As today is Valentine’s day I thought I would write of some famous literary couples.
(*If you’ve not read these books then beware of spoilers.)
1. Mr Darcy and Miss Elizabeth Bennet
First known to the world in 1813, and since then the world has fallen in love with these two characters. Actually Jane Austen has personified two attributes of human nature, pride and prejudice in Darcy and Elizabeth. Darcy comes from a very high social hierarchy and Pemberley. He typifies the educated aristocracy while on the other hand; Elizabeth is the second daughter of a gentleman of modest means. The story follows Darcy and Elizabeth who don’t see eye to eye on many circumstances, and Elizabeth find’s him to be infuriating and prideful. Darcy falls in love with Elizabeth and with a disastrous proposal; Elizabeth rightfully rejects him, “Last man on earth I could ever be prevailed upon to marry.” But, do not let this fool you, as though they leave each other, both spoken clearly how they think of the other, Elizabeth slowly begins to see Darcy in another light, when she learns of the story of his sister, and his help in the runaway Lydia situation and realises that she can’t be without him. And so, thankfully they eventually find themselves married.
2. Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester
In Charlotte Bronte’s famous tale, friendless characters find a cure for loneliness in each other’s company. Jane is an abused orphan employed as a governess to the charge of an abrasive, but very rich Edward Rochester. The improbable pair grow close as Rochester reveals a tender heart beneath his gruff exterior. However, on their wedding day, a horrified Jane discovers he is already married – the crazy wife lives in the attic. Heartbroken, Jane runs away, but later returns after a dreadful fire has destroyed Rochester’s mansion, killed his wife, and left him blind. The two reunite and live out their days in shared bliss.
3. Romeo and Juliet
I can’t write about famous literary couples without the mention of Shakespeare’s classic story of these two young teenagers from feuding families, and who fall in love at first sight, marry, become lovers and risk it all for their love. This is probably the most famous lovers ever. This couple has become a synonym for love itself. Their “untimely deaths” ultimately unite their feuding households.
4. Peeta and Katniss
Peeta and Katniss from Suzanne’s Collins’ The Hunger Games – I loved them in the first book, and even more in the second. Throughout the third book I was with my fingers crossed that they would get together, and thankfully they did. Drawn together by a dystopian gladiator-style tournament, we want them to succeed. But there are moments of humour, especially on Peeta’s part, that I think take them from good to great.
5. Heathcliff and Catherine
They are one of the best-loved literary couples, and one of the worst. Catherine and Heathcliff’s relationship can only be described as mutually destructive and abusive. They spend most of their time trying to hurt the other in the most malevolent means possible. It’s the kind of obsessive love that prioritises control over a person and loses sight of the individual’s happiness.
6. Marianne and Willoughby
In Austen’s novel Sense and Sensibility we watch as the second Dashwood daughter, flirts and begins a dazzling and romantic relationship with the young dashing Willoughby who woos and charms all the ladies in the family. If only they knew what he was like? Willoughby is a man who would marry only for money and we see just how much he means of that when he leaves poor Marianne broken hearted, for a woman who has a wealthy dowry. We later learn that Willoughby had a love affair with another poor young woman, leaving her with child. So he doesn’t seem all that great now. Marianne herself is so heartbroken that she goes on a walk to his home while a thunder storm is overhead – no consciousness to her health. Her heartbroken and wistfulness of Willoughby causes her to nearly die due to her becoming ill. But, thankfully Austen full believe of happy endings, gives Marianne the love she deserves in the man of Colonel Brandon.
7. Amy and Nick Dunne
If you’ve read Gone Girl, you can definitely see what I mean by the worst couple in literature. They’ve both lied about who they really are, as a way to make them seem more perfect in the eye of the other, but as the marriage has progressed, this lie has become difficult to preserve, and so they slowly reveal what they really are. Five years in on the marriage, where the story takes place, Amy and Nick are toxic to each other – but in a way also good for each other. Nick is cheating on Amy, and Amy takes this not very well, and fakes her death to blame it on Nick. However when Nick realises this is all of Amy’s doing, the investigation, the questions, Nick plays the game, as he during a broadcast interview pretends to be the apologetic husband who has cheated and who still loves his wife very much – adding in the watch that he hates, but Amy gave it to him, to give the overall picture of a dotting husband. Amy returns to him, wanting that real picture perfect of husband and wife that they had. In the end they are stuck together.