" /> Elizabeth Bennet Quotes: Pride and Prejudice - 272 Quotes with Analysis

Elizabeth Bennet Quotes

"Oh! you are a great deal too apt, you know, to like people in general. You never see a fault in anybody. All the world are good and agreeable in your eyes. I never heard you speak ill of a human being in your life."
"I would not wish to be hasty in censuring anyone; but I always speak what I think."
"I know you do; and it is that which makes the wonder. With your good sense, to be so honestly blind to the follies and nonsense of others! Affectation of candour is common enough – one meets with it everywhere. But to be candid without ostentation or design – to take the good of everybody’s character and make it still better, and say nothing of the bad – belongs to you alone. And so you like this man’s sisters, too, do you? Their manners are not equal to his."

– Jane Austen

Pride and Prejudice, Chapter 4. After the ball in Meryton Elizabeth and Jane hold a post mortem, during which they discuss Charles Bingley’s interest in Jane and also what Elizabeth says is the bad behavior of Bingley’s sisters. Elizabeth accuses Jane of being too quick to see the good in everybody and being blind to people’s faults. But Jane is reluctant to criticize the Bingley sisters and tells Elizabeth that she is too quick to judge others harshly. Elizabeth’s suggestion that her sister’s judgment of people is flawed turns out to be ironic, since Elizabeth turns out to be a poor judge of Mr. Darcy’s and Mr. Wickham’s characters, which almost costs her her happiness. This exchange is also foreshadowing of how Jane will put her own happiness at risk by failing to see the bad intentions of her manipulative false friend Caroline Bingley.

"Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance. If the dispositions of the parties are ever so well known to each other or ever so similar beforehand, it does not advance their felicity in the least. They always continue to grow sufficiently unlike afterwards to have their share of vexation; and it is better to know as little as possible of the defects of the person with whom you are to pass your life."
"You make me laugh, Charlotte; but it is not sound. You know it is not sound, and that you would never act in this way yourself."

– Jane Austen

Pride and Prejudice, Chapter 6. Charlotte Lucas and Elizabeth discuss the idea of Jane marrying Charles Bingley, and on the subject of marriage the two women disagree. As becomes apparent later when she weds, Charlotte has a pragmatic view of marriage, it is a business transaction to enable a woman have financial security and comfort and status. During this exchange with Elizabeth, she is dismissive of the idea of marriage being about love and intimacy and getting to know the other person. Happiness in marriage is a roll of the dice, she believes, and it’s better to know as little as possible about the other’s faults beforehand. Elizabeth disagrees and laughs off what Charlotte says, predicting that her friend would never act in this way herself. Later events prove Elizabeth wrong in this, an example of how poor Elizabeth’s judgment of other people is sometimes. Charlotte lack of response to Elizabeth’s comment is forecasting of the transactional and loveless marriage she will enter with Mr. Collins.

Mr. Darcy had at first scarcely allowed her to be pretty; he had looked at her without admiration at the ball; and when they next met, he looked at her only to criticise. But no sooner had he made it clear to himself and his friends that she hardly had a good feature in her face, than he began to find it was rendered uncommonly intelligent by the beautiful expression of her dark eyes. To this discovery succeeded some others equally mortifying. Though he had detected with a critical eye more than one failure of perfect symmetry in her form, he was forced to acknowledge her figure to be light and pleasing; and in spite of his asserting that her manners were not those of the fashionable world, he was caught by their easy playfulness. Of this she was perfectly unaware; to her he was only the man who made himself agreeable nowhere, and who had not thought her handsome enough to dance with.

– Jane Austen

Pride and Prejudice, Chapter 6. Elizabeth may not have been handsome enough for Mr. Darcy to dance with at the Meryton ball, where he found her appearance just "tolerable." But now he sees Elizabeth in a new light as she and Jane spend more time with the residents of Netherfield. Observing Elizabeth close up, Darcy develops an attraction for her, despite having said earlier that she lacked the manners of his class. Now he finds himself drawn to her intelligent expression, her beautiful dark eyes, her pleasing figure and her playful personality. Darcy is mortified by his discovery, because it injures his pride – at the Meryton assembly he was "above his company, and above being pleased." Elizabeth is fully aware of his attentions, but to her he is still the disagreeable man who didn’t think she was attractive enough to dance with.

"Mr. Darcy is not to be laughed at!" cried Elizabeth. "That is an uncommon advantage, and uncommon I hope it will continue, for it would be a great loss to me to have many such acquaintances. I dearly love a laugh."
"Miss Bingley," said he, "has given me more credit than can be. The wisest and the best of men – nay, the wisest and best of their actions – may be rendered ridiculous by a person whose first object in life is a joke."
"Certainly," replied Elizabeth – "there are such people, but I hope I am not one of them. I hope I never ridicule what is wise and good. Follies and nonsense, whims and inconsistencies, do divert me, I own, and I laugh at them whenever I can. But these, I suppose, are precisely what you are without."

– Jane Austen

Pride and Prejudice, Chapter 11. This exchange between Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy comes after Caroline Bingley asserts that she could never tease or laugh at Darcy. She is suggesting that Darcy is socially and intellectually superior and above being laughed at. But Elizabeth is unimpressed by such superiority and laughs at the idea, saying that she dearly loves a laugh. The solemn Mr. Darcy declares that wise men may be made look ridiculous by someone who is a joker. Elizabeth counters by saying she laughs at life’s follies but would never ridicule anything wise or good. Underlying these witty exchanges that take place throughout the novel is a sexual tension between Darcy and Elizabeth. They are the sparks of a smouldering mutual interest that eventually will lead to love.