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Portrayal of Marriage in Pride and Prejudice.

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Introduction

Portrayal of Marriage in Pride and Prejudice Five Sources Jane Austen's novel Pride and Prejudice portrays varying attitudes to marriage. "The intricate social network that pervades the novel is one that revolves around the business of marriage". Through her female characters the reader sees the different attitudes to marriage and the reasons that these women have for marrying. These depend on their social status and their personal values. The reader is shown the most prevalent and common view of marriage held by society in Austen's time, and through the heroine, a differing opinion of marriage is explored. We are shown how marriage is viewed by the very wealthy and the values they emphasise in marriage. Through the characterisation of these women and use of irony, Austen has influenced the reader's opinions on the characters attitude about marriage and that of their contemporaries. Charlotte Lucas's views on marriage conform to those of contemporary society. For Charlotte, ' situation' is all. She requires no emotional motivat... Love and Marriage in Pride and Prejudice Four Works Cited There was a tendency to marry for money in 19th 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 snag a rich husband, or a charring and handsome man could woo a rich young girl. In these marriages, money was the only consideration. Love was left out, with the thought that it would develop as the years went by. 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 clearly evident from the very first line of the novel: "It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife" (Austen, 1). Lady Catherine states the fact that happiness in marriage is strictly a matter of chance. ...read more.

Middle

This obscene assumption on Lady Catherine's behalf is as a result of her prejudice towards the Bennets because of their lower income, and social status. The prejudice against them for such a reason is rooted in her own arrogant pride. In the case of the characteristics pride and prejudice (two key themes of the novel) I think that pride comes in for the sharper criticism by Jane Austen. I think this because of her personification of pride (in characters like Lady Catherine) and the fact that the prejudice which does occur in the novel is accompanied by, if not rooted in pride. Through the incidents spoken on above, prejudice has been shown to be a result of arrogant pride and because it is an underlying emotive in the prejudiced actions of the characters I feel it is more sharply criticised. Most people of the day thought that marriage "was the only honorable provision for well-educated young women of small fortune." It became a source of financial security that in many cases went no further. Elizabeth is the first woman in the story to be proposed to, and she did a very peculiar thing. She is proposed to by Mr. Collins, the very man who is going to inherit her father's estate. She refuses his offer even though his "situation in life...[his] connections....and [his] relationship to [Elizabeth], are circumstances highly in [his] favor." Elizabeth simply says that "[he] could never make [her]happy...and [she] is the last woman in the world that could make [him] so." What makes her decision so peculiar is that in marrying this man she could keep her father's estate in the family and become financially sound for the rest of her life. Being a woman in this time and being in a situation where she looks as to inherit almost nothing a marriage such as this does not seem unreasonable but she thinks differently. ...read more.

Conclusion

Darcy is less sure of himself, humble whereas before he was proud. He is considerate towards Elizabeth, anxious not to hurt her feelings. The proposal shows how Darcy has changed, improved, and shed his 'improper' pride. Elizabeth accepts. Both of them are ashamed of their behaviour in Kent when Darcy first proposed. Lady Catherine's interference had the reverse effect of what she had intended. They talk about why Darcy wrote the letter and how it affected Elizabeth. Darcy says that Elizabeth has completed his education. 'You taught me a lesson, hard indeed at first, but most advantageous. By you I was properly humbled.' After the news of their engagement is broken to their families, Elizabeth and Darcy discuss their relationship. He admits 'I was in the middle before I knew that I had began'. When they marry, they go to live in Pemberley. We are told that it is also a happy marriage. Darcy's sister, Georgiana, learns form the example of Elizabeth and Darcy what a happy marriage is and how a wife can speak to her husband, as an equal. Lady Catherine at first sort of freezes her relationship with the Darcys but then is eventually reconciled and visits Pemberly. Mr Bennet misses her favourite daughter so much, he often visits her unexpectedly. On the contrary to Jane and Bingley's relationship, Elizabeth and Darcy's relationship is complicated by themselves. They have a complex relationship, they complement each other. They both have enough independence of mind not to follow all social conventions but do have high moral values. They both are intelligent, honest and value the proper behaviour. Jane Austen says the ideal relationship is Elizabeth and Darcy's relationship. They have similarities but also differences. They love but mostly respect each other. 'Pride and Prejudice' is a love story but does not only reflect the romantic side. It gives you all kinds of relationships; none of them are the same. It shows that the ideal couple was not easy to get. They learned from each other. It makes you question if there will be many couples like that. ...read more.

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