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How does Jane Austen present love and marriage in

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Introduction

How does Jane Austen present love and marriage in 'Pride and Prejudice'? 'Pride and Prejudice' is a romantic comedy in which Jane Austen implicitly criticises the views on love and marriage conveyed by most people in Regency society. Austen particularly criticises the way in which both men and women in Regency society could very rarely marry purely for love; as they both needed to marry for status and financial stability. Austen contrasts a variety of different marriages to show the effects of having to marry for reasons other than love. The most successful marriage, between Elizabeth and Darcy, is shown to be based on true love and understanding; characteristics that Austen values highly and thinks absolutely necessary for a happy successful marriage. Love created by mutual attraction is shown to be the basis of Mr Bingley and Jane's marriage, which, due to both of their simple, caring natures is also a good match. Other couples however are shown to be highly unsuited for each other. Mr Collins and Charlotte Lucas's marriage is shown to be the epitome of a bad, unsuccessful marriage as it is based mostly on Charlotte's need for a respectable, social status and financial stability, which she cannot achieve through any other means but marriage. Another example of an unsuccessful marriage is that between Mr and Mrs Bennet. Mr Bennet married Mrs Bennet for her youthful good looks and Austen shows how he soon realised that that was a very bad decision as their personalities are very unsuited. The infamous opening line of 'Pride and Prejudice' informs the reader that love and marriage are very important, key themes of the novel. ...read more.

Middle

The alliteration used shows the reader how negligible the pleasurable aspects of Charlotte's marriage really are. Mr Collins and Charlottes marriage relates well to the Bennet's marriage as it seems likely that in time the Collins' marriage will end up like the Bennet's. Austen uses the Bennet's marriage to portray how a relationship based mainly on youthful good looks without any real understanding of the others personality is doomed to failure. The reader is immediately introduced to the Bennet's relationship in the very first chapter. Austen presents both Mr and Mrs Bennet critically. Mrs Bennet is show to be very foolish and mercenary, with her sole aim in life being to marry off her daughters well, with no concern as to how these marriages come about. Mr Bennet constantly mocks Mrs Bennet, who is too self absorbed to realise: "'Mr Bingley might like you the best of the party.' 'My dear you flatter me.'" Austen shows how Mrs Bennet does not at all comprehend that Mr Bennet is making a fool of her; she mistakes his blatant mocking as flattery, showing the true extent of her imprudence. Mrs Bennet is also shown to be easily perturbed: "But, my dear, you must indeed go and see Mr Bingley ... Mr Bennet ... you take delight in vexing me." Mrs Bennet is highly disconcerted that Mr Bennet will not go visit Mr Bingley as she sees this as a perfect opportunity to get one of her daughters happily married off, to a "man of large fortune", which Austen shows to be very important element of marriage in Mrs Bennet's opinion. ...read more.

Conclusion

When Mrs Gardiner tell her what Darcy has done Elizabeth is amazed and when Lady Catherine visits her and asks if she is engaged to Darcy Elizabeth realises that he still loves her. Lady Catherine has come to try and prevent the marriage between Elizabeth and Darcy she says Elizabeth would: "Pollute the shades of Pemberly" Showing her class prejudice towards Elizabeth who is below Darcy's Status in society and therefore Lady Catherine considers her unacceptable as a match for Darcy. However this does not deter Elizabeth from accepting Darcy's proposal. Austen shows through the way in which she writes about Elizabeth and Darcy's relationship what her own values and beliefs about love and marriage are. Class and social status should not affect who a person marries and the basis of a good, proper relationship should be based on love. Darcy and Elizabeth's marriage is clearly shown to be the most successful in the novel as they have both had to come to a real understanding of the other person. The reader feels sorry for Charlotte as they realise that her marriage is not a good marriage but has been her only option. Austen clearly shows how mercenary needs dictated whom someone could marry in Regency times. Austen's message can still be considered true today as, though class and status are not as important as they were in Regency times, mercenary needs still can and do affect many peoples choice in marriage. However there are many more options available to women today, and they are not completely dependent on men for the social status. Austen shows that for a marriage to be successful it should be based on love, understanding and respect for each other. Zach Smith 11-2 English Page - 1 - 10/05/2007 ...read more.

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