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"Irony In Pride And Predjudice" A Discussion Of Jane Austin's Use Of Irony As A Literary Tool With Specific Examples From Chapters 53 61

509 words - 3 pages

One of the most ironic and significant events of Pride and Prejudice is Lady Catherine de Bourgh's impromptu and audacious drop in on The Bennet household and her ensuing conversation with Elizabeth. This situation is extremely ironic because Lady Catherine's speech ends up having exactly the opposite effect on the storyline that she had intended it to. She first takes Elizabeth completely by speaking of an ensuing marriage between Elizabeth and Darcy. "I was told that not only your sister was on the point of being most advantageously married, but that you, that Miss Elizabeth Bennet, would, in all likelihood, be soon afterwards united to my nephew... Mr. Darcy." This is something that Elizabeth had brushed ...view middle of the document...

" By this point in the novel, however, Elizabeth has realized her changed feelings toward Darcy, and refuses to promise Lady Catherine not to marry him. She is worried, however, that the feelings of Darcy's aunt may have a more powerful effect on him then it has had on her. Lady Catherine does indeed later call on him to deliver her arguments against Elizabeth. But in relating to him her conversation with Elizabeth, she actually gives Darcy hope that he might yet win Elizabeth's hand. ``It taught me to hope,'' he later says, ``as I had scarcely ever allowed myself to hope before. I knew enough of your disposition to be certain that, had you been absolutely, irrevocably decided against me, you would have acknowledged it to Lady Catherine, frankly and openly...Lady Catherine's unjustifiable endeavors to separate us were the means of removing all my doubts. My aunt's intelligence had given me hope, and I was determined at once to know everything.'' Thus, Lady Catherine unwittingly plays the hugely important role of facilitating marriage between Elizabeth and Darcy through her very attempt in preventing. This occurrence also shows the ironic ineffectiveness of a woman of such supposedly high power. Her conversation with Elizabeth proves to be extremely important in the text, however not in the way which it was meant to be. As Elizabeth remarks with wit after her marriage, "Lady Catherine has been of infinite use, which ought to make her happy, for she loves to be of use."

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