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In Pride and Prejudice, what views does Jane Austen convey to us regarding Pride, Prejudice and Marriage.

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Introduction

In Pride and Prejudice, what views does Jane Austen convey to us regarding Pride, Prejudice and Marriage. Pride pride n., v., 1. high (or too high) opinion of one's own dignity, importance, worth, etc. 2. the condition or feeling of being proud. 3. a noble sense of what is due to oneself or one's position or character; self respect; self esteem. prejudice n., v., 1. an opinion In the novel by Jane Austen, displays a severe contrast between Elizabeth and Darcy in the story. Jane Austen does this by discussing the theme of pride throughout the novel. The concept of pride in this book is defined as an excessively high opinion of one's own dignity, importance and worth. Throughout the novel, Jane Austen satirizes the manners of all classes, exposing people who have excessive pride as rude and often foolish, regardless of wealth or station. While the term of pride pertains particularly to Mr. Darcy there are other characters that portray this trait as well. Jane Austen has depicted pride in her minor characters as a means of demonstrating its importance as a theme of this novel. Among the minor characters that Jane Austen uses to portray unattractive pride is Mr Collins. Jane Austen used Mr. Collins as an extreme example of how excessive pride can affect one's manner and be a very unattractive quality. In Mr. Collin's case, he prides himself on his sense of respectability, his profession, and his association with Lady Catherine. Jane Austen shows through the voice of the narrator that she disapproves of Mr. Collins, which is why she satirises him. ' MR. Collins was not a sensible man.... A fortunate chance had recommended him to lady Catherine de Bourgh... The respect for which he felt for her high rank, and his veneration for her as his patroness, mingling with a very good opinion of himself, of his authority as a clergy man, and his rights as a rector, made him altogether a mixture of pride and obsequiousness, self-importance and humility.'(Chapter 15 page 61) ...read more.

Middle

Jane Austen next shows the whole town is prejudice by having the town gossip about the rumours of Mr Darcy's pride. This was typical for a town in Jane Austen's time, where rumours spread via word of mouth fast. Although Jane Austen probably didn't write this to teach the modern day reader a question, (no one knows what the future will be like) it proves how even in modern day, rumours can be spread and prejudice opinions formed. At this point Jane Austen cleverly proves to the reader that they are prejudice as well, as the reader by this point has probably formed a strong opinion towards Mr Darcy, after only just having met him. Elizabeths prejudice towards Darcy is also cultivated by her mother who states, "... he is the most disagreeable, horrid man, not at all with pleasing. So high and conceited that there is no enduring him," (Chapter 3). At the next assembly Mr Darcy was again introduced to Elizabeth, this time Elizabeth was asked to dance, ' Indeed, Sir I have no intention of dancing' Elizabeth has obviously formed a very strong prejudice opinion towards Mr Darcy and refuses the offer to dance. Mrs Bennet is shown to convey prejudice again when she learns that Mr Collins, her husbands cousin is coming to stay, 'I cannot not bear to hear that mentioned. Pray do not talk of that odious man.' Mrs Bennet manages to form a very strong prejudice opinion of Mr Collins before even meeting him. How can you blame Elizabeth for forming an opinion of Mr Darcy, if she has grown up with a mother that forms prejudice opinions as easy as this? Elizabeth's prejudice is later fuelled by the defamatory remarks Wickham makes towards Darcy, when they meet in Meryton in chapter 15. Elizabeth meets Mr Wickham and forms the opinion that he is a charming young man. ...read more.

Conclusion

Yet Austen demonstrates marriage for purposes other than love. Charlotte marries Collins in order to gain financial and social security. She feels pressurized to marry fast and feels as though Mr Collins is her only option. Mr Collins is an intolerable man and Charlotte often finds herself rather embarrassed to be married to such a person. The relationship between these two characters proves to the readers the outcomes of placing practicality before romance and although Charlotte appears to be able to endure Mr Collins, the readers realize that she will never have a life of complete happiness. The marriage between the Mr and Mrs Bennet represents, very early on in the novel, Austen�s opinion on the outcomes of marrying for incorrect reasons. These characters are literary devices who�s purposes are to show the audience the fermenting anger, the loneliness and the insanity which can erupt between two people that are wed without love. Mr Bennet has a very witty sense of humor and often takes the mickey out of his wife. This is the only enjoyment he gains from Mrs Bennet. Mr Bennet marries Mrs Bennet on, what Austen beliefs to be, false grounds. Deficiencies which may have initially been attraction have now become flaws in the marriage. Mr Bennet was seduced by good looks and youth and the effect of this is that Mr Bennet isolates himself from his family, finding refuge in his library or through mocking his oblivious wife. This becomes his only happiness. Jane Austen has positioned her audience so that we are influenced to agree with her attitudes on the importance of marrying for love. Austen has used her characters to express the issue of love. Such characters as Mr Collins and Charlotte Lucas and Wickham and Lydia represent marriage for superficial purposes, which can never result in happiness. The juxtapositioned relationship between the characters of Darcy and Elizabeth show the audience that happiness in marriage can only be achieved if the couple both throw away immediate physical attractions and financial desires and marry for nothing else but true love. ...read more.

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