Important Quotes in Pride and Prejudice

Instructor: Elisa Goldman

Elisa has taught K-6 grades and has two master's degree in Instructional Technology and Education.

Jane Austen's ''Pride and Prejudice'' contains many quotes that provide insight into the characters as well as the attitudes of the Regency Era in which the book was written.

Minding Their Manners

Pride and Prejudice is a novel of manners, or a story that focuses on the customs and attitudes of a social class in a specific era. The story follows the main character Elizabeth Bennet as she deals with matters of family, values and principles, education, and marriage in the society of early 19th-century England.

Money and Marriage

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife. Chapter 1

One of the most famous quotes from Pride and Prejudice, the opening line of the novel clearly lays out important themes of money and marriage. As we soon discover, these topics are never far from the mind of Mrs. Bennet, the mother of five unmarried daughters in Regency England where women by law could not inherit property and had few other means to earn a livelihood.

When Mrs. Bennet hears the neighborhood gossip of a young single man who is coming to rent the neighborhood's grand estate of Netherfield Park, her thoughts quickly turn to matchmaking. As the quote suggests and Mrs. Bennet fervently believes, a single man who is able to afford an estate of that size must be on the market for a wife because he presumably needs a wife to produce an heir, host guests, and throw parties suiting his social status.

First Impressions

She is tolerable; but not handsome enough to tempt me; I am in no humour at present to give consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other men. You had better return to your partner and enjoy her smiles, for you are wasting your time with me. Mr. Darcy to Mr. Bingley about Elizabeth Bennet, Chapter 3

Mr. Darcy allows his initial prejudice against people of a lower social class to deem Elizabeth Bennet an unsuitable dance partner. He is used to his friend, Mr. Bingley, ingratiating himself into whatever social situation he encounters without care for his status or reputation. Mr. Darcy does not know Elizabeth overhears this comment and takes offense. Her good nature allows her to see the humor in the situation, but she also forms a bad first impression of Darcy. She later mocks his bad behavior to his cousin, Colonel Fitzwilliam, at Rosings Park. Darcy justifies himself by stating that he did not dance because he didn't know anyone besides his 'own party' there, to which Elizabeth tartly replies, 'and no one could be introduced at a ball!'.

Of course, this is a love story, and Darcy soon finds himself falling for Elizabeth in spite of himself, which sets him up for a rude awakening when he proposes.

Pride before a Fall

You are mistaken, Mr. Darcy, if you suppose that the mode of your declaration affected me in any other way, than as it spared me the concern which I might have felt in refusing you, had you behaved in a more gentlemanlike manner. Elizabeth Bennet to Mr. Darcy, Chapter 11

In this quote, Elizabeth refuses Mr. Darcy's first marriage proposal because of the way he insults her by demeaning her family and his interference in Jane Bennet's romantic attachment to Mr. Bingley. Elizabeth Bennet does not hold back; she lets loose all her feelings of prejudice and indignation on Mr. Darcy. Mr. Darcy prides himself on being a gentleman. This venomous strike to his sense of self-worth stays with him throughout the rest of the novel and is one of the key factors in causing him to rethink his attitude toward others.

Pride and Prejudice Thompson

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