Downton Abbey: 10 Funniest Quotes From Violet Crawley

Each Character From Downton Abbey Has Their Recognisable Traits. Sarcastic Wit Is One Of Violet's Defining Features, Making For Hilarious Quotes!

The new movie, Downton Abbey: A New Era, is set to hit the big screen next year, with the return of some very familiar faces. The cast of Downton Abbey provided viewers with storylines of relationship struggles, family issues, difference between classes, and even some light humor, all set in a grand, stately home from the early 1900s.

The comedy element was mainly conveyed by the talented Maggie Smith, as Violet Crawley. The Dowager Countess of Grantham initially comes across as a steely authoritarian. But, her stead-fast manner shouldn’t be confused for a lack of hilarious sarcasm and quick wit. Violet brings a comical moment to nearly every scene she’s in and her one-liners make for some of the funniest quotes of the series.

A Visit To The Doctor

“…There Comes A Time When Things Are Best Left To The Professionals.”

The snipes exchanged between Violet and Isobel are as much a part of Downton Abbey as the Earl Of Grantham himself. Any chance the pair can score a subtle dig towards one another is taken, especially by Violet. Isobel and Mr.Molesley pay a visit to Dr.Clarkson in season 1, episode 4, only to find Violet is already in his office. Mr.Molesley endured a rash on his hand which Isobel inaccurately diagnosed as being erysipelas, but Violet knew better. After she correctly points out that it is, in fact, a reaction to a rue hedge, she follows up with grouping herself together with medical professionals, just to wind Isobel up a little more. Only Violet would have the gall (and wit) to make such a statement.

Sticking To Tradition

“An Aristocat With No Servants Is As Much Use To The Country As A Glass Hammer.”

The ‘upstairs’ Downton Abbey family residents, were born into a life of upper-class rules. Their aristocratic way of living was handed down from generations before them, but they understand that they exist to create jobs and manage the estate for the people of the village. At a family dinner in season 3, episode 1, whilst being waited on, cousin Matthew states that he had thought about living a simpler life, with reference to the servants who are serving their dinner. Violet wholeheartedly disagrees with a figure of speech, that not only succinctly gets her point across, but also adds some light humor.

Disapproving Of A Relationship

“A Hollow Existence In A Large And Drafty House With A Man Who Bores Her To Death.”

Although Violet’s insults are sometimes covered by her sarcastic tone, there are also moments where her words are not minced. In an attempt to persuade Isobel that Lord Merton would be a questionable romantic choice for her in season 5, episode 5, Violet entrusts Dr.Clarkson, to help her convince Isobel. Much to her dismay, Dr.Clarkson suggests that Violet just prefers Isobel as being middle-class and not wanting to see her position change. She hits back with an attempt at showing concern for Isobel’s future, but naturally, can’t resist a hilarious dig at Lord Merton in the same breath.

Unnecessary Solutions

“I Know Several Couples Who Are Perfectly Happy And They Haven’t Spoken In Years.”

The Dowager Countess not only knows how to be sarcastic and witty, but she also knows how to be dramatic, when things aren’t quite going her way. The Downton Cottage Hospital may be joined up with The Royal Yorkshire Hospital, but Violet and Dr.Clarkson don’t want to see that happen, putting them at loggerheads with Cora and Isobel.

In season 6, episode 3, Robert tells Violet that he had been talking to Cora, and she thinks Violet is wrong. She tells him that it’s a mistake talking to Cora, to which Robert replies “You can’t expect me to avoid talking to my own wife!” Her amusing gibe takes things to the nth degree, but she sees it as a viable solution.

Mysterious Missing Items

“I Wonder You Don’t Just Set Fire To The Abbey And Dance Round It.”

Although it may be near impossible, The Dowager Countess is sometimes able to be persuaded into doing something she was at first reluctant to do. In season 4, episode 6, after Violet had been swayed into letting John Pegg work at her house, she thinks he has stolen from her and informs Isobel. Frustrated by Violet’s accusation, Isobel insinuates that she is far too materialistic, because of her concern towards the whereabouts of her missing possessions. With a distaste to the statement, Violet quickly jumps on the defense and takes Isobel’s words to the extreme.

Isobel Is The Only Option

“Mmm, Yes, But You’re Better Than Nothing.”

Family friend to the Crawleys, Lord Merton was due to pay a visit. However, seeing as no one else was available to meet with him and since it was prearranged, Violet had to volunteer her hospitality. In conversation with Isobel in season 4, episode 8, Violet asks her to be there too. Isobel quips “I’m a feeble substitute for the entire Crawley family.” Instead of a resounding no or a morale boost, Violet’s quote shoots down any thought that Isobel could have, where she might be wanted at the meet-up, instead of simply being required as the last choice. It’s not just Violet’s words that make for a laugh-out-loud moment, but the look on her face of sincerity mixed with disappointment (which could be made into endless amounts of funny Downton Abbey memes,) adds to the moment.

No Praise For Her Mother-In-Law

“It Always Seemed Rather Dark, When My Mother-In-Law Lived Here. But Then, She Made Everything Rather Dark.”

It might be thought that coming from such a well-to-do family, inundated with structure and rules, that shady burns towards someone else, would be unheard of and very much frowned upon. However, Violet makes it known that’s not the case, in season 1, episode 2. Along with Cora, she pays a visit to Isobel and Matthew. After Cora pays a compliment to the room they sat in, Violet swoops in with a comment on how it used to look. She quickly follows it up with the end of the quote, seizing the chance to make a funny remark at another person’s expense.

A Blossoming Scheme

“But That Is Precisely What They Already Know. And Do!”

At the setting up of the ‘Downton Village Flower Show,’ Isobel encounters Mr. Molesley and his father. She enquires as to who wins the show each year. And as the answers repeatedly turn out to be Violet, Isobel gets an inkling that the judging is biased or intentionally encouraged towards the result favoring Violet’s entry.

In season 1, episode 5, Isobel confronts her, in the hope that she will convince her to instruct the judges to vote solely for the best and most deserving flowers. With a stern look, Violet claims that they already do, implying that of course, her flowers must be the best!

Losing Her Maid

“Why Would She Want To Leave Me? I’ve Been As Gentle As A Lamb…Most Of The Time”

Whilst Violet knows how to play the powerful and somewhat intimidating Dowager Countess, she is also partial to switching on an innocent, ‘butter wouldn’t melt,’ facade. She noticed her maid acting strange, fearing that she was going to leave. In conversation with Cora in season 1, episode 7, she explains her worry and mulls over what the reason for her potential departure could be. Claiming that she is “as gentle as a lamb,” doesn’t get past Cora, as she gives her a doubtful glance, triggering Violet to say “most of the time.” Deep down, Violet knows she can be an unnerving presence, but she comically tries to pretend otherwise.

Sybil’s New Job

“In Case You Hadn’t Noticed, She Hasn’t Been There For Some Time!”

The First World War had broken out and people were being enlisted to undertake their duties. Sybil decided she couldn’t stand by and watch the war unfold, without playing her part. She chose to become a nurse, first by learning basic life skills from Mrs. Patmore and then to gain insight from Dr.Clarkson. In season 2, episode 1, Cora becomes distressed at the prospect and in conversation with Violet and Isobel says, “if Dr.Clarkson needs free labor, I’d prefer him not to find it in my nursery.” Violet is in favor of her granddaughter’s new venture and humorously snaps back with a comment that states the obvious, but makes her point nonetheless.

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