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Happy for all her maternal feelings was the day on which Mrs Bennet got rid of her two most deserving daughters.'Discuss the theme of marriage in this novel with particular reference to Mrs Bennet and her three daughters who marry.

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Introduction

'Happy for all her maternal feelings was the day on which Mrs Bennet got rid of her two most deserving daughters.' Discuss the theme of marriage in this novel with particular reference to Mrs Bennet and her three daughters who marry. '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, p1). This is the opening line to the book which is an ironic opening which sets the tone and theme of marriage and social criticism. This quote could be translated to mean that any single woman without a fortune must be in need of husband that has one. In Austen's time, marriage was almost necessary to be accepted by society. Woman had little power and could be seen as vulnerable. Austen demonstrates the inequality and injustices of genders present in 19th century English society. The novel demonstrates the practicalities of marriage and how often it is done for the wrong reasons. Entailment of the Longbourn estate is an extreme hardship on the Bennet family, and makes Mrs Bennet desperate to marry her daughters off. The entailment of Mr. Bennet's estate leaves his daughters in a poor financial situation which makes it more difficult for them to marry well. Throughout the novel, Austen tries to show that woman are equally as intelligent as men. ...read more.

Middle

Mr Wickham is a handsome member of the militia. In the beginning of the novel there is undoubtedly some chemistry between Elizabeth and Mr Wickham. Wickham is quickly judged to be a good and agreeable man because of his sociability and the effortlessness of his manners. He initially shows a preference for Elizabeth, and she is pleased by his attentions and inclined to believe his story about Darcy. Yet while Wickham has the appearance of goodness and virtue, this appearance is deceptive and false. His true colours begin to show through his attachment to Miss King for purely mercenary purposes (she has ten thousand pounds) and then through Darcy's exposition of his past and through his elopement with Lydia, deceiving her to believe that he intends to marry her. Lydia is the youngest of all the daughters and is favoured by Mrs Bennet because the two have such similar characteristics. Lydia is a foolish, loud mouthed girl who it flirtatious given up to idleness and the enjoyment of every whim. Lydia is infatuated with the officers in the regiment, and sees no purpose to life beyond entertainment and men. She is a silly girl who lacks any sense of decorum, virtue or good-judgment, as seen in her elopement with Wickham and her complete lack of remorse afterward. 'Lydia was Lydia still; untamed, unabashed, wild, noisy and fearless. ...read more.

Conclusion

Austen portrays people reasons for marriage and points out that some people are satisfied with marrying for security but the ones who marry for love are happier. Mrs Bennet is relieved when she has three daughters married as she no longer has to worry about entailment. Entailment meant that Mr Collins would inherit Longbourn and that if her daughters were not married off, they would have to rely on the charity of Mr Collins which is why she is so desperate for Lizzy to marry him. Now that she has three daughters married, the remaining two have less pressure and ca marry for love rather than wealth as the elder two daughters had married very well. The theme of marriage in this novel is recurring which symbolises how important it was seen in society. Women would marry for security which made Lizzy and Jane's marriages so special and rare. Austen shows how marrying for love rather than just wealth can have greater benefits. Both Jane and Lizzy married for love and into wealth which would keep both parents happy. Austen makes it clear that Lydia's marriage will not be successful by showing that Wickham is not very interested in her. Though Charlotte Lucas did not marry for love but for security, Austen does show that one can still be satisfied but there is an emphasis on the unity of two people in love and that they will be more happy and satisfied. ?? ?? ?? ?? Emma Cockbill ...read more.

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