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What are the Variations of humour portrayed in Pride and Prejudice?

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Introduction

What are the Variations of humour portrayed in Pride and Prejudice? "It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a good wife". This opening line is one of the most crucial quotes in "Pride and Prejudice". It displays almost every significant theme in the book; marriage, love, wealth. Also, there is a hint of irony that may not be detected on first impressions. This is the first of many amusing quotations in the book, although there are three different types of humour. The first is humour in the form of being comic or amusing, expressing or taking a joke. The second type is irony, a humorous expression of meaning, an ill-timed event, or the use of language with one meaning for the audience and another for the person spoken of or to. Lastly, there is satire, the use of humour to show stupid behaviour or something that makes fun of something else. From the first few pages of Pride and Prejudice, it is obvious Elizabeth Bennet is set apart from those around her. She possesses great intellect and has the immense ability to express herself through ironic statements throughout the book. ...read more.

Middle

Mr Bennet brands Lydia, Kitty and Mary as silly, but he respects Elizabeth as she can use reason to apply her knowledge and to curb her emotion. Elizabeth is very much like her father, and takes after his wit, which makes their relationship very special. Elizabeth, despite this inheritance, does not share Mr Bennet's constant dry humour which is often displayed in his conversations- "No officer is ever to enter my house again, nor even to pass through the village!" In spite of Mr Bennet acting the jester, the tables are turned nearing the end of the book. Elizabeth has been secretly harbouring strong feelings for Mr Darcy, who Mr Bennet thinks Elizabeth hates. Mr Bennet beckons Elizabeth into his study to discuss a letter that his cousin Mr Collins has sent giving details of a match between Elizabeth and Darcy. Much to Elizabeth's awkwardness, Mr Bennet does not know the letter is true, and starts to laugh at the situation- "Mr Darcy, you see, is the man! Now Lizzy, I think I have surprised you!" This is a most humorous piece in the book; Mr Bennet unknowingly playing the fool. The climax of the situation is when Mr Bennet states at the end of the letter- "For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbours, and laugh at them in our turn!" ...read more.

Conclusion

There are many different people with different humour in Pride and Prejudice, but they all come together very well to produce an extremely well written book. A range of humour is shown here, Elizabeth's wit is extraordinary, equalled only to her father's fantastic drollness and mockery of his wife, and both have a gift of irony. Mrs Bennet and the emphasis of hyperbole is a fantastic source of comedy in the book. There is the added pleasure of seeing Mrs Bennet agitated at her husband's sense of humour, not realising he does not mean what he says. Mr Collins's constant efforts of trying to establish a position of social prosperity through knowing Lady Catherine de Bourgh are wasted, this is satire. It is also deeply ironic that the Bingley sisters should be so disgusted at the lower class when they themselves have acquired their vast fortune and prosperity by trade. Even Mr Bennet, who was the one who laughed at other's misinterpretations, was the butt of the joke, although it was done in good nature. Satire, wit, irony, mockery and comedy are shown by at least one character in full detail, and it is those variations in humour in the character's personalities that make Pride and Prejudice a compelling written piece worldwide. Hajira Bajwa S10 18.05.04 ...read more.

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