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Charlotte Lucas says: "Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance". Examine the presentation of marriage in Pride and Prejudice. During the novel of Pride and Prejudice, written by Jane Austen

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Introduction

'Charlotte Lucas says: "Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance". Examine the presentation of marriage in Pride and Prejudice. During the novel of Pride and Prejudice, written by Jane Austen, we are presented with many marriages and relationships between the characters. As each character is introduced to another (or if a new character has been entered into the novel), Austen always tells us about their social status and financial background as this was a major contribution to marriage back then. In those times, one of the most important reasons to marry was because of money and income; it wasn't common for people to marry for love alone. Charlotte Lucas knows this and says "Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance". This implies that the marriage could be a happy or unhappy time depending on how well the characters know each other beforehand. Austen created many single female characters in Pride and Prejudice and she put each of them in a bad light, which is ironic as she never married herself. Austen says in Pride and Prejudice that a woman who never marries could only look forward to living with relatives and therefore being dependant on them, as women didn't have their own careers; the only path open to them was marriage. ...read more.

Middle

He then moves onto Charlotte Lucas and proposes to her, which she accepts. They both see this marriage as a business arrangement and approach it logically. There is evidence that there may have been pressure from Charlotte's family for her to marry: 'The boys were relieved from their apprehension of Charlotte's dying an old maid.' (Chapter 22, page 98) This suggests Charlotte may have rushed into marriage without thinking it through properly. She knows that she will probably not get a better offer, however, as she is twenty seven and not very pretty, as well as being quite poor. Mr Collins says that the main reason he wants to marry is because of Lady Catherine de Bourgh's advice: '"It is the particular advice and recommendations of the very noble lady whom I have the honour of calling patroness."' (Chapter 19, page 85) This shows that he wants to please Lady de Bourgh. Charlotte's life with Mr Collins is somewhat trivial: 'Her home, and her housekeeping, her parish and her poultry, and all their dependant concerns, had not yet lost their charms.' (Chapter 38, page 168) This is also an example of Austen's well balanced and structured sentence work. She contrasts pairs of words and poultry ends on a note of bathos. Charlotte is not entirely happy with Mr Collins, but she was willing to take that chance. ...read more.

Conclusion

Therefore, they both need to overcome their defects to understand each other and make their relationship work. This knowledge of each other continually makes their relationship stronger and more interesting. They both change immensely during the novel, and each overcomes their pride and prejudice. Elizabeth is observant and mischievous, while Darcy is extremely self-conscious making them opposites and well suited. During Pride and Prejudice, the various couples we meet have very individual relationships. Lydia and Wickham have an unstable relationship based on sexual attractions; Jane and Bingley are very alike and in love; Mr and Mrs Gardiner have many children to show how much they love each other; Mr Collins and Charlotte got married as a business arrangement; Elizabeth and Darcy have to overcome their pride and prejudice to make their marriage work and make it interesting; Mr and Mrs Bennet fell in love at first sight and now don't love each other at all. I think that people should only get married if they are sure they will be happy with each other and it is the right step for them to take together. For example, Elizabeth didn't agree to marry Darcy until she knew him well enough to know he would make her happy. A contradiction to this is Mr and Mrs Bennet as they thought they would be happy together but they aren't. To conclude, I agree with Charlotte's statement 'happiness in a marriage is entirely a matter of chance' as nobody knows how a marriage will turn out. ...read more.

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