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Explore Austen's Presentation Of Marriage in "Pride & Prejudice"

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Introduction

Explore Austen's Presentation Of Marriage in "Pride & Prejudice" Marriage forms the basis of the events featured in Pride and Prejudice and is presented in various ways in order to convey to readers the importance of it in society and the expectations which come with it. Throughout the book, Austen clarifies what makes a good marriage and how society views marriage as a unity of equal classes and a way to establish connections. The first aspect of marriage which is revealed is the way a person's position in society affects the choice of partner. Austen states in the opening line of the book: "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife" This line both sets out the beliefs that were held by society at the time, but also the tone of the book and the attitudes of the characters featured. From this line, we can learn that society considered marriage to be not only a unity of two people but also a unity of assets and connections in society. The expectations held by people are also revealed in the way that it is expected of men with a sound financial status to succeed in marrying a woman of equal if not higher status in order to maintain the connections previously established. This line stresses the belief that wealth was of great importance in society and that it was a factor that was taken into consideration even before love and was believed to form the basis of a successful marriage. Another aspect portrayed by this line is the extent to which Austen included irony in her writing. The word universal for example indicated that this is a worldwide belief, however, it is the belief of the several characters portrayed throughout the book, rather than a general belief. Wealth proved to be more of a requirement in marriage than personality and attraction between two people, as is stated by the following line where Mrs. ...read more.

Middle

Through this character, Austen portrays to readers that women marry not only for love but also for a comfortable lifestyle, and for this purpose they choose a man of adequate wealth and position in society. Just as women marry for the chance of a better and more comfortable lifestyle, men do too. An example of this is shown by the character of Mr. Wickham as he attempted to marry a woman of a higher status than his in order to become well established in society, and gain enough money for a comfortable lifestyle. Here, Austen shows readers that when a man is not wealthy enough to support himself, he must find a wealthy wife in order to live well. This is a reason equal to that of women marrying a man of greater or equal status to theirs. "...handsome young men must have something to live on, as well as the plain" This line states that people of all appearances need wealth in order to live well and relates to Mr. Wickham's situation of marrying Miss King who is considered to be nothing more than a young girl with a large inheritance. Although both Colonel Fitzwilliam and Mr. Wickham showed affection towards Elizabeth, she was not wealthy enough to guarantee them an enjoyable lifestyle. Elizabeth is set to marry a man of large wealth in order to substantiate her lifestyle just as Mr. Wickham is set to marry a woman of wealth greater than his. The unity of the two would not be possible as neither of them is wealthy enough to support the other. In this way, Austen is showing that even when love and attraction play a part between to people, without wealth and connections, marriage is impossible. The second reason as to why people marry is that of arranged marriages between families of considerable wealth and status. An example of this is the arranged marriage between Mr Darcy and Miss de Bourgh. ...read more.

Conclusion

Throughout the novel, Austen conveys several different situations in order to sum up possible events in society and to portray the consequences of marrying different types of people in different situations. She has depicted several degrees of successful and unsuccessful marriages, and from this information she has attempted to portray to the readers that a combination of love and wealth must take place for a marriage to stand a chance of being successful. She has shown that although marrying for money or lust may bring happiness for a short period, a marriage without love is never as successful as that with love and therefore advises readers upon the fact that a degree of love and respect must be present in every marriage for it to be successful. This novel is not entirely romantic however, it has a more pessimistic aspect which reveals the ramifications of people's actions and of entering marriage based on different attractions; such as the difference between marrying for love and marrying for money. Much of the actions portrayed by the characters is often not the view of Austen herself, but rather embodying the views of various aspects of society. These views were often formed due to the upbringing of people in different classes and the fact that women at the time had very few rights and little independence and therefore relied on men much more than in today's society. Due to the extreme differences between the classes, many views were held in order to keep money in one family; such as the view of arranged marriages between relations. Society had very strict views on what was and was not acceptable behaviour and people such as Lydia who broke these unwritten codes of conduct suffered exclusion from society. Although the storyline speaks about love and marriage, it also reveals to readers other aspects of society which are not as positive, such as a marriage of convenience, and therefore helps readers to understand why many characters acted in the way they did and how society affected behaviour and influenced decisions. ?? ?? ?? ?? Marija Pecar 10MR ...read more.

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