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Use Of Satire In Pride And Prejudice, By Jane Austen

1284 words - 6 pages

Pride and Prejudice is a novel of manners by Jane Austen, published in 1813. This story follows the main character Elizabeth, as she deals with issues of manners, upbringing, and marriage in the society of early 19th-century England. Satire is used in Pride and Prejudice to make fun of human vices or weaknesses. Satire can be described as a literary composition, in verse or prose, in which human folly and vice is held up to scorn, derision, or ridicule (Satire). It is basically used to attack the characters to bring a change about them. The use of satire is often inclusive of a need or decision of correcting or bettering the character that is on the receiving end of the satire. In general, ...view middle of the document...

(CliffNotes) Jane Austin shows her view of entailment by using satire throughout the book. The following quote displays Austin’s discontent with the marriage and entailment issues in the Regency culture.
“…if she should die, it would be of comfort to know that it was all in pursuit of Mr. Bingley and under your orders.” –Chapter 7 ( Palmer)
One of the two most made fun of characters in Pride and Prejudice is Mr Collins who is Mr Bennet’s cousin and, heir to his estate. Austen described him as "not a sensible man, and the deficiency of nature had been but little assisted by education or society." Collins boasts of his acquaintance with and valuable support from Lady Catherine de Bourgh. Mr Bennet, Jane, and Elizabeth consider him pompous and lacking in common sense. Austen disapproves of Mr. Collins and that is why she attacks and satirizes him. He thinks and talks highly of people higher than himself, such as, Lady Catherine DeBourgh. An example of this is when they were invited to dine with Lady Catherine DeBourgh and Mr. Collins then tells Elizabeth:
"Do not make yourself uneasy, my dear cousin, about your apparel. Lady Catherine is far from requiring that elegance of dress in us which becomes herself and daughter. I would advise you merely to put on whatever of your clothes is superior to the rest ...she likes to have the distinction of rank preserved"
This shows how high he thinks Lady Catherine is and this sort of displays that he thinks he's sort of better than her by implying that she doesn't have an elegant dress.
The highest person on the social ladder mentioned in Pride and Prejudice is Lady Catherine De Bourgh and also has satire used against her. She possesses wealth and social standing, is haughty, domineering and condescending. Jane Austen also disapproves of her. Lady Catherine is demanding and thinks that she can order whomever she wants around. An example of this is when she visits Elizabeth after hearing the rumor that Mr. Darcy was to propose to her. Lady Catherine thinks she and people like her are better than everyone because she says to Elizabeth:
"I know the rumor it must be a scandalous falsehood"
A big use of satire was directed at Austin’s view of the life of leisure during this time. Most women in the novel desire to attend balls, attract admiration, wear fine clothes, and dance. The married women, as chaperones, enjoy the social successes of their daughters. There is no imaginative or serious interest in the lives of any of these women. Austen does not seem to object to elegant clothes as such but is mocking of those to whose fashion is an obsession, or their lack of seriousness by worrying about clothes in...

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