Mr. Collins In 'Pride And Prejudice'

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In Chapter 19’s extract in which Mr Collins is proposing to Elizabeth, his character is presented as proud, obsequious and insensitive. His proposal is clinical and lacks emotion for Elizabeth, while focusing mainly on Lady Catherine de Bourgh along with, highly insensitively, mentioning money and the death of Elizabeth’s father.

To begin, Collins lists his reasons for marriage in a very cold and unemotional way. His only mentions of feelings are very clearly false, something he feels he has to say. He says he could be “run away” with his “feelings on the subject”, clear sarcasm from Austen, as Collins is never shown to be a passionate or emotional, least of all towards Elizabeth. His reasons for marriage are also all highly unemotional. He
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During the proposal, he mentions her numerous times, using far more emotive language than he does when referring to Elizabeth, referring to her manners as “beyond anything I can describe”. He states her recommendation as one of his reasons for marrying and lists her as one of his main assets and a reason for Elizabeth to accept his proposal, stating “I do not reckon the notice and kindness of Lady Catherine de Bourgh as among the least of the advantages in my power to offer.” She illustrates Collins’ paradox of self degradation and pride; he, elsewhere in the novel, frequently refers to her “condescending” to do various things concerning him, suggesting that he views himself as below her due to her rank and showing him to be excessively servile. However he is also an incredibly proud and arrogant man, assuming Elizabeth accept his proposal with the pointed statement, “when we are married.” He also expects Elizabeth to have the same reverence for Lady Catherine that he does, saying “your wit and vivacity, I think, must be acceptable to her, especially when tempered with the silence and respect which her rank will inevitably excite”, assuming that she will become as servile as him. This has clearly come from Lady Catherine herself, too, as she recommended Collins’ wife “not be brought up too high”, presumably so the attention would never be cast off
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