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Pride And Prejudice Essay, Research Paper

Molly Miller


The Novel MWF 1:30


In the classic 1813 novel Pride and Prejudice, originally entitled First Impression, Jane Austen approaches satire and irony with full force exhibiting both throughout the novel. In this novel Austen is critical of the English societies and prejudices of its upper classes. During this era class divisions were related to family connections and wealth. Throughout this novel Austen’s characters convey irony in their actions and satire in their tone. Although Austen is notorious for writing novels of this nature, Pride and Prejudice is unique because the satire and irony is derived through the characters and their pride and prejudices.

The novel’s protagonist Elizabeth Bennet is intelligent, quick-witted, and posses a sharp tongue. She is the second daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Bennet and is the most sensible of the five Bennet sisters. The novel’s antagonist is Fitzwilliam Darcy. Darcy is wealthy, intelligent, and honest, but he has too much pride and tends to look down on others. While attending a social gathering Mr. Darcy is introduced to Elizabeth Bennet and readers witness Elizabeth’s satirical tongue.

While Mr. Darcy discussing the quality of people in attendance at the gathering to a gentlemen friend Elizabeth listened analyzing Darcy’s close-minded views. After hearing him state that her sister Jane Bennet was the only person in attendance worthy of their company she immediately viewed him as a pompous and arrogant man. When Darcy approached Elizabeth their brief conversation exhibited Jane Austen’s views about the conceded higher class. Austen then introduced her readers to Elizabeth’s satirical tongue. Elizabeth explained to Dracy in a sarcastic tone, that she was not worthy of his company due to his higher social status. Although their encounter was brief it resulted on a long ironic and satirical courtship.

Austen let the reader view Darcy as dark and cold and Elizabeth as the strong and pure character. Darcy had never encountered a women like Elizabeth Bennet and although she was not of his class he decided to give her the honor of being his wife. The idea of him proposing is ironic because Elizabeth had never conveyed an emotional interest in Darcy. While proposing to Elizabeth, Darcy informed her that although it would be degrading to be connected with the Bennet family she was worthy of his title. Elizabeth denied his satirical proposal disregarding Darcy’s manipulative dialogue. This proposal satirized Austen’s views on the wealthy. Darcy thought that because he was wealthy that Elizabeth could not refuse but Austen exhibited that not every women of this era could be bought regardless of a man’s fortune. After reading this novel, critics have noticed numerous similarities between Jane Austen and her character Elizabeth Bennet. Perhaps that is why there is an abundant amount of satire and irony in Jane Austen’s works.

Although the reader’s initial impression of Darcy labels him as the antagonist he ironically loses this label by the end of the novel. When his enemy George Wickham runs away with Lydia Bennet, Elizabeth younger sister, disgracing her family Darcy anonymously salvages the Bennet name. He informed Elizabeth that Wickham was a fortune-hunting militia officer and although Lydia had runaway with him with the assumption that they were to be married Wickham had hidden motives and no intention of marrying the venerable girl. Wickham receives a small fortune from a relative and was forced to marry Lydia. This relative was none other then Mr. Darcy. Disregarding all the petty argument between himself and Elizabeth he realized that he was infatuated with her. His simple gesture saved the Bennet name and provided happiness to Lydia Bennet.

Darcy’s proposal to Elizabeth at the end of the novel is possibly the most ironic twist to the entire story. Austen removed the role of antagonist from Darcy and presented a caring and emotional man. Ironically after Darcy provided a beautiful and heartfelt proposal to Elizabeth, their portrayed image of being incompatible diminished and they are married. Never in the novel can the reader predict the plot of the story. Austen is notorious for her use of satire and irony in her novels and the unpredictable ending of her novel Pride and Prejudice is a prime example of Austen’s unique style of writing.

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