Study Guide

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies Lies & Deceit

By Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith

Lies & Deceit

When he and Darcy were both boys of no more than seven years, the elder Darcy had taken a keen interest in their training. One day, during a daybreak spar, the young Wickham landed a severe kick, which sent Darcy to the ground. The elder Darcy implored Wickham to "finish" his son with a blow to the throat. When the boy protested, the elder Darcy—rather than punishing him for insolence, praised his generosity of spirit. The young Darcy, embarrassed more by his father's preference than his own defeat, attacked Wickham when his back was turned—sweeping his legs with a quarterstaff, and shattering the bones of both. It was nearly a year before he walked without the aid of a cane. (16.29)

Oh, the lies and the lying liars who tell them. This is a whopper that Mr. Wickham tells Elizabeth to demonstrate how cruel Mr. Darcy is. Later, we find out that Mr. Darcy did attack Mr. Wickham—but only to stop him from attacking a blind stable boy. For shame, sir.

"Jane, no one who has ever seen you together can doubt his affection. Miss Bingley, I am sure, cannot. She may not be a warrior, but she has cunning enough. Dearest sister, I implore you—this unhappiness is best remedied by the hasty application of a cutlass to her throat." (21.31)

Elizabeth knows that Caroline Bingley is a big fat liar pants, even if Jane won't believe it. Elizabeth also suspects that all Jane's troubles would go away if only Caroline were dead. Hey, she's just saying.

"Caroline is incapable of willfully deceiving anyone; and all that I can hope in this case is that she is deceiving herself." 

"Is it she who is deceived, or you? You forget yourself, Jane—you have allowed your feelings for Mr. Bingley to soften the instincts bestowed by our Oriental masters."(21.32-33)

Elizabeth reminds Jane that she's supposed to be a warrior, not some soft-hearted teddy bear. Caroline is obviously conning Jane, and Elizabeth calls her out on it. Remember your training, Jane.

"But perhaps," added [Mr. Darcy], pressing the pointed end against her neck, "these offenses might have been overlooked, had not your pride been hurt by my honest confession of the scruples that had long prevented my forming any serious design. These bitter accusations might have been suppressed, had I, with greater policy, concealed my struggles, and flattered you into the belief of my being impelled by unqualified, unalloyed inclination; by reason, by reflection, by everything. But disguise of every sort is my abhorrence."(34.22)

During their big fight-slash-proposal scene, Mr. Darcy tells Elizabeth what he thinks is the truth—she might have said "yes" to him if only he'd lied a little. If he'd pretended to be more excited about marrying a lowly, middle-class girl, then they might be making out right now instead of clubbing each other with a poker. But Mr. Darcy hates lies. It's as simple as that.

There is but one part of my conduct in the whole affair on which I do not reflect with satisfaction; it is that I condescended to adopt the measures of art so far as to conceal from him your sister's being in town. […] Perhaps this concealment, this disguise was beneath me; it is done, however, and it was done for the best. (35.7)

Okay, so Mr. Darcy hates lies, but he did lie this one time. He confesses to Elizabeth that he fibbed to Mr. Bingley when Jane was in London. Yeah, that was kind of low, but it's over and done with, so no biggie, right?

By [Mrs. Younge's] connivance and aid, [Mr. Wickham] recommended himself to Georgiana, whose affectionate heart retained a strong impression of his kindness to her as a child, that she was persuaded to believe herself in love, and to consent to an elopement. She was then but fifteen, which must be her excuse. I joined them unexpectedly a day or two before the intended elopement, and then Georgiana, unable to support the idea of grieving and offending a brother whom she almost looked up to as a father, acknowledged the whole to me. You may imagine what I felt and how I acted. Regard for my sister's credit and feelings prevented any public exposure; but my honor demanded a duel with Mr. Wickham, who left the place immediately. Mrs. Younge was of course savagely beaten in front of the other household staff. (35.11)

You try to deceive Mr. Darcy, and you get the crud beat out of you. Mrs. Younge and Mr. Wickham both feel his wrath for their treachery. Poor Georgiana is the victim of these lies—we hope she got the chance to get in a good roundhouse kick, at least.

"How despicably I have acted!" she cried; "I, who have prided myself on my discernment! I, who have valued myself on my mastery of mind and body! Who have often disdained the generosity of my sister, and gratified my vanity in useless mistrust! How humiliating is this discovery! Oh! Were my master here to bloody my back with wet bamboo!"(36.8)

This is shameful, indeed. Elizabeth was so sure that she was an awesome judge of character, but when she finds out the truth about Mr. Wickham, she realizes that she's been played for a fool. What kind of warrior is she, anyway?

"You are quite right. To have his errors made public might force him to demand satisfaction from Mr. Darcy—and when two gentlemen duel, there is seldom a happy result. We must not make him desperate. In the words of our dear master, 'a caged tiger bites twice as hard.'"(40.16)

Jane and Elizabeth decide not to tell anyone in Hertfordshire about Mr. Wickham's lies—after all, they don't want to push him over the edge. Spoiler alert: this will turn out to be a pretty big mistake.

My Dear Harriet, You will laugh when you know where I am gone, and I cannot help laughing myself at your surprise to-morrow morning, as soon as I am missed. I am going to Gretna Green, and if you cannot guess with who, I shall think your brains in a zombie's teeth, for there is but one man in the world I love. […] You need not send them word at Longbourn of my going, if you do not like it, for it will make the surprise the greater, when I write to them and sign my name "Lydia Wickham."(47.58)

Seriously, Lydia? This is a pretty tone-deaf letter from her as she runs away to elope. She's lied to everyone about her plans, and now she's laughing about it. #notfunny

"Such great skills! Such a slayer of zombies! And yet, when one was in your home, you had not perception enough to see her." 

"Are you so daft as to suppose that I did not know Charlotte for what she was? Are you incapable of understanding my generous motives? That my new priest might know some measure of happiness? Tell me, why do you suppose she changed so slowly? Why did I invite her to tea so often—for the pleasure of her company? No! It was my serum which kept her alive those few happy months. A few drops at a time, unnoticed, into her cup." 

"Such an experiment can hardly be called 'generous.' You did nothing but prolong her suffering!" (56.36-38)

Elizabeth thinks that Lady Catherine has been tricked by Charlotte, but her ladyship points out that she knew Charlotte was a rotting zombie carcass all along. Because, duh. Turns out Lady Catherine was actually pulling her own little side scheme by keeping Charlotte alive for longer than she needed to be. Elizabeth doesn't think that was a very nice thing to do. Poor ninth-tenths dead Charlotte.