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

How Does Jane Austen Present Mr Collins in Pride and Prejudice? What is His Significance in the Novel, Particularly in Relation to the Theme of Marriage?

Extracts from this document...


How Does Jane Austen Present Mr Collins in Pride and Prejudice? What is His Significance in the Novel, Particularly in Relation to the Theme of Marriage? 'It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.' Yet not all such single men are as desirable as others, for example, a certain Mr Collins. 'Pride and Prejudice' is a novel set in the beginning of the 19th Century, a time when women were oppressed into being good wives and mothers and little else. All that was important was the marrying off of daughters and the settling down of women. This is apparent in the nature and purpose of Mrs Bennet, whose sole motivation is to marry off each of her five daughters as soon as possible. And Mr Collins is one such 'contender' for the Bennet sisters. With the entrance of Mr Collins comes bad news for the family, Mr Collins is Mr Bennet's cousin, he works as a clergyman, and because he is the next male in line to Mr Bennet, he stands to inherit Longbourne after Mr Bennet's death. He is seen as a 'villain' who has the power to take away anything the girls stand to inherit. From the very first mention of Mr Collins in 'Pride and Prejudice', there is a certain air of resentment between him and the Bennet family, and this estrangement carries on throughout the book. Jane Austen uses Mr Collins to show a veiled satire towards the clergy of that time, he is her object of mockery; a joke in her eyes, and to most of the characters in the book. During the 19th Century, being a clergyman was simply a job; it had nothing to do with divinity or having any Christian faith. Young men could take up the occupation, on the basis of just gaining a degree alone. ...read more.


When the girls and Mr Collins go to Mrs Philip's house, Mr Collins starts his excessive complimenting once more. He compares her apartment to one at 'dear Rosings' Mrs Philips seems to enjoy talking to him, and takes great interest in his boasts of his 'humble abode.' Yet again when Mr Wickham enters Mr Collins is overshadowed, 'To the girls, who could not listen to their cousin... the interval of waiting appeared very long.' And 'That the commonest, dullest, most threadbare topic might be rendered interesting by the skill of the speaker.' These two comments made by the girls show the blunt differences between Collins and Wickham. It is in this scene that Mr Collins becomes very insignificant, 'With such rivals for the notice of the fair, Mr Wickham and the officers, Mr Collins seemed likely to sink into insignificance, to the young ladies he certainly was nothing.' Mr Collins came to Longbourne to marry, and this is what he intends upon doing. When Mr Collins turns his affections towards Elizabeth, they are not slighted by Mrs Bennet- who encourages them, since she herself has no aspirations of love for her daughter, but rather the respect a 'sensible' marriage could offer. When Mr Collins does propose to Lizzie, it is almost like a speech that he has learnt and prepared beforehand. 'Mr Collins made his declaration in form. Having resolved to do it without loss of time...' His speech is extremely exaggerated and ornate; he speaks of powerful love and passion, which is a complete oddity to his character. 'The idea of Mr Collins with all his solemn composure, being run away with his feelings, made Elizabeth very near to laughing.' After his initial 'poetical rush', he launches into his reasons for wanting to marry. 'My reasons for marrying are... it is the particular advice and recommendation of the very noble lady whom I have the honour of calling patroness.' ...read more.


He is also a representation of the epitome of the clergy during Jane Austen's life. Mr Collins is also used as the opposite of some other characters, including Mr Darcy, Mr Wickham and Mr Bennet. He is compared to them, and this makes a sharp contrast making it easier to picture their characters. Austen uses Mr Collins change in personality to mirror that of Darcy's and Mr Wickham's. Elizabeth judges all these men wrongly, and as Mr Darcy goes up in her view, Wickham and Collins deteriorate. New sides that were once hidden can now be seen, and in Mr Wickham and Mr Collins these sides are much darker, and Collins becomes a much less laughable character. This also shows that despite Elizabeth's superiority of nature to those around her, such as Mrs Bennet who revels in gossip and is quick to judge, Lizzie also makes mistakes, when her pride makes her blind where Mr Darcy is concerned. Mr Collins is portrayed in certain parts of 'Pride and Prejudice' as a mere comic, but he is also pompous and self-satisfied, he shows excessive deference to any one who is higher in social status to him. Despite his occupation as a clergyman Mr Collins shows little Christian humility or humour. His main motive in life is to constantly discuss money, possession, income and to better his social rank. Austen shows a blunted satire towards Mr Collins, and in certain moments he is portrayed as almost pitiful, his social status despite being superior to some is not to be envied. Mr Collins is constantly oppressed by those superior to him, such as Lady Catherine, and his lack of hindsight makes him a foolish man, who shows many sides throughout Pride and Prejudice, some of which are qualities to be envied. However it is towards the end of Pride and Prejudice that Mr Collins stops being a comic character and shows a hidden darker side that is most unlikely in a 'man of the church.' ?? ?? ?? ?? Beth Sparks 10Q 05/03/2009 1 ...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 Miscellaneous 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 Miscellaneous essays

  1. Brother Sebastian in the novel Lamb by Bernard Mac Laverty

    chance to let the boy return by leaving him by himself but his choice was not that. According to my opinion I believe he still had hope for Owen and himself to live together and he didn't want to leave Owen, as Owen would have thought he was being abandoned.

  2. Adrian Mole Chapter Notes

    Adrian had a call from his mother saying that he would understand one day about love and all adult relationships. April 8th Adrian had Games where they were doing lifesaving in pyjamas, which Adrian thought was a pointless exercise. April 9th Adrian and his father had a chat about who Adrian would like to live with.

  1. Great expectations

    father, as he tells us this early in the first chapter "that Phillip Pirrip, late of this parish, and also Georgiana wife of the above, were dead and buried", also he is poor and his sister, Mrs. Joe Gargery, who is an angry short tempered woman is bringing him up,

  2. Explore the representation of Evil in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

    a rather explosive reaction to meeting a complete stranger making Hyde even more mysterious. In the second instance Hyde crossed paths with a very important man called Sir Danvers Carew. They held a brief convocation before Hyde lost his temper and battered him to death.

  1. Human Nature Within The Text of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

    The man obviously has enough money to be a respectable, upper class person but didn't act like it. To obtain the money, he went into a neglected building through the only door and came back with a check signed with the name of a very reputable man.

  2. Who or what was to blame for the separation of catherine and heathcliff

    Do you see? I've marked every day." This simple gesture shows us how Heathcliff cares about Catherine yet she does not even respond kindly. "You might be dumb, or a baby for anything you say to amuse me, or for anything you do, either!" This had never concerned Catherine before.

  1. Through close attention to chapter 15 and 16 of Pride and Prejudice, consider Jane ...

    One example of FID (free indirect discourse) is: "...for the young man only wanted regimentals to make him completely charming". This is FID from Kitty and Lydia. This is a good example of their small-minded and one-dimensional personalities and that they are captivated by Wickham's easygoing physical qualities and not by his personality.

  2. Shylock, Victim or Villain

    Shylock is referring to what Antonio has called Shylock in the past and wants revenge on it. "Thou call'dst me dog before thou hadst a cause, but since I am a dog, beware my fangs." Shylock is being clever here as he is referring to the past and is telling

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