Illustration of Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy with neutral expressions on their faces

Pride and Prejudice

by Jane Austen

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How does irony affect Pride and Prejudice in three different ways?

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Austen relies heavily on irony in Pride and Prejudice. While there are certainly examples of dramatic irony in the novel, for the most part it features situational and verbal irony.

1. Elizabeth and her family must rely upon Mr. Darcy, the man Elizabeth said she would never marry even if he were the last man on earth, to save their reputation because of Lydia's scandalous behavior.

2. Elizabeth, the daughter that Mrs. Bennett has given up hope finding a suitable husband for, makes the best marriage match (if one considers love, compatibility, social standing, and money).

3. Elizabeth who dislikes Darcy because of his alleged arrogance and prejudice against the "country folks" actually pre-judges him by listening to rumors about him and making incorrect assumptions about his character.  She also demonstrates a great deal of pride when she turns down his first marriage proposal.

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