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Elizabeth receives three proposals of marriage in Pride and Prejudice. Why does she reject the first two and accept the third?

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Introduction

Elizabeth receives three proposals of marriage in Pride and Prejudice. Why does she reject the first two and accept the third? The first sentence of the novel Pride and Prejudice states, "It is the truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife." This clearly demonstrates how important marriage was in the Victorian age and to the Bennet girls. Using this as the first sentence of the novel reinforces the theme of marriage from the very start. The plot of Pride and Prejudice is centred on four relationships with all of these resulting in marriage. The first relationship was between Charlotte Lucus and Mr Collins which resulted in a marriage of convenience as neither party showed any affection and thought of marriage as merely a contract that would help both sides. The second couple was Miss Lydia Bennet and Mr Wickham. In the novel Lydia and Wickham eloped and ran off to London. Mr Wickham was paid by Mr Darcy to marry Lydia. The third was between Miss Jane Bennet and Mr Bingly which was a relationship of true love. The relationship encountered many ups and downs but eventually true love triumphed. The fourth was between Mr Darcy and Miss Lizzy Bennet. This was an unusual couple as they came from very different classes in Victorian society and their marriage very nearly did not happen. ...read more.

Middle

She regards Mr Collins as beneath her in intellect and sensitivity. In her eyes, he is a pompous fool with an over-inflated sense of importance. She does not love or respect him. She feels that she would be compromising herself by accepting him his proposal and she is totally frustrated by his apparent in ability to accept her refusal. In this proposal we see that there is a character contrast between Elizabeth and Mr Collins. Mr Collins obeys orders. He admits that to Elizabeth he is following Lady Catherine de Bourgh's instruction to marry when he says, "It is the particular advice and recommendation of a certain noble lady whom I have the honour of calling patroness." Lizzy, however, will not be swayed by the opinion of others whatever their social status. During his proposal Mr Collins reminds Lizzy that he is, "To inherit this estate after the death of your honoured father." This shows Mr Collins' lack of understanding of Lizzy's love for her father. This is juxtaposition between the theme of love and marriage and the death of Mr Bennet. This is very amusing for the reader. The second proposal that Elizabeth receives is from Mr Darcy. The title of this novel, Pride and Prejudice is a metaphor for Elizabeth's relationship with Mr Darcy. Mr Darcy is seen by Elizabeth to be too proud. Mr Darcy is a lot further up the social strata than the Bennet family. ...read more.

Conclusion

The effect of her visit, "had been exactly contrariwise...It taught me to hope...I knew enough of your disposition to be certain that had you been absolutely irrevocably decided against me you would have acknowledged it to Lady Catherine frankly and openly." He humbles himself when he openly, for the second time, declares his love for Elizabeth and openly outlines his inferior traits. He confirms that he has been "a selfish being all his life". He as an only child her was spoilt and not taught to control his temper. He also says admits that he was "almost taught to be selfish and overbearing, to care for no-one beyond my own family circle". He tells Elizabeth that that it is she who has brought him humility. In my opinion it was not only Elizabeth who was prejudiced but Darcy too as he is prejudiced about her place in the social hierarchy. It is also not only Darcy who is proud but Elizabeth is too. She will not lower her standards and complies with the conventions of the day by consenting to marry just to please her mother or other members of society. She is determined to hold out against all the odds and marry only for love. At the end of the novel Elizabeth achieves her goal of marrying someone who will truly make her happy. This could be seen as a reflection of Jane Austen's view on marriage, that is, that a good marriage is one that is based on love and mutual respect. "Do anything rather than marry without affection." ...read more.

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