Pride and Prejudice

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

The second novel by the Genre Savvy, snarky Jane Austen -- a Take That at Love At First Sight.

Elizabeth Bennet is the second of the five daughters of Mr. and Mrs. Bennet, upper-middle-class gentry who live in Longbourn, a small estate in rural England at the time of the Napoleonic Wars. Her father is a cynical, snarky recluse, her mother is a fatuous, rather ill-bred airhead obsessed with her daughters' futures, and her elder sister Jane is a sweet-natured beauty. Her younger sisters, by contrast, are uniformly 'silly': pretentious, bookish Mary; giggly, easily-led Kitty; and uncontrollable, foolish Lydia.

The story follows the Bennets and their attempts to marry for love, despite being in a position from which this was severely impractical. While Jane quickly falls for the well-off, good-natured newcomer Mr. Bingley, Elizabeth must decide on her feelings for the well-connected but unctuous vicar Mr. Collins[1], the dashing, penniless, and self-deprecating foot soldier Mr. Wickham[2], and Bingley's friend, Mr. Darcy, who to all appearances is a cold-blooded and arrogant bore[3]. Meanwhile, Lydia causes trouble for everyone, and Elizabeth and Darcy learn a lesson or two about first impressions and making assumptions.

Jane Austen's most famous novel, possessing one of the best-known opening lines of all time, is a sharp, witty, insightful and straightforward romance, both mindful and mocking of sexual politics as they relate to social mores. It has been adapted into several movies and TV series; the 1995 BBC serial will forever see generations of women swoon over Colin Firth as the most romantic man alive whether he particularly wants them to or not, and the 2005 movie saw Keira Knightley star as Elizabeth and Matthew Macfayden as Darcy. In 2009, Marvel Illustrated produced a Comic Book Adaptation, script by Nancy Butler, pencils by Hugo Petrus, and covers by Sonny Liew.

As a famous public domain novel, it was subjected to nerd-ification in 2009 with the publishing of Pride and Prejudice And Zombies. Many modern writers have picked up where Austen left off, trying their hand at publishing Continuation stories about Darcy and Elizabeth as well as some of the minor characters.

More recently, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, a modernized adaption (headed in part by Hank Green), began airing on YouTube in the form of a video blog. An unofficial thriller sequel, Death Comes to Pemberley, has been written by P.D. James in 2011.

By the way, the title refers to the two qualities that keep Darcy and Elizabeth from getting together. "Pride" is usually associated with Darcy (his initial snobbery toward those considered beneath him in rank or social class) and "prejudice" with Elizabeth (her judging both Darcy and Wickham based just on first impressions and hearsay, without really knowing either of them); however, they each display both qualities. Now you know.


It is a trope universally acknowledged:[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Affably Evil: Wickham is terribly charming, even after everyone knows what a scumbag he is.
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Mrs. Bennet, so very much. Her unsubtle attempts to set her daughters up with prospective husbands - especially in the case of Jane and Mr. Bingley, acting as if they are already engaged after they've just met - is mortifying to her two older daughters. The younger ones are just as embarrassing as her. The consequences of this behavior are more serious than usual because Jane's embarrassing family is one of the major reason why Darcy persuaded Mr. Bingley not to marry Jane.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: Darcy's might be the most famous of all.
  • Arch Enemy: Wickham for Darcy
  • Attention Whore: Mary and Lydia, each in her own way.
  • Awesome McCoolname: Fitzwilliam Darcy
  • Babies Ever After: In the letter where Mr. Collins warns Mr. Bennet that Lady Catherine disapproves of Elizabeth marrying Darcy, he mentions that Charlotte is pregnant.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Often played completely straight in adaptations which condense the story because of time constraints. In the original novel, though, it's only from Darcy's end; Elizabeth actually dislikes Darcy strongly for a while and only begins to warm to him halfway through the novel, after which point their interaction is much less belligerent.
  • Beta Couple: Jane Bennet and Mr. Bingley, to the readers. To the characters within the story, it's Lizzy and Darcy.
    • Played with, in fact, in a way strongly reminiscent of Much Ado About Nothing, with Jane/Bingley resembling Claudio/Hero (fall in love quickly, sweet, rather simple-minded, driven apart and together again by forces beyond their control or understanding) and Lizzie/Darcy resembling Beatrice/Benedick (mentors to nominal alpha couple, initially dislike each other but grow to love each other, more control over their fates.)
  • Big Brother Instinct: Darcy for his little sister Georgiana.
  • Big Brother Worship: Georgiana more or less thinks her brother is flawless.
  • Big Fancy House: Rosings and Pemberley, although Elizabeth is pleased to see that Pemberley is actually not overly fancy. Netherfield also qualifies, though to a lesser extent.
  • Birds of a Feather: The marriages of all three of the Bennet sisters work like this; a running Jane Austen theme is that love is a combination of esteem, friendship, and like-mindedness. (Although in the case of Lydia, they have the like-mindedness but not necessarily the mutual esteem or friendship, as it's clear that she is much more into Wickham than he is into her.)
    • Subverted with Mr. and Mrs. Bennet, and with Charlotte and Mr. Collins. Of course, Charlotte keeps Mr. Collins ignorant of this fact; he even comments to Elizabeth that he and Charlotte "are of but one mind and one way of thinking. We seem to have been designed for each other."
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Wickham is a male version.
  • Blue Blood: The de Bourghs. Though all of the important characters are from land owning families and thus considered "gentry," only one is titled. Sir William's title is not of the hereditary sort, so of the cast only Lady Catherine is an actual aristocrat. (Her father was an earl, and her brother - Colonel Fitzwilliam's father - now holds the title.)
  • Bookworm: Mr. Bennet and Mary Bennet. And Elizabeth to a lesser extent.
  • Bratty Teenage Daughter: Lydia. 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.
    • All three of the younger daughters are seen as this, in different ways: Mary is one because of her pompous moralizing and general self-involved attitude; she works for accomplishments and praise because she's the least attractive of the five girls, and receives less attention than her prettier sisters. Kitty tends to follow in Lydia's footsteps and as such is a milder version of her. It's suggested that Kitty improves, once Lydia's out of the picture and she's fallen under the considerably-better influence of her two oldest sisters. It's also suggested that Mary improves; she has to be her mother's companion, so she's forced to socialize more, and with the others out of the house she's no longer identified as the plain daughter, which makes her feel better about herself. Word of God outside of the novel notes that the improvements to their respective characters lead them to some good futures (see What Happened to the Mouse?, below).
  • Break the Haughty: Darcy, obviously. In one spectacular confrontation scene, Elizabeth does this to Lady Catherine as well. Although not overly haughty, Elizabeth's not immune; her own pride (specifically, in her ability to instantly judge someone based on first impressions - the prejudice of the novel's title) takes a denting over the course of the novel.
  • Brilliant but Lazy: Mr. Bennet.
  • Captain Obvious: Many of Mary's lectures.
  • Casanova: Wickham
  • Character Development
  • Christmas Cake: The looming threat of Jane's future, and Charlotte Lucas.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Caroline Bingley
  • Cannot Spit It Out: The adorable scene at Mr. Collins' house, where Darcy makes the most incredibly awkward conversational gambits ever heard by human ears.
  • Comic Book Adaptation: Got one courtesy of Marvel.
  • Composite Character: Bingley's two sisters are frequently melded into one sister in adaptations.
  • Control Freak: There is only one way to do absolutely anything, and that is Lady Catherine de Bourgh's way... in her mind, at least. This leads to tension when she eventually meets Elizabeth Bennet, who isn't particularly inclined to let Lady Catherine or anyone bully her about.
  • Cool Big Sis: Jane, to Elizabeth in particular, since the younger three tend to tune them out a lot. The ending indicates that Kitty eventually regards both Jane and Elizabeth in this light.
    • Elizabeth also becomes this to Georgiana Darcy.
  • Dances and Balls
  • Dead Guy, Junior: An extremely subtle example of the trope. Lady Catherine's daughter's name is Anne, which was also the name of her sister, Darcy's mother. A slight subversion of the trope, however, since Lady Anne was still alive when her niece and namesake was born.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Elizabeth, who takes after her father in that regard ("For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbors, and laugh at them in our turn?").
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Darcy is a male version. Elizabeth has some aspects of it as well.
  • The Ditz: Lydia Bennet. Mrs. Bennet is no great intellect either, for that matter, and neither is Mr. Collins.
  • Domestic Abuse: In the 2005 movie, a background event suggests this is the future of the Wickhams' relationship. The director's commentary states it unequivocally.
  • Double Standard: In Elizabeth's mind, Charlotte's agreeing to marry Mr. Collins in exchange for a comfortable home and a modicum of respectability represents "a betrayal of every better feeling". Wickham's decision to court the heiress Mary King despite the fact that he'd been uninterested in her before she inherited money, on the other hand, is simply a matter of pragmatism. The narrator does call Elizabeth out on this.
    • Although this could be seen as a way for Elizabeth to deal with the news - she was interested in him initially, and might now want to be seen to be calm and not allow herself to be upset...
  • Dreadful Musician: Keep Mary away from your piano. Please. (In the book, Mary is a technically accomplished but unemotional pianist. In movie versions, however, she is more often portrayed as just a bad musician. Her singing voice is best avoided in both.) By the way, this advice is easier said than done; Mary is one of the 'self-deluding' types.
  • The Dung Ages: The 2005 movie hewed more closely to this; also in that adaptation, Caroline invokes it when criticizing Elizabeth.

Did you see her hem? Six inches deep in mud. She looked positively medieval.

  • Elopement: Wickham convinces Georgiana Darcy into one, his main motive being her fortune of thirty thousand pounds. The plan falls apart when a guilt-ridden Georgiana confesses it to her brother, who then writes to Wickham to tell him that his sister is off limits. Later, Wickham actually does elope with Lydia Bennet, who is saved from being Defiled Forever by marrying him.
  • Everyone Can See It: Bingley and Jane, despite how discreet they both are. The fact that everyone is talking about it is what prompts Darcy to intervene.
    • Averted with Darcy and Elizabeth. The Gardiners' understandable conclusions aside, not even Jane believes Lizzy when she first tells her they are engaged, and takes some convincing that Lizzy does love Darcy in truth. This is partly because everyone except the Gardiners was around when Darcy and Elizabeth first met and did nothing but bicker, whereas when the Gardiners finally meet Darcy, Elizabeth's feelings have considerably warmed to him and Darcy is making a conscious effort to present himself in a more humble and agreeable fashion, thus enabling them to see what everyone else couldn't.
  • Evil Matriarch: Lady Catherine is more or less trying to set herself up as this.
  • Expy: Wickham and Lady Catherine are strikingly similar to Willoughby and Mrs. Ferrars of Sense and Sensibility, and Jane and Bingley's relationship bears similarities to that of Edward and Elinor; in fact, half the trouble in P&P is caused by Darcy's mistaking Jane's level of affection for Bingley.
  • Female Gaze: Darcy's introduction
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: The younger sisters, headed by Lydia, are the Foolish sisters, while Jane and Elizabeth are the Responsible sisters.
  • Giftedly Bad: As mentioned before, Mary's singing. Or Mary in general, really; she also fancies herself as extremely clever and profound, when her "insights" are usually cases of either stating the obvious and/or obnoxious, unnecessary moralizing that no one wants to hear.
  • The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry: Subverted with Jane and Elizabeth; while Jane is the 'pretty' one (although not herself unintelligent) and Elizabeth is the 'smart' one (although not unattractive), they're incredibly close, the best of friends and barely have a cross word in the entire novel. Played straighter with Lydia ('pretty') and Mary ('smart', although not as smart as she thinks she is), who are often bickering and sniping at each other -- the novel doesn't take sides, however, and points out that they're both as bad as each other.
  • Gold Digger: Wickham hopes to secure his fortune by marrying a woman with money.
    • Mrs. Bennet might not be one (it's never entirely clear), but she certainly encourages her daughters to follow the same philosophy.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Mr. Darcy; he is a kind man, but cool and distant to those he considers beneath him. This changes, obviously.
  • Gorgeous Period Dress: Most of the movies and TV adaptations prior to 2005.
  • Good-Looking Privates: A good portion of the plot is driven by the fact that girls go crazy over a man in a red coat. After the arrival of the militia, Kitty and Lydia lost interest in anything other than military men.
  • Gossip Evolution: Shortly before the first ball Bingley attends in his new neighborhood, he makes a brief visit to town. Someone guesses that he went there to collect friends to bring to the ball, and this rapidly turns into a rumor that he's going to bring twelve ladies and seven gentlemen. (He does bring some friends, but not nearly that many.)
  • Grande Dame: Lady Catherine de Bourgh
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Caroline Bingley's venomous spite towards Elizabeth is based mainly on the fact that Elizabeth, unlike Caroline, managed to catch Darcy's eye.
  • Have a Gay Old Time: Some of the language and dialogue used makes for amusing reading when looked at through modern eyes. Possibly the funniest is Mr. Bennet's remarks about Wickham, when he and Lydia have left to join his northern regiment.

Mr. Bennet: He's as fine a fellow as ever I saw. He simpers and smirks and makes love to us all.

  • Heterosexual Life Partners: Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley.
  • Hidden Depths: There's a reason the original title was First Impressions.
  • Hollywood Costuming: Sometimes the Gorgeous Period Dress in adaptations was from the wrong period; in the 1940 adaptation, the Bennet girls are dressed in 1860s hoop skirts and are all wearing heavy cosmetic makeup in the 1940s style, complete with false eyelashes and dark shiny red lipstick. It may have been necessary, given that Elizabeth and Darcy were played in that adaptation by actors well into their forties.
    • It should also be noted that in this instance, the costumes were recycled from Gone with the Wind - the studio was on the verge of bankruptcy and had to take as many shortcuts as they could.
  • Hypocritical Humor: The novel is packed with it:
    • Mrs. Bennet is quite fond of rewriting history to retroactively change her opinions and make it look like she's always right, particularly when it comes to prospective/not-so-prospective sons-in-law.
    • Similarly, Mr. Collins, when he declares his love for Elizabeth, says that as soon as he saw her he knew she was the only one for him - despite her being his second choice, after hearing that Jane was "soon to be engaged".
    • Note also how Wickham insists that he takes no pleasure in "revealing" Darcy's true character and is reluctant to do so, but takes every opportunity he can to spread his sad (and untrue) story.
    • Lady Catherine is a self-proclaimed expert on music fond of lecturing people as to their playing, despite having never learned an instrument herself.
    • Miss Bingley, who wants Darcy for herself, 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.
  • I Do Not Speak Nonverbal: Kitty asks loudly why her mother keeps winking at her.
  • I Love You Because I Can't Control You: A big part of Darcy's attraction to Elizabeth is the fact that, unlike Caroline Bingley and others of her ilk, Elizabeth sees no need to try and impress him just because he's single and wealthy.
  • Ill Girl: Anne de Bourgh is "of a sickly constitution," possibly a defense against her overbearing mother. Living with Lady Catherine would make anybody ill.
  • Innocent Inaccurate: Elizabeth, being the protagonist, is the reader's primary window into the world of the story, and we have limited opportunities to form opinions of characters other than through her. Thus, the reader has no choice but to share her good opinion of Wickham and her poor opinion of Darcy, until Darcy's letter reveals the truth to both her and the reader.
  • Inter Class Romance: Lady Catherine throws a hissy fit over someone as (relatively) low-class as Elizabeth marrying Mr. Darcy. Elizabeth wins this by exposing Lady Catherine not as a snob, but an idiot: "He is a gentleman; I am a gentleman's daughter. Thus far, we are equal." This is absolutely true: Mr. Bennet is a landowner, an esquire, just like Darcy (he just owns less, or less profitable land); they are of exactly the same social class. That some modern readers fail to understand that 'class' in the 1790s was defined by where your money came from, not how much you made, is understandable, but for Lady Catherine to forget it (or at least expect Elizabeth not to realize it) makes her a complete ass as well as a bully.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Aside from his own feelings of responsibility for not speaking out against Mr. Wickham, the main reason Mr. Darcy goes to the trouble of making Wickham marry Lydia Bennet - which requires him to pay off Wickham's debts and buy a military commission for him even though he justifiably can't stand the man and previously refused to support him any further - is to make Elizabeth happy.
  • I Was Quite a Looker: Mrs. Bennet; apparently, in her youth, it was one of the main things going for her. And unfortunately for Mr. Bennet, he married her for shallow reasons such as that.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Darcy, initially. Lampshaded by Elizabeth, who complains, in comparing Darcy and Wickham, that one has all the goodness while the other has all the appearance of it. May be the Ur Example in the romance genre.
  • Karma Houdini: Wickham -- Austen's Happily Ever After endings always seem to be tempered by at least one of these.
    • If you consider being married to Lydia and being all but exiled to Northern England as getting away scot-free...
    • Lydia also counts as one of these. She gets away with a lot of bad behavior, including her elopement with Wickham, scot-free, and doesn't even realize that she's done anything wrong at all. There is, however, a slight subversion at the end, as actually being Lydia, and living with Wickham, with nothing in her head but a list of fashion items, is probably a punishment in itself. The fact that she is exiled far away enough that Jane and Elizabeth don't have to see much of her is such a victory for them that the fact that she doesn't get her comeuppance matters surprisingly little.
      • It could be that Lydia is a lot like Peg Bundy and the Bundy Curse; she's actually part of Wickham's punishment, therefore it's not all that important if she herself gets punished.
  • Kissing Cousins:
    • Lady Catherine's plans for Mr. Darcy and her daughter.
    • Mr. Collins' plan to make a charitable gesture to the Bennets involves his marrying one of the Bennet sisters, though the exact relationship between them is unclear; the term "cousin," in the 18th century and earlier, was liberally applied to all manner of relatives, so the only thing certain is that he is a male-line relative of Mr. Bennet.
  • Know-Nothing Know-It-All: Mary.
  • Last-Name Basis: And rightfully so -- Darcy's Christian name is mentioned twice in the book, and it's Fitzwilliam. (On an educational note, Fitzwilliam is his mother's maiden name. At the time, it was very common for eldest sons to be given their mother's maiden name as a first name, especially if their mother was a woman of some prominence - which Lady Anne was.)
  • Leave the Two Lovebirds Alone: Mrs. Bennet very unsubtly arranges for Jane and Mr. Bingley to have plenty of time alone together.
    • Earlier in the book, she does the same thing to allow Mr. Collins to propose to Elizabeth, to Lizzy's dismay.
    • Mr. Bingley does the same for Elizabeth and Darcy, only a little more subtly, near the end of the novel.
  • Licensed Game: It's the primary one of the three Austen novels that gets mashed up in the PC game Matches and Matrimony.
  • Literary Allusion Title: From the novel Cecilia by Frances Burney.
  • Literary Necrophilia:
    • There are countless sequels by various authors. Apparently a lot of readers didn't like never seeing Lizzy and Darcy consummate their relationship (though seeing as they got married, it's implied that they did). Hence, many of these sequels revolve around Lizzy and Darcy as newlyweds and all that implies.
    • There are also several variations of the original novel told from Mr. Darcy's point of view.
  • Loners Are Freaks: Mary Bennet.
  • Love Dodecahedron: Charlotte marries Mr. Collins, who proposed to Elizabeth, who is also being pursued by Darcy and Wickham, who also goes after Mary King and then Lydia, and Caroline is after Darcy, whom Lady Catherine ships with her daughter. At the same time, Mr. Collins briefly pursues Jane until he learns she's going to marry Mr. Bingley, so he then proposes to Elizabeth but finally ends up with Charlotte Lucas, whom Lady Lucas wanted to marry Mr. Bingley...
  • Love Epiphany: After struggling with her feelings for several months, Elizabeth has a very uncomfortable epiphany after Lydia running off with Mr. Wickham leaves her convinced that Mr. Darcy could not possibly ever want to marry her now:

"It was [...] exactly calculated to make her understand her own wishes; and never had she so honestly felt that she could have loved him, as now, when all love must be vain."

  • 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.
  • Malicious Slander: Wickham accuses Darcy of denying him a valuable living out of petty spite; this is Serious Business for the times.
  • Marry for Love: Jane and Elizabeth both express a longing to do this.
  • The Matchmaker
  • Meaningful Name: Darcy ('dark').
  • The Messiah: Jane
  • Middle Child Syndrome: Poor Mary and Kitty.
  • The Musical: First Impressions, a 1959 Broadway flop starring Farley Granger as Darcy.
  • My Friends and Zoidberg: After Elizabeth's firm (and repeated) rejection of his proposals, Mr. Collins wishes all of his cousins well, "not excepting my cousin Elizabeth." It's the first of many Take Thats he aims in her direction thereafter. Of course, because he's such an insufferable plank (and not least because of the whole repeated rejection thing), Lizzy has little difficulty shrugging them off.
  • Nice Guy: Mr. Bingley. Jane Bennet is a female example. Colonel Fitzwilliam also qualifies.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: If it weren't for Lady Catherine's concerted effort to prevent Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth from marrying, each of them might have gone on indefinitely convinced that there was no chance of the other returning their feelings.
  • 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 oblige requires him to be courteous and considerate to those who are very much his social inferiors and dependent on him.
  • No Accounting for Taste: Mr. and Mrs. Bennet; Mr. Collins and Charlotte (although Charlotte's choice is clearly shown as "I'm 27, I don't have any money, and I'm not beautiful, so I have to take who I can get.")
  • No Hugging, No Kissing: Though they sure are "making love" a lot, the meaning was slightly different back then...
  • Not So Different: Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy have one thing in common - they can both be exceedingly stubborn.
  • No Woman's Land: Except in very rare cases (Anne de Bourgh, as heiress of the Rosings property, was such an exception), women could not inherit property back then, and it is made very clear that if the Bennet girls do not marry well then their future will be fairly dim. We tend to romanticize the era, but make no mistake, it sucked being a woman during the Regency Period.
    • Part of Collins' "generous" plan regarding the Bennets is that, as the father's closest remaining male relative, he will be the one to inherit their family property eventually, and marrying one of the Bennet daughters would allow the money to keep supporting the family. So in truth, it really is a fairly generous plan; unfortunately, he's so obnoxious that the prospect is unbearable for his chosen object.
  • Oblivious to Love: Elizabeth initially has no idea that Darcy is interested in her (although to be fair, he's not exactly that good at expressing it) and she continually mistakes his interest in her as disapproval.
    • Although not really present in the original novel, some later adaptations tend to run with the idea that Mary was secretly in love with Mr. Collins; however, he was blind to her affections and too occupied in punching over his weight in chasing after Elizabeth to notice. Considering the personalities of the respective characters, this isn't an implausible idea even in the text of the novel: it is said that Mary appreciates Mr. Collins more than the rest, and there is a brief moment, after Elizabeth's rejection, when it is thought that Mr. Collins would propose to Mary, who was not opposed to the possibility.
  • Odd Friendship: Darcy and Bingley
  • Only Sane Man: Compared to their sisters, mother, father (to a lesser extent) and many of the other characters in the novel, both Elizabeth and Jane came across as calm, sensible and thoroughly down-to-earth young women with their heads firmly screwed on their shoulders. This does not, mean, however, that they're without their own respective issues; Elizabeth is inclined to be a bit blinded by her own cynical certainty that expecting the worst of people is the best way to approach things, while Jane is shy, good-natured and retiring almost to a fault.
  • Opposites Attract: Darcy and Bingley again
  • Parental Favoritism: Lizzy is her father's favorite, Lydia is her mother's. This provides quite an insight into their respective characters. (The other three sisters: Jane is universally liked, Mary is universally ignored and Kitty is universally hushed.)
    • The Unfavorite: Likewise, Lizzy is the "least dear to [Mrs. Bennet] of all her children," and while Mr. Bennet is derogatory of his younger daughters in general, he's most so with Lydia.
  • 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.
    • 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.
  • Passive-Aggressive Kombat: Expected in polite society.
  • Platonic Life Partners: Elizabeth and Colonel Fitzwilliam develop this relationship. They have great friendly chemistry during their time in Kent (which most likely continues after Elizabeth's marriage to Darcy), and possibly some mutual romantic feelings as well; but Colonel Fitzwilliam makes it clear (in a subtle fashion) that, as a younger son of a nobleman, he cannot marry whom he chooses, and so they remain friends.
  • Playing Against Type: Jena Malone as Lydia in the 2005 film. She usually plays reserved good-girl types.
  • Playing Sick: Mrs. Bennet and her "poor nerves."
  • Poor Communication Kills: What would a romantic comedy be without it?
  • Pre-Approved Sermon: Lady Catherine to Mr. Collins.
  • 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.
  • Promotion to Parent: Mr. Darcy and his cousin Colonel Fitzwilliam for Darcy's little sister Georgiana.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Lizzy's reaction to the Anguished Declaration of Love.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Lydia sees absolutely no reason why anyone should be upset after she ran away from Brighton with Wickham, and was living with him, unmarried, in London for weeks (which was something almost unthinkable in Jane Austen's time). Yet she not only sees no problem with it, she boasts about it, thinks she's done something praiseworthy, demands such praise from her sisters, and can't understand why her elder sisters and father are a little cold to her. It gets so bad that Elizabeth actually has to leave the room when Lydia's talking at one point because she's physically sickened by her.
  • Rich Bitch: Bingley's sisters are constantly snide, condescending and haughty, Caroline especially. It's implied that they're a bit Nouveau Riche and are making up for their recent good fortune with excessive snobbery.
  • Self-Made Man: Mr. Gardiner
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness:
    • Mr. Collins
    • Bingley accuses Darcy of it, saying "he studies far too much for words of four syllables" when writing his letters. It seems likely from the context that he's just teasing Darcy, though.
  • Settle for Sibling: Attempted by Mr. Collins but narrowly averted.
  • Shotgun Wedding: Lydia and Wickham
  • Shipper on Deck:
    • Caroline Bingley tries to ship her brother with Georgiana Darcy, mostly in order to help her own pursuit of Mr. Darcy.
    • Meanwhile, Charlotte ships Elizabeth/Darcy almost from the beginning.
    • Lady Catherine makes a comically unsuccessful attempt to ship her daughter with Darcy.
  • Shrinking Violet: Georgiana Darcy.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Jane and Elizabeth Bennet; proud Mr. Darcy and timid Georgiana.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man
  • Slap Slap Kiss: Mocked via Lizzy in response to Mr. Collins. So Miss Austen, at least, thought this trope was already being overused more than 200 years ago.
  • Slut Shaming: Lydia's fling almost ruins her entire family.
  • Smug Snake: Whilst not exactly a villain, Mr. Collins is this in almost every other respect. Lady Catherine de Bourgh (especially in the film adaptations) would probably be a more direct match.
  • The Snark Knight: Lizzy
  • Spell My Name with a Blank: Wickham joins the ___shire Regiment, and Colonel Fitzwilliam is the younger son of Earl ____.
  • Spirited Young Lady: Lizzy again. She's probably the Trope Codifier.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Darcy, temporarily.
  • 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!"
  • Stupid Good: Jane Bennet. She would totally defend any poor defenseless hellspawn (read: Caroline Bingley). The trope doesn't mean the character is literally stupid, however.
    • Even Jane realizes what bad eggs Bingley's sisters are when they deign to visit her in London.
  • Sugary Malice: Bingley's sisters pretty much live and breathe this trope, but nearly everyone is guilty of it at least once or twice. The only exceptions are Jane and Georgiana (and Anne de Bourgh, mostly because she never speaks).
  • Surrounded by Idiots: On occasions when both Elizabeth and Jane are absent from Longbourn, Mr. Bennet feels this way while stuck at home with his wife and three youngest daughters -- so much so that when Elizabeth leaves to visit the Collinses, he tells her to write often and almost promises to answer. (Since he abhors writing letters, this is a big deal.)
  • Take That: Many hilarious jabs that Mr. Darcy takes against Caroline whenever she feels like belittling Elizabeth. The best are when Caroline accuses Elizabeth of deliberately walking to Netherfield in order to make a scene, to which Darcy points out that a woman using underhanded tactics to get a man's attention is indeed despicable; and when she hints that perhaps the walk has lessened Darcy's estimation of Elizabeth's "fine eyes," he casually replies, "Not at all, they were brightened by the exercise."
    • Also parodied here.
  • Tall, Dark and Snarky: Mr. Darcy, by dint of being tall, dark, and snarky.
  • Technician Versus Performer: Mary and Lizzy, when it comes to playing the piano.
  • The Thing That Would Not Leave: Lydia and Wickham at the end for the Bingleys.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Elizabeth and Jane, respectively.
  • Troubled but Cute: Darcy is repeatedly referred to as more handsome than he is charming.
  • True Art Is Incomprehensible: A blink-and-you'll-miss-it example In-Universe. During Elizabeth's tour of Pemberley, she gives up on admiring the professional pieces of art in favor of Georgiana's childhood scribbles, "whose subjects were usually more interesting, and also more intelligible." Austen - The Snark Knight - strikes again.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Especially in the second half of the book.
  • The Vamp: Wickham is a male version of this trope.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Wickham, whose easy manners and charm (combined with Darcy's reticence) allow him to paint himself as the wronged party in his relationship with Darcy.
  • Wall Glower: Darcy makes a bad first impression on everybody by refusing to dance.
  • Weddings for Everyone
  • Well, Excuse Me, Princess!: Elizabeth
  • What Beautiful Eyes!: Mr. Darcy admires Elizabeth's "fine eyes."
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: A character version, since the novel doesn't describe Mary or Kitty's long-term futures; it says only that Kitty spends most of her time with Elizabeth and Jane, and Mary is therefore called on to keep their mother company most of the time. Poor Mary. In letters to her nieces and nephews, Austen said that Mary eventually married a clerk in Meryton, and Kitty married a gentleman she met while visiting Pemberley. This sounds like bad luck for Mary but if the clerk thinks she's wonderful and gives her the affection and attention she craves she'll be happy.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Jane
  • Will They or Won't They?: Elizabeth and Darcy, and Jane and Bingley.
  • Writing Around Trademarks: By the time Miss Austen finally decided to publish First Impressions, another novel was already on the shelves with that title. This is why you shouldn't procrastinate, kids.
    • Actually, she would have published more than a decade earlier if her publisher had let her. And it was two novels that had already hit shelves, not just one.
  • Wrong Guy First: Wickham is so not the fella for you, Lizzy.
  • Yamato Nadeshiko: Jane Bennet is the English version of this, AKA the Proper Lady trope incarnate.
  • You Keep Telling Yourself That: Jane insists to Elizabeth that she's not in love with Bingley anymore, she just thinks he's the kindest, handsomest man she's ever met, and always will regard him as "the most amiable man of my acquaintance" but they can totally just be friends now that she knows he's not in love with her. Lizzy laughs in her face.
  1. she can't stand the man, and makes no secret of it
  2. who isn't quite so dashing after all
  3. ...or not