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Examine Austen's presentation of marriage in 'Pride and Prejudice' by discussing three or four relationships. What can we deduce about Austen's attitudes to marriage?

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Introduction

Examine Austen's presentation of marriage in 'Pride and Prejudice' by discussing three or four relationships. What can we deduce about Austen's attitudes to marriage? "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife." Ironically, every woman, in general, with or without a fortune, was in want of a husband in the late 1700's into the early 1800's, the time period of Jane Austen's novel. In Jane Austen's time when Pride and Prejudice was created, marriage virtually dominated a woman's purpose in life and was greatly influenced by her family and social class. The leading relationships that I am to approach are Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy, Mr Collins & Charlotte Lucas and Lydia Bennet and George Wickham.' I will first discuss the main relationship, which is portrayed in the novel, between Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy. Elizabeth Bennet is the second daughter in the Bennet family, and is by far the most intelligent and quick-witted. She has numerous admirable qualities; she is fun loving, fiery, clever and proud of who she is. Mr. Darcy, on the other hand, is an arrogant, reticent and defensive character. He is the son of a wealthy, well-established family, and the master of the great estate of Pemberley. ...read more.

Middle

She expresses her opinions of a successful marriage through Elizabeth. The second relationship that I am going to examine is the one between Mr. Collins and Charlotte Lucas. This particular marriage sums up what the novel is about, and how things worked at the time it was written. Mr. Collins is a pompous, generally idiotic clergyman, who stands to inherit Mr. Benett's property. He is proud of his social status although it is nothing special, but he likes to announce the fact that Lady Catherine de Bourgh serves as his patroness. He is rather over-bearing and self-centred. He married Charlotte Lucas, not for love but purely for security. Charlotte agrees to the engagement as she sees that she has got a chance to become married and financially secured for the rest of her life: "I ask only a comfortable home; and considering Mr Collin's character, connections, and situation in life, I am convinced that my chance of happiness with him is as fair as most people can boast." This quotation shows that romance didn't play a part in some peoples' lives, and that their sole objective in life is to find a suitable partner with decent wealth and good status. Some people ask for more, however in this case, Charlotte accepts Collins for his wealth and position, not taking into account his ridiculous character. ...read more.

Conclusion

The effect of the relationships was that Mr. Bennet would isolate himself from his family; his later life consisted of staying in his library and in mocking his wife. Mr. Bennet's self realization at the end of the novel in which he discovers that his lack of attention towards his family had lead his family to develop the way they are, and that he was too late to save his family. He is Jane Austen's example of a weak father. In Jane Austen's novel, marriage wasn't like "boy meets girl romance", which is something that you would expect in a romance novel. Marriage was a complex procedure that was based on almost everything: money, family, tradition, and society. Unfortunately, the feelings of the two individuals involved were not high on the list of qualifications for a good marriage. Few couples were able to resist outside pressures and have their own right of personal choice in finding a lifelong partner. Among those lucky few were Darcy and Elizabeth, and Bingley and Jane. Austen showed that a balance of personality and love existed between the relationships, and the assumption can be made that each couple would be happy in their marriages. Austen continually stresses the importance of love and equality in a as the reader is shown the alternatives and the negative and positive consequences of marriage. Jaspal Tatla GCSE Prose Coursework 'Pride and Prejudice' 10C ...read more.

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