June 20, 2009

Darcy and Kagekatsu


My sister's analysis of Darcy from Pride and Prejudice reminds me of the current NHK historical drama, Tenchijin, about a minor daimyo, Kagekatsu, who governed Echigo Province from 1578 to 1623. He is depicted as a classic introvert, handsome and accomplished, but who loathed "socializing."

There is apparently solid historical evidence for him being a man of very few words (the court historians kept detailed records), and the actor Kazuki Kitamura does a good job of depicting him just dying inside when trapped in situations he has to schmooze his way out of.

Like the great warlord Uesugi Kenshin, whom he succeeded, when faced with a battle or political dilemma, Kagekatsu was wont to retreat to a literal cave to think things through. If he'd been lord of Pemberley instead of Echigo, he would have spent most of his time in the study.

When dealing with the hyper-extroverted warlord Hideyoshi, he dragged along his gregarious adopted brother, Kanetsugu (Satoshi Tsumabuki), to do the talking, a la Aaron and Moses. Kanetsugu had to work hard to convince Hideyoshi that his brother was being quiet, not contemptuous.

As Jonathan Rauch (my go-to guy on the subject) explains, "[Extroverts] cannot imagine why someone would need to be alone; indeed, they often take umbrage at the suggestion."

Kitamura's Kagekatsu would make a good Darcy. Not surprisingly, the NHK series is told from the point of view of Kanetsugu, not Kagekatsu. Introverts really are boring, but they prefer it that way.

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Comments:

# posted by Blogger Kate Woodbury
I recently posted my second installation of Pride & Prejudice from Darcy's point of view: Elizabeth at Netherfield. I'm currently working on the ballroom scene. I should mention that all the Darcy-as-a-massive-introvert material is there--it just has to be reworked and explained from Darcy's pov. Austen obviously knew very, very, very well what she had created. One of the funniest parts in the section I just completed is where Darcy decides that he isn't (or shouldn't be) interested in Elizabeth, but he's afraid he may have been too forward/obvious (gasp! he actually SPOKE to her), so he decides to make his position clear: "Steady to his purpose, he scarcely spoke ten words to her through the whole of Saturday; and though they were at one time left by themselves for half an hour, he adhered most conscientiously to his book, and would not even look at her."

Many "other" writers, of course, put down Darcy's avoidance to his intense passion, which he may feel. But his main object here, as Austen knows very well, is to avoid the EFFORT of communication. If he wanted Elizabeth to know he liked her, he might feel compelled to at least try (as he does at Rosings when he comes to see Elizabeth, makes token comments and then leaves, obviously thinking he has made contact but completely confusing Elizabeth). Because he doesn't want Elizabeth to know he likes her at Netherfield, he reverts to his normal pattern of behavior.

I sometimes wonder if women, especially women romance writers, have taken the "all men think about is sex" thing a bit too seriously. It may be true, but it doesn't mean he isn't thinking about other stuff as well.
6/22/2009 1:47 PM