Jane Austen is one of the most beloved classic authors, known for weaving together honest and engaging love stories. And among all her thought-provoking novels, perhaps no other character has captured our hearts like the strong-willed Elizabeth Bennet. 

Pride and Prejudice, where Lizzy Bennet leads, is undoubtedly the most popular of Austen’s works, and the book has spawned 17 film adaptations that lure new generations of audiences each time. 

11 Thought-Provoking Pride and Prejudice Quotes 

Here are some of our favorite quotes from this timeless literary gem: 

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

Right from the opening line, Austen throws us what she calls a “universally acknowledged” truth. While the idea she presents may come across to readers as absurd, it challenges us to think about our own beliefs while establishing the theme of advantageous marriages.

“Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously. A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves, vanity to what we would have others think of us.”

In Chapter 5, the girls are discussing Mr. Darcy and what they perceived as his pride. This quote offers interesting insight into how vanity and pride operate.  

“Nothing is more deceitful… than the appearance of humility. It is often only carelessness of opinion, and sometimes an indirect boast.”

Through this line, delivered by Mr. Darcy in the middle of a conversation with Mr. Bingley and Elizabeth, Austen is able to insert her personal ideas about false humility. 

“But people themselves alter so much, that there is something new to be observed in them forever.”

Early in the book, Elizabeth reveals her penchant for forming quick opinions by telling Mr. Bingley that she already “understands him perfectly.” Mr. Bingley then throws this important idea at her, but the topic shifts so suddenly that we don’t think it really made its mark. If it had, it might’ve spared Elizabeth all the troubles she experiences in the rest of the book! 

“Your defect is to hate everybody.”

“And yours,” he replied with a smile, “is willfully to misunderstand them.”

In Chapter 11, we witness one of the verbal sparring sessions between Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth. This quote sums up how they view each other at this point in the story, setting up the perfect enemies to lovers theme. 

“I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of anything than of a book! — When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.”

Austen is an expert at writing ironic statements. This quote was said by Miss Bingley in Chapter 11, but instead of stating an authentic love for books, it was actually meant to start up a conversation with Mr. Darcy. If you read the full scene, you’ll see that after no one responds to her comment, she ends up yawning and throwing aside her book! 

But, if you would like to make a dramatic declaration about how much you love reading, this may work—just make sure you don’t say it to someone who’s actually read Pride and Prejudice!

“There are few people whom I really love, and still fewer of whom I think well. 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 merit or sense.”

This quote from Chapter 24 gives readers a glimpse into Elizabeth’s heart, and perhaps her disillusionment with life. If you’ve also had a similar experience, it’s easy to relate to this passage! 

“How despicably I have acted!” she cried; “I, who have prided myself on my discernment! I, who have valued myself on my abilities! Who have often disdained the generous candour of my sister, and gratified my vanity in useless or blameable mistrust! How humiliating is this discovery! Yet, how just a humiliation! Had I been in love, I could not have been more wretchedly blind. But vanity, not love, has been my folly. Pleased with the preference of one, and offended by the neglect of the other, on the very beginning of our acquaintance, I have courted prepossession and ignorance, and driven reason away, where either were concerned. Till this moment I never knew myself.”

By this point in the book, Elizabeth Bennet harbors hatred for Mr. Darcy for the role he played in breaking up Mr. Bingley and her sister Jane, plus his poor treatment of George Wickham. Then, she receives a letter that explains his behavior, and instead of just changing her opinion of Mr. Darcy, she’s also forced to come to terms with her own character. 

“Do not give way to useless alarm… though it is right to be prepared for the worst, there is no occasion to look on it as certain.”

In this scene, the Bennet family are all astir from Lydia’s suspected marriage with George Wickham. Looks like this timeless nugget of wisdom can benefit us too! 

“You taught me a lesson, hard indeed at first, but most advantageous. By you, I was properly humbled.”

Near the end of the book, Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth meet again, and he gives a lengthy explanation for his former actions. But the highlight may be that he expresses humility in learning his lesson at her hands. 

“How little of permanent happiness could belong to a couple who were only brought together because their passions were stronger than their virtue.”

Fifty chapters into the story, Austen inserts this little nugget while talking about Elizabeth’s sister Lydia, who eloped with George Wickham after what seemed to be a whirlwind courtship. 

What Is the Main Message of Pride and Prejudice?

Through the love story of the prideful Mr. Darcy and the quick-to-judge Elizabeth Bennet, we get a glimpse of how personal biases can stand in the way of building relationships with other people. 

Jane Austen expertly weaves her characters’ thought processes into the dialogue and scenes, and also takes the characters on a journey of transformation to set their pride and prejudice aside in order to notice and appreciate each other’s better qualities. 

Do Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy Get Married? 

Perhaps one of the biggest questions that comes to mind when we see a potential couple with so many differences to settle is, do they ever get married

Spoiler alert! If you are currently reading the book and don’t want to know the ending, you can stop reading now. But if you just want to know how the story ends, then by all means, scroll on. 

Yes, they do get married and settle in Pemberley. Hope that satisfies you! But then again, is there really such a thing as happily ever after?

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