• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The Marriage Theme of Pride and Prejudice.

Extracts from this document...


Michael Finney Professor Spiller English 1302 23 April 2003 The Marriage Theme of Pride and Prejudice "It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife." (Austen 3) This opening line of Pride and Prejudice sets the stage for the theme of marriage found in the book and the author's opinion that marriage in her time was for financial reasons, and love was often a matter of chance. Through the marriages portrayed in her novel, Jane Austen connects lives of her characters and illustrates her ideas for a happy marriage. Ahearn states that Austen's work is viewed by some critics as "the very evidence of social history." (399) As Stone notes in his historical research about 19th century England, happiness was not the main reason for many people to marry. (667) Most women married for wealth and stability while most men viewed marriage as a way to provide themselves with companionship and comfort. ...read more.


(299) Marrying for financial reasons did not ensure happiness, but neither did marrying for physical attraction and the excitement of a new relationship. Lydia and Wickham's marriage had this type of beginning. Lydia is totally swept away by Wickham's good looks and charming behavior. According to Van Ghent, she is more impressed by the uniform than with the man wearing it. (302) However, with the small allowance that Lydia was to receive, it was doubtful that Wickham would have actually married Lydia without Darcy stepping in and contributing to their finances. When asked by Darcy why he had not married Lydia immediately, Wickham replied that he "still cherished the hope of more effectually making his fortune by marriage, in some other country". (Austen 210) Once the excitement and newness wore off, the relationship between Lydia and Wickham changed. "His affection soon sunk into indifference; hers lasted a little longer." (253) Although Austen does not describe how Mr. and Mrs. Bennet began their marriage, there are clues that their relationship was similar to Lydia and Wickham. (Chan) ...read more.


They developed a deep love for one another as well as financial security, equal intellects and physical attraction. Their relationship was not one that happened quickly. They spent time getting to know one another which helped both of them overcome the prejudices that they had when they first met each other. The events they experienced gave them an opportunity to learn more about one another and establish a firm base for their relationship to last. Elizabeth even explained this to her father in "relating her absolute certainty that his affection was not the work of a day." (246) Even though the marriages of Jane to Bingley and of Elizabeth to Darcy contain the "social formula of marriage-to-property" (Van Ghent 303), these couples are able to build their relationships on more than superficial qualities. (Chan) In Pride and Prejudice, Austen showed contrasts in the marriages of her characters not only to connect their lives but to also express her ideas for the basis of a happy and lasting marriage. Those ideas are relevant for today's relationships just as they were in Jane Austen's time. Finney 1 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Jane Austen section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Jane Austen essays

  1. Analyse Jane Austen's presentation of love and marriage in her novel Pride and Prejudice. ...

    Darcy's own thoughts about Elizabeth prevent them from being together. Her family and their lack of breeding plays a big part in this. He makes it clear that: "..her manners were not those of the fashionable world..." He does not like the fact Elizabeth cannot keep her opinions to herself,

  2. Portrayal of Marriage in Pride and Prejudice.

    'She had high animal spirits', 'which the attentions of the officers', 'had increased into assurance'. She is described as being 'a stout, well grown girl of fifteen, with a fine complexion and good humoured countenance'. Wickham is an ambitious man.

  1. The Theme of Marriage in Pride and Prejudice

    The next marriage in the book is Mr. Bingley and Jane. Mr. Bingley "was good looking and gentlemanlike; he had a pleasant countenance, and easy, unaffected manners", and Elizabeth considers that "To Jane herself,'' she exclaimed, ``there could be no possibility of objection. All loveliness and goodness as she is!

  2. Discuss Jane Austen's treatment of the theme of marriage in Pride and Prejudice.

    might see through his fa´┐Żade, so she might be more likely to marry him if he provides a valid reason. Charlotte says on pages 100-101, "I am not a romantic, you know, I never was. I ask only a comfortable home; and considering Mr Collins's character, connections, and situation in

  1. Discuss Jane Austen's presentation of the theme of love and marriage in "Pride and ...

    Social class and wealth were given great importance in the novel, as these two things dictated the ways people behaved and their likelihood of marrying, as the wealthier a person was, the more popular they were as a marriage partner.

  2. Consider the variety of attitudes to marriage as expressed by the different characters in ...

    "If your daughter should have a fit of illness, if she should die, it would be a comfort to know that it was all in pursuit of Mr. Bingley, and under your orders." This highlights Mrs. Bennet's urgent and extreme need to get her daughter married; she would go to

  1. Pride and prejudice- theme of marriage

    Both Elizabeth and Jane have happy endings to their romances but some marriages presented in the novel have various problems. For example in her description of the Bennets' marriage Austen offers a clear criticism of a typical 19th century relationship.

  2. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

    is much engaged with Mr Darcy and his sister' The novel also contains many other themes relating to and influencing the subject of marriage such as: the role of women, society, love and of course pride and prejudice. Austen writes towards the beginning of the nineteenth century when the role

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work