Compare and contrast their proposals of marriage. Mr Collins is a clergyman who works for his patroness Lady Catherine de bourgh and who proposed to Elizabeth Bennet. The main reason why he wished to marry was to please Lady Catherine. The reasons for Mr Collins choice of one of the Bennet sisters was because as he inherits the Longbourne Estate after their father’s death he wished one of his cousins to have a secure home. Elizabeth was not his only choice, at first he was attracted by her older sister Jane Bennet but after he found out she was not available he transferred to Elizabeth. After the refusal he decides to propose to Elizabeth’s Charlotte Lucas. This proposal occurs in Chapter 19 of the novel at the beginning. Darcy’s proposal occurs in the second half of the novel in Chapter 34. This took place on the night Elizabeth was to have dinner with Lady Catherine de bourgh but had a headache because she had discovered that Darcy was the one who tried to separate Jane and Bingley because he thought the Bennet family were inferior. Mr Collins proposal takes place in Elizabeth’s family home at Longbourn in Hertfordshire.
Mr Darcy’s proposal takes place in Mr Collins house in Kent at Hunsford. Darcy proposes spontaneously without asking Elizabeth’s parents permission. In contrast Mr Collins had asked Mrs Bennet’s permission before proposing as he knew she would be very pleased. Mr Collins had not asked Mr Bennet’s permission as he knew that he would have been refused. Mr Collins style of proposal was very formally structured. He seems to be comical in structuring his speech like a sermon ” My reasons for marrying” He uses motives to explain why he wants to marry her. In his motives he uses connectives such as firstly and secondly he seems to be well organised about what he has to say. It is a logical and formal rehearsed speech. In his first speech there is a subordinate clause “I ought to have mentioned earlier” This gives the impression that Collins is trival minded. This is the extra information, which is not relevant to the conversation. Jane Austen uses Mr Collins character who exaggerates while listing his reasons of marriage he seems to use a lot of body language to say what he really wants.
There is a lot of information Mr Collins adds in which is not relevant to the conversation “and it was the very Saturday night before I left Huns ford – between our pools at quadrille, while Ms Jenkinson was arranging Miss de Bourgh foot stool” This shows that he seems to pay more attention at Lady Catherine de Bourgh than providing a focus on his reasons for marriage. Mr Collins uses many I’s as in “I am, I think,” showing marriage is about what he wants and nobody else’s feeling or objections matter. In this proposal Mr Collins feelings come last of all instead of first. We therefore have the impression that his patron Lady Catherine is more important than his wife especially when he quotes her as saying,” Mr Collins you must marry. A clergyman like you must marry choose properly, choose a gentle woman for my sake and for your own” Mr Collins seems to remember all her words by heart. He uses long sentences to describe each motive. Elizabeth had not replied to Mr Collins at that moment but as he went on without her saying yes he was telling her how to act in front of Miss de Bourgh and that he would never shout at her for not being so rich.
“I shall be uniformity silent, and you may assure yourself that no ungenerous reproach shall ever pass my lips when we are married. Mr Collins seems to be very tactless in mentioning the death of Elizabeth’s father and mother and how much she will inherit after their deaths. This shows that Elizabeth is not his only choice and is implying to her that she should be very grateful to be proposed to by him. Mr Darcy’s proposal starts with how much he loves her. That was the first and last motive of this proposal. “In vain have I struggled. It will not to do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.” Mr Darcy seems to be very serious about this proposal, he considers he is likely to be accepted because of his wealth, estate and position. However he is shocked when rejected. “He was struggling for the appearance of composure and would not open his lips, till he believed himself to have attained it. Darcy is anxious to find out the reason for rejections “I might perhaps wish to be informed why with so little endeavour at civility I am thus rejected.”
He was unable to except the refusal as he thought there would be no answer such as No. Before he speaks he is silent to collect his thoughts and emotions to him and what he has to reply back as. “At length in a voice of forced calmness he said”. Much emphasis is placed on. Mr Darcy’s body language seems to be very outstanding at first when he enters he seems to walk from one end of the room to another. In both proposals both men are very tactless about Elizabeth’s parents and both expected to be accepted. Elizabeth’s response to Mr Collins proposal was very polite. It was a conventional decline as she uses words such as ‘Thanks and honour’. “Accept my thanks, I am very sensible of the honour” This shows that she respects his offer but is unable to take it. She uses short and direct replies but speaks in a calm and polite way so it does not offend Mr Collins. She has not been given a chance to speak, up till now. The response to Mr Darcy’s proposal was not so firm or concise. She speaks directly and in anger and is furious.
“In such cases I believe the established mode to express a sense of obligation for the sentiments avowed, however unequally they may be returned” Elizabeth uses long sentences. She is aware of the conventions of refusing a proposal, but does not follow them easily. She is critical of him separating Bingley and Jane. She also reminded him of his supposed ill treatment of Mr Wickham. And lastly she accuse him of not being a gentleman “You are mistaken Mr Darcy. If you suppose that the mode of your declaration affected me in any other way than as it spared me the concern which I might have felt in refusing you, had you behaved in a more gentleman – like manner” and Lastly but not least, she criticises him for being selfish, arrogant and conceited “your manners impressed me with the fullest belief of your arrogance, your conceit and your selfish disdain of feelings of others”. The end of Mr. Collins’ proposal Mr. Collins does not accept that he has been rejected. He is very obtuse about this idea.
He is stubborn in believing that he is turned down. His patronizing attitude towards women, leads him to believe that Elizabeth’s rejection of him is not serious and implies that he continues to ask then she will say Yes. “That it is usual with young ladies to reject the addresses of the man whom they secretly mean to accept when he first applies for their favour and that sometimes the refusal is repeated a second or even a third time”. He also emotionally blackmails her by saying he will apply pressure on her via her parents. “I am therefore by no means discouraged by what you have just said and shall hope to lead you to the altar ere long”. When Mr Darcy finishes his proposal he is very angry and so is she. They are both struggling to compose their feelings. They ask direct questions . A lot of tension builds up here. Elizabeth is very accusatory. As Elizabeth gives her last and fierce speech he accepts her feelings towards him and apologizes to her for wasting her time. He acts like a gentleman at last. “You have said quite enough madam. I perfectly comprehend your feelings and have now only to be ashamed of what my own have been.
Forgive me for having taking up so much of your time and accept my best wishes for your health and happiness”. Men had more power than women because most of them were educated for careers in law, the church or the Army, they earned more than what women earned. There were only two jobs a woman of the gentry class could have was a school teacher or a governess, both were of a low status. Men had better prospects in that they could inherit wealth and estates. If a women were fortunate in this, on marriage their wealth would be absorbed by their husband. Mr Collins reasons believed he’d be accepted because of his connection with Lady Catherine de Bourgh. So far he has been positioned as a clergyman which, was a highly respected profession. He thought that the reason why he would never be rejected because then Elizabeth was denying herself a secure home and lots of money so she would not need to worry about anything. Mr Darcy be accepted because of his status and high class. He earns 10,000 a year a great deal of money. He owned an therefore considered he’d never be refused by a woman.
In the novel Elizabeth contrasted with her best friend Charlotte Lucas. Charlotte was 27, not married and only wanted to marry to achieve independence from her parents and a home to live in no matter who she married. She had no financial resources and if she had not married she would have lived as a dependant on her father and brothers. In those days a married women’s status was higher than a single woman’s no matter whom they marry or what age they married at. Charlotte felt she would not receive another proposal and therefore accepted Mr Collins. In contrast with Elizabeth who was 20. She considers love as well as finances in marriage to be important. She is not a conventional woman. She does see herself as equal to Mr Darcy, even though she does not have the same amount of money or the estate, but in her eyes she is equal. In Conclusion I would say that during these two proposals the similarities were that the both characters proposing were very tactless about Elizabeth’s parents.
They both were expecting to be accepted because of their high status in the community and their wealth and property. The differences were that only Mr Collins asked Mrs Bennets permission Mr Darcy did not ask permission as he proposed spontaneously. The settings were in completely different. Mr Collins had motives in which love came last. Mr Darcy only had 1 motive which, was love and came first. In both cases these proposals have a important function in the novel. After the refusal from Mr Collins proposal he proposed to Charlotte after 2 days which she accepted. This facilitates Mr Darcy’s proposal which happens when she visits her friend Charlotte. Mr Darcy’s proposal was serious, it created conflict between the two characters in his proposal and drama. After that disturbing proposal Mr Darcy changes to be more like a gentleman and seeks to salvage the Bennet’s reputation by facilitating a marriage between Wickham and Lydia. When Darcy proposes for the second time for which he is accepted at the end of the novel.