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Lovers’ Declarations in Shakespeare’s Richard III and Austen’s Pride and Prejudice

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Shakespeare’s “Richard III” portrays a ‘serious’ yet passionate declaration of love to Anne greatly contrasting with the more solemn and composed confession given by Mr Collins in Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice”. Where Richard III seems to be unable to hold back his feelings Mr Collins appears to quite calmly lay out his reasoning for his proposed match to Elizabeth Bennet. Thus both extracts could be said to be giving us very different depictions of the idea of a ‘declaration of love’.
Shakespeare uses hyperbolic language and melodrama in order to exaggerate the supposed love that Richard feels for Anne as he declares that “[Anne’s] beauty, ...did haunt me in my sleep” which can also be described as a cliché as it is often said that someone can be so in love that they have restless nights constantly thinking about the one that they love. The use of the word “haunt” could perhaps also be taken further to suggest both the magic and mystery of love as because it is so difficult to comprehend or explain it is almost as if it is something that is other-worldly , on the other hand we could also interpret it as, Richard being haunted by his desires as he is constantly trying to think about how to gain power and although it could be true that he is thinking of Anne it may not be because he loves her but rather so that he might use her in order to gain power thus he is “haunt[ed]” by his lust for power not love. Similarly, Austen’s Mr Collin is trying to convince the recipient of his declaration that they should get married however unlike Richard III, she doesn’t use bold hyperbolic statements to do this but rather presents Mr Collins as a man with a “solemn composure”, structuring his proposal quite eloquently; clearly expressing each of...


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...controlled proposal to her sudden and unanticipated refusal. Therefore despite all Mr Collin’s well thought out arguments his declaration of love has failed.
Overall, the portrayals of the lovers’ declarations in both extracts from Austen and Shakespeare are presented quite differently but both seem to be more than they first appear to be at first sight. Austen gives us a confession seemingly devoid of any great declaration of passion but yet Mr Collins seems sincere in his words as he does lay bare his admitted dull soul. Whereas, Shakespeare uses the passionate affirmations of Richard III to show that hyperbolic flowery language doesn’t always convey what one truly feels. What can be said for sure is that both personas are declaring their “love” for people who they don’t actually really love but simply see as means to a greater end be that money or connections.



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