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

Themes of Pride and Prejudice.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Themes Love and Marriage Marriage is an important theme of Pride and Prejudice. Its influence over the characters and events of the novel is hinted at in the ironic opening sentence: 'It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife' (Chapter 1). Regardless of what any young man might desire or need, finding suitable marriage partners for her daughters becomes an all consuming passion for Mrs Bennet. In her opinion, the wealthier a young man, the more attractive a proposition he becomes. Jane Austen is keen, however, to point out the dangers of a marriage that is not based on mutual love and respect. The first marriage we witness is the unsatisfactory relationship between Mr and Mrs Bennet. The main pleasure Mr Bennet receives from married life results from teasing his neurotic and foolish wife, and finding amusement at her expense. They are clearly incompatible. Mrs Bennet is obsessed with marrying off her daughters and the local gossip, while Mr Bennet concerns himself with reading and countryside pursuits. Jane Austen leaves the reader in no doubt that the Bennets' marriage does not form 'a very pleasing picture of conjugal felicity or domestic comfort'(Chapter 42). Mr Bennet had been initially 'captivated by youth and beauty' but once these initial attractions had faded, Mrs Bennet's 'weak understanding and illiberal mind had very early in their marriage put an end to all real affection for her'(Chapter 42). ...read more.

Middle

This is a marriage based on real affection and romantic love, where feelings are mutual and genuine. Elizabeth who has a warm regard and genuine admiration for her sister, has no doubts that true happiness is the guaranteed reward for this uncomplicated and generous couple: 'they had for basis the excellent understanding, and super-excellent disposition of Jane, and a general similarity of feeling and taste between her and himself'(Chapter 55). There can be no question of Elizabeth's and Darcy's future happiness. Jane Austen ends the novel with a portrait of a successful relationship based on growing admiration and affection. Both characters have overcome earlier feelings of pride and prejudice before realising the other's suitability. Their love is gradual, hard won and therefore worth having. The witty and lively Elizabeth could only be happy with a man whose talents and understanding matched her own. Accordingly, Elizabeth and Darcy's marriage is based on mutual respect and intellectual equality. Pride and Prejudice At various stages of the novel both Elizabeth and Darcy are guilty of pride and prejudice. Elizabeth's pride stems from her wit, perception and confidence in her own abilities. She is offended by anybody who does not treat her with respect. Darcy's insulting remarks in the Meryton assembly rooms, 'She is tolerable; but not handsome enough to tempt me'(Chapter 3), hurt her pride and begin to feed her feelings of prejudice against him. ...read more.

Conclusion

can appear convincing and charming, and the thoroughly decent Darcy is criticised for his arrogance: 'There was certainly some mismanagement in the education of those young men. One has got all the goodness, and the other all the appearance of it'(Chapter 40). Secondly, there is a character's real worth which is only discovered when all the trappings of social nicety and appearances are dismantled. Lastly, there is the difference between how characters see themselves and how they are perceived by others. The hypocrisy of the actions of this last category of people, where actions contradict beliefs, is a common source of irony and humour. Mrs Bennet, Sir William Lucas , Mr Collins and Lady Catherine de Bourgh all have a high opinion of themselves which does not correspond to the opinion of others. Social Satire When Jane Austen wrote her novels in the early nineteenth century, English society was dominated by the aristocracy and landed gentry. Society and etiquette was controlled by a rigid set of conventions and protocol, which on the surface at least, were there to preserve decency and good manners. As a result of their inherited wealth and positions, the landed classes, who owned much of the countryside, had an innate belief in their own superiority over the rest of society. Consequently, they looked down on those whose occupations and income were not connected with land ownership. ...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. How far does the theme of prejudice dominate the novels "Pride and Prejudice" by ...

    the lynch mob. The character who has the most prejudice directed towards him is Tom Robinson. He is a brave and admirable man and he shows these qualities in the trial by speaking his mind and saying the truth. Still this was not enough to sway the jury in to choosing the right verdict of not guilty.

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

    Darcy is also used to having people regard his opinion very highly, so it is a shock for him to find someone who does not. Elizabeth brings up how Darcy separated Bingley and Jane, the way she says, "the means of ruining, perhaps for ever, the happiness of a most

  1. Portrayal of Marriage in Pride and Prejudice.

    We are told it is a happy marriage. They have a happy and uncomplicated marriage, though sometimes complicated by other people. They live in Netherfield at first but after a year they want to get away from Mrs Bennet and other relations. So Bingley buys an estate in Derbyshire near Pemberley.

  2. An analytical commentary on Pride and Prejudice (emphasis: Chapter VI, pp. 21-23)

    In this way, Elizabeth reveals herself (and Jane, for that matter) to be something of a romantic - compared to the cynical utilitarian approach taken by Charlotte (which is the manifestation of society's conception of marriage as a union of pragmatism).

  1. Pride and Prejudice

    encourages him to do the gardening in order to keep him out of the way - this shows how she learns to cope with her husband. We additionally learn that she is tolerably happy in the marriage, "when Mr. Collins was forgotten there was really a great air of comfort throughout".

  2. Pride and Prejudice Chapter Summaries

    Chapter 34 Lizzy reads all of Jane's letters, so that she can prove how unhappy Jane is feeling. She becomes more angry at this. At that moment Darcy walks in and after a few words declares his love for her.

  1. How effectively does the opening chapter of 'Pride and Prejudice' introduce the reader to ...

    It would appear that Elizabeth's dislike of Mr Darcy causes her favourable opinion of Mr Wickham to spite him. Through Mr Wickham's treatment of Lydia she comes to realise his true character. She realises she has been 'blind, partial, prejudiced and absurd.'

  2. Pride and Prejudice How successful this novel is in giving first impressions of ...

    It was her own choice to write about social issues and possibly may have chosen to write in this style as she could have personally experienced the events that she based the novel on, showing authenticity. Why is this novel still popular today?

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