• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

“Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance.” With reference to marriages in Pride and Prejudice, to what extent is this statement true?

Extracts from this document...


Lydia Mason 10Y "Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance." With reference to marriages in Pride and Prejudice, to what extent is this statement true? Marriage is the key issue in Pride and Prejudice, and Austen uses class structure, manners and proper behaviour in society to embellish the topic. It is the overall picture given by these subjects that tell us about the happiness a woman could expect from entering the state of marriage, whether marrying for love and felicity, or, as seems the wise choice in the case of many of the characters, for money and financial security. Pride and Prejudice explores the situations that many young ladies found themselves put in, and whether or not it was possible to achieve fulfilment and happiness if you were to marry for the latter. In the Bennet household, particularly, marriage is a very poignant subject. For Mrs Bennet, she feels it is essential for her girls (and for herself) that they should marry well, as otherwise they stand to lose everything without a son to take over the estate. Her feelings are made clear at the beginning, once she has heard that a wealthy Mr Bingley has recently moved to the neighbourhood. Without any knowledge or regard for his character, she immediately jumps to the conclusion that it is 'a fine thing for our girls'. This statement is made purely on the awareness of his handsome fortune, and of the happiness and fortune that it could bring her. She uses the word 'girls', and this shows that she doesn't care for individual happiness, but she does want one of them married to him, never mind which. ...read more.


However, the match between herself and Wickham gives them both happiness, and, although her family does not share their feelings, her decision, however misguided, does give her happiness. Prior to the marriage, she writes 'for there is but one man in the world I love, and he is an angel'. This view is in opposition to Charlotte's, that one must marry into good fortune, and then see what happiness may come of it, if any at all. Lydia's perception of Wickham is unchanged when she writes again, once Elizabeth and Darcy are married. She says that 'If you love Mr Darcy half so well as I do my dear Wickham, you must be very happy.' Although on initially embarking on her elopement, the marriage looked as though it was a flirtatious whim, especially on the part of Wickham, by the end, there is no real relationship development, except that they still love each other. From the circumstances surrounding both of their families, it is safe to say that Wickham is not marrying for wealth, it is for his apparent love for Lydia. Previously, he had been engaged to Mary King, a wealthy heiress of ten thousand pounds, and Elizabeth had said of the match 'a wise and desirable measure for both; handsome young men must have something to live on, as well as the plain.' As Colonel Fitzwilliam said of men 'Our habits of expense make us too dependent, and there are not many in my rank of life who can afford to marry without some attention to money'. However, these same motives are not seen in his match with Lydia, although it is true to say that unless Darcy had intervened, they may not have married. ...read more.


least some amount of time would not have been as morally successful as Elizabeth and Darcy, whose marriage is based on mutual esteem. Whereas Charlotte had thought about the espousal, and then agreed, much to the disdain of her friend, her happiness is impaired, because the marriage is not based on love, as Elizabeth's is, it is principled on common gain, as were many matches in the society. Not only do Darcy and Elizabeth respect and gratify each other, they also share common interests, such as reading, as well as having the same elegant tastes. These qualities ensure happiness, unlike Mr and Mrs Bennet, where stimulation of the mind is essential to one, and stimulation of the tongue necessary for the other. Pride and Prejudice is a very good example of what different types of marriages can achieve: a good home and security, passion and fun or intelligent companionship. Marriage opens up different ways to different types of happiness, but true happiness can only be achieved on the grounds of honour and deference. Lydia, and to some extent Wickham, are happy, despite the different morals in their marriage, when compared to Charlotte and Mr Collins marriage. Darcy and Elizabeth are happy because they knew, appreciated and respected each other before entering matrimony, whereas Wickham and Lydia entered marriage with little but their fancy for each other to base their lives together on. In my opinion, Darcy and Elizabeth's match is better, because their happiness is determined before marriage, not decided afterwards. 'Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance' is true to some marriages, but in a carefully calculated marriage, based on respect, esteem and confidence, the question of chance is indifferent. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Jane Austen section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Jane Austen essays

  1. Discuss the different types of marriages presented in Pride and Prejudice and what this ...

    Although this was a serious matter Mr Collins comes off as being rather comical. Mr Collins is the man who was entailed to receive Longbourn Manor. This is because Mr and Mrs Bennet have no sons, and the estate would go to the next male in the family, which was Mr Collins.

  2. Charlotte Lucas says: "Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance". Examine ...

    The first marriage we are presented with is Mr and Mrs Bennet. Mr Bennet says that he fell in love with Mrs Bennet at first sight, which proves how unsuitable it is as he now doesn't love her at all and thinks of her as stupid; this is shown by

  1. Portrayal of Marriage in Pride and Prejudice.

    Therefore, I believe that Pride and Prejudice is a social satire. The language of Pride and Prejudice is astonishingly simple and the verbiage frugal, especially for the period in which it is written. There is no drastic action or heroic characters; however, Austen convincingly 1 develops character with it, and

  2. In Pride and Prejudice, Mr Wickham and Mr Collins are unsuitable marriage partners for ...

    Secondly, this is completely baseless, as it is revealed to Elizabeth later in the book that it is in fact Wickham who has acted scandalously towards Darcy. Wickham therefore, is under the scrutiny of Darcy, rather than having anything that he could forgive Darcy of.

  1. Explore Austen's Presentation Of Marriage in "Pride & Prejudice"

    "I do not think we shall have quite enough money to live upon without some help" This quote shows us that although marrying solely for sentiments may be pleasurable, it does not prove to be enough for a successful marriage and comfortable life.

  2. In Pride and Prejudice, what views does Jane Austen convey to us regarding Pride, ...

    The whole novel is based around Elizabeth Bennet. She fits into the action of the novel by portraying the prejudice in the title. Jane Austen communicates with the reader through Elizabeth, Elizabeth is prejudice towards Mr Darcy. At the beginning of the novel Elizabeth is the one that experiences Darcy's pride first hand.

  1. Examine the different marriage relationships and attitudes towards marriage presented in 'Pride and Prejudice'. ...

    I have a high respect of your nerves. They are my old friends. I have heard you mention them with consideration for these twenty years past at least". This shows that Mr Bennet does not get on well with Mrs Bennet, as he makes fun of her. Mrs Bennet always has an excuse for herself though "When she was discontented she fancied herself nervous."

  2. ‘With reference to “Her First Ball” and at least one other short story from ...

    Of course, marriage and the want of a good man were not merely leisurely activities, but with no economic independence, it was a social and financial necessity. For example when we are first introduced to the novel, this is the exact conversation: 'A single man of large fortune; four or five thousand a year.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work