Riddles of Jane Austen

By: Justin Zablocki (author, Zablocki Bros. LLC) on October 8th, 2013 12:00 AM.


Riddles of Jane Austen


Jane Austen was an English novelist who has become extremely popular for her novels, including 'Sense and Sensability' and 'Pride and Prejudice'. She wrote these novels between 1811 and 1818. A lesser known fact about her is that she wrote a lot of great riddles. The riddles she wrote could also be called charades; in the past charades could also mean a riddle in verse or prose. Most of the charades she wrote were written one syllable at a time. Each syllable was described separately in the riddle and in the end the syllables could be connected to form a single word or phrase. Many of her most popular riddles come from her 1816 novel, 'Emma':

My first doth affliction denote
Which my second is destin'd to feel.
And my whole is the best antidote
That affliction to soften and heal.

The answer to this riddle is woe-man (woman). Another great riddle that she authored goes as follows:

When my first is a task to a young girl of spirit,
And my second confines her to finish the piece,
How hard is her fate! but how great is her merit
If by taking my whole she effects her release!

The answer to this riddle is hem-lock (hemlock). One final riddle from her:

My first displays the wealth and pomp of kings,
Lords of the earth! their luxury and ease.
Another view of man, my second brings,
Behold him there, the monarch of the seas!

The answer to this final riddle is court-ship (courtship). One interesting thing about all of these riddles is that they each deal with gender and interaction between the two genders. This is very similar to all of her writings. All of her novels satirize the fact that most women of her time were obsessed with getting married and getting a man.

For more on Jane Austen visit her Wikipedia page.

For some more great riddles visit our Hard Riddles Section.

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