Use of Satire in Pride and Prejudice

Read Summary

In Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen uses satire to communicate the tone and theme of the novel. She mainly uses satire in reference to Mr. Collins and Lady Catherine, to mock the social norms and expectations of the Georgian and Victorian eras. Austen shows how Mr. Collins believes he is of higher social status just by associating himself with people of higher rank, and how he would rather deal with death than go against society’s expectations. Lady Catherine, who is looked up to as an example of how one should behave, is shown to be rude and without manners when addressing Elizabeth’s sister. She also claims to be polite while rudely yelling at Elizabeth for being unmannerly. Through these satirical portrayals, Austen critiques and mocks the societal expectations and norms of her time.

Table of Content

How does Austen use satire to communicate tone and theme in Pride and Prejudice? Austen often uses satire in reference to Mr. Collins and Lady Catherine to “poke fun” at the “morals” or “constitutions”, if you may, that were put upon British residents in the Georgian and Victorian Eras. Here are some quotes from the book that Austen uses to further show satire: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, SIGNET CLASSICS, Published by New American Library, Introduction Copyright – Margaret Drabble, 1989, Afterword copyright- Eloisa James, 2008, All Rights Reserved Mr. Collins: Quote, “I feel myself called upon by our relationship, and my situation in life, to condole with you on the grievous affliction you are now suffering under… “

Unquote. In that quote, Austen uses satire by showing that Mr. Collins, to put it bluntly, believes that just because he associates himself with people of higher rank (Lady Catherine, Mr. Darcy, etc…) he is of higher social status also. By believing himself so, he therefore exposes himself to ridicule and mockery. Volume 3, Chapter Six, pg 281) Another quote from Mr. Collins: Quote, “The death of your daughter would have been a blessing in comparison of this. ” Unquote. In this quote, Austen uses satire through Mr. Collins simply by showing how much of a pompous, “people pleas-er” he is.

Austen shows that Mr. Collins would rather deal with death, or would prefer death, than to make a ripple, or to ruffle the feathers of society and propriety in that day and age. Volume 3, Chapter Six, pg. 282) Here are some quotes from Lady Catherine: Quote, “And thatI suppose is one of your sisters. ” Unquote. Austen uses satire in this particular quote by showing that Lady Catherine, who is looked up to as the example for how you should behave, dress, and be associated with, is stiffly and rudely addressing Elizabeth’s sister,Kitty, while showing none of the manners that she sostrongly preachesabout her community. (Volume 3, Chapter Fourteen, pg. 335) Finally, here is the last quote stated by Lady Catherine: Quote, “But however insincere you choose to be, you shall not find me so. ” Unquote. This is an example of satire because Lady Catherine is stating how “well mannered” she is and how oh so polite she is, while basically rudely and without care, ” yelling” at Elizabeth for being unmannerly. (Volume 3, Chapter Fourteen, pg. 336).

Cite this page

Use of Satire in Pride and Prejudice. (2017, Jan 23). Retrieved from

Remember! This essay was written by a student

You can get a custom paper by one of our expert writers

Order custom paper Without paying upfront