Pride and Prejudice


Key Quotes

1. “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

This line begins the novel, introduces the main theme, and sets the satirical tone of the work. It is a humorous assertion because of what is left out (and is thus an ironic assertion, as well). What is left out is the sense that this “truth” is universally acknowledged among women. However, men with good sense, such as Mr. Bennet, are just as likely to hold such opinions (if only to make life easier for them in the home), which is why he is the first to pay a visit to the newly installed wealthy young man named Mr. Bingley. After all, Mr. Bennet does have a number of daughters.

2. “They have none of them much to recommend them. They are all silly and ignorant like other girls; but Lizzy has something more of quickness than her sisters.”—chapter 1

This line is stated by Mr. Bennet and is his attempt to both assert his views on his daughters (his favorite of whom is Elizabeth) as well as to exasperate his wife, which he finds to be a rather amusing exercise. The statement may be regarded as sardonic, but there is very likely much truth to it as well, as the novel bears out. Lizzy’s quickness is often viewed as one of her chief attributes, but it does invite trouble on occasion.

3. “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.”—chapter 5

These lines are stated by Mary Bennet, who is discussing the matter with her family and the Lucases. The topic of the conversation is Darcy. Mary illustrates her depth of perception by drawing a distinction between pride and vanity, and gives the listeners as well as the reader a lesson on vocabulary and definition.

4. “What are men to rocks and...

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Essays About Pride and Prejudice