I totally agree about the Jacob bit. That would make a great essay! I felt like shaking her and saying, “Seriously, Bella, you punched the guy in the face because he was being a pushy snot, broke a hand in the process too, what’s there to think about?”

  10. OO la la. Can’t wait for the movie! I liked this comparison. He certainly fits a need for today, whether for the teen or older scene. After all, Mr Darcy is ‘dated.’

    Now if Mr D were turned and was on the scene today in modern dress, that would be Mr D meets Twilight…or Twilight meets Mr. D. I think there could be a story there.

  11. I commend you for your idea and the execution of it, however I find the whole thought creepy.

    Mr. Darcy while no sugar coated candy and extremely annoying at times is a man (and an alive one at that), while Edward Cullen is not only dead, but extremely creepy and I can’t help but see him as a child molester.

    Now – I’ve only seen the Twilight movie and that was a chore and completely scared me off the books, because I can’t help but think that he is about 100 and she’s 17 – honestly, does no one else see something wrong about it?

    Hence I could never see Edward as the new Mr. Darcy even if the fashion were to dictate that dead is good and stalk is sweet.

    • Haha. I think people accept the mental age differences because Meyer explains that her vampires are frozen where they are… if a child was made a vampire before say it could talk – it would never learn to talk. So Edward may have 100 years worth of knowledge but he’s still 17 in a lot of ways.

  12. That makes it even worse.

    Mr. Darcy could grow in his character and change as humans are prone to do while any poor girl or boy fancying Mr. Cullen would be stuck with a mentally challenged boy and I don’t mean to insult anyone truly ill by my remark.

  13. As much as I adore my darling Edward, I don’t think he can replace Mr. Darcy. Pesonally, I feel Edward is the teenage boyfriend I would have wanted to have in some period of time in my life while Darcy is the man I want to find and have.

  14. Who said anything about replacing Darcy? lol 🙂 That would be unthinkable!

  15. I have to admit I’ve wondered about this, too. Especially after Twilight the movie came out and I saw all these posts from guys saying, “We not Edward Cullen! Stop expecting us to be him!” It does seem like Edward is the standard by which all men are judged right now… kinda like Darcy.

    I think Edward is the Darcy of this generation–but whether Twilight & Edward will last like P&P and Darcy has… well, I have my doubts.

  16. You summed it up nicely, heidenkind! It’ll be the true test of Twilight if remakes or movie marathons or something is still going on in say 50 years… 100 years… etc. 😀

  17. Hey.
    Loved your post, what a fun comparison. But I have to pick Mr. Darcy over Edward Cullen any day.
    Not that I don’t like Edward, I do.
    But I am much more like Elizabeth in real life and I do prefer men to be a little older than me. (I realize Edward is in his 100s but hey, he does go to high school :d) I love period dramas, I love Darcy’s shyness and charisma. Overall, I like Jane Austen better than Stephenie. Pride and Prejudice is much more fun and provides more comic relief. I love intensity when it is more fun.;)

    • I love them both too! If I had to choose it would be Darcy and Thornton (haha sneaky of me) because they too aren’t younger than me. Robert Pattinson who plays Edward is older than EC the character and therefore just as yummy. I’d take two of him. 😀

  18. Ha, ha, ha!!! This is a pretty good joke!

  19. Twilight ruined Vampire Literature

    Edward Cullen is a cardboard cut-out of a character smothered in body glitter. He is abusive, whiny and disgraces the name of Vampires.

    The fact that he is even being compared to Darcy shocks me beyond all comprehension. As a teenage girl (who is automatically strereotyped as loving Cullen because of my age) I am absoloutly disgusted by the Twilight books, and even more so by this article.

    I cannot wait for the day when all you people will wake up and realise just what a load of crap Meyer’s work is.

    Darcy is a BAMF, Cullen is the worst character ever written.

    And don’t even get me started on Bella…

    • I completely agree with you. Though I feel that Stephanie purposely tried to emulate Jane Austen’s style, I can say that Mr. Darcy is on a totally different level of an ideal “man.” I find Edward an insufferable character and also a cheap knock- off version of Interview of a Vampire by Anne Rice. I too am a teenager and cannot understand why I must be “labeled” as a Edward lover! It is mortifying and I feel complete distress when I heard the Mr. Darcy was being compared to Edward of all people!

  20. Lovisaa

    “Twilight ruined Vampire Literature” Thank god for another sensible teenager! At the “mere” age of sixteen I find it difficult to find others of my own age who doesn’t adore Twilight. And personally, I don’t think it’s ruined just the Vampire literature, but literature of all chategories. I could write an essay about why Edward shouldn’t be compared to Mr. Darcy, and why the books aren’t even close to as good as people make them out to be (but I won’t because English isn’t my native language and I’d bore you). Stephenie has completely mind-washed generations with her scribbled wet dream and school girl fantasies of fairytale boys and it’s such a shame that people actually like the books as well as they do.
    Twilight sends out messages that are so wrong on so many levels I can’t even begin to explain it. And despite that, the characters are all so flat and unrealistic (not the fact that they’re vampires, werewolves etc,) they just never develop throughout the story… urgh, no I’d like to see the teenage population read some good books for once!

  21. I just want to know who put the picture of Mr. Darcy up??? Matthew Macfadyen??? I don’t think so. Everybody knows that Colin Firth IS Mr. Darcy with that sexy stare…which, by the way, Edward Cullen could never hope to match in his life. Colin Firth is the reason we have those awful (or wonderful depending on who you ask) spin-off Pride and Prejudice novels that line entire shelves in bookstores today. It takes real talent to revive an over 100 year old novel into that kind of franchise.

    • either is brilliant. Collin firth was a true adaption of the book’s Mr Darcy where as Matthew mcfayden’s portrayal had a deeper kind of auroa about his Mr darcy

  22. Gah. Just the idea that this comparison was even made and was met with positive commentary makes me shudder.

    I’m a 20-something and I’ll keep Darcy but Edward “I watch girls in their sleep and will tell them where they can go” Cullen is an awful male hero. From a feminist viewpoint, he (and Jacob) are truly awful and it’s sad that women and girls are buying into it.

    Please, ladies. We can aspire to better than this. To the sensible women -Lovisaa et al – bravo!

  23. The idea that someone would think Edward is equal to Mr. Darcy seems utterly ridiculous to me. I have read all the Twilight books and the further I progressed, the more disturbing I thought the whole story was. The relationship is incredibly unhealthy, especially for Bella, and no matter what people say, Edward is, quite simply put, an abusive stalker.

    In contrast, I consider P&P to be pretty much the ideal romance. Both characters are realistic and have flaws. They both grow and better themselves over the course of the story and in the end they form a union that will likely make them into even better people. Their love develops realistically, is not just based on looks and improves both of their characters. Now that’s what I call a good romance.

    Mr. Darcy has his flaws but they are nothing to Edward’s abuse. People might say it has to do with the customs of the time but kidnapping someone against their will was considered wrong then and is considered wrong now and will hopefully be considered wrong for a very long time.

  24. Edward Cullen has got nothing on Mr Darcy.

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