In Chapter 13 of Jane Austin's Pride and Prejudice, Mr. William Collins is introduced as a cousin of the Bennet's and heir to their estate through a letter that he sends to Mr. Bennet. Mr. Collins writes the Bennet family to notify them that he is coming to visit them the next Saturday. Upon meeting the family, he seems to be a piteous man often humbling himself and expressing praise of others, while constantly referring to his patron, Lady Catherine de Bourgh. He believes her power and wealth give him value. He is dependant upon her to feel secure and he gains self-esteem through her honorable and powerful reputation. This dependence and his lack of self-respect attribute to others having little respect for him and thinking of him as a sycophantic character.
Though Mr. Collins tries hard to fit-in in society, his sycophantic behavior makes him stick out. In the letter he writes the Bennets, he over stresses his apology for neglecting to get in touch with them before; he "beg[s] leave to apologize" (p.
62) for his irresponsible behavior. While at the Bennet's estate, Mr. Collins often speaks of his patron Lady Catherine de Bourgh. His flattery of her is even more incessant than in his letter. He refers to her as the "British court[s]... brightest ornament" (p. 66) and her daughter as "the handsomest of her sex" (p. 66). He then explains to Mr. Bennet that he spends time "suggesting and arranging such little compliments" (p.67), making him even more of a sycophant. Mr. Collins does not understand that though such behavior may earn favor with ladies, it is unusual and irritating for any intelligent and dignified person.
Mr. Collins' sycophantic behavior is just one of the signs of his dependency. Dependent people can not think...