Let’s continue this in-depth analysis of the 1995 BBC Pride and Prejudice miniseries to discover more of how its chiasmus works. It’s truly breathtaking. If you thought the first part of this chiasmus was interesting, just wait until you see how it continues into Episodes 2 and 5.
Here is a brief overview of the chiasmus in these two episodes of Pride and Prejudice.
A2. Mr. Collins writes to Mr. Bennet without revealing that Lady Catherine de Bourgh is behind it
B2. Mr. Collins comes to visit the Bennets
C2. Mrs. Bennet guides Mr. Collins to set his sights on Elizabeth Bennet
D2. Mr. Wickham is astonished to meet Mr. Darcy on the street in Meryton
E2. Mr. Collins, the Bennets, and the regiment are invited to the Philips’ home
F2. Wickham conceals the truth about his bad character from Elizabeth
G2. Elizabeth tells Jane Bennet what she learned from Wickham about Darcy’s misdeeds
H2. Mr. Collins asks to dance with all his cousins at the upcoming Netherfield ball
I2. Wickham and Elizabeth discuss Mr. Bingley, and he learns that Lydia Bennet is 15
J2. While Elizabeth prepares for the ball thinking only of Wickham, Lydia makes a spectacle of herself in front of Mr. Collins
K2. Arriving at the Netherfield ball, Elizabeth can’t find Wickham
L2. Mr. Collins gets introduced to Charlotte Lucas, which is the first step leading to their eventual marriage
M2. Elizabeth is dismayed to dance with Mr. Collins while Darcy watches
N2. Darcy catches Elizabeth off guard, and she agrees to dance with him
O2. Caroline Bingley and Jane try to warn Elizabeth about Wickham, but she doesn’t listen
P2. Mary Bennet cuts Bingley off and plays the piano, while Darcy snubs Mr. Collins
Q2. One by one, the Bennets embarrass themselves in public
R2. The next morning, Mr. Collins proposes to Elizabeth, and she declines
S2. Mr. Bennet meets with Elizabeth and says he’ll never see her again if she marries Mr. Collins
T2. Charlotte invites Mr. Collins to dine at her family’s home
T2. Elizabeth finds Darcy waiting for her at the inn where she’s staying
S2. Elizabeth meets Georgiana Darcy and Bingley, whom she hadn’t expected to see again
R2. Georgiana invites Elizabeth to visit Pemberley and play the piano, and she agrees
Q2. Acting quickly, Elizabeth saves Georgiana from public embarrassment
P2. Caroline cuts Bingley off to insult Elizabeth, but Darcy silences her
O2. Jane writes to Elizabeth about Lydia running off with Wickham, but it’s too late to stop them
N2. Darcy catches Elizabeth off guard, and she spills the beans to him about Lydia and Wickham
M2. Elizabeth is dismayed she’ll never see Darcy again, though the Gardiners try to cheer her up
L2. Darcy suddenly leaves his friends and engages in business that will end in unlikely marriages
K2. Arriving home, Elizabeth learns that no one can find Wickham or Lydia
J2. While Elizabeth reads Lydia’s thoughtless letter about her own scandalous elopement, Darcy goes to London thinking only of Elizabeth
I2. Elizabeth and Jane note that no respectable man will have anything to do with them after Lydia’s actions with Wickham
H2. Mr. Collins comes to Longbourn to gloat over the Bennet girls
G2. Mrs. Philips tells Mrs. Bennet what she learned about Wickham’s misdeeds in Meryton
F2. Wickham keeps Lydia concealed in London
E2. Mr. Bennet comes home to Longbourn
D2. Mrs. Younge is shocked to see Darcy at her residence in London
C2. Mr. Bennet forbids Kitty Bennet from going to any balls
B2. Darcy finds Wickham and Lydia
A2. Mr. Gardiner writes to Mr. Bennet without revealing that Darcy is behind it
As before, we will expand on the brief descriptions above to give a complete understanding of how these scenes match up.
A2. Letters and Secrets
At the start of Episode 2, Elizabeth is walking around outside without a care in the world. Then Mr. Bennet tells his family that he received a letter from a man he never saw in the whole course of his life, Mr. Collins. That gentleman explains how bad he’s felt about the trouble between his late father and Mr. Bennet while Longbourn is entailed on him. He then describes his background and profession. He wants to make amends to Mr. Bennet’s daughters, and he’s coming to visit soon. What he left out was that all of this was orchestrated by Lady Catherine de Bourgh.
At the end of Episode 5, Elizabeth is sorely vexed by the thought of Mr. Darcy thinking ill of her. What caused that is a letter Mr. Bennet received from Mr. Gardiner about a man they’d all been trying to find, Mr. Wickham. Mr. Gardiner explains what Mr. Bennet needs to do to induce Wickham to marry Lydia. He then describes the situation of Wickham’s debts being discharged. Mr. Bennet wants to know how much Mr. Gardiner laid out to make this possible, and he needs to respond with a letter of his own soon. What Mr. Gardiner left out was that all of this was orchestrated by Lady Catherine’s nephew Darcy.
B2. Dramatic Arrivals
Mr. Collins explains, in excruciating detail, all the steps he plans to take to get from Hunsford to Longbourn to visit his cousins. He arrives in a carriage, and Mr. Bennet welcomes him at the expected time. We get a good look at his smiling face as he clumsily makes his way down to the ground. Mr. Bennet and Elizabeth manage to disguise their distaste for Mr. Collins during dinner.
By contrast, we don’t get many specific details about how Darcy tracked down Wickham and Lydia. He arrives outside their hiding place in London, and Lydia is shocked to see him when he wasn’t expected at all. We don’t actually see him enter the building or climb the stairs to their loft. Wickham fails to disguise his frustration with Lydia when she doesn’t immediately tell him who is outside their hiding place.
C2. Matchmaker and Heartbreaker
Mrs. Bennet walks with Mr. Collins outside where they get a view of all her daughters. He expresses interest in Jane, but Mrs. Bennet says she’s already taken by Mr. Bingley. She invites him to take his pick of the other four girls, though. He finally sets his sights on Elizabeth as the most beautiful of the bunch of Bennet girls he’d like to marry.
Mr. Bennet walks into the sitting-room where all of his daughters (save Lydia) are. He expresses remorse for his actions, and he believes Lydia has been taken to London by Wickham. He praises Elizabeth and singles Kitty out as needing severe punishment. He forbids her from going to balls with officers or dancing with anyone other than her sisters.
D2. Darcy Surprises Old “Friends”
Mr. Collins walks with the Bennet girls to Meryton. There they spot a new gentleman named George Wickham. Bingley and Darcy approach on horseback. Wickham never expected to see Darcy in Meryton, and he looks absolutely mortified when he sees him. Darcy trots away.
Darcy walks down a dark alley in London. There he spots a poor girl who points the way for him to follow. He approaches a door and knocks on it, revealing Wickham’s old partner in crime, Mrs. Younge. She never expected to see Darcy at her door in London, and she looks absolutely shocked when Darcy pushes his way in.
E2. Awkward Homecoming
Mr. Collins makes a bad impression on Mrs. Philips when he enters her home and compares it unfavorably to Rosings Park. He explains the situation better to put her mind at ease. Then Mrs. Philips invites him to play a card game with her, and he leaves Elizabeth.
Jane makes Mrs. Bennet unhappy when she tells her that Mr. Bennet is coming home without finding Wickham and Lydia. Jane administers smelling salts to help her avoid fainting. Then Mr. Bennet arrives home, and he leaves Elizabeth and Jane to seclude himself in his study.
F2. Wickham’s Lies
At a party at the Philips’ house, Wickham tells Elizabeth he never thought he would be able to get away from her sisters, Lydia in particular. He tells a few truths to Elizabeth about his history with Darcy, but he includes a number of lies to feed her prejudice against Darcy. He then claims not to have danced in three months, and Lydia hears this and demands he dance with her immediately.
At a hideout in London, Wickham tells Lydia to come away from the window to keep her hidden from anyone looking for her. He lies about their future plans to go to Hertfordshire to feed her vanity about showing off to her sisters. She wishes they could go into town and be seen at plays and assemblies, and he tells her to be patient because they’ll do that all in good time.
G2. Gossip About Darcy and Wickham
Jane can’t believe what Elizabeth tells her about Darcy’s wrongs against Wickham. Jane discerns that Elizabeth likes Wickham, and Elizabeth admits that she does because of his open and kind manners. Jane wonders if it’s proper to believe him after knowing him for just a day. Elizabeth is determined to believe him.
Mrs. Philips shares with Mrs. Bennet all sorts of negative rumors about Wickham’s villainous deeds. She says that she always distrusted his appearance of goodness, and Mrs. Bennet makes the same claim. Mrs. Bennet says she warned her girls, but no one listened to her. She worries about the fate of her poor Lydia.
H2. Mr. Collins Makes the Bennet Girls Squirm
An invitation comes for all the Bennets to attend a ball at Netherfield. It includes Mr. and Mrs. Bennet, as well as Mr. Collins. Knowing Mr. Collins and his unpleasant nature, Elizabeth wonders aloud if it’s proper for him to come, hoping he’ll decide against it. But Mr. Collins finds no problem in going with them to the ball. He makes them all incredibly uncomfortable when he declares his intention to dance with all his cousins, so none of them can avoid him at the ball.
Mr. Collins’ carriage arrives at Longbourn. He wanted to visit with Mr. and Mrs. Bennet, but he settles for their daughters. He proceeds to berate Lydia and express his pity for their whole family. Upon hearing this, Elizabeth wonders if it’s proper for him to stay and be tainted by association. Mr. Collins agrees and hastily exits. He made them all uncomfortable, and Kitty was the only one who managed to avoid him.
I2. No Respectable Man
Mr. Collins engages in wholesome conversation with Elizabeth and Wickham until he’s called away by Jane. Then the two talk about Bingley’s good qualities and Darcy’s poor qualities, as well as those of his sister Georgiana. Wickham compares Georgiana to Lydia. He reveals that Lady Catherine’s daughter is betrothed to Darcy, which makes Elizabeth pity Caroline’s doomed attempts at winning his affections.
Elizabeth thinks of the last conversation she had with Darcy, and she’s interrupted by Jane entering her bedroom. Then the two talk about how Lydia’s poor reputation reflects badly on all of her sisters. Jane and Elizabeth agree that their chances of making a good marriage are now non-existent because of Lydia. Elizabeth says that Darcy won’t be renewing his addresses to her (nor will any other respectable man to her sisters), which makes her sad.
J2. Thoughtless Lydia
As Elizabeth gets ready for the Netherfield ball, her thoughts are focused on Wickham. Lydia asks her not to hog all the dances with Wickham, though Elizabeth is resigned to having to also dance with Mr. Collins. Then a half-dressed Lydia runs into the hall and has an awkward encounter with Mr. Collins.
As Darcy heads to London to find Wickham, his thoughts are focused on Elizabeth. Jane tries to assume all the blame for not exposing Wickham, but Elizabeth tells her that the blame properly belongs elsewhere. Then Elizabeth reads Lydia’s letter about how she ran away with Wickham under the most improper circumstances.
K2. Wickham Can’t Be Found
Elizabeth arrives at the Netherfield ball and is greeted by Bingley and his sisters. Elizabeth looks all around the room, but she can’t find Wickham anywhere. Another officer tells her that Wickham had urgent business that took him into town, though that’s just an excuse to avoid Darcy.
Elizabeth arrives at Longbourn and is greeted by the Gardiners’ children. She asks Jane if Wickham and Lydia have been found, but she’s told no one has been able to find them yet. Mrs. Bennet wishes Mr. Bennet had let them all go to Brighton to prevent this from happening, though that’s just an excuse for Lydia’s poor behavior.
L2. First Steps to Marriage
Elizabeth goes to talk to her friend Charlotte Lucas at the Netherfield ball, but Mr. Collins interrupts them before they can talk. Elizabeth introduces the two of them. Little do any of them realize that this is the first step that will lead to Charlotte’s eventual marriage to Mr. Collins.
Caroline tries to talk to Darcy about Elizabeth after his sister finishes playing the piano, but Darcy interrupts her before she can continue. He then excuses himself and leaves the room. Little do any of them realize that this is the first step in a series of actions that will lead to Darcy’s eventual marriage to Elizabeth.
M2. Elizabeth’s Perspectives
Elizabeth is clearly embarrassed to have to dance with Mr. Collins. The only time she talks with him is to tell him he’s going the wrong way. She sees Darcy watching her, and she brusquely turns away. Elizabeth’s cheerful demeanor returns as the dance continues.
Elizabeth expresses regret that she won’t be able to see Georgiana that day. She bids a tearful farewell to Darcy as he goes away. As she gazes longingly after him, she sorrowfully predicts that she shall never see him again. The Gardiners try to cheer her up, but she has no hope.
N2. Darcy Catches Elizabeth Off Guard
In the middle of Elizabeth’s conversation with Charlotte about Darcy’s wrongs against Wickham, Darcy suddenly walks up next to her. He asks Elizabeth if she would dance with him, and she hesitates but finally agrees. He happened to catch her off guard in the one moment when she was so flustered that she couldn’t come up with an excuse not to dance. And so she is forced to dance with him. They share a conversation about Wickham. He notes that Wickham is friendly but can’t keep friends. In the midst of the dance, Mr. Lucas interrupts with congratulations on Jane’s upcoming engagement to Bingley. This opens Darcy’s eyes to something he hadn’t suspected. Elizabeth is puzzled by Darcy’s character.
Right after Elizabeth finishes reading the second dreadful letter from Jane about Wickham’s wrongs against Lydia, Darcy suddenly walks in the door. He asks what is the matter, and she tries to leave, but he insists on her sitting down and resting. He happened to catch her off guard in the one moment when she was so flustered by the news of Lydia that she couldn’t hide her emotions. And so she is forced to divulge the whole truth to him. She tells him what Wickham has done. She notes that Lydia has nothing to tempt him to marriage. In the midst of this news, Darcy stands up and looks away as he expresses grief and shock at the elopement. He realizes that no one else can solve this problem, and only he has the power to fix it. Elizabeth doesn’t know how to resolve this situation, but she is certain her family’s character is forever tainted.
O2. Warnings About Wickham
At the Netherfield ball, Elizabeth receives two warnings about Wickham. Caroline Bingley tells her that he treated Darcy in an infamous manner, though she can’t remember the particulars. Elizabeth rejects this as hearsay. Jane confirms Caroline’s words by informing her that Bingley told her the same thing about Wickham. However, this isn’t enough to change Elizabeth’s mind about either Wickham or Darcy.
In the inn at Lambton, Elizabeth receives two letters about Wickham. Jane first writes to her about Lydia running off with Wickham in a scandalous manner, though she can’t say what their intentions are. Elizabeth suspects the worst. Jane’s second letter confirms Elizabeth’s suspicions that the two are not married, and they don’t intend to be so. However, there’s nothing Elizabeth can do to help but come home immediately.
P2. Darcy Gets the Last Word
Bingley tells the room at large that he would like to hear some music. Before he can ask Caroline to play, Mary cuts him off by hurrying to the piano to play an inappropriately somber tune. During the song, Mr. Collins approaches Darcy and speaks to him against custom, since they haven’t been formally introduced yet. Darcy asks what his name is, and then he walks away, leaving Mr. Collins in a lurch. Darcy crosses the room and stands next to Bingley’s sisters.
Caroline tells the room at large how little she thinks of Elizabeth. Before Bingley can interject his thoughts on the subject, Caroline cuts him off by continuing her inappropriately rude comments. During this tirade, she finally rouses Darcy to respond to her by reminding him of his first impression of Elizabeth. He exclaims that he now finds her to be one of the handsomest women of his acquaintance, leaving Caroline speechless. After thinking of Elizabeth all night, Darcy hurries on his horse in the morning to see Elizabeth.
Q2. Elizabeth Rights Old Wrongs
Mr. Bennet embarrasses himself and Mary at the same time by practically yelling at her to get off the piano so someone else can play. Louisa Hearst rushes to fill the void. As the music plays, Mrs. Bennet announces that she expects Bingley to marry Jane, and Mr. Collins to marry Elizabeth, making everyone around her uncomfortable. Adding insult to injury, Lydia grabs an officer’s sword and waves it around in the dance hall. Elizabeth is totally humiliated by this spectacle.
Everyone in the room enjoys Elizabeth’s elegant piano playing and singing, and then she graciously encourages Darcy’s sister Georgiana to play next. Caroline stops Elizabeth to talk about the loss of the regiment in Meryton. As Georgiana plays the piano, Caroline mentions the name Wickham, which causes Georgiana to stop playing and feel uncomfortable. Acting quickly to avert disaster, Elizabeth pretends she forgot to help Georgiana turn the page on her music. Darcy is amazed by Elizabeth’s wit and grace.
R2. Elizabeth’s Invitations
The morning after the Netherfield ball, Elizabeth begs Kitty to stay with her when their mother tells her Mr. Collins has something to say to her right that moment. He proposes to Elizabeth and states his reasons for wanting to marry her. She rejects his offer, but he refuses to listen and thinks she can’t be serious.
After reminiscing about the Netherfield ball with Bingley, Elizabeth receives a humble request from Georgiana and Darcy to dine with them at Pemberley the following day. She answers for herself and the Gardiners, saying they would all be happy to come. She even agrees to play the piano, although she’s a little nervous about it.
S2. No Pressure
Mrs. Bennet tells Mr. Bennet that Elizabeth has refused to marry Mr. Collins, and she demands that Mr. Bennet insist on her marrying him. However, Mr. Collins is simply not an ideal partner for Elizabeth. Mr. Bennet tells his wife to summon Elizabeth to enter his study. Mrs. Bennet says that she will never see Elizabeth again if she doesn’t agree to marry Mr. Collins. And Mr. Bennet tells Elizabeth that he’ll never see her again if she does agree, causing Mrs. Bennet to cry in despair and anger.
Darcy introduces Elizabeth to his sister Georgiana, and the young lady tells her that Darcy loves hearing Elizabeth play the piano. He’s an ideal elder brother. Darcy asks if he might summon Bingley, and Elizabeth happily agrees. Bingley notes that it has been at least eight months since they last saw each other at the Netherfield ball. He then says that he can’t remember a happier time than those short months he spent in Hertfordshire.
T2. Elizabeth’s Beaus Come and Go
Hearing of the trouble at Longbourn, Charlotte invites Mr. Collins to come dine with her and her family at Lucas Lodge. She has a resigned look on her face as she chooses that course of action. Mr. Collins leaves with her shortly after.
Returning from a walk, Elizabeth hears that three visitors are waiting for her in the inn at Lambton. Her face brightens at the news that Darcy is among them. She enters the inn directly to see him and the other guests.
Part 3 Coming Soon
The final part, which reveals the turning point of the entire chiasmus, is coming next week. I hope you’ll come back and be prepared to be as dazzled as I trust you’ve already been by the first two parts. We’ll be covering Episodes 3 and 4. See you then!
This is the Deja Reviewer bidding you farewell until we meet again.
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