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Comparing The Three Proposals That Elizabeth Receives In Jane Austen's Pride And Prejudice

3108 words - 12 pages

Comparing the Three Proposals that Elizabeth Receives in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice

Jane Austen's novel, Pride and Prejudice, contains many opinions given
by the narrator about the characters, but the true personalities are
shown in the way their feelings and words are portrayed. Austen uses
dramatic irony to allow the reader to appreciate the hidden feelings
of the characters. The unseen feelings of Elizabeth, Mr Darcy and Mr
Collins are revealed to others in the novel during the three proposals
that occur.

There are a number of similarities between the first two proposals
that Elizabeth receives. When Mr Collins made his "declaration of
form" he expects Elizabeth to say yes, as did Mr Darcy. He "had no
doubt of a favourable answer." This shows that they are both bad
judges of character, because Elizabeth has no intention of marrying
either of them. In fact, at the point in the novel when Mr Darcy
proposes, she holds the biggest grudge against him.

In both proposals they do not respect Elizabeth's feelings and insult
her and her family. Mr Collins believes that "it is by no means
certain that another offer of marriage may ever be made to her". He
thinks this will make her want to marry him, but it has the opposite
affect. Austen uses irony to make what Mr Collins says more effective.
He emphasizes the fact that she is poor and that nobody else will want
to marry her because of it, when actually he has said previously that
he will be "uniformly silent" about how much money she will inherit.
Mr Collins reminds her that he is "to inherit her estate after the
death of her honourable father." He tries to make what he is saying
more polite and kind by saying her "honourable" father, but what he
said would still insult Elizabeth because he is talking about her
house that she will no longer have the right to live in, and the death
of her father.

Mr Darcy is also inconsiderate to Elizabeth. He tells her that "in
vain" he has "struggled" against loving her. He does not consider
Elizabeth's feelings when he says this and that it will hurt her. Like
Mr Collins he refers to "her inferiority" and its "being a
degradation". Both Mr Collins' and Mr Darcy's pride shows when they
are disrespectful towards Elizabeth because they believe themselves to
be more important her

During Mr Collins' proposal he lists his personal reasons for
marriage, and why she should say yes. He does express reasons why
Elizabeth would want to marry him, but Austen shows them as being
false, which makes him seem selfish. His first reason is to set an
example for his parish, which makes him appear pompous. It is ironic
because marriage is meant to prove your love for each other, but he
wants to set an example to his parish without doing loving the person
he intends to marry. Austen uses this to...

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