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Marriage then, ideally is a love match, and still ideally, more is involved the character and fortune of the lover. Consider Jane Austen's presentation of the marriage in Pride and Prejudice. Do any of the marriages fit Austen's ideal?

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Anna Jane Perry Unit: English Literary Heritage: Prose pre-1914 4/18/2009 "Marriage then, ideally is a love match, and still ideally, more is involved - the character and fortune of the lover." Consider Jane Austen's presentation of the marriage in Pride and Prejudice. Do any of the marriages fit Austen's ideal? "It is a truth universally acknowledged that a man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife" The narrator impersonates the view of most women in the 19th century, that rich men wanted a pretty, young wife. The phrase 'universally acknowledged' implies that it was the view of everybody and nobody disagrees with this statement. Most women in the 1800's thought it was best to marry for fortune and security but Jane Austen presents how marrying for love makes a much more ideal marriage. Austen's ideal marriage consists of love for one another, a match of characters and a fortune to sustain the couple. There are six marriages to look at in the novel. Elizabeth and Darcy, Jane and Bingley, Lydia and Wickham, Charlotte and Mr. Collins, Mr. and Mrs. Bennet and Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner. Austen examines each of the marriages throughout the book and compares them to one another. We see that there are three ideal marriages, in Austen's viewpoint, and three non-ideal marriages. Elizabeth detests Darcy, throughout the first half of the book, because of his pride and her prejudice, it makes her blind to the fact that he is really a good man; it also makes her unaware of his affection for her. ...read more.


Similarly Jane and Bingley's relationship is based upon love and happiness. Bingley was first attracted to Jane because of her beauty and agreeability. "She is the most beautiful creature I ever beheld!" (chapter 3) Bingley and Jane fall in love the moment they see each other and because neither can see a fault in anyone, they fit together perfectly. Jane and Bingley are both happy, cheerful people and they enjoy one another's company so match in characters. Bingley earns over �5,000 per annum, so Jane and Bingley's marriage could also be seen as an ideal in Austen's point of view. In contrast to both of these marriages, Lydia's choice of partner converses with the typical choice of marriage partner for women in the regency period. Mr. Wickham is in a lot of debt because he is a gambler and though he is an agreeable man at first, he is deceitful and he does not love Lydia. "Wickham's affection for Lydia, was...not equal to Lydia's for him" (chapter 51) Austen originally named the novel 'First Impressions' because the characters opinions of each other change from when they first meet to when they get to know each other better. When the Bennet's and the rest of the town's people meet Mr. Wickham, they think him very agreeable and pleasant but after hearing about what he did to Darcy and his sister, Elizabeth changes her opinion of him, but remains pleasing towards him, as he becomes her brother-in-law. ...read more.


Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner's marriage is Austen's third ideal marriage. They are very much in love and they are not poor. They get on well with each other and are very happy together. They are role models for Lizzy and Jane, who are the only one's sensible enough to see that theirs is a good marriage. Elizabeth and Darcy stayed on intimate terms with them after they were married. "They were both ever sensible of the warmest gratitude towards the persons who...had been the means of uniting them. (chapter 61) They are a sensible couple, not loud or obnoxious like Lydia but calm and happy. In conclusion, there are three ideal marriages out of the six in Austen's view. Elizabeth and Darcy, because they have love, a match of characters and a large fortune; Jane and Bingley, because they are also in love, Bingley is a fairly rich man, and they are both happy together; and the Gardiner's, because they are happily married, with no visible faults. Austen presents these, as lasting marriages because they are based on love, a match of characters and a fortune. If you take away any one of these things, in Austen's point of view, it cannot be an ideal marriage. For example, if you have a couple with a lot of money but no love for each other, the marriage will not be a good one because Austen's ideal includes affection for each other. ...read more.

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