Pride and Prejudice (1995) is not only quite possibly the best BBC miniseries of all time, but it is also the most complex Cinematic Chiasmus I have ever found. For this reason, I have chosen to separate this article into three parts. The miniseries itself is separated into six episodes. That made the chiasmus nice and neat because each episode mirrors the one on the opposite side from it. So Episode 1 and Episode 6 mirror each other, as do Episode 2 and Episode 5, and Episode 3 and Episode 4. The turning point of the entire chiasmus takes place at the end of Episode 3 and the start of Episode 4.
In this first part, I will cover the chiasmus contained in Episode 1 and Episode 6. Thus, we will get to see how the beginning and end of the story symmetrically connect.
Remember that this is only the first third of the chiasmus. Here is what it looks like in its briefest form:
A1. Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley ride toward Netherfield Park
B1. Elizabeth and the rest of the Bennets are introduced
C1. The Bennets leave Longbourn church with news of Bingley’s arrival
D1. Mr. Bennet makes his wife believe he will refuse to call on Bingley
E1. Elizabeth and Jane Bennet discuss the difficulty of marrying well
F1. At their first ball together, Darcy refuses to dance with Elizabeth
G1. Mrs. Bennet reviews the ball with her husband and daughters
H1. Darcy and Bingley’s sisters praise Jane and mock the other Bennets
I1. Elizabeth and Jane discuss the prospect of marrying Bingley and tolerating his friends and family
J1. Lucas Lodge hosts a party for the regiment
K1. Charlotte Lucas says Jane should do all she can to secure Bingley in marriage
L1. Elizabeth refuses to dance with Darcy
M1. Jane gets invited to go to Netherfield by Caroline Bingley without seeing her brother
N1. Mrs. Bennet schemes to have Jane stay the night at Netherfield by forcing Jane to ride there on horseback in the rain
O1. Elizabeth walks to Netherfield to see Jane
P1. Darcy sees Elizabeth outside and begins to like her even more
Q1. After inviting Elizabeth to stay at Netherfield, Bingley goes out with a hunting party
R1. Elizabeth is sad to leave Jane, but she hopes Jane will marry Bingley soon
S1. Elizabeth accidentally runs into Darcy in the billiard room and leaves him, and he takes another shot
T1. Darcy writes a letter to his sister Georgiana and defines an accomplished woman
U1. Despite Caroline’s misgivings, Mrs. Bennet and nearly all her daughters visit Netherfield
V1. After taking a bath, Darcy watches Elizabeth play with a dog outside
W1. Darcy admits his faults to Elizabeth
X1. Elizabeth and Jane are excited to leave Netherfield
X1. Mrs. Bennet is excited for Lydia to be married
W1. Mr. Bennet admits his shame and faults to Elizabeth
V1. After figuratively taking a bath, Darcy watches Lydia Bennet marry a dog of a husband
U1. Despite Mr. Bennet’s misgivings, Mr. Wickham and Lydia visit Longbourn
T1. Lydia proves herself to be untrustworthy, and Elizabeth writes a letter to Mrs. Gardiner
S1. Darcy pays an unexpected visit to the Gardiners and insists on calling the shots
R1. Mrs. Bennet is sad to see Wickham and Lydia leave, and Mr. Bennet boasts about his terrible son-in-law
Q1. Bingley returns to Netherfield and goes out with a shooting party
P1. Jane tries to deny her feelings for Bingley, but Elizabeth sees through it
O1. Darcy and Bingley ride their horses to Longbourn to see Elizabeth and Jane
N1. Bingley says his plans aren’t yet settled, but he hopes to stay at Netherfield for some weeks
M1. Jane claims to be totally indifferent to seeing Bingley
L1. Darcy apologizes to Bingley for trying to separate him from Jane
K1. With a little help from Mrs. Bennet, Bingley proposes to Jane, and she accepts
J1. Mr. Bennet invites Bingley to return to Longbourn soon
I1. Jane wishes Elizabeth could find a man good enough to marry
H1. Lady Catherine de Bourgh insults Elizabeth and forbids her from marrying Darcy
G1. Mr. Bennet reviews a letter from Mr. Collins with Elizabeth along the lines of Lady Catherine’s visit
F1. For the second time, Darcy proposes to Elizabeth, and this time she accepts
E1. Jane can’t believe Elizabeth is serious at first when she says she’s engaged to Darcy
D1. Mr. Bennet gives his consent for Darcy to marry Elizabeth and comes to believe Elizabeth truly loves him
C1. Elizabeth and Jane go to Longbourn church to get married to Darcy and Bingley, respectively
B1. We get a final look at the characters we’ve met throughout the miniseries
A1. Darcy and Bingley ride away from Longbourn in carriages with their new brides
And now we will discuss each point in greater detail.
A1. Darcy and Bingley Ride Away
Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley bookend Pride and Prejudice perfectly. The two first appear riding horses in the country to get a look at a beautiful home called Netherfield Park. Darcy expresses some concern about the society, but Bingley says he finds country manners charming. With Darcy’s blessing, Bingley races toward the house to close on it with the attorney and make his ownership official.
Darcy and Bingley also feature prominently at the end of the miniseries. The two emerge from the church near Netherfield where they were just married to two beautiful Bennet sisters. Darcy has clearly overcome his concerns about the society, and he has joined Bingley in being charmed by certain country manners. As they ride in horse-drawn carriages, Darcy consummates his love by closing in for a kiss with Elizabeth.
B1. Introduction and Farewell
We get our first glimpse at the major players of the Bennet family right after being introduced to the two gentlemen at the start. Elizabeth is the first Bennet we see, and she walks through the countryside before coming home to a house full of strife involving her family: Mr. Bennet, Mrs. Bennet, Lydia, Kitty, Mary, and Jane.
We get one last look at nearly all the characters we’ve met throughout the miniseries near the end. Elizabeth and Jane stand joyfully next to Darcy and Bingley, respectively, at their wedding. As the minister speaks, we get commentary on the roles each of the characters have played in the film, good and bad.
C1. The Church
As they leave Longbourn church one Sunday, Mrs. Bennet shares the news with her husband and daughters that Bingley is about to move into Netherfield. And she hopes he will marry one of her daughters.
At that same church, Elizabeth and Jane go to marry their respective husbands. Mrs. Bennet’s hope came true, and Bingley did wind up marrying her eldest daughter Jane.
D1. Mr. Bennet’s Consent
Always enjoying a good laugh, Mr. Bennet teases his wife and makes her believe he will never call on Bingley in order to introduce the young man to his daughters. He promises to write to Bingley and tell him that he has five daughters he can choose from to marry. Elizabeth and Jane are convinced that their father isn’t being serious, but Mrs. Bennet takes him at his word.
In utter disbelief, Mr. Bennet pleads with Elizabeth not to marry Darcy because he can’t believe she actually loves him. He admits he already gave his consent for Darcy to marry Elizabeth because he couldn’t imagine withholding anything from him. Elizabeth speaks eloquently of her love for Darcy, and she finally convinces Mr. Bennet to take her at her word.
E1. Marrying Well
Elizabeth tells Jane that she wishes she could marry a sensible man who would take her despite her poverty, though she believes that’s impossible. Jane asserts that marriage must be built on love and respect. Elizabeth teases that Jane will have to marry well to raise the fortunes of the rest of her sisters, but Jane says she wants to marry for love. Elizabeth is convinced that only the deepest love will induce her to matrimony.
Jane can’t believe that Elizabeth is actually engaged to Darcy because she believes it’s impossible. Elizabeth used to hate Darcy, but it’s all forgotten and now she’s deeply in love with him. It turns out that a good marriage is also built on a bad memory. Jane asks Elizabeth when she fell in love with Darcy, and Elizabeth jokes that it began when she first saw his great estate at Pemberley. So they both get to marry for love while also becoming fabulously wealthy.
F1. First and Last Impressions
During his first ball in Hertfordshire, Darcy at first wows everyone but soon manages to make a bad impression. He claims that Bingley is dancing with the only pretty girl in the room, Elizabeth’s sister Jane. Bingley points to Elizabeth and invites Darcy to dance with her, but Darcy utterly refuses. He then says that he’s not interested in young ladies who have been slighted by other men as dance partners. After that, Elizabeth walks past him and shares a private conversation with her friend Charlotte Lucas, inducing Darcy to pay attention to her for the first time.
During a walk together toward Meryton, Elizabeth is dying to tell Darcy that she’s had a change of heart about him. Darcy claims that he was only thinking of Elizabeth when he selflessly helped her sister Lydia. He stops Elizabeth and asks her to marry him once more, and this time she gladly accepts. He then says that she gave him hope when she didn’t promise his aunt Lady Catherine de Bourgh never to marry him and become his life partner. After that, they reminisce over once-painful memories that made them fall in love over the course of their relationship.
G1. Elizabeth’s Prediction
Much to Mr. Bennet’s dismay, Mrs. Bennet reviews the details of the ball that his family just came home from. After praising most of the people at the event, Mrs. Bennet chides Darcy for being the proudest, most disobliging man. Mr. Bennet is surprised to hear that Darcy slighted Elizabeth. Then Elizabeth seriously promises never to dance with Darcy, never dreaming she will one day break that promise.
Much to Elizabeth’s dismay, Mr. Bennet reads highlights to her from a letter by her cousin Mr. Collins on the same topic that Lady Catherine just berated Elizabeth over. After congratulating Mr. Bennet on the upcoming marriage of Jane to Bingley, Mr. Collins warns Mr. Bennet about Elizabeth marrying Darcy. Mr. Bennet is surprised that Elizabeth isn’t laughing at the letter. Then he jokes that Lady Catherine must have come to refuse her consent, never dreaming it could actually be true.
H1. Harping on Elizabeth’s Family
Bingley’s sisters talk privately with Bingley and Darcy about the ball. Darcy concedes that Jane is very pretty, but he disparages the rest of the girls as not beautiful. He clearly has no interest in any of them as potential partners. Caroline Bingley singles out the mother as terrible, and not even Bingley is able to disagree. Darcy says that he’d as soon call Mrs. Bennet a wit as he’d call Elizabeth a beauty. Bingley’s sisters declare that Jane is a dear, sweet girl, and they’d like to know her better, despite her relations. They maintain that they are not afraid of Darcy, nor will they allow him to change their opinions.
Lady Catherine barges into Longbourn to talk to Elizabeth. She disparages their hall and sitting-room and then concedes that she saw a prettyish kind of wilderness she’d like to take a turn in with Elizabeth to speak privately. Lady Catherine asks if Elizabeth is engaged to Darcy, and Elizabeth doesn’t answer. Lady Catherine insults Elizabeth’s mother and family, but Elizabeth says their low social status shouldn’t matter if Darcy doesn’t object to them. She declares she’s not engaged to Darcy, but she refuses to promise not to marry him. Lady Catherine then attacks the rest of Elizabeth’s family relations. But Elizabeth stands up to her and maintains she won’t bend to Lady Catherine’s demands.
I1. Elizabeth and Jane Hope for Good Marriages
Jane speaks highly of Bingley. Elizabeth agrees and gives her leave to like him because she’s liked many a stupider person in the past. However, she cautions that Bingley’s friends and sisters aren’t good at all. Jane tells her she’s wrong and that Darcy may improve upon closer acquaintance. Then Elizabeth quotes Darcy’s cruel words toward her at the dance, and she turns it into a joke.
Jane wishes Elizabeth could be as happy as her now that she’s engaged to Bingley. She wishes there was another man as good as Bingley for Elizabeth. Elizabeth says that she can’t have Jane’s happiness until she also has her goodness. Jane doesn’t realize that Elizabeth is already in love with Darcy. Then Elizabeth turns it into a joke by saying if she’s very lucky, she might meet another Mr. Collins.
J1. Warm Receptions
At a party at Lucas Lodge, Mr. Lucas tells Bingley’s sisters that he hopes this will be the first of many such get-togethers at his home. He offers to help Bingley’s sisters make new friends in town, which Caroline is insulted by. Mrs. Bennet boasts that Bingley has 5,000 a year and how nice her daughter Jane looks with him. Mr. Lucas compliments Mary’s piano playing, but he asks her to comply with Lydia’s request for a more upbeat tune to dance to.
At the entrance to Longbourn, Mr. Bennet tells Bingley that he’s welcome back at Longbourn soon since he’s so amiable. Bingley is much obliged by the offers of Mr. Bennet’s society and promises to come back tomorrow. Mr. Bennet teases Jane that she’ll always exceed her income, though Mrs. Bennet is quick to say that’s impossible since Bingley has 5,000 a year. Mrs. Bennett compliments Jane by saying she knew she could not be so beautiful for nothing.
K1. A Matter of Chance
Charlotte tells Elizabeth that Bingley is clearly showing affection to Jane. And it appears that Jane isn’t yet in love with him but is on the path to falling in love with him. Charlotte tells Elizabeth that Jane should show more affection than she actually feels in order to secure him as a husband. Charlotte says that happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance, and it’s better to know as little as possible about the defects of one’s partner.
Mrs. Bennet runs to Jane’s room to tell her that Bingley is coming. And Jane isn’t ready to go downstairs yet, so Mrs. Bennet gets her ready for his arrival. Shortly after, Mrs. Bennet tells Kitty, Mary, and Elizabeth she has something to talk to them about, but she actually just wants them to leave the sitting-room. Mrs. Bennet is going to leave nothing to chance when it comes to getting Jane and Bingley engaged. When Elizabeth returns, Jane says it happened. Bingley loved her this whole time, they are engaged, and she doesn’t know how she will bear so much happiness.
L1. Darcy Acts Out of Character
Acting strangely out of character, Darcy keeps looking at Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth walks by, he asks her if she would like to dance with him. This opens him up to potential embarrassment when she refuses. Caroline then approaches and says she thinks she knows what Darcy is thinking. But she’s totally surprised when he says he’s thinking of the beauty of Elizabeth’s fine eyes.
Acting in a meek manner, Darcy admits to Bingley he prevented him from seeing Jane in London. As he walks to his carriage, he apologizes for his misdeeds. This opens him up to potential embarrassment, but Bingley does forgive him. Bingley then asks for his blessing in asking Jane to marry him. Darcy tells him to go to it, and Bingley immediately asks for a horse to go propose.
M1. Jane Won’t See Bingley
At breakfast, Jane receives an invitation from Caroline to dine with her and her sister at Netherfield that day. However, their brother Bingley won’t be there. So Jane won’t be able to see him, even though she would like to.
After their first meeting in months, Jane feels at ease about her feelings toward Bingley. She believes she’ll be able to meet him as an indifferent acquaintance in the future. Elizabeth says she’s in danger of making him fall in love with her again.
N1. Staying for Some Time
Mrs. Bennet tells Jane to ride on horseback to go to Netherfield instead of taking the carriage. That way, she’ll have to stay the night because it looks like it will rain, and civility demands Bingley’s sisters not send her home in a storm. Jane is horrified by this scheme, but Mrs. Bennet insists. Jane gets sick and has to stay at Netherfield for several days.
Mrs. Bennet tells Jane to sit up straight and look her best as they await Bingley’s arrival. She showers Bingley with compliments and adoration, but she addresses Darcy with curt civility, making him turn away from her and look out the window. Elizabeth is horrified by her mother’s behavior, and she asks how long Bingley plans on staying at Netherfield. He says his plans are not yet firmly settled, but he hopes to stay a few weeks.
O1. Going to and from Netherfield
The next morning, Elizabeth insists on going to Netherfield from Longbourn against her mother’s wishes. Mrs. Bennet says she should go to Meryton to meet with the officers, but Elizabeth refuses and says she wants to be with Jane. She then walks to Netherfield.
Three days after Bingley’s return to Netherfield, Mrs. Bennet complains that he hasn’t come visit them at Longbourn. Mr. Bennet says he won’t call on him again after the way things turned out last year. But Bingley soon rides to Longbourn from Netherfield with Darcy to see Jane.
P1. A Growing Feeling of Love
While walking to Netherfield, Elizabeth finds Darcy outside the house. She tells him that she’s come to see her sister, and he’s surprised to learn that she walked through the mud to get there. She shows that she doesn’t care what he thinks of her, and he then invites her to come inside. Bingley’s sisters are shocked by her appearance, but Darcy says the exercise only made Elizabeth’s fine eyes look even more beautiful to him. They then discuss the Bennet girls’ poor connections, which makes it difficult for them to marry well.
While working in the kitchen, Jane talks to Elizabeth. Jane says she’s glad Bingley didn’t come with his sisters to Netherfield, but she’s doing her best not to be affected by his return. She worries what other people will say about her and speculate about his reason for coming back. Elizabeth says that they will leave him to himself and not think about him at all. However, Elizabeth keeps smiling silently, prompting Jane to tell her to stop it because she’s clearly saying with her eyes that she thinks Bingley wants to marry her.
Q1. Bingley Hunts
After offering to send for Elizabeth’s clothes so that she can stay with her sister at Netherfield for some time, Bingley goes on a shooting party with some companions.
After bringing back his servants and lots of food to Netherfield so he can stay there for some time, Bingley goes on a shooting party with some companions.
R1. Bittersweet Parting
Elizabeth shares some kind words with Jane before leaving her. She is sad to have to leave Jane’s side and venture down to spend time with Bingley and his friends for an evening. She knows Bingley’s sisters wish she were miles away, and only Bingley is civil and attentive. She then says that Bingley will soon be Jane’s husband, which makes Jane smile with hope and love.
Elizabeth shares one last enlightening conversation with Mr. Wickham before he has to leave. Mrs. Bennet is sad to see Lydia and Wickham leave for the North country for several years. The rest of the family is glad to see them stay many miles away, and only Mr. Bennet is in good spirits. He jokes that Wickham is a more embarrassing son-in-law than Mr. Collins would have been.
S1. Darcy Calls the Shots
While searching for the drawing room, Elizabeth accidentally wanders into the billiard room and finds Darcy playing pool. She doesn’t know what to say, so she just turns around and hurries away. Darcy continues to call his shots and sinks another ball in a corner pocket.
While searching for Wickham and Lydia, the Gardiners are surprised to receive a visit from Darcy. The Gardiners are dumbfounded, but Darcy won’t turn away from his responsibility in this situation. Darcy calls the shots and refuses to give way until Mr. Gardiner shakes hands on Darcy’s proposition.
T1. Accomplished Women and Great Men
While his friends play cards at a nearby table, Darcy approaches Elizabeth and inquires about Jane’s health. Louisa Hearst invites her to join their game, but Elizabeth declines the offer. Caroline insults her by saying she despises cards and only enjoys reading, which Elizabeth denies. In the meantime, Darcy writes to his sister Georgiana. Then they discuss what an accomplished woman would look like. Not only must she possess many talents, but she must add something more substantial. Caroline says there are many accomplished women in the high class.
While Wickham rides a horse around them, the Bennet girls walk and talk. Lydia gloats over her husband and notes that he was once Elizabeth’s favorite, but Elizabeth denies this. Lydia says she wishes she could have gotten husbands for all her sisters in Brighton, but Elizabeth declines the offer. Shortly after, Elizabeth writes to her aunt Mrs. Gardiner. She asks what part Darcy played in Lydia’s marriage to Wickham. Lydia showed a lack of talent in keeping secrets when she accidentally revealed Darcy was at her wedding. Mrs. Gardiner says that Darcy condescended to accomplish the marriage all by himself.
U1. Unwelcome Guests
Caroline hates the thought of more of the Bennet girls coming to visit them at Netherfield. However, Mrs. Bennet arrives with Lydia and Kitty to check on Jane. Mrs. Bennet says that Jane continues to suffer and is too sick to be moved. Bingley says he would love to live in Netherfield forever, though Darcy finds country living confined and unvarying.
Mr. Bennet flatly refuses to allow Lydia and Wickham to come and visit them at Longbourn. However, the couple arrives at their home just the same. Lydia tells Jane she has to go lower because Lydia is a married woman. Thankfully, they won’t be staying long before they will have to leave for constant change in other parts of the country.
V1. Darcy Takes a Bath
Darcy literally takes a bath to wash his body and make himself clean again. He looks out the window and lovingly watches Elizabeth playing fetch with a dog and a stick.
Darcy figuratively takes a bath to wash his hands of Wickham and clean Elizabeth’s reputation by saving her sister from further scandal. He stands by and angrily watches as Lydia marries Wickham, who Darcy would love to beat with a stick.
W1. A Man Without Fault?
Caroline invites Elizabeth to take a turn with her around the room to get Darcy’s attention. He shocks them when he puts into words exactly what they’re doing. Elizabeth suggests they tease and laugh at him, but Caroline claims that Darcy is a man without fault. Darcy admits he has a bad temper. And he is resentful because his good opinion, once lost, is lost forever. He tells Elizabeth that her weakness is to willfully misunderstand many things.
Mr. Bennet asks Elizabeth to shut the door to his study to get some privacy from his wife. He shocks Elizabeth when he tells her how much money he thinks Mr. Gardiner must have paid. She asks how such a sum is to be repaid, and Mr. Bennet says he thought he could have a son to redeem him from his poor spending habits. He admits to being a bad father and not preventing this situation. He’s ashamed of himself, but this feeling will pass more quickly than it should. Elizabeth begins to realize her own weakness in not seeing the flaws in her own father.
X1. Joyful Reunion
Bingley gives his warmest salutations for Jane to pass along to her parents, and he invites her father to come shoot with him whenever it’s convenient for him. Jane thanks him for everything he’s done for her, and then they say goodbye. Caroline is overjoyed to see Jane and Elizabeth leave, and Darcy is also relieved. Elizabeth has never been so happy to leave a place in her life.
Mrs. Bennet laughs in delight at the thought of Lydia marrying Wickham, and she wishes they could be married in Longbourn church, even though it’s impossible. Jane points out that they should be thankful to Mr. Gardiner for arranging everything for them. Mrs. Bennet is overjoyed that Lydia will already be married at 16. Elizabeth looks relieved to be asked to leave her mother’s room.
Part 2 Coming Next Week
Now you see how episodes 1 and 6 of Pride and Prejudice (1995) mirror each other. Next week we will continue with episodes 2 and 5. And I assure you that they are no less amazing than the ones we’ve already covered. I hope you will join us as we go through them.
This is the Deja Reviewer bidding you farewell until we meet again.
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