Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Characters Who Are Caricatures: Mr Collins

Note: I came back last Friday night and found that the scheduled posts I had planned for my holidays didn't post.  Don't ask me why. :( Anyways, this is one of the posts that you should have gotten while ago.
David Bamber (P&P 1995)
Elizabeth: "There is something very pompous in his style. - And what can he mean by apologizing for being next in the entail? - We cannot suppose he would help it, if he could. - Can he be a sensible man, sir?" 
Mr Bennet: "No, my dear, I think not.  I have great hopes of finding him quite the reverse.  There is a mixture of servility and self-importance in his letter, which promise well.  I am impatient to see him."
                                              from Pride and Prejudice, chapter 12
Tom Hollander (P&P 2005)
Mr Bennet is spot on.  Mr Collins is certainly not a sensible man, but he is a mixture of servility and self importance. (Just read whatever he says to Lady Catherine.)  He rightly considers whether certain activities are compatible with his profession as a minister, but he considers it not a minister whose responsibility it is to preach the gospel, but rather a minister of whom Lady Catherine de Bourgh has condescended to become the patroness of!

David Bamber (P&P 1995) 

Still, Mr. Collins has some tragedies in his life.  He was brought up by 'an illiterate and miserly father' and his humility of manner comes from 'the subjection in which his father had brought him up', but was now 'counteracted by the self-conceit of a weak head.'  Do you think we should feel sorry for him?

David Bamber and Lucy Scott (P&P 1995)

No, I'd rather feel sorry for Charlotte.


P.S. Poor Charlotte!


OldFashionedCharm said...

Mr. Collins definitely is a carriacture! As the daughter and sister of clergymen Jane Austen knew many clergymen. She knew what a good respectable clergyman was and she gave two of her heroes that profession (Edmund & Henry Tilney). She also knew what made a clergyman ridiculous (or what makes people ridiculous) and she combined all the silly qualities into Mr. Collins. But at the same time, like any of her Characters Who Are Caricatures, he is very like some folks you'd meet up with then and now!

I definitely don't feel sorry for Mr. Collins and Jane Austen has written him in such a way that the reader isn't supposed to feel sorry for him or for Charlotte. I don't feel sorry for Charlotte either, because she knew exactly what she was getting into and what a blend of oddities and ridiculousness she was marrying before she accepted. She wanted position, comfort, respectability and to be well connected and by marrying Mr. Collins she has all of these things.
The only thing I'd wonder is if Charlotte who says "I am not romantic" met with some very romantic gentleman and suddenly fell in love with him. But she is really too sensible for that, and once she has her children she will be firmly in place and content at Huntsford.

Thanks for this post! I love talking about Austen characters!

~Miss Laurie :)

Miss Dashwood said...

Excellent ending to an excellent post. You made me laugh out loud. Brownie points!

Marie said...

Miss Georgiana,
I "discovered" your blog quite a while ago, but only recently have I really been checking it out...I thought I'd comment and introduce myself! I love Jane Austen, Charles Dickens and period drama in general, also Sherlock, Robin Hood and LOTR (and the Hobbit, of course :) ) And Les Mis, HOW could I forget Les Mis??? So anyways, to make a long story short it's lovely to find a blogger who seems to like just about everything I do :) . Thank you for writing! I'll be commenting more.
P. S. Loved your ending to this post! Poor Charlotte, indeed :)