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Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance." Examine what the reader can deduce about marriage in "Pride and Prejudice" from the authorial voice and the characters' opinions.

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Introduction

Jessica Edmonds 1st October 2006 "Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance." Examine what the reader can deduce about marriage in "Pride and Prejudice" from the authorial voice and the characters' opinions. Marriage in the late 17th and early 18th century was mostly about money and social positioning. In Jane Austen's era marriage could be considered a necessity for both male and female. It fell on the daughters of a family to marry into wealth in order to secure the family's financial well being, on the other hand the role of the male suitor was to continue his families' wealth and respected name by marrying into the same rank. From what we have been told Jane Austen grew up in a family consisting of mainly boys so I feel that she stresses the importance of marriage especially as her family couldn't be considered with a high status due to their own lack of wealth. Throughout the novel "Pride and Prejudice" I feel Jane Austen expresses her own views upon marriage and also reinforces her views by the use of language she portrays through her characters. "It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife." Chapter 1 This opening sentence sums up the whole book and ties together the whole idea of marriage for the reader it also shows Jane Austen's great use of wit and irony. ...read more.

Middle

Bennett could be seen as thinking of her family. Mr. Bennett on the other hand can maybe be seen as putting Elizabeth's happiness first, which maybe he shouldn't have done due to their situation but, it proves that Mr. Bennett and Elizabeth share a very strong bond. "They may wish things besides his happiness; they may wish his increase in wealth and consequence; they may wish him to marry a girl who has all the importance of money, great connections and pride." Chapter 24 Elizabeth seemed aware that love in marriage was considered a luxury; she understood that money was the main concept and, without it, it would have been very hard to attain high social status. She was also aware that Jane had very little chance of being married to Mr. Bingley even though it had become very clear that Mr. Bingley enjoyed Jane's company but, due to her not coming from a wealthy family she had little chance. Here I feel Elizabeth didn't really consider Jane's feelings and, the fact that she might be hurt, but instead, tells her true thoughts and what could be considered as the truth. "And if a smart young colonel, with five or six thousand a year, should want one of my girls, I shall not say nay to him." ...read more.

Conclusion

Chapter 33 When Colonel Fitzwilliam described Mr. Darcy's ways to Elizabeth he portrayed Darcy as a man who could live and choose his own leisure and very right it was, Mr. Darcy was one of the wealthiest if not the most, and, he could afford to take care of himself. This shows that money made a big difference in Jane Austen's time and the more money you had the higher rank you would be. Having read Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" it would seem that girls who came from families of low or questionable wealth, still had a chance of marrying well if, they paid attention to social graces and made themselves amiable. I feel that Jane Austen was trying to portray this in her book, whether that was the case or not, I am not certain. Everything seemed to be stacked against couples being married for love, unless, like Elizabeth and Jane who were extremely fortunate. We know from the book that Charlotte Lucas was no beauty, nor did she have particular wealth, but still managed to find a marriage that suited her. Jane had beauty and kindness but nearly lost Mr. Bingley because, she was thought of not to have shown enough affection. Lydia, being so young and silly probably found an ideal partner in Mr. Wickham. Elizabeth, who did not realise her love for Mr Darcy because of her pre-conceived prejudice of him, did finally marry for love. "Pride and Prejudice" describes the trials and tribulations of family life at that time. . ...read more.

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