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Essay on Pride and Prejudice as Romantic Novel and Romantic Criticism

Pride and Prejudice as Romantic Novel and Romantic Criticism

To a great extent, Jane Austen satirizes conventional romantic novels by inverting the expectations of “love at first sight” and the celebration of passion and physical attractiveness, and criticizing their want of sense. However, there are also elements of conventional romance in the novel, notably, in the success of Jane and Bingley’s love.

The first indication of Austen’s inversion of accepted romantic conventions is Elizabeth and Darcy’s mutual dislike on first sight. However, Jane and Bingley fall in love almost immediately, and the development of their romance follows conventional romantic-novel wisdom, down to the obstacles in the form of Darcy’s and Bingley’s sisters’ disapprobation (the typical disapproval of the Family) and the attraction between the rich young man and the middle class maid. Their Cinderella story ends in happily-ever-after, as does Elizabeth’s and Darcy’s. Elizabeth’s defiance of Lady Catherine recalls Meg’s defiance of her aunt in Little Women, and Darcy’s willingness to accept Elizabeth despite the inferiority of her connections is a triumph of conventional romantic-novel expectations.

One of the most striking examples of Austen’s satire is her emphasis on reason, as opposed to the wanton passion lauded into the bulk of romantic novels. Lydia and Wickham’s marriage is seen as a triumph of their “passions” over their “virtue”, and she is certain that “little permanent happiness” can arise from such a union. This is exemplified by Wickham’s continuance of his extravagant habits, and the degeneracy of any feelings between them to indifference. The indifference Mr Bennet has for his wife, and the unsatisfactorine…

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Pride and the Tragic Hero in Oedipus Rex and Othello

Pride and the Tragic Hero in Oedipus Rex and Othello

Pride is one of the seven deadly sins. Most proud people will never consider themselves to be truly proud until they come face to face with the consequences of their pride. Sophocles and Shakespeare both address this dilemma in their plays Oedipus Rex and Othello. Through their nobility, their tragic flaws, the fall these flaws cause, and the suffering and wisdom they derive from these falls, Oedipus and Othello reveal the true character of the tragic hero and show the devastating consequences of pride.

Both Oedipus and Othello are distinguished by nobility: Oedipus by birth and deed and Othello by a distinguished career. Oedipus is the son of King Laius and Jocasta his wife, the king and queen of Thebes. Because of an oracle prophesying that King Laius will be murdered by his son, Oedipus is left to die in “the mountains where Cithaeron is”(1472). He is then rescued by a shepherd and raised by “Polybus. . . king of Corinth/and Merope, the Dorian” (834-35). Not only is Oedipus noble in his birth and upbringing, he is also noble in deed. Upon coming to Thebes as a young man, Oedipus answers the riddle of the Sphinx, who is terrorizing the citizens, and rids the city of this monster. In turn he is made King of Thebes and marries, unknowingly, his mother, the queen. Othello, on the other hand, is noble only by deed. He is a Moor and a barbarian by Venetian customs. He is an outsider, yet he is accepted by the Venetian people because of his distinguished career as general of the Venetian army. In defense of his lack of noble heritage, Othello asserts: “I fetch my life and being / From men of royal siege” (1.2.20-21). It is his rank that makes him noble. His contemporar…

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… Inc., 1966.

Ehrenberg, Victor. ?Sophoclean Rulers: Oedipus.? In Twentieth Century Interpretations of Oedipus Rex, edited by Michael J. O?Brien. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1968.

Murray, Robert D. Jr. ?Sophocles? Moral Themes.? In Readings on Sophocles, edited by Don Nardo. San Diego, CA: Greenhaven Press, 1997.

Neely, Carol. “Women and Men in Othello” Critical Essays on Shakespeare’s Othello. Ed. Anthony G. Barthelemy Pub. Macmillan New York, NY 1994. (page 68-90)

Shakespeare, William. The Tragedy of Othello, Moor of Venice. Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry and Drama. Ed. X. J. Kennedy. 5th ed. New York: Harper, 1991. 1046- 1133.

Sophocles. Oedipus the King. Trans. Dudley Fitts and Robert Fitzgerald. Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry and Drama. Ed. X. J. Kennedy. 5th ed. New York: Harper, 1991. 999-1039.

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