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Analyse Jane Austen's presentation of love and marriage in her novel Pride and Prejudice. From your evidence suggest what Austen regards as a good marriage.

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Introduction

English and English Literature Prose Coursework Analyse Jane Austen's presentation of love and marriage in her novel Pride and Prejudice. From your evidence suggest what Austen regards as a good marriage. In the novel Pride and Prejudice marriage is one of the major themes and was for English novels at this time. In the 18th century, the time Jane Austen was writing, novelists would write about relationships usually ending in marriage. The opening sentence of the novel: "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife." shows the importance of marriage in the novel. Jane Austen's opening sentence sets the main theme of the novel, marriage. The sentence is very ironic implying that very often parents with daughters assume that single men of wealth want to marry, which may be the last thing they want. Marriage in the 18th century was very different to today, there was more to marriage than just love. Women had very few choices then and marriage was one of the only. Women had one of the main objective then and it was to get married, they were nervous about being left as a spinster. If they were left unmarried it was expected that their family would look after them, which was not an attractive choice, they would see themselves as a burden Courtship rules were also set out in the 18th century. Couples who called each other by first name, drove in a carriage alone, wrote to each other, exchanged gifts or touched each other were assumed engaged to be married. These rules were adhered to and this made women more marketable to be married. Jane Austen's view on marriage was not all love and passion; she rarely mentions the word love. She thinks the person you marry must respect you and vice versa. ...read more.

Middle

In the 18th century people would have had exactly the same reaction. People would not like to be associated with them and it would be an example of how the parents brought them up. Mary explained to Elizabeth how Lydia's reputation was lost: "... one false step involves her in endless ruin?that her reputation is no less brittle than it is beautiful." This shameful reputation also affected the family and diminished the chances that the other Bennet sisters would be able to attract respectable marriage partners. Even though this was one of the most important things to Mrs Bennet she does not blame Lydia: "I am sure there was some great neglect or other on their side, for she is no the kind of girl to do such a thing..." The marriage of Lydia and Wickham is very one sided: "Wickham's affection for Lydia, was just what Elizabeth had expected to find it; not equal to Lydia's for him." Their marriage isn't likely to be a success, the marriage is one sided with Lydia showing most of the affection and 'love'. The only reason Wickham married Lydia was for the money although he did like her. For a marriage to be a success all four qualities Jane Austen sees in an ideal marriage must be included only one is seen and that is affection. The marriage of Lydia and Wickham was: "... brought together because their passions were stronger than their virtue." A marriage like Lydia and Wickham that is based on passion and attraction can end up like Mr and Mrs Bennet. Mr Bennet spends his time amusing himself by making fun of her. Mrs Bennet is oblivious to her husband's ironic comments and spends her time gossiping and trying to marry her daughters off. Their marriage started like Lydia and Wickham's. Full of passion and based on attraction but there were none of the four things Austen describes as a good marriage. ...read more.

Conclusion

The marriages in the novel, which are what Jane Austen regards as a good marriage, are those of the Gardiners, Jane and Bingley and Elizabeth and Darcy. Austen makes sure her heroines of the novel Elizabeth and also Jane do not end up in a loveless marriage. Jane Austen shows that marriages based on passion or money may last but will not be successful. Love can evolve over a period of time and love doesn't necessarily have to be instant. All the ideal marriages in the novel show all four characteristics. In my opinion I think the following marriages are successful the Gardiners, Jane and Bingley and Elizabeth and Darcy. The Gardiners are shown in contrast to the Bennets in the novel. The Bennets lack of breeding and bad parenting is shown up by the Gardiners who are the complete opposite. Elizabeth even turns to the Gardiners more than her own parents. Jane and Bingley are an example of the strict social rules, they keep to the guidelines and are not outspoken, ironically, this almost leads to them not getting back together. Yet they are so alike they understand each other completely and have all four characteristics Jane Austen thinks are in a good marriage. Elizabeth and Darcy are an example of how people can get over their opinions of each other to love each other. In doing this they get to know one another completely and have all four characteristics Jane Austen talks about. The marriages of Jane and Bingley and Elizabeth and Darcy are shown in contrast to those of Charlotte and Mr Collins and Lydia and Wickham. These marriages are not going to be successful at all. Charlotte Lucas and Mr Collins are only married for economical reasons; they do not love each other and do not have any of the four qualities Jane Austen thinks should be in an ideal marriage. Lydia and Wickham are together purely on passion and attraction, this will soon fade and they will discover that they are not compatible at all. Page 1 Laura Williams 10W1/10ND ...read more.

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