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

Satire and irony in Pride and Prejudice.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Satire and Irony in Pride and Prejudice... A good satire, often humorous, is thought provoking and insightful about the human condition. Jane Austen (1775 - 1817) writes in a gentle or Horacian satire and has perfected the art with her witty, yet subtle irony which comes in various disguises. Sarcasm, wit, parody, ambiguity, caricature, hyperbole and understatement add to the impression that Austen was extremely amused by the world around her. She had the ability to step back and analyse at the events around her in order to show how really absurd some of the ritual customs of the rich were. The shallowness and materialistic nature of this society is often exaggerated in her characters to demonstrate her viewpoint. This gentle irony creates humour and explains the satire to show how ridiculous this conventional Victorian country life was and, as she to was part of this society, Jane had first hand experience of the types of people she wrote about. In her humorous treatment of a serious subject, Austen opens the novel with what appears to be a sarcastic sentence, which acts as a springboard for the action and motivation of the story. She writes, "IT is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife" (Pride and Prejudice, Penguin, pg 5). ...read more.

Middle

Jane Austen is ridiculing the false values held by many people of her day, and pointing out that people should be valued for their true worth and not for any other reason. So while Mr. Collins's views are merely the most extreme and obvious. The satire directed at him is also more subtly directed at the entire social hierarchy. Elizabeth Bennet's ability to laugh off her misfortunate and to continue to be optimistic, considering her situation, contributes to the amused tone of the novel. Her view of society is a cynical, ironic one, heightened by the presence of brainless family members and neighbours. The story is told through Elizabeth, but not in first person and as a result, the mood of the novel lacks dramatic emotions. Therefore Austin's tone is detached and her attitude impersonal in that she does not portray her emotions or ideas in her writing. Instead she uses Elizabeth, and her deliciously wicked wit, to speak for her in novel. This can be seen when Elizabeth says, "I hope I never ridicule what is wise or good. Follies and nonsense, whims and inconsistencies do divert me, I own, and I laugh at them whenever I can." ...read more.

Conclusion

Bennet and Elizabeth serve to directly express the author's ironic opinion. Jane Austen powers of subtle discrimination and shrewd perceptiveness are revealed in Pride and Prejudice; she is able to convey a complex message using a simple, yet witty, style. Austen had an overabundance of social commentary to make, and although women in her time period were not generally outspoken, she used her novels as a means to show that women could be intelligent, humorous, and strong. This delightful tongue in check tone can be found everywhere in the book; in its character descriptions, imagery, but mostly in its conversations between characters and their sharp repartee. The atmosphere in the novel is intellectual, cold and delicately lucid. While her writing conveys none of the lyricism of the Romantics who would succeed her, it is full of intelligence and precisely crafted to convey its often-subtle meaning. Jane Austen wrote tales of small town uneventfulness, tending to explore character rather than event. She throws in cultural messages of the day, which most of the time are mocking or disapproving. And her irony is devastating in its exposure of foolishness and hypocrisy. She does not favour anyone who does not have the general characteristics that the age demands. Through Darcy and Elizabeth's marriage, however, Austen shows that you do not need to be a romantic to fall deeply in love. ...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. Discuss Jane Austen's treatment of the theme of marriage in Pride and Prejudice.

    Austen uses Jane Bennet and Mr Bingley to show that true love can prevail through adversity and can win against society. Austen's view that marriage should be based on a developed knowledge of one another's characters, compatibility as well as genuine love and attraction is shared by the character, Elizabeth,

  2. How far does the theme of prejudice dominate the novels "Pride and Prejudice" by ...

    She loves to give people advice about how to conduct their lives down to the most minute details. Her sense of unquestionable authority and right to control peoples lives is most sharply seen when she confronts Elizabeth about her rumoured engagement to Darcy, and because she is so use to

  1. In Pride and Prejudice, what views does Jane Austen convey to us regarding Pride, ...

    the reader, Elizabeth, and the community, our perception, along with Elizabeth, of his character, has changed throughout the novel points to Jane Austen's criticism of pride and snobbery. Jane Austen introduced him into the novel along side Mr Bingley, 'Mr Darcy soon drew the attention of the room...

  2. Pride and Prejudice

    Elizabeth is shocked by this settlement but Charlotte does not possess Jane's beauty or Elizabeth's confidence. She has seemed to compromise all sensible principles, according to Elizabeth, in search for her security and comfort. Although Elizabeth does not agree with their marriage, it is highly unlikely that Charlotte would have

  1. An analytical commentary on Pride and Prejudice (emphasis: Chapter VI, pp. 21-23)

    Regardless, the Bingley's are socially obligated to become superficially acquainted with them due to the importance of maintaining civil relations to preserve their respectability and sense of snobbish superiority. The question remains; why do the Bingley's find Jane and (to a lesser extent)

  2. Pride and Prejudice

    Elizabeth shows that she is unconventional, when she meets Lady Catherine De Bough. During the conversation, Lady Catherine puts a series of questions to Elizabeth concerning the upbringing of her sisters and expects to receive the normative and easy on the ear answers from her.

  1. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

    Elizabeth Bennett is the central character and the heroine of the novel, who Austen uses to exhibit and portray the difficulties for women in the nineteenth century. Elizabeth is a prime example of the hardship a women in the nineteenth century suffered.

  2. Satire is an important element of Jane Austen's writing. Illustrate with examples, the satire ...

    Lady Catherine de Bourgh epitomises class snobbery especially in her attempts to order the middle class Elizabeth away from her well-bred nephew, Darcy. She is Proud and does not let the other characters forget their inferior rank. Lady Catherine de Bourgh and Elizabeth Bennet's conversations are very comical, their conversations

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