The Subtle Humor of "Pride and Prejudice", by Jane Austen

Essay by Marc St.JeanUniversity, Bachelor'sB, March 1997

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Of all the novels that Jane Austen has written, critics consider Pride and Prejudice to be

the most comical. Humor can be found everywhere in the book; in it's character descriptions,

imagery, but mostly in it's conversations between characters. Her novels were not only her way

of entertaining people but it was also a way to express her opinions and views on what

surrounded her and affected her. Her novels were like editorials. Austen uses a variety of

comic techniques to express her own view on characters, both in her book and in her society

that she lived in. We, the readers are often the object of her ridicule, and Austen makes the

readers view themselves in a way which makes it easy for the reader to laugh at themselves. She

introduces caricatures and character foils to further show how ridiculous a character may be.

Pride and Prejudice has many character foils to exaggerate a characters faults or traits.


also uses irony quite often to inform the readers on her own personal opinions. The comic

techniques caricatures, irony, and satire, not only helped to provide humor for Austen's readers,

but they also helped Austen to give her own personal opinion on public matters.

When an action is exaggerated on stage by an actor, it becomes all the more noticeable

to the audience. An author can exaggerate a character in order to make fun of them. Austen

exaggerates many of her characters and therefore makes caricatures of them in order to

emphasize their ridiculousness. Mrs. Bennet is such a character. Her extremely unpleasant

manner and reactions causes readers to delight in the situations which Mrs. Bennet places herself

into. Mrs. Bennet's harsh tongue and simple mind causes the reader to laugh, because it is so

exaggerated that the reader thinks...