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Irony In Pride And Prejudice Essay

Irony and Social Commentary in Pride and Prejudice Essay

1634 Words7 Pages

Irony and social commentary in “Pride and Prejudice”

Like any other society, nineteenth-century England had its share of foppish fools and fawning leeches, hot-blooded lovers and garrulous, gossiping women. While few people exhibit these failings with abandonment, few escape their taint altogether. In the novel “Pride and
Prejudice,” the author Jane Austen satirizes these instances of – not social evils– rather, unpleasant social peculiarities, via a most careful use of irony in the dialogues and thoughts of some of her most delightful characters. The main character indulging in this precious commodity is Mr. Bennet, whom Austen considers important enough that a razor-sharp wit forms a necessary part of his personality. The irony…show more content…

Bingley’s dancing partners: “If he had had any compassion for me [...] he would not have danced half so much! [...] Oh! That he had sprained his ancle in the first dance!” (8). It is
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Joshi clear that this line does not show malice on his part against Bingley. Rather, it is an instance of irony which pints out and criticizes the extreme talkativeness of his wife. On another occasion, when Mr. Bennet is accused by his wife for not having any compassion on her nerves, he conjures up a most delightful repartee: “You mistake me, my dear. I have a high respect for your nerves. They are my old friends. I have heard you mention them with consideration these twenty years at least” (2). This piece of sarcasm informs the reader of Mrs. Bennet’s loquaciousness and her husband’s impatience with it. Mr. Bennet appears to have the same opinion of two of his daughters: Lydia and Catherine, whose “effusions” about the officers stationed in nearby
Meryton leads him to observe disdainfully, “From all that I can collect by your manner of talking, you must be two of the silliest girls in the country”. When rebuked by his wife for saying this, his retort is priceless: “If my children are silly I must hope to be always sensible of it” (19).
The antithesis constructed by juxtaposing “silly” and “sensible” creates a delicious effect of irony that adds weight to his earlier criticism of his daughters’ folly. Austen thereby criticizes the garrulousness rampant

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Irony in Pride and Prejudice Essay

2389 Words10 Pages

Pride and Prejudice is one of the most popular novels written by Jane Austen. This romantic novel, the story of which revolves around relationships and the difficulties of being in love, was not much of a success in Austen's own time. However, it has grown in its importance to literary critics and readerships over the last hundred years. There are many facets to the story that make reading it not only amusing but also highly interesting. The reader can learn much about the upper-class society of this age, and also gets an insight to the author's opinion about this society. Austen presents the high-society of her time from an observational point of view, ironically describing human behavior. She describes what she sees and adds her own…show more content…

She uses this unspecified person, who is outside of all the novel's action and gives explanations, as a medium of communication to present her own opinion in an allusively open way. This narrator is the first means of making ironic remarks. Through the narrator a certain mood is created that prevails throughout the novel. The very first sentence of the novel shows this with the following sentence, 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, p. 3). The irony of this statement is the universal validity with which assumptions are made in that upper-class society. It is assumed that there is nothing else for a man of high rank to want but a wife to complete his possessions. Along with his money, land, riches etc. she acts as nothing more but another piece of property, which was a common attitude in those days. Austen manages to make the attitude towards matrimony upheld by this upper class look rather ridiculous and incredible. Another ironic description is given, for instance, when Miss Bingley and Mrs. Hurst take care of the sick Jane, who stays at their house. They present themselves as very affectionate and caring friends to Jane. However, that does not stop them from talking very bad about Jane's relations. The real ironic comment is that the

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