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'Austen presents us with several different examples of marriage in 'Pride and Prejudice

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Introduction

'Austen presents us with several different examples of marriage in 'Pride and Prejudice.' Focusing on at least three couples, explore how each relationship is presented and what you think are Austen's intentions. Throughout 'Pride and Prejudice', Austen often refers back to the era in which it was written and the kind of culture and society that she grew up in herself. It is also apparent that she sees the character Elizabeth as an alter-ego for herself, as she is rebellious to the things expected from her by her family and society in general - in reality, it would be preposterous to turn down a marriage proposal! It is evident that Austen did not like the general role that women took on in the early nineteenth century, with no financial independence and an expectation to serve the rest of their lives being a good wife and mother with only the accomplishments such as music and art, to excite them. I have first decided to comment on the relationship between Mr and Mrs Bennet. Mr Bennet clearly regrets his marriage to Mrs Bennet and realises that he was really only attracted to her beauty and wealth, rather than her personality. This runs parallel to the relationship between Lydia and Mr Wickham. Wickham eloped with Lydia only for her money because he was desperate to leave his debts behind and wanted a companion to join him in his escape, which resulted in an unhappy ...read more.

Middle

It then becomes evident that he does indeed have feelings for her, 'She attracted him more than he liked,' but his pride and prejudice take over. By the time he does pluck up the courage to confess his true feelings to her, he proposes to her with a speech declaring his love for her. Lizzie is taken aback by this but is aware that she does not love him and that it will have been the second proposal that she had refused. She did feel penitent for rejecting him, 'She was at first sorry for the pain he was about to receive.' Another reason for her rejection was that it was rumoured that he was the cause of Mr Bingley not proposing to her sister, Jane, and when asked if this was true, he affirmed it with not a hint of remorse, giving Lizzie even more reason to believe she had done the right thing in denying him her hand. Wickham forced Elizabeth to believe that Darcy betrayed him with regard to the clerical living that Darcy apparently was supposed to hand over to Wickham from his father but didn't. This added with the prejudice that Lizzie already had for Darcy, causes her to have an inaccurate judgement of his character and disregard his affection for her leading to the rejection of his marriage proposal to her. ...read more.

Conclusion

"Unhappy as the event must be for Lydia, we may draw from it this useful lesson; that loss of virtue in a female is irretrievable - that one false step involves her endless ruin." The Bennets assume that the Gardiners, Mrs Bennet's brother and his wife, had paid off Wickham but it was in fact Mr Darcy as he wanted to do a good deed for the woman whom he loved - Elizabeth. The reader and Lizzie herself became aware of this knowledge towards the end of the novel. So, in conclusion, it is clear that the principle theme of the novel was marriage and this relates to the importance of it throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Jane Austen clearly intended to base Elizabeth's character upon herself as she was a non-conformist with regard to most of the things that were supposed to have made up the "accomplished young lady". Jane Austen herself was indeed very much similar to the character of Lizzie in which she embedded knowledge and experiences from her past, these included rejecting a marriage proposal herself because she was not in love with him and the only man in which she did love was sent away from her because his aunt considered her connections too low. All this in her life explains a lot about the novel and the ideal relationship that Mr Darcy and Lizzie share. ?? ?? ?? ?? Emma Merritt 11.1 ...read more.

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