• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Darcy's first proposal does not come as a surprise to the reader, and yet Elizabeth's '...astonishment was beyond expression.' Discuss.

Extracts from this document...


Darcy's first proposal does not come as a surprise to the reader, and yet Elizabeth's '...astonishment was beyond expression.' Discuss. Darcy's first proposal occurs in the second half of 'Pride and Prejudice'. Elizabeth Bennet, the principal character is described as proud, confident, and intelligent. Her initial dislike for Darcy (due in part to his remark which wounded her pride) has intensified due to his interference with her sister Jane and his friend Bingley's affair. The wealthy, arrogant, conceited Darcy has moved from a position where his pride prevents any attachment to social inferiors, to one where his emotions compel the proposal in chapter thirty-four. This essay will discuss Austen's use of dramatic irony, the extensive preparation Austen makes for the proposal, and the surprising timing of the proposal. Additionally the reasons for Elizabeth's astonishment and how this relates to the overall themes of pride and prejudice, and the themes of class and marriage. Austen illustrates extensively the emotions of the characters (which are the basis of the novel). The reader is aware of the characters' thoughts and feelings. Austen gives the reader more information than to any of the other characters. This is what greatly reduces the reader's surprise at Darcy's proposal. At the beginning of the book at Elizabeth and Darcy's first meeting there is a clash between them. From then on, Elizabeth maintains her dislike for Darcy, which grows due to his interfering actions, and Wickham's supposed plight. ...read more.


There were many things in his favour, yet Elizabeth was too prejudiced to consider him. The timing of the proposal was unexpected, although the proposal itself was not unexpected, certainly not for the reader. Elizabeth has just received a proposal from Mr Collins, which creates some drama in the plot of the story. The fact that another proposal was offered so soon afterwards was surprising, especially after Mr Collins' solemn warning that "...it is by no means certain that another offer of marriage may ever be made you." Austen creates irony and humours the reader at Mr Collins' expense. It is also unexpected, as both the reader and Elizabeth had recently found out that Mr Darcy was intended for Miss de Bourgh, the daughter of Lady Catherine de Bourgh. There is also the matter of Colonel Fitzwilliam. From the point of view of the reader, he and Elizabeth were getting on particularly well. It could be suggested that there was growing affection between them, as he had also come to see Elizabeth often, and walked through the park with her on several occasions. Throughout the book, Darcy appears introverted and unsociable. Darcy had shown Elizabeth no affection, which made the proposal quite unexpected to Elizabeth. Taking the example of Jane and Bingley, there was a lot of affection shown between them, and yet Bingley had not proposed to Jane. ...read more.


'...[E] hardly knew how to suppose that she could be an object of admiration... and yet that he should look at her because he disliked her, was still more strange.' Elizabeth has many reasons as to why Darcy appears to give her so much attention. Her dislike of him means that she doesn't want to believe he has any interest in her, because she has none in him. In conclusion, Austen uses dramatic irony to create the climax of the story. Both characters completely misunderstand each other throughout the book, leading them to such a confrontation. The reader is aware of both Darcy and Elizabeth's emotions as Austen extensively prepares the reader for this proposal through giving us insight into Darcy's feelings. Therefore we are not surprised at his proposal. However Elizabeth, who is unaware of Darcy's feelings, (blinded by pride and prejudice) is surprised '... beyond expression.' The reader is only surprised to an extent by the timing of the proposal as Austen has placed it at such a time where Elizabeth is least likely to accept. The overall effect created by Austen is drama and confusion between the characters. She writes of the proposal in an unpredictable way, although perfectly understandable from the point of view of Darcy. Dramatic irony is what pushes the story forward, making an entertaining and gripping read. The statement is true to an extent, however there are elements of surprise on the readers part, and Elizabeth although astonished had many previous clues as to suggest such a thing. Tania Lapa ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Jane Austen section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Jane Austen essays

  1. Jane Austen's presentation of Emma as an unlikeable heroine

    You need Not be prompted to write with the appearance of sorrow for his disappointment." "You think I ought to refuse him then" said Harriet, looking down. Emma doesn't want Harriet to find a new husband in Mr. Martin but doesn't want to tell her straight out so she manipulates Harriet.

  2. Analysis of Darcy's first proposal to Elizabeth

    After Mr. Darcy left, Jane Austen writes that Elizabeth cried for half an hour. It seems she felt it was 'almost incredible' that Mr. Darcy is so much in love as to wish to marry her in spite of all the objections which had prevented his friend (Mr. Bingley) marrying her sister.

  1. In The Shadow of the Glen.

    She isn't sad about his death and treats it as a joke. This unsettles the audience and the tramp. In this situation Nora should be sad and maybe tearful. She would not have let the tramp in, or if she did then she wouldn't have spoken to him much, and just given him what he asked for.

  2. What effect do pride and prejudice have on Darcy and Elizabeth's relationship and how ...

    Charlotte reacts by saying, "I dare say you will find him very agreeable," and Elizabeth responds by saying, "Heaven forbid! - That would be the greatest misfortune of all! - To find a man agreeable whom one is determined to hate!

  1. Discuss the proposal scenes in Pride and Prejudice showing how they relate to the ...

    Elizabeth respects her mother and therefore she stays and hears what Mr Collins has to say. This shows that Elizabeth will probably not accept Mr Collins' proposal and it will not succeed. Mr Collins is left alone with Elizabeth and he begins complimenting her perfections.

  2. Remind yourself of volume 1, chapter 6. Discuss the presentation and significance of ...

    the word "soften" with both Anne and her mother it draws parallels between them. Her father who in society would be frowned upon for his pompousness sees Anne as worthless. This is ironic because there is evidence in the novel that Anne shows qualities of being a worthy wife, when

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work