Comical and Satirized Characters in Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility

Comical and Satirized Characters in Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility

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Jane Austen's use of satire in her novels, Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility, break from the boundaries of sentimental writing. This left Austen open to a lifetime of criticism, only to be hailed after her time as one of the greatest writers of the English language. Much of Austen?s social commentary on Regency England was done through flat comical characters such as Mrs. Bennet, Mr. Collins, Lady Catherine, Mrs. Jennings, and others. All of which are amusingly oblivious to anything deeper than the rules and aspirations set by society. The dialogue of their interactions and the irony of their situations add humor as well as reinforce the idiocy presented by the very first line of Pride and Prejudice, "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife" (Austen 3).
Mrs. Bennet?s actions as a mother are not unjustified. Because the Bennet estate was entailed, the marriage of her daughters was necessary for their secured wellbeing. In Chapter 20 Elizabeth refuses Mr. Collins marriage proposal. Her mother, who views the match as advantageous, is outraged and expresses her grief to Mr. Bennet, ?Nobody can tell what I suffer! - But it is always so. Those who do not complain are never pitied? (Austen 130). Austen?s criticism is clarified by Mrs. Bennet?s obsession with marriage, ?The business of her life was to get her daughters married? (Austen 6). ?Happy for all her maternal feelings was the day on which Mrs. Bennet got rid of her two most deserving daughters? (Austen 432). Mrs. Bennet?s ideas of marriage fully overlook love of the person. They settle in her foundations that happiness with another person is provided by an improvement in wealth or social st...


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...zzle, the characters Jane Austen satirizes would fall short in fitting everything together. Mrs. Bennet, Mr. Collins, Lady Catherine, Mrs. Jennings, and all the other comedic characters in the novels appear only to see the shape of people. They focus on wealth, status, and connections. Even when the outline of the pieces fit, they fail to any make sense when put together. The reason being the characters Austen pokes fun at are so focus on the externals. They are ignorant to the individual image inside each piece. Austen uses flat satirical characters to add interest and humor to her works, but also to comment on the faults in peoples? attitudes toward society, marriage, possessions, and position.

Works Cited

Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice. Norwalk: The Easton Press, 2007.
Austen, Jane. Sense and Sensibility. New York: Barnes and Noble Inc., 2006.

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