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By analysing the six marriages in pride and prejudice show what you have learnt about attitudes towards marriage at the time.

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Introduction

BY ANALYSING THE SIX MARRIAGES IN PRIDE AND PREJUDICE SHOW WHAT YOU HAVE LEARNT ABOUT ATTITUDES TOWARDS MARRIAGE AT THE TIME Jane Austin in this novel writes about marriages in the nineteenth century. How well did she portray this? How successful was she in putting across the opinions of marriage through the characters? Marriage in that era was seen as essential for a woman's fulfilment in adult life. It was a matter of living a life of neighbours, dress, housekeeping, dancing and music or working as a governess. This meant being excluded from society, which was extremely humiliating, and leading a restricted life with no money because of this unfulfilling job. Jane Austin in this novel focuses on the landed gentry. Mr Bennet, is a landowner, but because he did not produce any sons in his marriage his nephew Mr Collins will inherit his land and house. This means that when Mr Bennet dies his daughters will be left homeless and with no financial support. This therefore means that his daughters will have to attract men with their own virtues and being married will play a very important role in their lives. Mr and Mrs Bennet are quite badly matched in marriage and it is one that should not be an example for his daughters. In the novel it is clearly shown that Mr Bennett has not much respect for his wife "I have a high respect for your nerves. They are my old friends. I have heard them with consideration these last twenty years." It is apparent to the readers that he has no interest in his wife and what she has to say. We are lead to believe by Elizabeth that Mrs Bennet was attractive in her youth. "her father, captivated by youth and beauty and that appearance of good humour with youth and beauty generally gives, had married a woman whose weak understanding and liberal mind had very early in the marriage put an end to all real affection for her." ...read more.

Middle

she was gone off to Scotland with one of his officers; to own the truth with Wickham!" Wickham, we find out earlier in the novel, tried to elope with Darcy's sister Georgiana. He persuaded her that she was in love and because she was young and gullible she believed it "... she was persuaded to believe herself in love and to consent an elopement." Not only did Wickham want to elope with her but we also find out that he also is a fortune hunter and only wanted her money. "Mr Wickham's chief object was unquestionably my sister's fortune." Although we see Wickham as one of the villans in the novel, we have to take it into consideration that he himself has no fortune. He therefore has to find a wife with money or he will lead a restricted life with hardly any money. It is therefore quite certain that when Wickham elopes with Lydia he has no intentions of marrying her, because of the reputation he has as a fortune hunter. Despite Mr Gardiner's attempts at optimism, he is also partly convinced "Wickham will never marry a woman without some money". Whilst the family is waiting for news on the couple more and more disreputable stories are heard about Wickham. Finally Mr Gardiner informs the family that Lydia and Wickham will be married after a financial situation is sorted out. Mr Bennet is convinced that Mr Gardiner had paid for them to get married and is worried "how I (he) is ever going to pay him." Later on it is found out that Mr Darcy has persuaded Wickham into marrying Lydia by paying off his debts, giving him money and getting him his commision. Elizabeth lets us know that the couple was brought together because their passions were stronger than their virtues and worries about the happiness of her sister and her new husband. ...read more.

Conclusion

These remarks about Darcy soften Elizabeth's feelings towards him even more. To Elizabeth's surprise she meets Darcy outside his house, but is quite embarrassed "it might seem as if she had purposely thrown herself in his way again!" A while after this incident Darcy takes his sister to visit Elizabeth, by the end of the chapter Elizabeth's feelings have increasingly grown, and were now depending on "the renewal of his address." Later on in the novel after the Lydia and Wickham affair we discover that Elizabeth feels even greater admiration for Darcy, she also feels deep regret "for every saucy speech she had directed to him." When Darcy travels to Netherfield for the last time Elizabeth thanks him for her sister's wedding and he replies by saying "but your family owe me nothing much as I respect them, I believe, I thought only of you." He lets her know that his "affections and wishes are unchanged." Elizabeth tells him that "her sentiments had undergone so material a change ..." In the remainder of this chapter they discuss their misunderstandings of the past and express their feelings towards one another. By analysing these marriages I have learnt that marriage was very important and did not necessarily depend upon a couple's attraction towards each other, but primarily upon economic factors. The marriages vary in this novel and it gives you an insight into different relationship in the 1800's. If you were fortunate enough you had a marriage like the Gardiners' or the Darcys', a marriage of 'true minds'. You could however, find yourself in an unfortunate marriage like the Bennets', this was not beneficial for the couple or the children. Examples of marriages of convenience were the Collins' who did not love each other and to a certain extent the Bingleys' who even though they had affection for each other and this was the main incentive for marriage, it was economically convenient for Jane. Either way marriage had to take place in a person's life if they wanted to survive or find a suitable place in society. 4 2 ...read more.

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