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- The very opening lines of the novel are quite funny and rather snarky, being a Take That! towards the general population of England at the time.
"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.
However little known the feelings of views of such a man may be on his first entering the neighborhood, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of the surrounding families, that he is considered as the rightful property of some or one of their daughters."
- The part in the book (and the movies) when Mrs Bennet asks Mr Bennet to force Elizabeth to marry Mr Collins, only to have him turn around with this line:
"An unhappy alternative is before you, Elizabeth. From this day you must be a stranger to one of your parents. —Your mother will never see you again if you do not marry Mr Collins, and I will never see you again if you do."
- When Elizabeth relates Mr Wickham's tale of woe to Jane, Jane will not believe that Mr Bingley's dear friend Mr Darcy would be as cruel as described, and attributes the whole thing to a misunderstanding between the two men. Jane suggests that "interested people" have misrepresented Wickham and Darcy to each other, prompting a teasing reply from Elizabeth.
"Very true, indeed; and now, my dear Jane, what have you got to say on behalf of the interested people who have probably been concerned in the business? Do clear them too, or we shall be obliged to think ill of somebody."
- Mr Bennet, meanwhile, is not taken in by Wickham's woes and simply quips "With such narratives to hand, who would read novels?" And after the whole mess with Lydia is settled, he declares that Wickham is going to be his favorite of the husbands just for the entertainment value.
"I defy even Sir William Lucas to produce such a son-in-law."
- The scene at Netherfield where Mr Darcy is trying to write a letter to his sister and his Clingy Jealous Girl Caroline Bingley constantly interrupts him to compliment his handwriting, the evenness of his lines, observe how fast he writes, or add her own message to his sister... while remaining completely oblivious to her target's determination to ignore her as best as he can!
- It's even funnier when you know that when she offers to "mend his pen", she's essentially offering to give him a hand job, "mending one's pen" being common slang for a hand job at the time.
- There's also the scene where Mr Collins proposes and accepts Elizabeth's answers without her responding. She tries to turn him down gently, but he's not worried. He's heard that some women turn down proposals they plan on accepting. Sometimes even three times. It takes quite a while for her to convince him she's not going to marry him.
- In fact, he still doesn't get it until she actually gets up and walks out of the room.
- After leaving, she thinks that, if Mr. Collins still doesn't get it, she'll apply to her father "whose behavior, at least, could not be mistaken for the affectation and coquetry of an elegant female."
- While we're on the subject of Pride and Prejudice, there is a parody called Pride and Prejudice and Zombies...
- Elizabeth is relieved when the militia leaves town and begins to hope "by the following Christmas, [Kitty] might be so tolerably reasonable as not to mention an officer above once a day, unless, by some cruel and malicious arrangement at the War-office, another regiment should be quartered in Meryton."
- The book's best piece of Lemony Narration comes when Elizabeth runs into her least favorite person, Mr Darcy, during her walk through Rosings Park: "She felt all the perverseness of the mischance that should bring him where no one else was brought; and to prevent its ever happening again, took care to inform him at first, that it was a favourite haunt of hers. How it could occur a second time, therefore, was very odd!" Cluelessness, thy name is Elizabeth.
- Mr Darcy's first proposal, in its way, is hilarious. The fact that he went in there, laid down a laundry list of highly insulting reasons why proposing to Elizabeth would be a terrible mistake and a disgrace, and then still fully expects that she's going to say yes! Not only that, he accuses her of being uncivil when she is consequently quite chilly in declining. (He, of course, is just being honest.)
- While discussing the sad affair of Bingley and Jane, Aunt Gardiner suggests that young men like Bingley are flighty in attraction. Elizabeth assures her that Bingley's feelings were most sincere, because he was starting to offend people by ignoring them in favor of Jane. "Is not general incivility the very essence of love?"
Elizabeth: (regarding Wickham after he'd started courting someone else): "I am now convinced that I have never been much in love, for had I really experienced that pure and elevating passion, I should at present detest his very name and wish him all manner of evil."
- Elizabeth's views on love in general are often hilarious:
- After obtaining Mr Bennet's consent for the marriage, Elizabeth informs him that it was Darcy and not Mr Gardiner who saved Lydia. In his typical flippant fashion he is delighted with this news:
"Had it been your uncle's doing, I must and would have paid him; but these violent young lovers carry everything in their own way. I shall offer to pay him to-morrow; he will rant and storm about his love for you, and there will be an end of the matter."
- Then he concludes by sitting down and saying "If any young men call for Mary or Kitty, send them right in."
- Lydia and Wickham's imposition on the rest of their family. First, she has the brass nerve to ask Elizabeth (the new Mrs Darcy) for money. Though of course Mr Wickham could never call on Pemberly, they did stay often at Netherfield whenever they had to find new lodgings (which was often) and so outstayed their welcome that Bingley would actually talk of, maybe, giving them a hint to leave.
- Georgiana, though she quickly came to love Elizabeth as a sister, was at first astonished to hear the "lively, sportive" way that she spoke to Darcy — wives can take liberties with their husbands that their little sisters cannot.
- All of Elizabeth's responses to Lady Catherine are as hilarious as they are awesome. The girl is the queen of Deadpan Snarkery:
Lady Catherine: I was told, that not only your sister was on the point of being most advantageously married, but that you, that Miss Elizabeth Bennet, would, in all likelihood, be soon afterwards united to my nephew, my own nephew, Mr Darcy. Though I know it must be a scandalous falsehood; though I would not injure him so much as to suppose the truth of it possible, I instantly resolved on setting off for this place, that I might make my sentiments known to you.
Elizabeth: If you believed it impossible to be true, I wonder you took the trouble of coming so far. What could your ladyship propose by it?
Lady Catherine: At once to insist upon having such a report universally contradicted.
Elizabeth: Your coming to Longbourn, to see me and my family, will be rather a confirmation of it...Lady Catherine: Has he, has my nephew, made you an offer of marriage?
Elizabeth: Your ladyship has declared it to be impossible.
Lady Catherine: It ought to be so; it must be so, while he retains the use of his reason. But your arts and allurements may, in a moment of infatuation, have made him forget what he owes to himself and to all his family. You may have drawn him in.
Elizabeth: If I have, I shall be the last person to confess it.Lady Catherine: Do not expect to be noticed by his family or friends, if you wilfully act against the inclinations of all. You will be censured, slighted, and despised, by every one connected with him. Your alliance will be a disgrace; your name will never even be mentioned by any of us.
Elizabeth: These are heavy misfortunes. But the wife of Mr Darcy must have such extraordinary sources of happiness necessarily attached to her situation, that she could, upon the whole, have no cause to repine.Lady Catherine: You are to understand, Miss Bennet, that I came here with the determined resolution of carrying my purpose; nor will I be dissuaded from it. I have not been used to submit to any person's whims. I have not been in the habit of brooking disappointment.
Elizabeth: That will make your ladyship's situation at present more pitiable; but it will have no effect on me.
- The best part? Lady Catherine went right to Darcy and told him everything Elizabeth said. And Darcy is overjoyed. It "taught me to hope," he says, because if Elizabeth didn't want to marry him, she would have had no problem just saying "No, we're not engaged, and I wouldn't marry him if he were the last man on Earth." The fact that Elizabeth took the time to snark Lady Catherine into submission over how she would, in theory, have every right to marry Mr Darcy if she wanted, is what gives Darcy the courage to try proposing to her again.
- When Mr Collins first writes to Mr Bennet, he admits that he was unsure about it for a long time— Mr Bennet and Mr Collins' father had quarreled in the past, and while Mr Collins was sorry about that, he was afraid that it might be disloyal of him to extend an olive-branch to someone it had always "pleased [his father] to be at odds with."
- At the Netherfield ball, while dancing with Darcy and talking animatedly, Elizabeth comments that they're both of "an unsocial taciturn disposition."
- When Mrs. Bennet is lamenting the entail for the umpteenth time, and predicting that she and the girls will be turned out of the house the moment Mr. Bennet is dead, Mr. Bennet offers her this (unappreciated) consolation:
Mr. Bennet: "Let us flatter ourselves that I may be the survivor."
The 1940 Film
- The early line: "My goodness, what a hullabaloo!"
- Mr Bennet casually suggesting to his wife that they should have drowned some of their daughters at birth. This is what happens when you hire Aldous Huxley to adapt a book.
The 1995 Miniseries
- The infamous bit when Darcy dives into a lake and thus spawns the 'wet shirt' fetish. That itself isn't the funny part; the funny part is when he comes face to face with the (at the moment) unrequited and unexpected love of his life, basically half naked by the standards of the time and dripping wet. The awkwardness is hilarious; Elizabeth's even Distracted by the Sexy for a moment or two! Enjoy!
- Followed by Elizabeth standing in frozen horror for a few seconds before declaring that they must leave at once.
- And possibly the quickest someone's gotten cleaned up in the history of England, since Darcy's fully dressed, fabulously turned out and looking desperately for Elizabeth, not intending to let her get away, by the time she and her aunt and uncle have gotten back to the carriage.
- In defense of this scene, it is entirely possible that the carriage was parked somewhere out of view, the driver caring for the horses (or having a snack, or a nap) and it would take him a while to get everything ready for departure. The driver would not have been unreasonable to think that their visit would take longer, seeing as they decide to depart quite suddenly. Thus, considering Mr Darcy has a head-start (and probably walks faster than Lizzy could expect from her aunt), it seems fairly reasonable to think he would be at least a couple minutes ahead of them on getting back to the house, and if getting the carriage ready takes a few minutes... well, he's a fast dresser, but not miraculously so.
- Darcy's sarcastic expression and rolling of the eyes when his conversation with Elizabeth (and Colonel Fitzwilliam) is interrupted by Lady Catherine.
- Elizabeth providing occasional riffing on Darcy's letter. "I look back with regret on only one aspect of my behavior in this matter..." "Oh, really? Astound me."
- "Shelves in a closet...Happy thought indeed."
- Any time Caroline says something cutting about Elizabeth, and Darcy manages to turn it around and use it to insult Caroline.
- "Other way, Mr Collins!" Poor Lizzy...
- When Bingley is gushing over Jane after first meeting her, Darcy replies with a gruff "she smiles too much."
- Charlotte details her married life to Elizabeth. She encourages Mr Collins to be in his garden; the fresh air is so healthy. She encourages him to be in his library as reading is good for the mind. She encourages him to call upon Lady Catherine... so it turns out that they hardly spend more than a few minutes of the day together at all. She can bear the solitude quite well.
- There's a teeth-grindingly awkward moment just before Mr Bingley proposes to Jane where Bingley, Jane, Mrs Bennet and the other three remaining Bennet sisters are all seated in the drawing room in uncomfortable silence. Mrs Bennet, seeking to give the young lovers some privacy, attempts to 'subtly' hint to her daughters that they should find an excuse to leave without saying anything, and ends up winking and twitching manically. And unfortunately, Kitty Bennet is a little too dense to get the intended message:
Kitty: What is it, mama? Why do you keep winking at me? What am I to do?
- Early on Lydia and Kitty are arguing over how many guests Mr Bingley will be bringing to the Netherfield ball:
Kitty: "Six ladies and four gentlemen!"Lydia: "No, it was twelve ladies and seven gentlemen."Elizabeth: (aside to Jane) "Too many ladies."
- When Elizabeth meets Bingley in Darbyshire, Bingley not-so-subtly asks whether all her sisters are at home. Elizabeth answers that all but one are. Bingley clearly has a very brief Oh, Crap! moment (while continuing to smile broadly) before Elizabeth clarifies that her youngest sister has gone to Brighton, whereupon his smile grows even broader.
- After the Meryton Assembly, Mr Bennet is forced to endure Mrs Bennet's long and detailed description of the event, especially her blow-by-blow account of Bingley's dancing, finally bursting out with "Would that he had sprained his ankle in the first dance!" Followed by her switching to the subject of clothes:
Mrs Bennet: "The lace on Mrs Hurst's gown..."Mr Bennet: (pointing a poker at her) "No lace! No lace! I forbid it!"
- During the ball at Netherfield, when the company has already had to endure Mary's singing, Mr. Collins then volunteers to sing. Mrs. Hurst, who is to accompany him, clearly decides 'You know what? No,' and proceeds to hammer out a flawless rendition of "Rondo alla Turca," a tune that's impossible for Collins to keep up with; he's left nodding his head foolishly.
- In a way, Colin Firth's performance during Darcy's first proposal is this. He just cannot get started!
- Elizabeth's comments on marrying for love.
Elizabeth: "I am convinced that nothing but the deepest affection could induce me to matrimony." (beat) "So, I shall end an old maid and teach your twelve children to play and sing very ill!"
- The Running Gag of Mr. Collins mentioning the expensive chimney piece in Lady Catherine's drawing room at every opportunity. When Elizabeth promises to visit Charlotte, she quips that her one condition is to finally see the darn thing.
- On the journey to Hunsford, Sir William Lucas is informing Maria of how much land Lady Catherine owns, and how beneficial it is that Mr. Collins has such a patron. "Your sister has made a fortunate alliance!" he says - and then gets a calm look from Elizabeth, whose family stands to suffer from said 'alliance'. Awkward.
- On her last visit to Rosings, Elizabeth waxes full sarcastic when Mr. Collins starts saying how sad she must be—"I hardly know how I shall bear the loss!" That's funny enough. But look over her shoulder, where Charlotte is giving Lizzy an Oh, Crap! look at the thought that it might break through her husband's Sarcasm Blindness. (Fortunately, it doesn't, not even close.)
The 2005 Film
- Mr Collins proposing to Lizzie. She knows what's coming and she tries to subtly beg her sisters to stay in the room. She even grabs onto Jane's hand to beg her to stay, but she leaves too - giggling the whole time.
- When Mrs Bennett calls on the ill Jane with her three younger daughters, Caroline Bingley's reaction is made priceless by Kelly Reilly's delivery.
"Are we to receive every Bennett in the country!"
- Note that this is after the footman has announced "Mrs Bennett with Miss Bennett, Miss Bennett and Miss Bennett."
- The above introduction is also hilarious because it blatantly disregards the convention of the time. Only the oldest daughter present (presumably Mary, since Jane and Lizzie are already there) would be called "Miss Bennett", and the others would be called "Miss (first name)". The Bingleys' footman is sure to know that, so we can only assume not even the footman thinks much of the Bennetts.
- When the militia are in town, Lydia hopes to get an officer's attention by dropping her handkerchief - clearly hoping one of them will pick it up for her. Instead they just walk on it. And her mother and Kitty collapse into hysterical laughter.
- Miss Darcy gets one in that's also simply adorable. She asks whether Lizzie plays the piano.
Lizzie: Only when forced.Georgiana: Well, brother, you must force her.
- During the ball at Netherfield, Lizzie has to have Mr Collins as a dance partner. She spends the whole dance talking to Jane about Wickham. And due to the nature of the dance, Jane can only give the news in parts. All this time Mr Collins is trying to talk to Lizzie, who is blatantly ignoring him to listen to what Jane has to say. Collins genuinely thinks this is her playing hard to get.
- Earlier at the ball, Lizzie and Jane are talking with Charlotte when Collins approaches - and they all hurriedly curtsy to him.
- Mary gets a good line in when Lizzie is telling Charlotte about Mr Collins.
"Even my piano stool belongs to Mr Collins."
- Lizzie gets a good barb in on Mrs Bennett when she's defending her plan to make Jane sick so she'll have to stay at Netherfield.
Mrs Bennett: "People don't die of colds."Lizzie: "But she may well perish with the shame of having such a mother."
- Mr Bennett gets in a brilliant jab at his youngest daughter at the first ball.
Lydia: Mama, you'll not believe this.