In Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, what humor is found in Mr. Collins' proposal to Elizabeth?
Characteristic of all of Jane Austen's work, Mr. Collins' proposal to Elizabeth is full of witty irony. The first instance of irony is that Mr. Collins mistakes Elizabeth's unwillingness to be left alone with Mr. Collins and her attempts to hide her embarrassment and humor at the situation through distracting herself with work as "modesty."
The second instance of irony is that his real reason for wanting to marry is that Lady Catherine de Bourgh advised him to. He states his first and...
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Collins is Austen’s most comical character and Austen places him at the top of her hierarchy of idiocy. Collins’ proposal is meant to produce a comical scene between him and Elizabeth as opposed to being a very important part of the plot development. Darcy’s proposal however, is one of the major plot developments and is delivered in an entirely different style, suggesting to the reader that it is an important and meaningful event.
Mr Collins’ proposal is one of the most humorous points in the novel. Even before he starts his proposal, Mr Collins shows himself to be a very unromantic man. Before asking Elizabeth for her consent to marriage, he asks for the approval of her mother. This was unromantic, but in Austen’s time it was considered polite to ask for the parents’ permission to propose first.