wit and irony in Pride and Prejudice

‘Pride and Prejudice’ is one of the most popular, novel by Jane Austen, published in three volumes on 28th February, 1813. In Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen uses wit and irony to describe the cult of sensibility and offering a corrective contractual theme.

Therefore, Pride and prejudice thematically based on verbal, dramatic, situational and irony of character in the novel.


  • Irony is a literary term or device in which there is a contrast between expectations and reality.
  • There are different types of irony used by jane Austen in pride and prejudice.
  • The title of the novel contains a hidden satire of thematic irony.


  • Wit is a natural aptitude for using words and ideas in a quick and inventive way to create humor.
  • Elizabeth uses successfully while Wickham uses harmfully.
  • Wit is also uses in linguistic artifice for one`s personal ends
  • In pride and prejudice, `wit` is used as the ability to manipulate language to one`s own.

There are several types of wit and irony used in the novel Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen like; thematic irony, verbal irony, dramatic irony and situational irony etc.

use of thematic irony

Jane Austen subtly introduces an inversion of the thematic foible, pride and prejudice`, and the characters they belong to. It is Darcy who has the pride and Elizabeth who has prejudice. But in their misunderstanding, they blame each other of excessive pride and prejudice.

use of verbal irony

The off- quoted opening of the sentence of the novel is one of the finest example of the verbal irony.

The universal truth that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in wants of a wife.

At the second ball, Elizabeth not only rejects, Darcy`s dance request but also mocks him with comments like; “Mr. Darcy is all politeness” and I am perfectly convinced by it that Mr. Darcy has no defect”.

use of dramatic irony

In Pride and Prejudice, the dramatic irony is at work when audience knows something that the character doesn’t seen mainly through Elizabeth and Darcy. Elizabeth is critical by jane`s blindness to others fault.

Also, Mr. Darcy is blind to his love when he declines to dance with Elizabeth.

Another example, when the Gardiners are talking about a future mistress of Pemberley, they don’t know that Mr. Darcy has proposes to Elizabeth so she could be the mistress now of Pemberley.

use of situational irony

The situational irony, when Mr. Darcy who once called Elizabeth “tolerable”, but not as handsome enough to tempt him, and now he falls in love with her. Also admits that he has considered Elizabeth as the handsomest women of acquaintance.

use of wit

Elizabeth uses wit to hold her own against Darcy. She uses wit to deal with the embarrassment caused by her family, and difficult situations like in conversation with Lady Catherine. (in the manner of defense)

Thus we can clearly say that, Jane Austen is not tinged with any bitterness, nor does she reflects her cynicism (कुटिलता) rather her irony, can be termed comic, but irony is used by Jane Austen to expose the hypocrisy and pretentiousness of contemporary English society.

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