Use of Irony, Satire and Humour in 'Pride and Prejudice'

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One of the ways that Jane Austen includes humour within the novel is by placing contrasting characters next to each other. Because of this, the difference between their speech styles makes one of the characters look more ridiculous than the other; making one character humorous at the expense of another. For example, within the first chapter Mrs Bennet is made to appear foolish and excitable whereas Mr Bennet appears witty and calculated. This is subtle humour brought out by the dialogue of the book. The other main use of humour is a more obvious kind of slapstick comedy. An example of this type of humour can be seen in Mr Collins’ constant bowing. The two kinds of humour are used for very different reasons. The more subtle type of humour highlights the variety of relationships between the different characters and demonstrates the familiarity and comfort within them. The latter kind of humour is used by Austen to mock or ridicule particular characters in situations that she doesn’t approve of or people who are too full of themselves.

Pride and Prejudice is also steeped in irony of themes, situation, character and narration. The most prominent point to consider is the ironic significance that pride leads to prejudice and that prejudice invites pride; both have their corresponding virtues bound up within them. They are contradictory and the supreme irony is that intricacy, which is much deeper, carries with it grave dangers that are

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