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Examine in close detail the proposals received by Elizabeth Bennet from Mr Collins and Mr Darcy, considering - The character of the suitors.

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Introduction

Examine in close detail the proposals received by Elizabeth Bennet from Mr Collins and Mr Darcy, considering * The character of the suitors * Their respective social and cultural backgrounds and the way these influence the manner of their proposals * Their reactions to rejection, and subsequent behaviour The themes of Pride and Prejudice are: Marriage, we are shown several couples and their reasons for marriage. In each case we see how the desire for social connections or the worry about social connections interfere with their relationship; only by overcoming the effects of higher societies can love be captured. We are shown this through Elizabeth and Darcy: after overcoming their pride and prejudice about each other's and their families can they begin to realise their mutual love. More evidence can be seen through the relationship of Charlotte Lucas and Mr Collins, both are pragmatic certainly not romantic towards each other but see each other as a meal ticket. Their relationship is completely different because they haven't overcome their social differences, more evidence can be seen by Charlotte giving Mr Collins the large room so he can watch Lady Catherine while she hides at the back of the house so they don't have to cross paths unnecessarily. I can see Austin is showing her views on love (that it can only be captured once you overcome societies circles) and the best ways to find love. Another theme is reputation, in 1813 women were treated and considered very differently: the only respectable jobs were to become a housewife or governess. A womens' role was to be a wife; if you became divorced your reputation would be ruined beginning with not being allowed custody of your children, being thrown out of your home but worse you would lose friends of hierarchy social parties. Most women didn't want love just to be married usually for financial dependence. ...read more.

Middle

Mr Collins thinks he is high in society, above Elizabeth which is why he presumes she will marry him; but the reader can see he is the worst combination of arrogance and obsequiousness. The fact he proposes to Elizabeth when he thinks her such a inadequate being to Lady Catherine and himself only shows the fact he isn't particularly wealthy so wants someone from a background below him to feel a sense of power over them. He sees little in his life apart from Rosings. He is a parson but perhaps he couldn't be anything else, as he doesn't tend to take his duties seriously but rather the duties for Lady Catherine seriously. "It shall be my earnest endeavour to demean myself with grateful respect towards her ladyship, and be ever ready to perform those rites and ceremonies which are instituted by the Church of England." I also want to discuss the proposals performed by each man and analyse their proposals. I will first examine Collins proposal; there is slight irony his proposal; the man who is so ignorant about life has to face a woman in a proposal. The first words tell us his only motive for marriage and information about his character. 'My reasons for marrying are, first that I think it is right for every clergyman to set an example of matrimony... secondly, that I am convinced it will add very greatly to my happiness.' By starting his proposal like so makes Elizabeth uncomfortable and alienated. His opinions are stated with a typical lack of tact he trys to sell himself to Elizabeth but shows himself to be a self-centered and selfish person. He's overconfident that she'll accept because: she can't afford to turn him down and unless Elizabeth married it would be hard to find means of support. Collins bigheaded speech encourages him to believe she'll find his list of reasons more important than love or devotion for her. ...read more.

Conclusion

Both feel they are doing her a favour by proposing. There are also many differences, Collins just proposes to Elizabeth to please Catherine whereas Darcy is going against his family by proposing. Darcy's proposal also shows a true love for Elizabeth while we see Wickham is just wants a housewife. After the proposals the suitors' reactions show a strong measure of the two men; Collins shows complete shallowness and emptiness by running to marry Charlotte, we know their married life isn't successful because of social boundaries. When Elizabeth visits them Collins is gloating but doesn't know that his wife gave him the big room so as to never see him without reason. After Lydia elopes he sends a very cruel letter showing a lack of Christian emotion and a sense of obsequious gloating. Though Collins acts badly in this event we see Darcy rushes to London showing his continued devotion for Elizabeth, in spite of his hate for her low connections, rescues the entire Bennett family from disgrace but also going against the wishes of Lady Catherine proves him to be worthy of Elizabeth. Darcy also overcomes his prejudice towards Elizabeth's family realising that Lady Catherine is even worse than Mrs Bennett, now both have overcome pride they have the chance to be a successful couple. To conclude, after writing this essay it has become clear how strongly Jane Austin is pointing out the examples of good and bad marriages, and how to avoid them. If we want a successful marriage we would look to Jane and Mr Bingley or Elizabeth and Darcy; only after overcoming their barriers can they begin a healthy relationship. But we also see characters like Charlotte Lucas and Mr Collins or the Bennetts and Wickham and Lydia who rush into marriage but end up living loveless self-centred lives. Through the essay we also learned how pride and prejudice can interfere with love and the only couples who overcame them ended with a love filled relationship (Darcy and Elizabeth also Jane and Mr Bingley. ...read more.

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