• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month
  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 6
  7. 7
  8. 8
  9. 9
  10. 10
  11. 11

"How does Jane Austen comment to her readers on the concept of a good marriage in 'Pride and Prejudice'?"

Extracts from this document...


Pride and Prejudice: Coursework Essay Draft 1 "How does Jane Austen comment to her readers on the concept of a good marriage in 'Pride and Prejudice'?" By Tanya Sen "It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife." In the very first sentence, Jane Austen neatly paraphrases the main theme of Pride and Prejudice with a satirical comment on marriage in society of the time. The book remains, till today, one of the most acclaimed works of English literature because it provides a clever caricature of society at the time, and an ironic comment on how peoples' lives revolved so wholly around marriage. Despite being, as Austen herself puts it, 'light, and bright, and sparkling', Pride and Prejudice has a key message to convey which is not lost out even in all the humour. The plot seems to suggest that at the time, marriage was viewed as an end objective, and the ultimate accomplishment- unlike modern society, where marriage is thought of as more of a journey. Everyone has the final motive of matrimony; this is the purpose for which Mr. Collins goes to Longbourn, for example. The fact that books at the time usually ended with the marriage of the main characters emphasized this point further. Contrary to this, today we might find books that begin with a marriage, and the rest of the book might explore the success of the marriage itself rather than the success of the events that lead up to engagement. The book gives us a snapshot of life for the middle and the upper classes in Georgian times. Perhaps Austen wrote about these classes because she was more familiar with them, but also because these classes had some social mobility. It may have been irregular, but it wasn't scandalous for someone to marry slightly above his or her rank. ...read more.


To be 'violently in love' is depicted as a 'hackneyed, doubtful and indefinite' emotion by Mrs. Gardiner (whose opinion we are encouraged to trust). Austen works on persuading us to believe that rationality is as strong a basis for love as is pure emotion, which could be just a superficial illusion and may well run out. A key example of this sort of feeling is the 'love' that Mr. Collins so fervently professes, first for Elizabeth and then for Charlotte Lucas. He insists that Elizabeth would make him 'the happiest man alive', yet he feels no qualms in declaring the same to Charlotte three days later. Lydia and Wickham also base their relationship around what is likely to be a 'fling', based solely on passionate physical attraction. Whereas in Darcy's (second) proposal to Elizabeth, we notice that she doesn't even look at him while accepting, let alone any physical contact. This proves that their love is based around far more than just physical attraction and childish infatuation. True love brings about a deeper understanding for each other along with a respect and influence that can cause people to change. Elizabeth maintains that it is 'love, ardent love' that lowers Darcy's disagreeable pride. The fact that the couple had to overcome their own difficulties and obstacles makes their marriage not only more appealing since we, as readers, can relate and sympathise with the both of them; but highlights yet again Austen's views on marriage. The long time that Elizabeth and Darcy take to really appreciate each other gives us the impression that the two of them have understood each other on a deeper level. When Austen wrote the novel, she was probably aware of the fact that the marriage she was writing about was not at all conventional at the time. In the 1800s, the typical suitor generally looked for a modest woman who never ventured to offer her own opinion about anything. ...read more.


Wickham needs to be bribed heftily to marry Lydia, while she remains unfeelingly oblivious towards Wickham's deceit and shameless behaviour and does not seem to notice how much trouble she has caused her family. Neither is it a match based around love or understanding, nor a marriage based around practicality (like Charlotte and Mr. Collins'). Neither Wickham nor Lydia has any money; they depend on Darcy for their income. The marriage of Charlotte and Mr. Collins is symbolic of a different type of marriage altogether. The story of this couple is one of the funniest in the book, but the humour does not hide the underlying theme- the idea of a practical rather than a sentimental marriage. Charlotte quite obviously is far more intelligent than her husband, but it is she herself who encourages him to propose to her. Why? Because Charlotte Lucas is already cynical about the subject of love, and feels that one might as well marry for money, because anyway 'happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance'. Despite being the best of friends, Charlotte and Elizabeth are complete opposites. Charlotte is a realist. By her own admission, she is as practical as Elizabeth is romantic. In creating Darcy's first impressions, Charlotte had been the only one who had forgiven his pride since she thought that his rank had justified it. This trivial comment tells us what kind of person she is and prepares us for her decision to marry Mr. Collins. All she wants from her husband is a comfortable home, and Mr. Collins, despite all his vices, is definitely able to give her this. Mr. Collins is an exceedingly irritating and pretentious man. This is illustrated not only in his flowery descriptions of his 'humble abode', but also in his long-winded and garrulously phrased letters. He indulges in empty flattery to everyone, and defers to Lady De Bourgh as if she is a god. This is something that irritates Elizabeth, since she does not like the idea that money alone can make someone superior to others. Mr. Collins is 'a conceited, pompous, narrow minded and silly man'. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Jane Austen section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Jane Austen essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Pride And Prejudice:Why is the news of the elopement of Lydia and Wickham in ...

    5 star(s)

    family.? As a solution, he writes in a very unforgiving and non-Christian manner to banish Lydia: ?throw off your unworthy child from your affection for ever, and leave her to reap the fruits of her own heinous offence.? He doesn?t change his views even after Lydia and Wickham?s marriage: ?You

  2. In Pride and prejudice by Jane Austen, the attributes of pride and prejudice cause ...

    It would appear that Elizabeth's dislike of Mr Darcy causes her favourable opinion of Mr Wickham to spite him.

  1. Pride and Prejudice is a novel about women who feel they have to marry ...

    However, she covertly criticises it. Both Mr Collins and Charlotte Lucas are seen as happy before they marry and then unhappily married later in the book. Austen purposely does this as a social criticism on the nineteenth century view of marriage.

  2. Charlotte Lucas says: "Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance". Examine ...

    Jane Bennet and Mr Bingley are extremely alike; neither of them is proud or prejudiced, and neither of them holds a grudge against other people. When Jane is in London and Miss Bingley doesn't visit when she says she will, Jane makes excuses for her to Elizabeth: 'She must feel

  1. Discuss the Significance of Letters in 'Pride and Prejudice'.

    Jane asks Elizabeth and the Gardeners' to return home as soon as possible and requests that Mr Gardiner helps her father search for Lydia and Wickham in London. In the early nineteenth century, a young lady's elopement was cause for great scandal to the entire family.

  2. Analyse Jane Austen's presentation of love and marriage in her novel Pride and Prejudice. ...

    Bennet was stirring the fire." After Elizabeth rejects his proposal he does not set out to marry any other of the Bennet sisters. Charlotte recognises his desperation to get married and when they are at a lunch together so she: "...set out to meet him accidentally in the lane."

  1. Pride and Prejudice essay - a comparison of Elizabeth and Lydia

    The acceptance of this proposal would have offered Elizabeth a sound life as Mr Collins had 'a good house and very sufficient income'. But having no physical or mental attraction to the man, Elizabeth tells how, in regard to his proposals 'it is impossible for me to do otherwise than decline them.'

  2. Pride and Prejudice Coursework

    that Elizabeth Bennet is 'tolerable; but not handsome enough to tempt me' due to her social inferiority. Austen cleverly merges the above themes with that of love and marriage. This can be seen with the theme of reputation when Lydia elopes with Wickham without the consent of her father of the bond of marriage.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work