Irony of Jane Austin in Pride and Prejudice

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Irony is the very soul of Jane Austen’s novels and “Pride and Prejudice” is steeped in irony of theme, situation, character and narration. Irony is the contrast between appearance and reality. “Pride and Prejudice”, is filled with the fact that pride leads to prejudice and prejudice invites pride and both have their corresponding virtues bound up within them. Each has its virtues and each has its defects. They are contradictory and the supreme irony is that intricacy, which is much deeper, carries with it grave dangers unknown to simplicity. In “Pride and Prejudice” there is much irony of situation too, which provides a twist to the story. Mr. Darcy remarks about Elizabeth that: “tolerable but not handsome enough to tempt me…”, relishes the ironical flavor of this statement much later that the woman who was not handsome enough to dance with was really good enough to marry. He removes Bingley from Netherfield because he considers it imprudent to forge a marriage alliance with the Bennet Family, but himself ends up marrying the second Bennet sister. Collins proposes to Elizabeth when her heart is full of Wickham and Darcy proposes to her exactly at the moment when she hates him most. Elizabeth tells Mr. Collins that she is not the type to reject the first proposal and accept the second but does exactly this when Darcy proposes a second time. Lady Catherine, attempting to prevent their marriage only succeeds in hastening it. Irony in character is even more prominent than irony of situation. It is ironical that Elizabeth who prides herself on her perception is quite blinded by her own prejudices and errs badly in judging intricate characters. Wickham appears suave and charming but is ironically unprincipled rouge. Darcy appears proud and haughty but ironically proves to be a true gentleman. Thus, the novel abounds in irony of characters. The narrative of “Pride and Prejudice” too has an ironic tone, which is established in the very first sentence of the novel. “It is...
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