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'Reputation and social class are all that matters to Jane Austen's characters' Discuss how this is reflected in the relationships and marriage in Jane Austen's 'Pride and Prejudice'.

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'Reputation and social class are all that matters to Jane Austen's characters' Discuss how this is reflected in the relationships and marriage in Jane Austen's 'Pride and Prejudice'. Marriage in the time of Jane Austen was hardly ever for love; marriage was commonly restricted to social class, people married for money and reputation not for love. Couples rarely ended in divorce, marriage was for life. Marriage was incredibly important, mothers often devoted their whole life's to finding their daughters husbands. Women knew if they did not marry they would grow up to live with their parents and look after them in old age. No women wanted this as their life. Marriage was the only other option; young women would want to marry the richest men with the highest reputation and position in society as possible in to provide themselves with a better future, while men would desire to marry the most accomplished and attractive women. Marriage was nearly always the most important objective in a young girls life. The Bennet family is an average upper middle classed family, Mrs. Bennet fits perfectly into the image a typical mother in Jane Austen's time. ...read more.


Yet because of her class and reputation, her wishes are extremely important to Mr Collins and many others around her who's class is not as high as hers. It also shows that there is a certain expected level of standard a good wife has a to be, again representing that marriage is not for love, more for increasing one's own class and reputation, and that a women has to be of very upper class to be considered worthy of respect. Elizabeth however, when proposed to by Mr Collins refuses his offer of marriage, Mr Collins is shocked by her answer and believes she actually wants to accept his offer, he does not take no for an answer. When Elizabeth rejects his offer Mr Collins replies with 'It is usual with young ladies to reject the address of man they secretly mean to accept.' Mr Collins is extremely confident that she would and still will accept his proposal of marriage; young women would rarely refuse any proposal from a man. As women were not allowed to propose to men, many just agreed with whatever marriage they were offered if it increases their chance with a future with a better class. ...read more.


Mr Collins could not possibly be in love with Charlotte, for only a week before he had loved Elizabeth. Jane 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 the outcomes of placing practicality before romance and although Charlotte appears to be able to endure Mr Collins even though it is obvious she is not happy. Charlotte Lucas and Elisabeth Bennet are very close, when Elizabeth Bennet is visiting charlotte Lucas tells Elizabeth; 'It often happens that a whole day passes in which we have not spent more than a few minutes in each other's company. I find that I can bear the solitude very cheerfully. I find myself... quite content with my situation Lizzy' Charlotte Lucas would rather spend time by her self than with her husband Mr Collins, to charlotte social class and reputation is so important she eagerly marries Mr Collins although she does not enjoy his company even at beginning of their marriage. Lydia and Wickham also do not marry for love. ...read more.

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