Compare and contrast Mr Darcy and Mr Collins' proposals

Essay by princessloulouA, June 2014

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Compare and contrast Mr Collins' proposal with Mr Darcy's first proposal, exploring the ways in which Austen enhances our understanding of the two characters and what they represent

In the novel 'Pride and Prejudice', Elizabeth Bennet is faced with two daunting offers of proposal from the affluent Mr Darcy and well-connected Mr Collins. It is possible for the reader to notice that Elizabeth Bennet is not the average woman from the Regency Period. This is shown in the way in which both the men structure their marital offers and the way that Elizabeth rejects their advances. This draws the social and economic pressures of a woman in the 1800s to the reader's attention. The main similarity between the two men's proposals are that they are complacent and presumptive, assuming that Elizabeth will accept. However, the key difference is that Mr Darcy's proposal conveys an element of genuine care and admiration for Elizabeth rather than Mr Collins' insensate and practical approach to marriage.

Therefore, their proposals give us a heightened understanding of what each man represents, firstly to Elizabeth Bennet but also to society.

Since the pride of both men is so prominent in each of their proposals, it becomes an obvious similarity as Mr Collins and Mr Darcy wholeheartedly assume that Elizabeth will accept their offers. During Mr Collins' proposal, he seems absolutely certain of her acceptance that he continues to talk of his future with Elizabeth as "…when we are married", without contemplating her refusal. This may seem over exaggerated and irrational of him, however it was the norm of women in this era to accept every offer of marriage, especially when made by a man richer than themselves. Collins boasts of his economic stability saying: "My situation in life […] are circumstances highly in my favour."...