Hailing from the "tall, dark and handsome" school of hunkdom, both Mr Darcy and Heathcliff are incredibly easy on the eye. That's why Darcy can get away with being such a monumental bore at parties. The man doesn't have to smile or make the slightest attempt at ordinary human flirtation. He just has to stand there on the periphery, looking all hot and aloof, and he'll come away with at least a couple of marriage proposals from some giggling debutantes.
Heathcliff has the same kind of dark, hawkish allure, although much rougher around the edges - as you'd expect from an ex-farmhand whose hobbies include headbutting trees and stomping around the countryside in a strop. Appearance-wise, he's what Darcy would look like if he was raised on desolate moorlands rather than plush estates. A kind of dishevelled, post-apocalyptic Darcy, if you will. Still hot, mind.
Equally handsome, but it all depends on whether you go for a suave smoothie or a bit of rough.
At first glance, Darcy and Heathcliff seem to have very similar personality types - ie, they're both moody, rude and petulant party-poops, whose idea of a good time is cutting conversations short so they can go off and enjoy a good hard sulk in the corner. But dig deeper and some key differences become apparent. For example, Darcy is a thoroughly decent man underneath that haughty, nose-in-the-air exterior. As Elizabeth Bennet discovers, his nuclear-strength snobbery is really a kind of force field he puts up because he's a total softie who's been wronged in the past. And when Darcy has your back, he REALLY has your back, doing whatever he can to honour and defend you, even if that means putting his own reputation and wealth in jeopardy. What. A. Guy.
As for Heathcliff? Well, behind the huffy, bad-tempered exterior is... a huffy, bad-tempered interior. While Darcy is basically a good egg, Heathcliff is a bitter and vengeful man who turns love into a toxic obsession and bears grudges until his dying day. An argument about the washing up? Heathcliff will smash up the plates and scream at the kitchen ceiling. A minor disagreement about what to have for tea? Heathcliff will remember it and bring it up again 40 years later on his deathbed, just to make you feel bad about it one last time. It's lucky he's so damn handsome, really.
Darcy by a country mile. Unless lovesick, angry stalkers are your thing, in which case, fill your boots with Heathcliff.
So, which of the two is the most "eligible"? Well, when it comes to basic finances, it's a hard one to call. We know, of course, that Mr Darcy is filthy rich. The contents of his bank account, as well as the pleasing symmetry of his facial features, are why people overlook the fact he's such a gigantic grumpy-chops. But Heathcliff is also loaded. How? We don't know. He's just mysteriously amassed vast wealth during his travels - perhaps from business, perhaps from criminal skulduggery.
But the real question isn't who's richer, but who's likely to maintain a certain standard of living? It's not hard to guess, is it? Darcy the sensible landowner, who plans ahead and lives a clean, organised, fruitful life, versus the impulsive and reckless Heathcliff, who we can well imagine splurging all his cash on card games, or wasting his money buying some property just because a rival had their eyes on it. And if you asked him why he'd lost all his money, you'd know he'd just punch the wall and ask you why you don't love him anymore.
Darcy, who makes being reliable and sensible seem really sexy. Mainly because he just is really sexy.