Jane Austen has used Irony as a part of her narrative technique. Illustrate this from her novel Pride and Prejudice.
An irony is the different between appearance and reality. Every writer uses this literary technique by his own perspective. It is definitely a weapon used by Jane Austen in her fictional work. She has grip on this technique, therefore, she freely uses it. She is one of those writers, who uses irony not for the purpose of reformation but their aim is to make amusement for their readers. There are many types of ironies which are used by this great writer. For instance the irony of character, the irony of situation, the irony of dialogues etc. When we read the novel, we are pleased because of the proficient usage of this technique. From the beginning of the novel to the end, there are a lot of ironies, which are full of amusement as well as surprises. When we begin to study the novel, we realize that Jane Austen is master in using irony in different ways. The first lines of the novel are totally ironic when she starts it by writing:
“A single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife”
. These lines are totally ironic. Basically, she wants to say that a person who is possessor of a good fortune and settled in life has nothing to do with anything but to search for a wife. She may be right but after a while, we understand that it is ironic. Mr. Darcy or Mr. Binglay are not searching for a wife or girl for them but the situation is totally opposite. Mrs. Bennet is trying to console herself by saying that her new neighbors may accept her daughters as their wives. We soon recognize the fact that not a man is in search of a wife but a woman is in search of a good husband. Mrs. Bennet wants that her daughters should be married by hook or by crook. As the writer says that her only purpose in life is to marry her daughters. It is ironic because there is a different between appearance and reality. The contrast between these two lines totally shows the usage of ironic technique of Jane Austen.
. In addition, to these lines there are also some events where we see the practice of this specific technique. For instance, we see that Mr. Darcy’s comments about Elizabeth are fully ironic. In the ball, Mr. Darcy, says about Elizabeth:
“She is not handsome enough to tempt me.”
. His comments about Elizabeth shows that he is strong enough to make decisions about himself. It shows that he cannot even think about girls like Elizabeth but soon after he falls in love with her and eventually could not control himself and proposes her. It is also ironic that Mr. Darcy seems to be a gentleman like person but the way he proposes to Elizabeth, is totally shameful. We cannot expect such remarks while proposing from a gentleman like Mr. Darcy.
Apart from these ironies, the phrase of Elizabeth about herself is totally sardonic. When Mr. Collins proposes her, she in reply said that she is not the girl who first say no and then say yes in proposal but at the end we watch her accepting the proposal of Mr. Darcy, whereas she firstly had rejected him in the middle of novel. Her attitude is full of ironic. Her trusts on Mr. Wickham is totally ironic, the character of Mr. Wickham is also ironic. He seems to be a person, who can become example for others but soon after we feel that he is an asshole. Furthermore, when it was revealed that Mr. Wickham’s camp is going to relocate at some other place, it was expected that his flirtation with Lydia would be ended but it ends in elopement of Lydia with Mr. Wickham.
. The use of irony in this novel can never be underestimated. It is not incorrect to say that every character, every dialogue, every situation in this play is full of irony. Jane Austen, is well aware with the fact that it is the only technique which can be used to save readers from the boredom. Apart from the above said ironies, there are also some of the minor characters, wherein the use of irony is at its peak. Moreover, the technique is not used for the purpose of sarcasm or to rectify something but just to make some amusement in the novel. Masterly, usage of this ironic skill makes this novel successful in every era. In my personal views, it is because of the expertly usage of this technique that we are reading this novel even in this era. It is the only method which keeps her work afresh even today.
It view of the findings, described above, it can easily be defined that Jane Austen uses the technique of irony in this novel to make his work outstanding and exclusive. Although she is limited yet in using this simple technique, she is skillfully talented. The whole novel consists of such like situations, where we find amusement to the effect that what characters are doing are apparently different but in reality it is opposite. She may be limited in her abilities but her abilities are surprisingly wonderful. In short, it can be declared that the use of irony is part and parcel of Jane Austen’s narrative technique.