Free Essays - Use of Satire in Pride and Prejudice

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Use of Satire in Pride and Prejudice

Satire is used in Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen to show the deficiencies in morals and ethics of the characters that Austen disapproves of. Satire is used to "attack" characters and to bring about change. The different characters types she satirizes are "suck-ups," hierarchical, and/or ignorant.

Austen disapproves of Mr. Collins and that is why she attacks and satirizes him. Mr. Collins is a "suck-up." His living with Lady Catherine has caused him to demoralize himself. 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 form 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" (137 Austen).

This shows how high he thinks Lady Catherine is and this sort of shows that he thinks he's sort of better than her by implying that she doesn't have an elegant dress. Another example of him "sucking-up" is when Mr. Collins introduces himself to Mr. Darcy at the ball. After introducing himself and making a "speech," Mr. Darcy "replied with an air of / distant civility / ...and Mr. Darcy's contempt / seemed abundantly increasing with the length of his / second speech" (85 Austen). When Mr. Collins returned to Elizabeth, he told her "Mr. Darcy seemed much / pleased with the attention" (85 Austen). Mr. Collins is so thickheaded that he didn't notice Mr. Darcy's contempt towards him. When Mr. Bennet commented on Mr. Collins letter, Mr. Bennet said that Mr. Collins letter contained a "mixture of servility / and self importance" (56 Austen). This is why Mr. Collins is also a fop. A fop is someone who sees himself/herself as much more sophisticated and well liked than they really are. He continually brags about his "so-called" friendship with Lady Catherine DeBourgh.
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