06 September 2017
A Formal Petition for the Death of Mr. William Collins (and Lady De Bourgh)
Picture this: Charlotte Bronte, Emily Bronte, and Nicholas Sparks all seated around a table, but instead of the knights of the round table they are the cupids of the love table. And who better to lead this fine group of love seekers and fantasy builders but the Queen herself, Jane Austen. Often regarded as one of the most iconic romance novels in literature, Pride and Prejudice lays the foundation for what would become a recurring theme in most love stories. The witty sarcasm and ‘playing hard to get’ relationship between Elizabeth Bennet and the dark brooding Mr. Darcy can at times make the reader want to scream at the book “JUST KISS HIM ALREADY” and at others make them question if they can stand to be in the same room as each other. But the back and forth banter the two share is a testament to the times and to their situation, while the recurring theme of hubris and overcoming prejudice plays a part in it all.
Pride and Prejudice opens on the premise of a wealthy man moving into an estate outside rural London in the early 1800s. It follows the interaction between this man, Mr. Bingley, and his party with the Bennet family. The mother, Mrs. Bennet, will stop at nothing to ensure all her five daughters find suitable and advantageous marriages and forcibly ensues to impede upon the lives of Bingley and his party in order to speed along the process of ‘love’. Bingley and Jane become close early on and start to speak more intimately at social events while the other sisters are generally overlooked. But the talk of the town is not the budding romance but is the overly proud man that stalked in the corner snubbing all attempts at social interaction, Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy. Though not the most affectionate person, Darcy slowly develops feelings for Elizabeth (which is not revealed to the audience until more than 200 pages into the book); as for Elizabeth, she encounters many different relations before she settles on the brooding teenager with guyliner sulking in the corner, one of which being Mr. Collins and the other Mr. Wickham. The book follows the twists and turns in the development of relationships between Bingley, Wickham, Collins, and the Bennet sisters (and Charlotte Lucas, Lizzy’s best friend) that hinder the relationship between Darcy and Elizabeth until finally he decides to lay everything on the table and profess his love not once, but twice and she starts to finally open her eyes to see the man that was there all along.
Of all the characters in the novel, there is none more obnoxious than Mr. Collins. Though Austen has brilliant character development, the excess focus placed on Collins and his timeline distracts from the relationship between Elizabeth and Darcy so much so that it is hard to tell where exactly feelings started to arise. Taking the reader by surprise is one thing but dropping the “I love...