Use of Satire in Pride and Prejudice

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).

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