Why do people find Pride and Prejudice so amusing?

Expert Answers
currerbell16 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Jane Austen often uses social situations to highlight human behavior, and her comedy is satiric and witty. In a society where social standing influenced nearly every aspect of life, Austen often pokes fun at social expectation, revealing that all is not as presumed or seen.

For example, Mr. Collins is a clergyman, a respectable position, and he is the entailed heir of Longbourne. Because of his position and inheritance (since Mr. Bennett doesn't have a son), Mrs. Bennett desperately wants him to marry Jane or Elizabeth. Other women, like Charlotte Lucas, also see stability and security in what Collins can offer.

However, Collins has a rather ridiculous sense of propriety and is overly proud of his social connections, particularly Lady Catherine de Bourgh. Austen often uses dance to reveal the personalities of her characters, as well as their true dynamics, and in one of the novel's most comedic moments, exposes Collins's bumbling dancing. His performance reveals him to be an exaggerated, comical figure rather than a serious, respected clergyman, and Elizabeth, as we see, can never take him seriously.

As you read Pride and Prejudice, pay attention to similar situations where Austen wittily skewers society's standards and exposes the falseness (or silliness) of superficial, social judgments.