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The Theme of Marriage in 'Pride And Prejudice'

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Introduction

The Theme of Marriage in 'Pride And Prejudice' One of the main themes in Pride And Prejudice is marriage. Throughout the novel, the author describes the various types of marriages and reasons behind them. "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife. The novel demonstrates how many women need to marry men they are not in love with simply in order to gain financial security. The first instance of marriage seen in the novel is that between Mr and Mrs Bennet. However it is far from perfect, with the couple barely speaking to each other. Mr Bennet's extreme sarcasm that is seen throughout the book makes Mrs Bennet seem incompetent to hold a conversation and indeed at times a relationship. "They are silly and ignorant, like other girls". Austen uses the Bennet's relationship to illustrate at the beginning of the book that clearly many did not marry because of love or connection but merely for social and financial acceptance. ...read more.

Middle

For the most part, women could not acquire money on their own without inheriting or marrying into good fortune. Austen promotes gender equality throughout the novel, and considers women's inferior status to be socially unjust. Ironically, Mrs Bennet's single-minded pursuit to get her daughters married tends to backfire, as her lack of social graces alienates the very people whom she tries desperately to attract. Austen uses her continually to highlight the necessity of marriage for young women. Mrs. Bennet also serves as a middle-class counterpoint to such upper-class snobs as Lady Catherine. In the 19th century it was common for women to marry purely for money and for social status, this can be seen in Charlotte's marriage to Collins. Charlotte's marriage to Collins injects a grim note into the comedic presence of Collins' character so far. Whereas Elizabeth is an idealist who will not marry solely for money, Charlotte, lacking a fortune, finds this opportunity too good to miss. ...read more.

Conclusion

"Lizzy is not a bit better than the others; and I am sure she is not half so handsome as Jane, nor half so good humoured as Lydia". Austen creates a character that is not special in any particular way but is yet so perfect to fulfil the role of a wife. We see that she is well dressed, educated, and creative. It is these qualities that attract Darcy as well as Elizabeth's apparent unwillingness to actually marry. Ultimately Elizabeth wants to marry for love. She turns down Mr Collins, even though he could have offered her a comfortable position in life and Mr Darcy, even with his fortune of �10 000 a year. Austen uses different characters and their relationships to represent to the reader different aspects of marriage. Austen wants to create the perfect marriage but in doing this shows the reader that no marriage is perfect. She highlights how money and social status was far more desirable in the 19th century then true love and appreciation. Jimbo Rowe Ms Chandler ...read more.

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