Essay on Irony, Values and Realism in Pride and Prejudice

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Irony, Values and Realism in Pride and Prejudice

The focus of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice is the prejudice of Elizabeth Bennet against the apparent arrogance of her future suitor, Fitzwilliam Darcy, and the blow to his pride in falling in love with her. The key elements of the story are the irony, values and realism of the characters as they develop.

Jane Austen¹s irony is devastating in its exposure of foolishness and hypocrisy. Self-delusion or the attempt to fool other people are usually the object of her wit. There are various forms of exquisite irony in Pride and Prejudice, sometimes the characters are unconsciously ironic, as when Mrs. Bennet seriously asserts that she would never accept any entailed property, though
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and the good nature wishes for her well doing, which had proceed before from all the spiteful old ladies in Meryton, lost but a little of their spirit in this change of circumstances, because with such a husband, her misery was certain." (Austen 270)

Austen uses irony to provoke gentle, whimsical laughter and to make veiled, bitter observations as well; in her hands' irony is an extremely effective device for moral evaluation: " She has Elizabeth say that she hopes she will never laugh at what is wise or good." (Austen 143)

The characters on Pride and Prejudice are full of moral, social and human values. Every character is measured against the intelligence and sensitivity which eighteen century people called good sense, and they stand and fall by common consent of the evaluation made by the author. The characters themselves, the sensible ones, accept this standard, and their relationships are determined by it, Mr. Bennet cannot be happy with his wife because he does not respect her: " Mr. Bennet saw his wife, he was thinking about how obstinate she was, how money made her so happy, and how hypocrite she was." (Austen 90) For this reason he retreats the ridiculousness of his family into sarcasm and carelessness. Elizabeth also feels pained by her family¹s folly, and can not help realizing how harmful it is to
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