Essay on the Irony of Pride in Pride and Prejudice

Essay on the Irony of Pride in Pride and Prejudice

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The Irony of Pride in Pride and Prejudice

 
    Jane Austen uses the elements of both pride and prejudice to develop the satire in her novel. Austen presents pride as both a vice and a virtue. Austen first introduces pride as a vice of arrogance and prejudice, but as the characters in the novel develop so does the concept of pride. Towards the end of the novel pride becomes the vehicle for many of the noble actions taken by the main characters. Austen skillfully interweaves the two parts of pride, the plot, and the main characters so that they develop together in the book. When we get to the end of the novel, we are left with a fuller understanding of the complexities of pride.

 

Throughout the first part of the novel pride is seen as negative and destructive. It is characterized as being conceited and arrogant. The actions of the main characters seem to be guided by selfish pride. It is this kind of pride that leads the main characters to act in ways that causes themselves and others much distress and suffering. In fact, the tensions, misunderstandings, and hostilities between the two main leading characters, Mr. Darcy and Miss Elizabeth Bennet are byproducts of the vice of arrogant pride.

 

When we first meet Mr. Darcy at an assembly, he is perceived as a handsome exciting young man who holds much promise as a gentleman and future husband. But the assembly guests soon scrutinize his prideful manners and actions and he is found to be less then desirable. Mrs. Bennet, Elizabeth's mother, sees him as the "proudest, most disagreeable man in the world." His conceited and prideful disposition not only offends her, but most of company at the assembly. His arrogance consumes him and his character, and veils any good...


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...ouse Publishers, 1996.

Hennelly, Jr., Mark M. "Pride and Prejudice." Jane Austen: New Perspectives. ed. Janet Todd. New York: Holmes & Meier Publishers, Inc., 1983.

Jane Austen Info Page. Henry Churchyard. U of Texas, Austin. 23 Nov. 2000.

     <http://www.pemberly.com/janeinfo/janeinfo/html>.

Kaplan, Deborah.  Structures of Status: Eighteenth-Century Social Experience as Form in Courtesy Books and Jane Austen's Novels. Diss. University of Michigan, 1979.

Monaghan, David.  Jane Austen Structure and Social Vision.  New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 1980.

Poplawski, Paul.  A Jane Austen Encyclopedia.  Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1998.

Reidhead, Julia, ed. Norton Anthology of English Literature vol. 7, 2nd ed. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2000.

Ward, David Allen. "Pride and Prejudice." Explicator. 51.1: (1992).

 

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