Irony and Feminism in Jane Austen’s novel Pride and Prejudice
Satire and feminism are prominent in the novel, Jane Austen being famous for satire and feminism in many of her works. Satire is used to poke fun at the ridiculousness of characters. Irony, parody and sarcasm are rampant in the novel. Jane Austen uses feminism; she being a feminist herself, to show the inequality of the sexes in the 18th century, where man was the domineering factor. Women were mere pawns in the hands of men, biding by the whims and fancies of their fathers and husbands. Women had little or no say in the matters of matrimony and were forced into marriage by their parents to secure a husband, no matter how bad he may or may not be. Security was the first and foremost thought on the parent’s minds. It was not left to the girl to choose her husband. If a man proposed marriage, she had to accept and refusing a proposal was unheard of. Elizabeth Bennet breaks this tradition in the novel and chooses the man she desires for love and love alone. The 18th century was also known for its patriarchy, which is seen in the novel. The father not having a male heir is forced to bequeath his assets to the nearest living male relative, leaving his wife and daughters with nothing upon his death. Feminists do not agree with this tradition and fight against it. Pride and Prejudice is a domesticated novel, high lighting family life and the joys and tribulations of a family, set in the countryside of England and surrounded by nature. Domestication interwoven with romance is the theme with small add-ons to make the novel a more interesting one.