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Compare and contrast the proposals made to Elizabeth by Mr. Collins at Longbourn and Mr. Darcy at Hunsford.

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Introduction

Compare and contrast the proposals made to Elizabeth by Mr. Collins at Longbourn and Mr. Darcy at Hunsford. One of the main themes of the novel, Pride and Prejudice, is marriage. Austen portrays the many different attitudes to marriage that existed in her time through the medium of her characters. The proposals from Collins and Darcy represent different attitudes towards marriage as well as giving a greater insight into their personal characteristics and behaviour. Collins is Austen's most comical character and Austen places him at the top of her hierarchy of idiocy. Collins' proposal is meant to produce a comical scene between himself and Elizabeth as opposed to being a very important part of the plot development. Darcy's proposal, however, is one of the major plot developments and is delivered in an entirely different style suggesting to the reader that it is an important and meaningful event in the novel. Elizabeth's initial reactions to the proposals represent her different feelings towards the two very different characters at that particular point in the novel. From the very beginning of both proposals it is evident that Elizabeth has no intention of accepting either of them although she is not anticipating Darcy's. Elizabeth, fully aware of Collins' intentions of proposing, tries to prevent the situation from arising, " 'Mr. ...read more.

Middle

Collins and Darcy both mention these things: Collins refers to his own connections to Lady Catherine De Bourgh and Darcy is perfectly aware of his own status in life and finds it necessary to degrade Elizabeth's small fortune even when declaring his love for her. Mr. Collins also does not refrain from mentioning Elizabeth's somewhat low situation in life, " 'Your portion is so unhappily small that it will in all likelihood undo the effects of your loveliness and amiable qualifications.' " Elizabeth, however, maintains some sort of warmth towards Collins throughout his proposal as she regards him as a source of amusement, " 'Really Mr. Collins,' cried Elizabeth with some warmth, 'you puzzle me exceedingly.' " Her reaction to Darcy, however, is much more violent, and she displays no feelings of warmth or compassion for him, " 'You are mistaken Mr. Darcy, if you suppose that the mode of your declaration affected me in any other way, than as it spared me the concern of which I might have felt in refusing you, had you behaved in a more gentleman-like manner.' " Darcy and Collins are similar in their proposals in that they are both positive that Elizabeth will accept them and they therefore present themselves in such a manner that this is made obvious. ...read more.

Conclusion

Elizabeth drained after having very clearly stated her feelings of "utmost dislike" for Darcy who is left in the lone in a weak state of mind, "The tumult of her mind was now painfully great. She knew not how to support herself and from actual weakness sat down and cried for half an hour." This is the first point in the novel at which Elizabeth is shown to experience some sort of an emotional breakdown and therefore this makes it possible to see that Darcy's proposal has made a great impact on her. Austen illustrates two very different pictures of proposals from Collins and Darcy, both of which are very far from the romantic ideal that Elizabeth expects. The two proposals effect her in different ways and from the violence of her emotions to Darcy's proposal it is possible to see that she maintains very strong feelings for him although at this current moment in the novel they are rooted into intense dislike. Both of the proposals made to Elizabeth are made by people that she dislikes and has no intention of marrying, for she does not want to marry to improve her fortune or situation in love, but out of love. This is ironic as Darcy is displaying these exact feelings by proposing to her although he does this in a very arrogant and proud manner, which consequently causes her dislike for him to flourish even further. ...read more.

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