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Consider the marriages in Pride and Prejudice

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Introduction

Consider the marriages in Pride and Prejudice "It is after all 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 the book is extremely ironic. It prepares us for the reasons of some of the marriages within the novel. We can see, from the very first sentence that one of the novel's main focus is marriage, and in some cases, a material attitude towards it. Money was not however, the only reason for marriage within the novel. Early on in the book we are presented with a scene in which Elizabeth Bennet discusses with her good friend Charlotte Lucas that she and her sister would very much like to marry for love. This aspect is investigated throughout this novel in which, marriage for money would have been the most sensible option for people in the class of the Bennet's at that time. One of the most intriguing and perhaps to the modern reader, insane marriages of the book, based mostly on materialistic attributes is that of Charlotte Lucas and Mr. Collins. Charlotte and Mr. Collins seem to have nothing in common and are not at all in love with each other. Charlotte's attitude to marriage is based on the desire to be content with possession and money. ...read more.

Middle

He gains money from this marriage and therefore he makes the most of it. Lydia also gains what she wants: a handsome husband. However we learn that: "Wickham's affection for Lydia was not equal to hers for him." We can see that their marriage was not at all successful. In their final mentioning of the novel we read that "His affection for her soon sunk into indifference; hers lasted a little longer..." In many ways this is not unlike the marriage between Mr. and Mrs. Bennet, based mainly on lust. There is only one marriage in the whole book, which is exactly as society desires marriages to be. This is the one between Jane and Bingley. When Mr. Bingley acquires Netherfield, Mrs. Bennet is determined that one of her daughters should marry the master of the estate. "If I can see one of my daughters happily settled at Netherfield...I shall have nothing more to wish for"(Chapter 3). Therefore it is extremely fortunate that Bingley takes a liking to Jane from their first meeting, and that he is not too proud to dismiss her as a lower class citizen. He claims on their first meeting that " she is the most beautiful creature he ever beheld" and his feelings we learn by the end of the novel, never changed. His gullible character and trust in his good friend Darcy all make him believe he does not love her, however when he finds out that Jane does indeed love him in return, all his doubts of his own affection are erased. ...read more.

Conclusion

I do not think this marriage is the most successful in the whole book, however it is an idealistic picture of love overcoming everything. Everyone is happy and everyone gets what they want. Mrs. Bennet is ecstatic and all prejudice against Darcy goes out the window when she discovers one of her daughters will be living on "ten thousand a year!" Elizabeth gets more than she bargained for. Having previously wanted to marry mainly for love, she gains the estate, the money and the loving husband. Darcy finally gets Elizabeth, and his determination to get her, makes this one of the most incredible love stories in literature. I think the most successful marriage in the whole novel is definitely that between Jane and Bingley. Although it is ordinary, we can see the love each one has for the other. Jane respected Bingley's choice when she thought he had left her because she loved him and wanted him to be happy, and Bingley never stopped loving her. It was love at first sight and both were elated when they heard that they had consented to be married. There was no interference on either of their feelings and I think it was a very personal romance. It resulted in a fairy tale ending and the couple that are first mentioned in the book continue their sweet and caring relationship throughout the novel. ...read more.

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