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Discuss the presentation of marriage in pride and prejudice

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Introduction

Discuss the presentation of marriage in 'Pride and Prejudice' In 'pride and prejudice' marriage is one of the key themes- the majority of the female characters have a target for a 'good marriage' and they find that marrying for security, wealth and society much more important than marrying for love. For example, Charlotte Lucas married Mr Collins because of security and because it lifts a burden off her parents. Charlotte Lucas says "I am not a romantic you know . . . I ask only a comfortable home," Whereas Elizabeth is an optimist who won't marry just for money, to a fool or a man she dislikes. Elizabeth has a permanent thought that she will only marry for love, and that she would rather become an old maid than get married to someone she does not feel she could share her rest of her life with. In the 19th century women had very little say, all British women were expected to get married and have children- although there very little men in comparison to women. The reason why this was expectant in the 19th century was due to the fact women did not work and once married the husband was to take care of them. ...read more.

Middle

Mrs Bennet targets Jane as the person most likely to marry him because she is the "most handsome" and also because Mr Bingley said that Jane was the "most beautiful creature" and because he danced with her the most. Mrs Bennet also shows her vanity in believing that appearance is all that matters in marriage. She later on finds out that this is not the case when her second daughter marries the supposedly "disagreeable man". Elizabeth shows that marriage is not about money, security or social status and that marriage is all about love. Elizabeth also shows that just being attractive does not make it likely that you will marry the man you wish, and she also shows that you will never know what will happen as she firstly disliked Mr Darcy, but later on marries him. However, Austen also uses Lydia to show that maturity is somewhat important in a marriage. Lydia is the youngest who often fails to show the slightest sign of maturity- especially at the Netherfield Ball. She had disgraced her family name when she had eloped with Mr Wickham, and thought that it was amusing "How I will laugh when I sign my letter as Mrs Lydia Wickham." ...read more.

Conclusion

Austen also showed that 'arranged marriages' rarely did work out- she uses Mr Darcy and Miss Anne de Bourgh to portray that because of the social status they were "meant for each other" this showed how society in the 19th century made an impact on every form of their lifestyle. She uses arranged marriages again when Miss Bingley 'claims' that Mr Bingley and Georgiana Darcy will eventually get married- because of the social status. Austen satirises society by changing her characters future, she shows that love is structured around marriage and that what kind of social status or how wealthy the person is not important. Throughout 'Pride and Prejudice' Austen uses all her characters to portray the different statuses in life, their importance and how things are not always as they seem or directed. She satirises society not only in the entire novel but she satirises the lifestyle in the 19th century. She mocks and changes how they consider marriage, and she makes the characters actions and that thought and opinions create the atmosphere in her novel. She uses Elizabeth and Mr Darcy and Jane and Mr Bingley as her main source of bringing in new thoughts and ideas about society- Austen uses Mr and Mrs Bennet and Charlotte Lucas to show 'reality' in the 19th century. ...read more.

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