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"'Marriage is quite clearly a central theme in 'Pride and Prejudice.' Choose three marriages and say how we know whether Jane Austen thinks they are good or bad marriages.'"

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Introduction

"'Marriage is quite clearly a central theme in 'Pride and Prejudice.' Choose three marriages and say how we know whether Jane Austen thinks they are good or bad marriages.'" Upper/middle classes at the time that Jane Austen wrote 'Pride and Prejudice' were very secluded in their social groups. People tended to socialise in the same circles all the time, mainly with people who lived close to them. Everyone seemed to know each other and each others affairs. If a woman was seen to be unmarried by a certain age, she was seen as 'not marriage material.' The less fortune the girl was set to inherit, or the less well off her family was, the lower in the social hierarchy she would marry. If the man was rich or he held a respectable family name, he would want a suitable wife. The women had to be 'an accomplished woman' to be seen as suitable, 'a woman must have a thorough knowledge of music, singing, drawing, dancing and the modern languages, to deserve the world.' The relationships between men and women were very restrictive up until marriage. It was frowned upon if a single man and woman were alone together. They could very rarely find partners outside their own social circles, because they didn't mingle with different people. ...read more.

Middle

They are both such strong and influential characters that Jane Austen makes it obvious that their love is true, as before, even when Darcy proclaimed his love for Elizabeth, she shunned him. She then had a complete change of heart, saying to her father, 'I love him,' showing that Darcy loved her so much, that he could change. He went from an arrogant proud man to 'perfectly amiable.' He helped Elizabeth through troubles and helped her when she needed someone, even without her needing to ask. I think this is what Austen is trying to get across in Pride and Prejudice, that love can change people for the better. We know this, as she is forever making references through Elizabeth to how Darcy has 'changed' after Elizabeth flatly turned down his rude proposal because of his involvement in Bingley and Jane's relationship. We also can tell that Austen thinks that Elizabeth and Darcy have a good marriage because even through the social differences, their love manages to thrive and grow, despite Lady Catherine de Burgh and Caroline Bingley's numerous efforts to deter Darcy's passion, 'I am afraid, Mr Darcy, that this adventure has rather affected your admiration of her fine eyes.' These attempts are unsuccessful, showing that true love cannot be quelled by people outside the relationship. ...read more.

Conclusion

Charlotte was getting older than average for marriage, and Mr Collins was the best option she would probably get due to her advancing age. It can't have been a very attractive proposal from Mr Collins, because he had earlier been described as a 'conceited, pompous, narrow-minded silly man' which shows that Charlotte was marrying more for expediency than lust or love of any kind. It is not a bad marriage because there is no extortion of feelings, such as with Lydia and Wickham, but it cannot be described as a good marriage because to have a good marriage, there has to be certain components (love and connecting personalities) which are missing from Charlotte and Mr Wickham. Charlotte is satisfied nonetheless; she has a comfortable house and will always be taken care of. Unlike Wickham, Collins isn't the type of husband to treat Charlotte disrespectfully. Their marriage is very different to a stereotypically good marriage such as Mr Darcy and Elizabeth, but this doesn't necessarily mean it's a bad one. It's more of a comforting arrangement rather than a typical marriage for love, but it seems to suit both Charlotte and reverend Collins, 'when Mr Collins would be forgotten, there was really a great air of comfort throughout, and by Charlotte's evident enjoyment of it, Elizabeth supposed he must be forgotten often.' ...read more.

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