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Discuss the different attitudes to marriage portrayed in Jane Austin's 'Pride and Prejudice'

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Introduction

Discuss the different attitudes to marriage portrayed in Jane Austin's 'Pride and Prejudice' Jane Austen was born in 1775 and was the seventh of eight children. She lived in Stenevton, Hampshire, where her father was rector. Although her family was not rich, it was an upper-class family. Jane lived at a time where marriage was an important matter. To be unmarried during that era of time held limited opportunities for women. Jane 'scribbled' frequently as a child. She began writing seriously at the age of twenty-one. Jane Austen's first published novel is 'Pride and Prejudice'. Her work is admired and appreciated for the skill in plot construction, character description and the subtlety in dialogue; all three of these qualities are displayed in Pride and Prejudice. Though, Jane Austen never got married, she realised that marriage came a package full of love, wealth, intelligence and mutual respect between the partners to make it work. These attitudes are all portrayed in Pride and Prejudice, which is undoubtedly Jane's master piece. The main theme of Pride and Prejudice is marriage, which can be perceived from the first sentence. Austen likes starting her novels with a distinct style and this novel is no different. Before she even starts unveiling the plot, she gives the readers a clear view about what is to come, using one sentence: 'A young man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife'. ...read more.

Middle

Next couple to get engaged are Jane Bennet and Mr. Bingley. Jane is the eldest Bennet daughter and the 'most beautiful and well admired'. She is a character who appears calm and sweet-natured. She and Elizabeth have a beautiful sisterly relationship and Jane often has to slow Elizabeth down, when she makes hasty conclusions about people. Jane's only visible flaws are her naivety and her want of finding good in everybody; this is shown when she was trying to judge both Darcy and Wickham 'they have both been deceived, in some way or another, interested people have perhaps been misrepresented to each to the other, without actual blame on either side'. Jane is very good at hiding her feelings for Mr. Bingley and this is one of the factors that Darcy picks up on and warns his friend of this, which causes Mr. Bingley to move back to London. Mr. Bingley is a rich, agreeable and handsome man. He is very sociable and his character is in striking comparison to Mr. Darcy and his sister. Jane and Mr. Bingley are very suited to each other; they both have the same type of personality, although they are both quite na�ve and there is plenty of love between them. The author approves of this type of relationship as both the partners are marrying for the 'right' reasons and it is clear to the readers that they will have a long and happy life. ...read more.

Conclusion

Jane Austen also uses irony (e.g. Elizabeth telling Mr. Darcy about being sure of somebody's character before judging them) and wit to great effect. These points are portrayed a lot through Elizabeth, whom Austen uses as a literary device. Elizabeth's wit matches no other character in the full novel with her 'lively, playful disposition'. Pride and Prejudice is a great novel, which greatly involves readers being influenced by the author's views on marriages. She describes marriages of all kinds: superficial marriages, which never end up happy (e.g. Lydia and Wickham) and true love (e.g. Elizabeth and Mr Darcy). She believes that you should throw away physical attractions and financial status and find true love by exploring each other's personalities. She knows that marriage should be based on love between partners and her novel greatly criticises people who are ignorant and fools, even though they have a great 'social standing'. The major themes of this novel are love, courtship and marriage. Jane Austen knows the disadvantages of being unmarried, but she also highlights the disadvantages of marrying for the wrong reasons. From the first sentence of the novel to the last, the novel is so engaging. The characters leap out at you from every page and they are so well defined that the readers are able to picture each character vividly. 'Pride and Prejudice' is described as the 'best novel written by Jane Austen' and I believe that it definitely lives up to its reputation as a master class. ?? ?? ?? ?? Zahra Gillani 11E ...read more.

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