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Compare And Contrast Mr Darcy And Mr Collins' Proposals

1328 words - 6 pages

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 representIn 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 ...view middle of the document...

He has an undoubtedly high income and assumes "he had no doubt of a favourable answer" from Elizabeth to his proposal, and "seemed to catch her words with no less resentment than surprise" when she ironically declines his offer. Austen does this to highlight how the men are so misogynous that they automatically take it for granted that Elizabeth will be their wife just because of their superior social standing.Mr Collins structures his proposal very differently to Darcy, as if it were a business matter, devoid of emotion and full of practical reasoning; "…it would be advisable to state my reasons for marrying". He explains why marriage to Elizabeth would be suitable for him, and "set about it in a very orderly manner", showing he is entirely but unromantically rational and has no genuine feelings for her. However, Mr Darcy's proposal is quite the opposite, as he immediately mentions how unsuitable marriage to Elizabeth would be, as shown in "he […] was very unlikely to recommend his suit". Despite this, Darcy goes against social and economic expectations, unlike Collins, as well as basing his entire marriage offer on his genuine affection and emotions towards Elizabeth. "You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you" shows how his genuine feelings of love are foregrounded, compensating for the impracticality of his marriage offer. This is the antithesis of Collins' views who principles that one ought to marry for pragmatic, business-like reasons over love and genuine emotions. The characters represent the extremes of marriage proposals, one entirely disobeying and one completely following expectations of the time, but are opposite to the views of couples marrying in the 21st century. Moreover, Austen presents these characters as preposterous to further ridicule and mock these social and economic expectations of her time, showing her own opinions towards them.Another similarity is Elizabeth's prejudice towards both men throughout their proposals. Mr Collins is the cousin of Elizabeth, so it is made obvious even before his proposal of Elizabeth's dislike towards him. Earlier in the book, when he is first introduced, Elizabeth mentions her opinion on him as: "He must be an oddity… I cannot make him out. There is something very pompous in his style." This also presents him in a satirical way to the reader, making it easier to understand the reasons for Elizabeth to decline his marriage offer, as marital declinations were very rare and needed a grounded reason behind them. This is the same in Darcy's proposal later on, as Elizabeth is prejudiced towards him and her "astonishment was beyond expression" when he does propose. This is because she believes he dislikes her from what little she has heard from him earlier in the book. "She answered him with cold civility" shows the...

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