It is a truth universally acknowledged that a girl reading a book with a boyfriend in it will consider if said man would make a good boyfriend in real life. It’s basic character judgement. Would you let your friend date that boy? Would you allow the protagonist to date him if it was your book? Do you covet him for yourself, even? Despite the lack of plausibility, these wonderings happen from time to time.
Classic literature certainly presents many options of book boyfriends to consider for oneself. Let’s take a look at five of the most coveted males from such literature.
I personally cannot stand Darcy. I think Elizabeth Bennet should have stuck to her gut on that one. I also tend to think that people like him a little more for his face lent by Colin Firth or Matthew Macfadyen in their respective movie roles. However, since this is a listing for book purists, I’ll give people the benefit of the doubt. Darcy does deserve major props for swooping in and helping smooth over the Lydia situation near the end of the book. Is it enough to forgive the meddling in Jane and Bingley’s relationship? For Elizabeth it is, and many others, it is. The double proposal sways people too, I think. If you are similarly repulsed by Darcy, may I suggest you consider Mr. George Knightly from Jane Austen’s Emma.
Tristan of Tristan and Isolde never gives up! He loves Isolde until the end. His love is so great that he ends up banned from Cornwall. That is dedication. His dying wish is to be reunited with Isolde. They have the ultimate long-distance relationship (long distance pining?) going on. What about the fact that he got married, you say? Medieval society is tricky. Also, he never really loved her. Which is sour grapes for Iseult, the wife, but also sweet for Isolde.
If everything about The Princess Bride by William Goldman does not make you smile, something is wrong. He fends off a giant, fences a master swordsman, sails eel infested waters and survives a fire swamp! He is witty, persevering and has charm bursting from his big heart. “As you wish” has got to be the most romantic version of “I love you” in literature.
Les Misérables by Victor Hugo is such a blend of innocence and strife. Marius is a law student, finding his place in the turmoil of France. It is easy to see how both Cosette and Eponine love him. He could have easily been angry at Eponine’s deceit going to the barricades and hoping they die together in love. Instead, he respects her dying wish of a kiss on the forehead. He falls fast and hard for Cosette, in an almost Romeo-esque way, but a full heart is hardly something to fault a guy for. Also, who does not like someone looking to better the world around them?
This last spot is for all the guys who are bad boyfriends. Unfortunately, there is a whole slew of boyfriends who are horrible to their partners in classic literature. Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights is hell bent on making other people miserable, and those people’s heirs as well. Othello from Othello believes rumors about his wife’s infidelity and calls her a slut. That is not okay. Jay Gatsby from The Great Gatsby fabricates everything about his life to win over a woman who does not choose him in the end. Between him and Tom Buchanan being a bad husband, three people end up dead by the end of the novel. These bad relationships only make the good ones seem even better!
Alright, that’s it! Leave a comment below if you do not see your favorite classic book boyfriend here and let me know who I missed!