The Darcy Archetype.
So you want to create a character based on Jane Austen’s most unobtainable ideal of male perfection? Look no further. But first, you must realize that the reason Mr. Darcy is the best male character in the history of fiction is because men like him are actually quite rare, if indeed they exist at all. He is the superhero of the female imagination, universally appreciated and longed for. If you create a Darcy archetype for your story, you will have a protagonist who will surely keep your (female) readers coming back for more. And isn’t that what writing is all about? What would Mr. Darcy do?
The most notable feature of any Mr. Darcy character is that he is infinitely desirable. But unlike other desirable male leads, Darcy’s desirability may not be immediately apparent. He is not rakish or charming or showy. The classic Darcy character is of course the English gentleman with dark hair and smoldering good looks. However, use your imagination. Darcy characters need not be limited by race, class, or time period. He need not even have the typical features of stock attractive characters, as long as he is undeniably masculine with expressive eyes. For Mr. Darcy, the eyes have it, because he often manifests his deepest emotions only through the expressions of his eyes.
With Mr. Darcy, appearances are typically deceiving. Mr. Darcy is an introvert, and he doesn’t feel comfortable with shallow conversations. It takes a while to get to know a Darcy, and for that reason, the character is commonly misunderstood. Mr. Darcy always acts with good motives, but he doesn’t know how to put on superficial charms to smooth his way through society. He is not a big fan of small talk and large social gatherings, and he much prefers deep conversations with a partner that shares his intellect. Other characters in your story often believe that your Darcy character is arrogant, cold, and disagreeable if they do not make the effort to understand his character. Make no mistake, Mr. Darcy feels more deeply than most. He just doesn’t show it. He is an INTJ, after all.
The Mr. Darcy character is able to show almost superhuman restraint. This may actually be his superpower. Mr. Darcy shows restraint in every possible arena–emotional, sexual, and interpersonal. The degree of restraint that he manifests can be a form of internal torture for himself. Propriety is paramount in every way. When the tipping point of Darcy’s restraint is finally reached, he will take great risks, making himself personally vulnerable to loss in ways that would make most men hesitate. But once the risk is taken, the reward can be great. When Mr. Darcy takes the risk to reveal the depths of his heart, the effect is most intense.
At the heart of every Mr. Darcy is an extremely consistent and noble character. Mr. Darcy is conventionally virtuous, and he sees things in black and white. He values people who exhibit good moral character, intelligence, and depth. He despises people who are profligate, selfish, and shallow. Humility is a big part of his character, often manifested by anonymous acts of mercy to people (typically women) who have been victimized or are at risk of humiliation and shame. He believes that respect is earned, and he has certainly done a great deal to earn his own, although he won’t tell you about it. He has an intense sense of duty to protect the innocent and the vulnerable.
Yes is really the only answer you will ever want to give to Mr. Darcy, at least by the time you finally get to know him. Make sure the female lead in your story is aware of this important fact. And even more importantly, make sure the female lead is worthy of your hero. If your female lead has committed some folly, make sure that she has done it with only the best motives at heart, betrayed only by misunderstanding on her part or the deceit and manipulation of another character.