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How does Jane Austen show her attitude to marriage in her novel Pride and Prejudice?

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Introduction

Caspar Aron Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen Coursework How does Jane Austen show her attitude to marriage in her novel Pride and Prejudice? From the opening statement of the novel Pride and Prejudice we can see that the book is going to be based around the subject of marriage: "It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife". This statement sets the scene for most peoples' feelings towards marriage around the time the book was written, the view that no one really wants to be single so, when there is a chance of marriage, it should be taken. Often this meant that the people did not have true feelings for each other and might have married because they were forced into it by their parents or to secure their future. Although this was the view on marriage of most people at the time, I do not believe that it was the view of Jane Austen. ...read more.

Middle

How can it affect them?" I think that Mr Bennet's character is one which shows another example of Austen's view towards marriage. He probably married hoping to have a son to carry on the family name and take over his estate but ended up with no son, and instead has to put up with a very lively, demanding household of females. Due to this, whenever any sort of fuss blows up he goes to his study. I think that the book is written in a humorous way towards the subject of marriage. The fact that the Bennets cannot be happy until all of the daughters are married off I think shows again the attitude towards marriage at the time. If a woman was not married she would never get very far in life on her own so therefore this was frowned upon. Another thing which it was thought vital to do, was for a woman to marry a man with a large fortune if possible. This was shown in the novel when Mr Darcy arrives at the first dance at Netherfield. ...read more.

Conclusion

Darcy, who believed himself superior to most and was of a higher class than the Bennets, fell for Elizabeth not because she was from a respected family or because he could add to his wealth, but because he had true feelings for her. Throughout the book Elizabeth and Jane Bennet declare their wish to marry "for love" rather than wealth or a secured future. Their sister Charlotte however does not have this wish. She chose to marry Mr Collins; a distant relative of the Bennets who was set to inherit Mr Bennet's estate when he passed away. She merely felt the need (as many women of the time did) to marry so that she would not be on her own with very little money after her father died. Overall I would say that Jane Austen's attitude to marriage is shown quite subtly in a humorous manner throughout the book. She uses examples of marriage for love and marriage for wealth through the characters and puts across her view that the ones married for love were actually better off. It follows that Austen did not share the views on marriage of many at the time. ...read more.

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