Jane Austen's use of humour in her novel "Pride and Prejudice".

Essay by cellouiseHigh School, 11th gradeA, May 2003

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Jane Austen, author of Pride and Prejudice, uses humour in her novel to maintain the interest of the reader. Some have said that Pride and Prejudice is a simple tale of love and marriage, but it is in fact far more complex. At the least, it should be recognised as a comedy of manners, and though romantic subplots could be said to drive the text, Jane Austen's clever and subtle wit reflects her own eye for the folly of human behaviour. Chiefly, she exaggerates the personalities of her characters, such as those of Mr Collins and Lady Catherine De Bourgh, to create this effect. Using the juxtaposition of various characters, the techniques of irony and satire and giving her caricatures witty dialogues, Austen skilfully creates a message for the reader - to avoid the madness that she mocks - as well as entertaining them at the same time.

Mr Collins and Lady Catherine De Bourgh are two characters whose personalities have been embellished by the author to interest the reader.

Mr Collins is presented as having an overweening sense of class structure, though a reader could easily imagine that Mr Collins only reached his status through his ingratiating ways. As a clergyman, he ought to be respected by people like the Bennet family, and he subtly makes his concurring views on this topic known, by excessively praising his patron, Lady Catherine De Bourgh, at every chance he has. By publicly rating her so highly, Mr Collins puts the Bennets down. However, the Bennet family find Mr Collins' continuing pontification absurd and even quite ludicrous. His worship of Lady Catherine is perhaps even greater than his loyalty to the church, as he certainly talks of the former a great deal more. Before the reader even meets Mr Collins, they...