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An exploration of Men and Women's relationships in Jane Austen's 'Pride and 'Prejudice

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Introduction

An exploration of Men and Women's relationships in Jane Austen's 'Pride and 'Prejudice Marriage played an important role in the lives of people in the early 19th century. Women in the middle and upper classes did not work and generally had the one goal in life: to marry a man of good fortune and to see their future children married as well. Pride and prejudice is a novel that addresses the relationships between men and women at this time "It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife." This opening sentence of Pride and Prejudice has become one of the most provocative and well known phrases in English literature. Jane Austen has used authorial irony to satirise Mrs Bennet's opinion as it is actually the women that are in need of a men. It is stated by Jane Austen as a fact which makes it such an ironic phrase. Mrs Bennet is introduced to the reader through dialogue. She begins with informing Mr Bennet of the latest gossip. She then goes on to introduce the next character, Mrs Long through dialogue whilst talking about who has moved into Netherfield Park. Mr Bennet is bored and uninterested but allows her to continue. The reader begins to wonder who is staying at Netherfield as she seems very interested in him. ...read more.

Middle

Elizabeth is quite different to her mother, who does not share the same attributes. "I must throw in a good word for my little Lizzie" This shows that Mr Bennet believes Elizabeth will have a greater chance of wooing a gentleman because of her wit. Once all prejudices are clear, I think that Elizabeth and Darcy are likely to have a happy marriage. Both have wit and intelligence and share the same views, often engaging in intelligent conversations. Elizabeth is marrying Darcy for love although money would also help to secure a happy future. Darcy is also marrying for love. The Bennets have little money and connections although he still wants to marry her. This shows how he is willing to overlook her position in society for love. For these reasons this marriage is likely to be a success. I also believe that Jane's marriage to Mr Bingley will be a successful one. This is because this marriage has been formed for the right reasons. Mr Bingley is clearly in love with Jane as her family have nothing more to offer him as they have no good connections within society and little money. Jane stayed in London in the hope she may be able to see him. This also shows her love for him. Lydia and Mr Wickham will, in my opinion not have a happy marriage. ...read more.

Conclusion

Lady Catherine de Burgh, for example displays her self pride through the belittling and ridicule of those she meets, like when saying to Elizabeth of why she cannot marry Mr Darcy. 'Miss Bennet, do you know who I am? I have not been accustomed to such language as this. I am almost the nearest relation he has in the world, and am entitled to know all his dearest concerns.' Jane Austen's 'Pride and Prejudice' is still relevant to us today. Sibling rivalry still exists and can be found within most families. Arranged marriages, like the one planned for Mr Darcy by Lady Catherine de Burgh also still exist although, now are generally found within religious cultures. There is still a social hierarchy which sees those whom are the richest as the most important whilst those who are the poorest are seen as the least important, each group seeming to socialise between themselves. The main difference between then and now is the general views on marriage. Then, it revolved around the status and fortune of those concerned. It is quite different now as most marry for love. There are, however, those who do marry for money; gold diggers and those seeking financial security. We can laugh at and enjoy the varying relationships Austen is presenting to us. Throughout the novel Jane Austen's portrayal of different characters and unexpected twists keep the reader intrigued and interested till the climactic chapters. By Alex Nicolson ...read more.

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