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Explore how Jane Austen Satirises the social standards of her time in Pride & Prejudice.

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Introduction

Explore how Jane Austen Satirises the social standards of her time in Pride & Prejudice. Jane Austen uses satire to show up the arrogance or vanity of her characters and she shows the shallow nature of the social standards of her time. It all depended on how wealthy and what rank you were in. If you had lots of money through inheritance you were in the high rank and were considered more superior to anyone else and these higher ranked people looked down on people of the lower ranks. Austen satirises wealth and rank by showing how stupid the higher rank people were. Women had to be wealthy, so wealthy men would marry them. The more money you had the higher you were considered in society. Austen satirises virtues by showing how conscious the higher rank people in society are, and how they even had to marry a woman or man with lots of money which implies that love wasn't that important to some people. Austen satirises all these areas of life back then to show how pathetic people could be just to look better than everyone else. Jane Austen gently satirises Mrs Bennet, by showing the constant mention of her nerves and her attempt to get all her daughters married. Mrs Bennet is a miraculously tiresome character in the story. ...read more.

Middle

When Catherine de Bourgh goes to question Lizzy if Mr Darcy has proposed to her, Lady Catherine de Bourgh is very rude, arrogant and persistent. Lizzy had had enough of Catherine de Bourgh's ignorance and answers her back the way she talks to people. For example, "You have widely mistaken my character, if you think I can be worked on by such persuasions as these". As a result of Lizzy answering her back Catherine de Bourgh is very disgusted because no one has ever spoke back to her in that way, normally people "suck up" to her. Lady Catherine de Bourgh is a very proud woman, nevertheless she acts like a child because she always has to be heard, she might be very posh and rich on the outside but she is a bitter, vain woman. Austen's use of satire is much more serious when she deals with morality. Austen satirises knowing the difference being right and wrong and good and bad with a few characters in the book. Mr Wickham at first seems to be a very nice, gentile and sociable man but when we hear his past with his affair with Georgina and how he was always playing around with different girls, we change our minds because he put a charm on to get people to trust him and he needs to marry a girl with some money to pay off his gambling debts off. ...read more.

Conclusion

Austen satirises this kind of class-consciousness, particularly in the character of Mr. Collins, who spends most of his time gratifying to his upper class patron, Lady Catherine de Bourgh. Austen satirises morality in a much more serious and bitter way when talking about knowing the difference between right and wrong. It is very important for people reputation, some people never learn, for example Mr Wickham and his gambling and drinking addictions and how he acts and uses women dishonourably. He tried to marry Darcy's sister, Georgina, but Darcy stops him then Wickham catches Lydia's attention by his charm but underneath he is deceitful. Public opinion is also seriously satirises as the people at Meryton decide automatically on an opinion of someone, but it is more likely to be wrong which is called prejudging someone. You can't really judge and person until you have actually spoken to them and got to know them properly. But at Meryton first impressions decided whether you are a good or bad person. This novel shows how strong love can be but Charlotte Lucas who marries the ridiculous, shallow Mr Collins for his money demonstrates that the heart doesn't always lead to marriage. Austen shows that true love is much more powerful than rank and power in society, and that it can overcome the most difficult and trying circumstances. It also demonstrates how class-consciousness people acted in Austen's era, this novel also shows us how feeble people were to try and be better than everyone else back then. ...read more.

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