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|Mr. Bennet: Sarcastic or sincere?
Written by Kevin S
(4/12/2010 12:27 p.m.)
"Design! nonsense, how can you talk so! But it is very likely that he may fall in love with one of them, and therefore you must visit him as soon as he comes."
"I see no occasion for that. You and the girls may go, or you may send them by themselves, which perhaps will be still better, for as you are as handsome as any of them, Mr. Bingley might like you the best of the party."
"My dear, you flatter me. I certainly have had my share of beauty, but I do not pretend to be any thing extraordinary now. When a woman has five grown-up daughters she ought to give over thinking of her own beauty."
I suppose Mr. Bennet is being sarcastic in suggesting Bingley might like Mrs Bennet, and she's completely oblivious of course. But perhaps his sarcasm shows his true feelings?
Another way to read this, I think, is that it underscores that Mrs. Bennet is being “silly and ignorant like other girls.” Mr. Bennet is putting Mrs. Bennet in a class with silly girls, but she doesn't see the insult, instead taking it as a compliment.
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