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How is marriage presented in the novel "Pride And Prejudice"?

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Introduction

English Prose Coursework: Pride And Prejudice. How is marriage presented in the novel "Pride And Prejudice"? "It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of good fortune is in want of a wife." This is the immortal opening line of the novel, 'Pride And Prejudice' by Jane Austen. The statement is true for societies views on marriage in the Eighteenth century, which was when the book was written. There was a tendency to marry for money in 18th century England. A person sought a partner based on the dowry receivable and their allowance. This process went both ways: a beautiful woman might be able to attract a rich husband, or a handsome man could attract a rich young girl. In these marriages, money was the only consideration. In Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen comments that marriage in her time is a financial contract, where love is strictly a matter of chance. This is evident from the opening line. The first marriage we encounter is that of Mr. and Mrs. Bennet. Their marriage is an unsuccessful one. ...read more.

Middle

The contract of their marriage was based on no physical attraction or true love. Their marriage could be classified as a typical marriage of the time. Their marriage was convenient. Charlotte is happy because she receives a home and secure social standing. Charlotte's view on marriage was typical of many women in this period. "I ask only for a comfortable home; and considering Mr. Collins's character, connections and situation in life, I am convinced that my chance of happiness with him is as fair as most people can boast on entering the marriage state." However, Charlotte's views and Lizzie's views are very different. Whilst Charlotte follows societies views and marries practically, Lizzie feels that marriage should be based on love, friendship and mutual respect; views very much like Austen's own opinions on marriage. Similar to the previous marriages mentioned, is the marriage of Lydia Bennet and Mr. Wickham. Lydia's behavior is more that of a flighty Romantic. She is ever-changing in her moods and behavior and wants no responsibility. These three marriages are based on little respect and are therefore unsuccessful. ...read more.

Conclusion

Considering this, the marriage between Darcy and Lizzie shows the most promise. Darcy is a man of reason, stability, and intellect. Lizzie still has her intellect, but now she has more reason. Both of them are more socially stable now that they are married. The marriage would be successful as again, it contains what Austen believed to be the main true factors to marriage. Lizzie now fully respects Darcy after finding out the truth about him from his letter. She admires him for being who he is, a man of manners, decorum, and integrity. Lastly, she expresses extreme gratitude for all that he has done for both of her other sisters, especially Lydia. Darcy did not have to overcome so many barriers. The only barrier that exists for him is the vast difference in class stratification between the two. However, this seems to bother others much more than it bothers him. Austen clearly conveys her judgment of the characters and their actions through their marriages. She often voices her opinion through the character of Lizzie. Through Darcy and Elizabeth's marriage, however, Austen shows that you do not need to be a Romantic to fall deeply in love. Austen obviously supports those who demonstrate what she felt were the true characteristics of marriage, which were love, trust, respect and friendship. ...read more.

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Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

3 star(s)

The essay writer shows useful insight into the diverse attitudes to marriage presented in the novel. Quotations are effectively used to support points being made, though some points require further support.

Paragraph control is mostly good but there are examples of poor sentence construction and coherence. Lexis is mostly up to the task, though there are some slips.

3 stars

Marked by teacher Jeff Taylor 13/08/2013

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