Pride and Prejudice
Pride and Prejudice
by Jane Austen

Pride and Prejudice Chapter 20 Quotes Page 1

Page (1 of 2) Quotes:   1    2  
How we cite the quotes:
(Chapter.Paragraph)

"Pardon me for interrupting you, madam," cried Mr. Collins; "but if she is really headstrong and foolish, I know not whether she would altogether be a very desirable wife to a man in my situation, who naturally looks for happiness in the marriage state. If therefore she actually persists in rejecting my suit, perhaps it were better not to force her into accepting me, because if liable to such defects of temper, she could not contribute much to my felicity." (20.4)

Notice how it's all about Mr. Collins's felicity, and not about his prospective wife's? Yeah. Good luck with that, Charlotte.

Quote 2

"Pardon me for interrupting you, madam," cried Mr. Collins; "but if she is really headstrong and foolish, I know not whether she would altogether be a very desirable wife to a man in my situation, who naturally looks for happiness in the marriage state. If therefore she actually persists in rejecting my suit, perhaps it were better not to force her into accepting me, because if liable to such defects of temper, she could not contribute much to my felicity." (20.4)

Mr. Collins wants to be happy when he's married. Fair enough. But he doesn't seem overly concerned—or, well, concerned at all—about his wife's happiness. Obvi. That's totally not the point.

"An unhappy alternative is before you, Elizabeth. From this day you must be a stranger to one of your parents. Your mother will never see you again if you do not marry Mr. Collins, and I will never see you again if you do." (18.20)

To be honest, knowing that we'd never see Mrs. Bennet again is definitely motivation enough not to marry Mr. Collins. (As though we needed any more.) But we should point out that "see" here means more like, "recognize" or "acknowledge." Basically, Lizzy is being threatened with being disowned—a very real possibility. Well, probably not for refusing to marry someone. But, in most families, Lydia could well have been kicked out forever.

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