In his speech proposing marriage to Elizabeth in Pride and Prejudice, what rhetorical appeals does Mr.Collins use to persuade his audience? To what extent do you imagine those appeals to be...

In his speech proposing marriage to Elizabeth in Pride and Prejudice, what rhetorical appeals does Mr.Collins use to persuade his audience? To what extent do you imagine those appeals to be effective? Why? 

 

Asked on by ikulidd

1 Answer | Add Yours

thanatassa's profile pic

thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

The first thing to note is that this speech is intended primarily for comic effect. While Mr. Collins is not a villain, in the sense of being deliberately evil, he is a despicable character, and the reader is intended to share in Elizabeth's contempt for him. 

The two main rhetorical appeals that Collins uses are ethos and logos; there is very little in the way of emotional appeal in the passage. In terms of ethos, he mainly argues that his financial position makes the marriage potentially attractive, especially as the entail has caused Elizabeth to have a meager dowry. In some ways, his comments about his moral duty are admirable (despite their pomposity), and make a positive contribution to his portrayal of his own moral character. His other main appeal from ethos is his frequent references to Lady Catherine de Bourgh, in an attempt to establish his character through association with the great and famous, an attempt that fails miserably as it makes him look like a fawning, servile social climber. 

The main appeals through logos are the arguments concerning the financial advantages of the match. 

As Elizabeth summarily rejects the proposal, multiple times, it is obvious that the appeals are ineffective. One reason they are is the absence of appeal to pathos; unlike her friend Charlotte, Elizabeth wants a marriage based on mutual love and esteem rather than a marriage which is merely a practical business arrangement. 

Sources:

We’ve answered 318,994 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question