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

Pride and Prejudice - critical review

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Pride and Prejudice Coursework Pride and Prejudice, written by Jane Austen in the early 19th century, has long been regarded one of her greatest, and most enjoyable love stories. It was indeed hailed as the 'greatest miracle of English literature' by Reginald Farrer, and pronounced a 'timeless masterpiece' by Sir Walter Scott, both of whom were distinguished novel critics in her time. Through the novel, Austen harshly exposes hypocrisy in certain aspects of Regency society. She expertly uses various shades of satire through comical characters such as Mr Bennet and Lady Catherine, to examine the corruption of the marriage market, the pride and ineptitude of the ruling classes, and the mercenary of the clergy. Possible two of the most celebrated satirised comical characters in English literature, Mr Collins and Mrs Bennet will always be remembered for exposing key negative aspects of Regency Society. I will now go on to describe their development through the novel, and exactly what aspects of her society Austen exposes through them. Perhaps the most comical character that Austen satirizes in the novel is Mrs Bennet, who we see in all her foolishness and petulance conversing with Mr Bennet in the opening chapter. Their dialogue beautifully sums up the Bennet's characters, indeed making Austen's ferocious authorial intervention at the end of the chapter unnecessary. We can clearly see that Mr Bennet character, with its quick parts, and pithy humour, is almost that of a professional satirist, making him a most unnatural father. ...read more.

Middle

I also feel that Austen is strongly criticizing the huge inequality between the sexes in Regency society. Through Mrs Bennet, she shows that the conditions of economic life in that period favoured men and restricted women. The entailed fortune that so obviously benefits Mr Collins and restricts Mrs Bennet is merely the epitome of an economic privilege granted of men and an economic restriction imposed on women. Men such as Wickham and Collins, no matter how hapless and undeserving, must be provided for and given every opportunity to earn their way. Women in contrast are prepared for nothing but display. Their goal is not to accomplish, but to 'be accomplished', or as Miss Bingley puts it, to be 'esteemed accomplished. Indeed the first two sentences of the novel make subtle and ironic point of this disparity. Here we see that men do not need to marry. They may 'want' or desire wives, but unlike women who need to marry to secure financial security, men can remain bachelors for the rest of their lives and still live in great comfort. We do indeed know from her letters to her sister Cassandra, that Jane Austen, who remained an unmarried maid until she died, was not in a good financial situation. Her family situation moreover, imposed upon her a heightened awareness of the economic contradictions between genteel men and women, for Austen had five brothers who had what she did not: access to work that paid, access to inheritance and privilege, and access to the status that belonged to being both prosperous and male. ...read more.

Conclusion

However, Austen criticises him most viciously in his second letter to the Bennets, where he condones Mr Bennet on Lydia's elopement. He tells Mr Bennet that 'the death of his daughter would have been a blessing in comparison' to her elopement. Although he is a man of religion, he still advises Mr Bennet to 'close the doors' on his daughter. Collins is wonderfully caricatured through his letters, which perfectly display his unfortunate pride and condescension. Through Mr Collins, Austen vindictively attacks the clergy of Regency society, criticising their mercenary, and unholy, unchristian qualities. We are also extremely disturbed to hear that, if Wickham had failed in the militia, he would 'have gone into the church'. The fact that this womaniser and drunkard should even consider becoming a clergyman is absolutely outrageous. I feel that, unlike with Mrs Bennet, Austen is strongly and nastily criticizing Mr Collins and the clergy of her time, using biting Juvenalean satire to convey her message to the reader. It is indeed 'a truth universally acknowledged' that the ebullience and confident assurance of its comedy, combined with its fairy tale gratifications, has made Pride and Prejudice the best known, and possibly the best liked, of all the Jane Austen novels. Initially called 'First Impressions', Pride and Prejudice brilliantly describes the fusion between upper class and bourgeoisie society. In it Austen flaunts beautifully her rare and uncanny ability to mock her characters exaggerated faults, and in doing so, criticize many aspects of the ostentatious and repressive world in which she lived. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level 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 AS and A Level Jane Austen essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Plot-Construction of Pride and Prejudice

    4 star(s)

    When they met most unexpectedly at Pemberley, he 'showed her by every civility in his power that he hoped to obtain her forgiveness and lessen her ill opinion, 'Darcy's excessive pride is decreased and Elizabeth becomes proportionately less prejudiced. Many events in the second stage quicken this cleansing process.

  2. Marked by a teacher

    How far do you agree that Jane Austens novel Pride and Prejudice is no ...

    3 star(s)

    'novel's are usually described as social comedies, but the fact is that some come close to tragedy...', and in fact, though it did end with the best case scenario for Lydia, she was left to spend her life trapped in a loveless marriage, as 'his affection for her soon sunk into indifference'.

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Is it possible to see Elizabeth Bennet as a feminist heroine?

    3 star(s)

    Her action contradicts entirely the principles set out in the conduct books, and the reaction she receives reinforces the unusualness of our heroine's honesty. Charlotte, however, seems to conform with society's expectations of a young lady, and accepts as though she is presented with no happy alternative, 'convinced that my

  2. How does Jane Austen present the themes of love and marriage in the novel ...

    But, the match must be prevented, for it would cause Mr Knightly constant difficulties and expose him to extreme mockery. Class once again enters into discussions of marriage. Even if Mr Knightly does love Harriet Smith, Emma cannot imagine the marriage taking place.

  1. Pride and Prejudice chapter 19. In this chapter we see Elizabeths response towards ...

    Also he was only marrying Elizabeth because he was told to do so by Lady Catherine De Bourgh as she told him to find "A gentlewoman for my sake; an active, useful sort of person, not bought up high" and for Mr Collins, he believed that Elizabeth had all the right qualities to be his wife.

  2. What methods does Austen use to tell the story in Pride and Prejudice Chapter ...

    Elizabeth becomes quite eager to hear more of Mr. Darcy as Austen informs the readers that her feelings are changing. Austen has also used different choice of punctuation as Elizabeth speech uses exclamation mark to show her strong feelings. Elizabeth now has realized that Mr.

  1. The presentation of speech and thought in Pride and Prejudice

    cried his wife impatiently. "You want to tell me, and I have no objection to hearing it." [?] "Is he married or single?" "Oh! single, my dear, to be sure! A single man of large fortune; four or five thousand a year.

  2. Timeless Love in 'Pride and Prejudice'.

    And what did you say of me that I did not deserve? My behavior to you at the time was unpardonable, I can hardly think of it without abhorrence. Your reproof I shall never forget, 'had you behaved in a more gentlemanlike manner', you know not how those words have tortured me.

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