Books

Help! Does Pride and Prejudice fall into the “Love Triangle” trope?!? Tell me its not true! (Discussion)

Before reading this post, here are three things you need to know:

  1. Pride and Prejudice is my favorite book
  2. I strongly dislike love triangles.  (There are a few rare exceptions, but normally they just bug me.)
  3. This post contains spoilers for Pride and Prejudice, so if you somehow don’t know the story then don’t read this post!

Yesterday, I had the most disturbing thought, and it has been bugging me ever sense:

Does Pride and Prejudice contain a love triangle?!?

I blame Kay @ Hammock of Books for putting this awful idea into my head!!!! (just kidding I love her blog you should check it out!) She wrote a very interesting post about if ships are spoilers or not.  She had a great example where a ship consisting of people in a love triangle could spoil who ends up with who.

I was trying to come up with non-love triangle examples, so obviously I tried to think of one in Pride and Prejudice.  (its always my starting place) I thought to myself “If I had known that Darcy and Elizabeth ended up together would it have spoiled the story?”

It has been so long since the first time I read Pride and Prejudice that I honestly don’t remember. Though, I think that it probably would have.  Elizabeth has so many potential suitors – Mr. Collins, Mr. Wickham, Mr. Darcy, and even Colonel Fitzwilliam for a bit. But does that make a love triangle?

I looked up the definition of Love Triangle.

According to Wikipedia there are two main forms of love triangles:

  1. The rivalrous triangle, where the lover is competing with a rival for the love of the beloved
  2. The split-object triangle, where a lover has split their attention between two love objects”

By these definitions, Pride and Prejudice has TONS of love triangles

  1. Elizabeth / Darcy / Wickham
  2. Elizabeth / Darcy / Collins
  3. Elizabeth / Darcy / Colonel Fitzwilliam
  4. Elizabeth / Wickham / Collins
  5. Elizabeth / Wickham / Colonel Fitzwilliam
  6. Elizabeth / Wickham / Collins
  7. Elizabeth / Charlotte / Collins
  8. Elizabeth / Lydia / Wickham
  9. Elizabeth / Darcy / Caroline
  10. Elizabeth / Darcy / Anne de Bourgh
  11. Caroline / Darcy / Anne de Bourgh
  12. Charles / Jane / Georgiana
  13. Collins / Jane / Elizabeth

I am probably missing some but that is a LOT!!!

In case you are curious, here is a really helpful relationship map for Pride and Prejudice:

PrideAndPrejudiceRelationshipMap

Source: Wikipedia

Wikipedia even goes on to mention that “Love triangles can either be relatively balanced, in which the two candidates each have a fair chance of ending up with the protagonist, or they can be lopsided, in which the hero or heroine has an obvious romantic interest in one of the candidates” That strengthens the argument that Pride and Prejudice contains Love Triangles!

I don’t want to accept this! But even the definition of “trope” doesn’t help me!

“A literary trope is the use of figurative language, via word, phrase or an image, for artistic effect such as using a figure of speech. The word trope has also come to be used for describing commonly recurring literary and rhetorical devices, motifs or clichés in creative works.”

Source: Wikipedia

So I guess I will have to accept the fact that Pride and Prejudice has love triangles

Buuuuutt! I will make myself feel better about it because I still don’t think that Pride and Prejudice falls into the spirit of the traditional Love Triangle Trope!

When I think of Love Triangles I think of Twilight, The Hunger Games, and The Remnant Chronicles.  I don’t think of Pride and Prejudice.  When someone says “Love Triangle Trope” I think of the over the top, drug out, excruciating choice that never gets made.  It doesn’t refer to the basis of multiple suitors and possible love interests.

So TECHNICALLY Pride and Prejudice contains love triangles, but I REFUSE to believe that it falls into the Love Triangle Trope.

What do you think? Let me know! I really want to know! Please tell me I am not crazy!

Please tell me that Pride and Prejudice does not fall under the Love Triangle trope?!?

 

44 thoughts on “Help! Does Pride and Prejudice fall into the “Love Triangle” trope?!? Tell me its not true! (Discussion)

  1. Oh, I hadn’t think about this before. I’m not sure how this makes me feel😂😂😂 I still love the book, but this is an interesting point to consider😂 It definitely isn’t like the rest of love triangles and it’s not the first that comes to mind with the word!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I still love the book as well! This thought didn’t change that at all. If anything it has made me reevaluate my opinions on Love Triangles. Tho like you said it is not like the rest of love triangles, so in general my opinion didn’t really change!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Lol, ew. I mean, I guess it sort of has them…but I think what sets it apart is the fact that none of them involve any instalove and they’re all more like potential love triangles in which the characters like or have a crush on another character, but there’s rarely a deep connection. So, while in a way they do exist in the novel, the lack of strong feelings for many of them sort of negates it. Darcy loved Elizabeth, of course…but Lizzie only ever really liked Wickham and she certainly never liked Collins.

    And obviously there are the others, but again I’d discredit them for the same reasons. It’s not like Charles was in love with Georgiana and such, etc.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thats a good point about no instalove! Thats one of the best things about Pride and Prejudice is that Elizabeth and Darcy fall in love so gradually! “I cannot fix on the hour, or the spot, or the look or the words, which laid the foundation. It is too long ago. I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun.” According to Wikipedia even if Elizabeth doesn’t have any feelings for Collins it is still a love triangle because Collins was in love with Elizabeth (tho you could argue that he wasn’t actually in love with her!) Haha its a mess and I am inclined not to think of them as love triangles!!!

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  3. I totally think the story would of been ruined if you knew elizabeth and darcy got together in the end. The best part of the book for me is darcys letter and our subversion of expectations of this character and their relationship. Knowing we saw part of this world all wrong made me fall in love with this book. I love the idea that we cant always trust the protagonist to see the world as it truly is. Also as mostly everyone is saying I dont see it as the love triangle trope because there was no real deep love for any other suitor just more possible candidates. That doesn’t count to me.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thats a great point! I wish I remembered more about the first time I read it, but I don’t think I would have foreseen Darcy and Elizabeth getting together! And the letter is such a great part!!! It does really show how wrong Elizabeth was about him 😀 And according to the Wiki the doesn’t have to be a deep love in order for it to be a love triangle. But I don’t want it to be a love triangle so I am not going to argue against you!

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  4. Wow, that’s… a lot of potential love triangles! And that relationship map kills me! Wow. Hadn’t thought of this before. But I will say that you have a good point, when I think of YA love triangles they just don’t seem in the same league as P&P, so I’ll say no there is no love triangle in P&P ha ha.

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  5. I think we don’t like love triangles because they are over-done. P&P was written long before the others that you mention. Something to bear in mind is that a trope becomes a trope because it (once) worked so well. The rest are just copying Jane Austen!

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  6. I already knew Lizzy and Darcy got together at the end when I started reading it (many many thanks to my English teacher’s I ❤ Mr. Darcy shirt, coffee mug, poster, etc…) and I think I probably would have seen the book differently if I hadn't…oh well. I guess I have to agree as much as it hurts my heart that there are love triangles in this book; however, I wouldn't call it just a love triangle bc there so much else happening! Also love how it was written so long ago and all the sweet gestures were so subtle; if it was written today imagine everyone making out with everyone xD (if SJM wrote this…*shudders*)

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    1. Ah man that sucks! Its such a classic that people don’t think of spoiling it because they have assumed everyone already knows, but when you have high school kids there is a good chance they don’t!

      I haven’t read anything by SJM but I could imagine! That is a great point, part of its charm is that it is so chaste but still so potent! Tho I once read “Pride and Prejudice Wild and Wanton” edition (pretty much they just added “romantic” scenes, if you catch my drift) and it was a fun read! (tho not as good as the original!!!)

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  7. Uh I don’t think it’s a love triangle because by the time that Elizabeth figures out she loves Darcy, she already knows she is not interested in Wickham and I don’t think she was ever really interested in Collins. I hate love triangles so I have to say this as that would completely kill this book for me!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think it is more that both Wickham and Collins have moved on from Elizabeth by the time she considers Darcy. According to the Wiki it doesn’t matter if the suitors have any chance. And don’t let it kill the book!!!! No matter what it isn’t the traditional triangles you get it modern books! Pride and Prejudice is still awesome!!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Really awesome discussion to have! And I see how this has some love triangles- though I feel the main reason why I’m not (and never will be) bothered by this is that none of the main characters are interested in anyone outside their main romance. Darcy, Jane and Bingley are all consistent in who they like and don’t play anyone false (even if other people are throwing themselves at them) And though Elizabeth briefly has her head turned by Wickham, she never really likes him. Anyway, that’s just my two cents.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. 😀 Thanks! And that is a great way to think about it! I like that you could accept it and not be bothered by it at the same time! Its true that they don’t play anyone false, and that is a big part of it. Also, to add to that, everyone gets what they deserve in love. None of the good guys get screwed over because someone played them and then chose someone else. Even Mr. Collins gets Charlotte! Thanks for your input!

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      1. I agree with theorangutanlibrarian. The overlapping possible romance of its characters happened due to the nature of courtship in that era. Everyone takes everyone single (with suitable status) as their potential partner. It’s almost instinctive. On the other hand, Darcy and Bingley were head over heels for their respective lovers, so they’re practically not on the market. So, my answer is no.
        Even if someone argues that Lizzy and Geroge Wickham had something going on, their almost-relationship still doesn’t count because the main point here is Lizzy’s prejudice and Wickham’s lies. Lizzy fancied Wickham due to his false allegation over Darcy. They shared the same “enemy” and she pitied him. Plus, Wickham never loved her. This love triangle trope barely applies to other characters as well. Just think about, matchmaker practice in China, or Tinder, or group blind dates. Unlikely. Very unlikely.

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      2. I agree that most of those are not love triangles. At least not by any standards that actually involve love. My point was mostly that the definition was so vague that they could technically be considered love triangles. That is a great point about the time period of the novel! courting everyone and being out in public is kind of like a giant version of those matchmaking things where you talk to one person for like 5 minutes then a bell rings and you rotate to the next person. (Does that have a name? Is that what you meant by group blind dates?) They are just getting to know everyone and almost all of it is not serious until you pick one person!

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      3. @PerfectlyTolerable: exactly! Lol. I have no idea what they call it so I just wrote group blind dates. hahaha. Hmm, ya, I can tell there are love-triangle subplots in Pride and Prejudice (based on the broad definition of love-triangle). I’m glad you brought up this topic though. It’s worth defending. It can be a thesis or something. Seriously.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I majored in Applied Mathematics so I don’t think they would have accepted that for my thesis 😂 And thanks! I am glad I brought it up too! It had never occurred to me before and it was cool to see everyone’s different thoughts!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Did you watch the movie with Keira Knightley? I thought it was a pretty good adaptation of the book, and you would still have gotten the surprise of them falling in love! You may have missed out on the amount of small details, but I would think the overall experience would still be similar?

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    1. Its all good! WordPress is a pain and sometimes it seems like your comment didn’t go through. I have done it too! Now when my comment seems to have failed I refresh the page a bunch of times to make sure it just wasn’t being slow!

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  9. Naaah, surely not! I always picture love triangles as being a lady being asked by the plot to *choose* between two men, and Lizzy never really needs to do that.
    Darcy sinks his proposal himself by his own actions, Wickham only helps, Wickham sinks himself through *his* own actions of being a slimy toad and by running off with Lydia. They’re never a viable marriage choice at the same time in the plot.
    I guess there might have been a bit more of a thing between Darcy and Fitzwilliam if the book were written today, and that’s my clinching evidence. A love triangle suggests that either man has enough pros and cons that the suspense comes from wondering which one she’ll pick. Wickham is a charming but penniless chap at the start and soon turns into a rake, so he’s never really on the table as it were. Darcy’s so unlikable that even Mrs Bennet doesn’t push her daughters towards him, regardless of when he starts to show an interest (good job there, Darcy). None of these men know that they are ‘competing’ for Lizzy’s hand, and she’s not ‘choosing’ one over the other. Just at the end of the book she chooses to accept Darcy’s second proposal when they’ve both improved as people.

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    1. Thats a great point that none of her love interests really overlap with each other. She is never at one point choosing one over the other! I think that is the strongest argument for them not being love triangles! Thanks for the great response!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I had to give it serious thought and everything, but I always feel that the key part of a love triangle is someone having to make an actual choice and that’s totally absent in this case.
        Phew!

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