What are some criticisms Jane Austen makes through irony and characterisation in Emma?

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lsumner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Jane Austen critcizes wealthy snobbery. In Pride and Prejudice, she uses the character of Elizabeth Bennet to speak boldy to the Lady Catherine. When Lady Catherine begins questioning Elizabeth on the training she and her sisters may have had, Elizabeth is bold and states that she could not be expected to give out such information.

All of Lady Catherine's questions are meddlesome. It is none of her business about Elizabeth's upbringing. And she should know better than to ask a woman her age. The irony is that Lady Catherine's daughter has been well bred and is well rounded and is supposedly engaged to Darcy. In the end, Elizabeth wins Darcy's heart and is his choice for marriage. So much for being well rounded.

When Elizabeth asks her father if she can marry Darcy, he is dumbfounded. The irony is that Elizabeth had never seemed to like Darcy. She considered him pompous and snobbish with all his money. Ironically, Darcy is the man Elizabeth has fallen in love with. She tells her papa that he is the one for her. Austin's irony is in creating characters such a Elizabeth and Darcy and using their extreme personalities to create a fascinating story line. For two people to be such opposities, two people who seemed to hate one another, and then create a love between them that is so beautiful and bold, Austin understands the use of irony as a literary technique.