Big things are happening on TV Tropes! New admins, new designs, fewer ads, mobile versions, beta testing opportunities, thematic discovery engine, fun trope tools and toys, and much more - Learn how to help here and discuss here.
Adaptational Attractiveness: A mild case. While Lizzy is attractive, Jane is supposed to be the prettiest. Precious few adaptations pay any attention. Those that do tend to play with it via Values Dissonance by making Jane more attractive by the standards of Regency England (which generally stressed a 'classic' form of beauty as inspired by Grecian and Roman art), while making Elizabeth more attractive by modern standards.
Belligerent Sexual Tension/Slap-Slap-Kiss: With Mr Darcy, except that it's one-sided. He's charmed, but she really does dislike him and doesn't begin to warm to him until he improves his own behavior.
Also with Charlotte, in the platonic version; though Elizabeth loves her sister Jane dearly, she and Charlotte have much more similar personalities in most respects.
Bookworm: She shares her father's love of books. Caroline Bingley "compliments" her on deriving enjoyment only from reading, which is untrue.
Brainy Brunette: She's commonly portrayed as such in film adaptations; her actual hair color is never mentioned in the narrative. Most likely it's meant to be a juxtaposition to Jane's Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold depictions.
Cool Big Sis: She becomes this to Georgiana Darcy and is also a literal example to her younger sisters, even though none of them ever acknowledge it.
Daddy's Girl: Her father says that she's his favourite child.
Deadpan Snarker: One of the biggest in literature. She gets it from her father.
First Name Basis: The fact that she and Charlotte address each other by first names alone, without a "Miss" to be seen — and that Charlotte actually addresses Elizabeth by the diminutive "Eliza" — is, given Regency etiquette, an indication that the two are on very close terms, and are in fact nearly family.
Grumpy Bear: Summed up when she says "the more I see of the world, the more am I dissatisfied with it; and every day confirms my belief of the inconsistency of all human characters, and of the little dependence that can be placed on the appearance of either merit or sense."
Marry for Love: What she very much would like to do, although she jokes that she probably won't marry at all with such a standard.
My God, What Have I Done?: After reading Darcy's letter, she comes to very much regret her contempt and the way she declined his first proposal.
Oblivious to Love: Elizabeth initially has no idea that Darcy is interested in her and mistakes his interest as disapproval, which is justified given his unkind remarks at the first ball and tendency to stare at her without smiling.
Only Sane Woman: Although she has her blind spots, she's keenly aware of what Lydia's behavior may cost the family and makes a heartfelt but unsuccessful attempt to get Mr Bennet to check her.
Sibling Yin-Yang: With Jane, although they are much closer to each other than their younger sisters. She's much more willing to see people's flaws (without excusing them) than Jane, for good and ill.
Silly Rabbit, Cynicism Is for Losers!: Her cynical outlook on life allows Wickham to completely dupe her about Darcy's true nature. The irony is that she acts as she does in order to avoid being played for a fool, but it happens in a different way than she is prepared to combat.
Single Woman Seeks Good Man: She's determined to only marry a man she's in love with. She follows up by saying that this means she'll be an old maid and governess to Jane's children.
The Snark Knight: She's got a quip for just about every situation and folly, including her own—after Lydia marries Darcy's Arch-Nemesis, Lizzy readily sees the irony that she would have rejoiced in being severed (she assumes) from any acquaintance with Darcy a few months ago, compared to her present regret.
Spirited Young Lady: Although she doesn't get up to the derring-do usually associated with the trope, she does display an assertiveness and independence that is uncharacteristic of approved "feminine" behavior of the time (and indeed, Bingley's sisters criticize her independence and self-sufficiency).
Anguished Declaration of Love: Darcy's might be the most famous of all. It's played with, however, in that he technically has two, but his first such declaration might be more accurately called an Anguished Declaration Of Why I Love You Even Though You And Your Family Are Clearly Beneath Me. This first one, needless to say, fails to impress Elizabeth.
Big Damn Heroes: Though it's entirely from a social standpoint, arranging the marriage between Lydia and Wickham saves the Bennets from their Darkest Hour. Particularly in the 1995 serial, where we see him personally find the fugitives and is right behind Wickham in the church.
Cool Big Bro: To Georgiana, on whom he dotes. His most recent gift to her is a pianoforte.
Deadpan Snarker: "Her, a beauty? I would soon as call her mother a wit." (Although this particular example, at least, is played with in that he later comes to admit that he considers the woman in question quite beautiful indeed.)
Defrosting Ice King: One of his lessons during the book is that he actually has to act as though he likes the people he likes.
Good Is Not Nice: Though that being said by the time he shows how good he is he also gets a lot nicer.
Heel Realization: Not surprisingly, Elizabeth's rejection of his marriage proposal prompts a bit of soul searching on his part. Although he's revealed to be ultimately more decent than Elizabeth first realised, he admits at the end that her criticisms of his character were not entirely unjustified and that he had a lot of improving to do.
Mr. Fanservice: Considered to be even handsomer than Bingley until people actually try talking to him. (Of course, his riches add to his looks.) Adaptations always make this very clear.
My God, What Have I Done?: He's less dramatic about it than the usual example of the trope, but he clearly comes to regret his hasty meddling in Jane and Bingley's relationship once he learns that Jane actually does have genuine feelings for Bingley. Not least because this completely poisons any chance he might have of convincing her sister to marry him.
Nice to the Waiter: One of the solid clues we get that Darcy is actually a decent man is that, when asked about him, his servants sing his praises. It seems while he has no qualms about being rude to those he considers a cut beneath him, noblesse obliege requires him to be courteous and considerate to those who are very much his social inferiors and dependent on him. He also appears to be well-respected by the locals of the area surrounding Pemberly.
Promotion to Parent: For his sister Georgiana. He and his cousin Fitzwilliam become her legal guardians.
The Proud Elite: He is perceived as extremely arrogant and completely uncaring of those around him, to the point that even those who acknowledge his good looks and wealth dismiss him as someone not worth getting to know. However, this impression is unintentional, and he is in truth a morally upright, deeply caring man who is unfortunately very socially awkward and slightly pompous.
Stealth Insult: Inverted as a stealth compliment during the discussion of what qualifies a young lady as "accomplished" at Netherfield—after he and then Caroline make a huge list of somewhat nebulous virtues, he ends by adding that she also must improve her mind through extensive reading. Elizabeth had chosen a book for her occupation upon entering the room.
Tall, Dark and Snarky: He offends all of Hertfordshire because, when he does speak, it's usually to make a cutting remark.
Troubled, but Cute: He is very handsome, which is he first thing noticed about him. His awkwardness and snobbery detracts, though.
Wall Glower: This is what he does whenever Bingley drags him to a party.
Bookworm: Often found in his library, usually in retreat from the silliness of his wife and younger daughters.
Brilliant but Lazy: He's an intelligent man who loves to read, but he hates writing letters or conceding to societal demands (like calling on new neighbor Bingley). And he certainly doesn't put much effort at all into parenting his three youngest daughters.
Cool Old Guy: His biting wit and kinship with Lizzie makes him a very likable character, as does his enjoyment of the silliness of others.
Doting Parent: He dotes on Elizabeth (and to a lesser extent, Jane) but ignores his three other daughters. It's not hard to see why, but it's also brought up that he could have helped them not be so silly if he hadn't given up on parenting them.
The Gadfly: Straddles the line between this and Troll, depending on whom he's speaking to. He likes to prod people into amusing reactions, whether he's being contradictory to provoke them (with his wife) or encouraging them to make a display of their foolishness (with Mr Collins).
It's All My Fault: He acknowledges that he really should have followed Elizabeth's advice regarding Lydia.
Parents as People: Mr Bennet copes with his ill-matched marriage by finding refuge in his books and sarcasm. He is indifferent to the fact that this exposes his wife to the ridicule of their children, and their family to the ridicule of the world. By the end of the novel, though, he accepts responsibility for his daughter's mistakes and furthermore, takes measures to instill some sense in his two unmarried daughters.
Parental Favouritism: Elizabeth is his admitted favourite of his daughters, as she's the one most like him in personality. And to be fair, he is kind of right when he says his three younger daughters are "silly." Jane also holds a close second in his affections, as she is the only other child with her head screwed on right.
Parental Neglect: If he'd kept a closer eye on his daughters (especially Lydia), quite a few problems might have been avoided.
The Snark Knight: He derives a great deal of amusement at the expense of others, but when forced to confront his own mistakes with Lydia, he makes a number of pithy jibes against himself.
Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Oh yes. She's simpering when talking to someone she wants to impress (like Bingley), barely conceals her hostility towards Darcy; worst of all, she loudly and indiscreetly talks about her daughters' marriage prospects in public. She's also a bit of a hypocrite and has a tendency towards Self-Serving Memory.
The Ditz: She's flighty, overreactive, easy prey to Mr Bennet's taunts, and doesn't comprehend how her behavior is embarrassing to her family.
Doting Parent: Dotes on Lydia and, usually, only Lydia. She is, however, excessively proud of how beautiful and sweet-natured Jane is.
Drama Queen: The first passage of the book notes her to be one.
Establishing Character Moment: Her selfishness is shown when she complains about her daughter having a cold because the coughing gets on her nerves.
Gold Digger: It's not clear if her reason for marrying Mr Bennet had anything to do with money, but if nothing else she's certainly a Gold Digger by proxy, and is loudly and shamelessly vocal about the fortunes of any eligible men in the vicinity and the likelihood of marrying her daughters to him. This is not without reason, though, given that the entailment on Longbourn means the girls must marry in order to have their livelihood assured.
Her main concern is how things are going to affect her. She does care about her children, however, and has a total breakdown when Lydia elopes with Wickham. Essentially, she's trying to protect her children from losing their home and starving to death in the streets or worse when their father dies, so it's understandable why her nerves are constantly frayed, even if she does play it up.
When her brother tells the family that he's discharged Wickham's debts (which came to about 10,000 pounds), she dismisses the shame that Lizzy and Jane feel by saying that he ought to lay down that much for his sister and niece without qualm.
I Was Quite a Looker: Apparently in her youth it was one of the main things going for her. And unfortunately for Mr Bennet, he married her for just about that reason alone - her ditziness stopped being cute after a time of actually living with her.
Jerkass Has a Point: She's not wrong to be concerned about the prospect of her daughters marrying well, and the unfortunate fates that may await them if they fail to do so. The problem is that she fails to go about securing the former in a particularly effective or tactful way, and ironically hindering her daughters' prospects rather than helping them. The fact that she's a rather socially uncouth woman and frequently gives off the impression of being just a tad more concerned about the effect all this will have on her doesn't help either.
The Matchmaker: Subversion. She attempts to arrange a match between Elizabeth and Mr Collins, but it fails miserably. She's more likely to ruin a match by supporting it, as nearly happens with Jane and Mr Bingley.
Mrs Bennet had no turn for economy, and her husband's love of independence had alone prevented their exceeding their income.
Parents as People: Mrs Bennet is unambiguously a shallow airhead who loads her daughters down with bad advice; but when Lizzy tries to call her out on her single-minded matchmaking, she delivers a riposte that reveals her very real fear that she and her daughters will be utterly destitute if they do not marry well.
Playing Sick: Her "poor nerves." But of course, she never complains about it - just ask her.
Self-Serving Memory: During the crisis of Lydia's elopement, Mrs Bennet and her sister declare that they never trusted Wickham and definitely tried to warn everyone else about him.
Stop Helping Me!: An In-Universe example. Mrs Bennet's all-consuming obsession is getting her daughters married, which she plunges into with single-minded drive. As Darcy points out in his letter to Elizabeth, however, her lack of tact and manners and tendency to come off as a Gold Digger-by-proxy have in fact had the effect of discouraging at least two would-be suitors to her eldest daughters, suggesting that her goals would be a lot more effectively achieved if she pursued them with less zeal (or if she directed her energies into improving her character and that of her youngest daughters instead).
Miss Jane Bennet
Adaptational Attractiveness/Informed Attribute: The book is quite clear that Jane is supposed to be the prettiest of the Bennet girls. This is kept in the dialogue of the films, since it's something of a minor plot point, but most adaptations neglect to actually cast Jane as prettier than Elizabeth.note Crosses over with Values Dissonance in the 1995 miniseries; Susannah Harker fits the ideal of Regency beauty perfectly, while Jennifer Ehle doesn't, but many modern viewers find Ehle more attractive.
Beauty Equals Goodness: In her case, it does. She's the prettiest and the nicest of the Bennet girls, as well as the nicest character in the book as a whole.
Beta Couple: With Bingley; they fall in love almost at once and the complications in their relationship all come from the outside.
Cool Big Sis: To Elizabeth. She tries to be this to the other girls too; they just don't give her credit for it.
English Rose: Jane is kind, polite, intelligent, well-mannered English country gentry, and considered the most beautiful young lady in the neighbourhood. Her character is contrasted with Elizabeth's as sweeter, shyer, and equally sensible, but not as clever; her most notable trait is a desire to see only the good in others.
Horrible Judge of Character: Almost through force of will, although in the case of Bingley's sisters she has to admit that they are indeed awful. Even when Elizabeth shares the real story of Darcy and Wickham's past, Jane tries to rationalize a way to not doubt either and speculates that interested persons sowed discord between them. Elizabeth laughs and points out that going on this road means that Jane will have to find a way to excuse said hypothetical "interested persons".
Love You and Everybody: The reason that Darcy comes to the (erroneous) conclusion that Jane is not particularly attached to Bingley is because she treats him with the same sweet, friendly openness that she shows to everyone.
Marry for Love: Like her sister Elizabeth, she very much wants to do this. Happily, she gets her wish.
Nice Girl: Oh yes, to the point that she would totally defend any poor defenseless hellspawn (read: Caroline Bingley). She's not Stupid Good, however. Even Jane realizes what bad eggs Bingley's sisters are when they deign to visit her in London.
Proper Lady: Widely respected and considered the best Bennet daughter. Not only is she intelligent and mature, she doesn't have an ungenerous bone in her body.
Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Like Elizabeth, she wants to have a partner in life whom she genuinely loves and respects, not wanting a gender-flipped version of her parents' marriage.
Attention Whore: Her favourites among the officers change constantly depending on who flatters her the best.
Bratty Teenage Daughter: She's selfish, completely self-involved, materialistic, and cares absolutely nothing about the people who are hurt because of her, the trouble she causes for her family, or the consequences of her stupid actions. What's worse is that she won't even acknowledge that her actions were stupid or had damaging effects, and she's helped along in this by Mrs Bennet, who has a similar personality type.
The Ditz: Spendthrift and obsessed with redcoats with no idea why people keep asking her to stop acting so silly.
The Runaway: Elopes with Wickham near the end of the story.
Shotgun Wedding: She's not pregnant, but for her (and the rest of her family) to have a hope of preserving reputation, Darcy and Mr Gardiner force them to tie the knot.
Spoiled Brat: One of the reasons Lydia's so out of control is because her mother is too indulgent towards her and her father is too disinterested not to put his foot down with her.
Statuesque Stunner: Lydia in the book - at least, she considers herself to be this. Early in the book, on the prospect of whether or not Bingley will dance with her, Lydia remarks, "Oh, I am not afraid, for though I am the youngest, I'm the tallest!"
The Thing That Would Not Leave: After the main events of the novel she continuously bugs Elizabeth and Darcy (now a couple) to let her stay with them on their estate, despite being married to Wickham. She is occasionally allowed to come, but only if he doesn't come with her. Jane and Bingley, being much more accommodating, are subjected to their overlong stays.
Attention Whore: In a different fashion from Lydia. Mary takes every opportunity to try to show herself off as intelligent and moral, and also jumps at the chance to perform musically whether anyone wants her to or not.
Bookworm: She's always seen reading, but she doesn't appear to think much about what she reads. She just wants to have the appearance of someone intelligent and deep.
The Bore: Her recitations of what she's read are usually found to be tiresome by the rest of her family.
Bratty Teenage Daughter: Mary is one because of her pompous moralizing and general self-involved attitude; she works too hard for accomplishments and praise because she's the least attractive of the five girls, and receives less attention than her prettier sisters. Mary does get better over time since she becomes her mother's companion once her sisters are married off, so she's forced to socialize more; what's more, without her sisters to be compared to she's no longer reduced to "the plain daughter," which makes her feel better about herself.
Loners Are Freaks: In that time and place, this is more justified than usual—balls and parties are the only places to interact with the rest of society, so her shunning them both makes her appear rude and makes it more difficult to secure her future.
Middle Child Syndrome: With her elder sisters being beautiful and respected, while her younger getting attention wherever they go (though not for good reasons), she's frequently ignored.
Bratty Teenage Daughter: Kitty tends to follow in Lydia's footsteps and as such is a milder version of her. Kitty does improve over time due to the considerably-better influence of her two oldest sisters, once Lydia is out of the picture (and her parents strictly forbid Kitty from answering her invitations).
Middle Child Syndrome/The Unfavourite: Kitty catches the worst of this, overshadowed by Jane, Elizabeth, and Lydia and ignored by everyone as a result. She spends most of the book trailing in Lydia's wake until Lydia goes to Brighton.
Birds of a Feather: With Jane, and it's why they fall in love. Mr Bennet jokes that they're both so obliging that nothing will ever be agreed on and so generous that servants will always cheat them.
Extreme Doormat: An unusually cheerful (and male) version, but he yields easily to persuasion. Darcy even points this out as a fault, saying that if Bingley made every preparation to go on a journey and had one foot in the saddle, just a word from a friend could stop him.
Nice Guy: Like Jane, he believes the best of people. He also hates arguing and the most proof of his exasperation with the Wickhams' overlong visits is talking of making a hint that they should go.
Odd Couple: Observers wonder how such a likable fellow could be best friends with a man like Darcy. The story does go on to show that while Darcy might be socially awkward and awful with people, he really does care about Bingley, and Bingley is well aware of it.
Perpetual Smiler: In the A&E adaptation, anyway, played by Crispin Bonham-Carter.
Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: As Elizabeth says later, he has all the appearance of goodness, not goodness itself. He easily charms Hertfordshire society with his pleasant and charming manners, but at the core he's a selfish bastard.
The Casanova: Among the complaints about him is that he seduces (or tries to) every young woman in Hertfordshire.
The Gambling Addict: The real reason he runs from the militia regiment is because he's hugely in debt to many of them, and just took Lydia with him because he might as well have fun too. In fact, he runs up huge gaming debts everywhere he goes.
Gold Digger: Wickham hopes to secure his fortune by marrying a woman with money. According to Mrs Gardiner's information, he was still hoping to do this even after eloping with Lydia.
Hypocritical Humor: Notice how, although he protests that modesty and honour forbid him from revealing the details of how Darcy spitefully ruined him, he takes every possible opportunity to reveal the details of how Darcy spitefully ruined him.
Karma Houdini: For his misdeeds, he... has all of his debts settled, keeps his job, and has a modest but guaranteed income from his young wife. However, how much karma he's escaped when said young wife is Lydia might be debatable...
Knight of Cerebus: Particularly as the story progresses, his role makes a funny and witty narrative deadly serious. His actions could have lead to genuine ruin for the Bennets.
Yes, congratulate yourself on deceiving naive teenage girls into thinking you're in love with them... while you ruin your good name in town by partying and running up huge debts. And definitely don't be careful of the people who know your true character.
He even tries fishing for pity from Elizabeth over his would-be parish living after his true character has been revealed to all and he's forced to marry Lydia. Needless to say, it goes over like a lead balloon.
Babies Ever After: The last letter that Mr Bennet is shown receiving from him in the story mentions that he is expecting his first child.
The Bore: He prattles on endlessly (usually about Lady Catherine) so that the Bennets hide from him as best they can while he's a houseguest. His wife deals with it by encouraging him to do all sorts of healthy, worthwhile activities - reading, walking to Rosings, tending to his garden - which conveniently limit their interaction as much as possible.
The Ditz: He has no idea that, first of all, Mr Bennet is mocking him ruthlessly, nor that his wife only married him out of practicality.
Entitled to Have You: He displays this sort of attitude towards Elizabeth when he proposes to her, arguing that she has no choice but to accept him because he's going to be the best offer she'll ever get. He's wrong. Elizabeth gets a much, much better offer.
The Friend Nobody Likes: In his own way. Mr Bennet, his cousin, admits to Elizabeth that even though he hates maintaining correspondence, he wouldn't give up exchanging letters with Mr Collins for anything because they're so unintentionally funny to a Snark Knight like himself.
Last Name Basis: His first name is never shown being used by anyone, not even his wife. We only know that it's William from the signature on his first letter to Mr Bennet.
Professional Butt-Kisser: Mr Collins is so devoted to sucking up to Lady Catherine that he shamelessly grovels over her when she's not even present.
Rejection Affection: Somewhat averted. While Mr Collins initially takes Elizabeth's first rejection as encouragement to continue courting her (see article quote), he soon finds out that she is serious. But his initial interpretation of her rejection as a positive step in their relationship reflects on his views of women in their culture.
Romantic False Lead: After being rejected by Lizzie, there are hints that he might pursue Mary, who hints in return that she would be amenable to that situation. Instead, he marries Charlotte Lucas behind everyone's backs.
Settle for Sibling: Attempted. He initially wanted Jane, but Mrs Bennet convinced him to propose to Elizabeth instead (as she was hoping to keep Jane free for Mr Bingley). However, Elizabeth refuses him outright, subverting this trope.
Smug Snake: And often unintentionally so. He does use Elizabeth's visit to Hunsford as a way of showing off what she missed out on by refusing his hand, but she's quite unaffected.
Miss Bingley was very deeply mortified by Darcy's marriage; but as she thought it advisable to retain the right of visiting at Pemberley, she dropt all her resentment; was fonder than ever of Georgiana, almost as attentive to Darcy as heretofore, and paid off every arrear of civility to Elizabeth.
Hypocritical Humor: Because she wants Darcy for herself, she tears down Elizabeth every chance she gets; most notably, she claims that Elizabeth is one of those women who try to get men's approval by putting down other women.
Kick the Dog: Regularly in her interactions (and gossip about) Lizzy and her family.
Moral Myopia: Her would-be Pet the Dog moment of warning Lizzy about Wickham was really about trying to hurt and mock her.
Rich Bitch: She's an incredible snob and tosses over Jane after determining that her close relatives are in trade. (Which is rather hypocritical as the Bingleys' father actually made his fortune in trade.)
Smug Snake: Very smug. Never quite realizes that disparaging Elizabeth in front of Darcy will always result in him cutting her down, not agreement.
Sugary Malice: Especially towards Jane. Also to Elizabeth, when her being in the room prevents direct insults. Elizabeth is better able to see through it.
Mr Edward Gardiner
Cool Uncle: Very affectionate towards Elizabeth and much more levelheaded than his sisters.
It's All About Me: Has the worst case of this in the book - and that's saying something!
Jerkass: That's probably the nicest thing you can say about the woman.
Narcissist: Certainly thinks highly of herself and expects everyone else to suck up to her. It's probably why she keeps Collins around.
Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: After failing to make Elizabeth swear not to marry Darcy, she goes to Darcy and rails at him never to propose. This only has the effect of telling him he has reason to hope Elizabeth might accept if he did so.
Parental Marriage Veto: A variant in that she's his aunt, but as such she considers herself entitled to have a say in his life. Her wish is to have him marry her own daughter Anne.
Christmas Cake: In the novel, she's twenty-seven and not getting any younger.
Foil: To Elizabeth. Although they're great friends, Elizabeth is determined to Marry for Love, and Charlotte is determined to Marry For Eminently Practical Reasons.
Happily Married: Subverted. She is happy to be married and finds her situation quite comfortable, but she quietly arranges her married life to have as little actual contact with Mr Collins as possible.
Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Elizabeth. Both of them are Grumpy Bears who find each other to be far more sensible company than their family or general acquaintance, and have a lot of fun snarking about it.
I Am Not Pretty: She knows that she's plain and passing out of marriageable age.
The Lancer: While she's just as snarky as Elizabeth, she's a good deal more pragmatic and thinks that love is a minor consideration in marriage.
Only Sane Woman: Her father and younger sister are nice, but not very bright. And then she marries Mr Collins.