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Mr. Collins' and Mr. Darcy's first proposals to Elizabeth. How do they style and the content of the proposals reflect on how these three characters are portrayed in the rest of the novel. In what ways are attitudes to marriage different from today?

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Introduction

Pride and Prejudice Compare and contrast of Mr. Collins' and Mr. Darcy's first proposals to Elizabeth. How do they style and the content of the proposals reflect on how these three characters are portrayed in the rest of the novel. In what ways are attitudes to marriage different from today? Jane Austen's 'Pride and Prejudice' reveals the importance of social status and how marriages affected women at that time. The book opens with the words, 'It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.' This implies that the chief interest in the book will be marriage. The main character is Elizabeth Bennet who, unlike Charlotte Lucas, does not want to marry only for a comfortable and to avoid the stigma of not being married, but also for love. There is a big contrast between Mr Collins' and Darcy's proposal and give us insight into these three character. Mr. Collins is a figure of comedy in this novel. He is described as 'not a sensible man, and the deficiency of nature had been but little assisted by education or society'. He speaks in a very formal way indeed. He is a picture of 'pride and obsequiousness, self-importance and humility' At Longbourn having been told that Jane was likely to marry Mr. ...read more.

Middle

The first reason is that he thinks it is right for a clergyman to marry. Secondly, it is for his own happiness. Thirdly, 'which perhaps (he) ought to have mentioned earlier' because it is his main motivation. Lady Catherine de Bourgh said a clergyman likes him 'must marry', which implies how sycophantic and snobbish he is and Lady Catherine's advice will become his motivation to do things, which shows his 'obsequiousness'. Lastly, he mentions the inheritance of the estate after the death of Elizabeth's father and says this has been the main 'motive' because he is aware that 'one thousand pounds in the four percent will not be (Elizabeth's) till after (her) mother's decease. It seems now he is offering Elizabeth a huge kindness. Mr. Collins' speech shows he is a really cold man and materialistic. He does not know what love is. The motivation is all about business and money, he is only concern about his future and job, but not Elizabeth's feelings, or perhaps what she wants. He sees marriage as a business transaction to talk about 'selecting a wife', neither feelings nor diffidence are involved. Before Mr. Collins has finished his proposal, Elizabeth interrupts and cries that he is being too 'hasty', more emotion is shown here but the emotion is Elizabeth's and it is nothing to do with love. ...read more.

Conclusion

This is because Jane's heart is 'not likely to be easily touched' and the other reason is about the Bennet's social state and Mrs Bennet's behaviour. When Elizabeth accuses Darcy of not behaving 'in a more gentlemen-like manner', she is being abusive and insulting. She accuses him is being 'arrogant', 'conceited' and having 'self disdain of the feeling of others'. Yet, after hearing all Elizabeth's comment, Darcy is still very polite and gentlemanly; he also ends by showing concern for Elizabeth's health. Although, he speaks calmly, his body language completely betrays him, 'he walked with quick steps', and this clearly shows his anger and disappointment. This proposal is quite different from Collins'. Both Darcy and Elizabeth are deeply involved emotionally and love is involved. We can clearly see how Darcy loves her although we are not given the actual words of his proposal, both from his body language and nervous actions and from his language. He begins by telling her 'how ardently (he) admires and loves' her. And Elizabeth 'cries for half and hour' after Darcy has left. She cannot control her emotion. Unlike Mr Collins, who thinks Elizabeth rejects him is the way of being modest and thinks 'it is usual'; Darcy accepts her refusal immediately. However, there are similarities between the two proposals. Certainly, Elizabeth refuses both of them, but neither of them is expecting the refusals from Elizabeth. ...read more.

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