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"What attitude to love and marriage has Jane Austen?

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Pride and Prejudice by Jeni Boon "What attitude to love and marriage has Jane Austen? "It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife." This is the opening line to Jane Austen's book, 'Pride and Prejudice'. It not only refers to the one of the main themes in the book: marriage and money but also introduces the audience to Jane Austen's first use of irony. While the focus of this line is about a single man wanting a wife, it really talks about how woman in the late 18th century and early 19th Century are looking for a husband only in possession of a good fortune. Our first glimpse of the Bennet family entirely backs up this quotation with Mrs Bennet obsessively talking about marrying one of her five daughters to Mr Bingley, a polite man with a large fortune who has only just moved into Netherfield Park. "Is he married or single?" "Oh! Single, my dear, to be sure! A single man of large fortune; four or five thousand a year, what a fine thing for our daughters!" "How so? How can it affect them?" "My dear Mr. Bennet," replied his wife, "how can you be so tiresome! You must know that I am thinking of him marrying one of them." ...read more.


She doesn't view love as the most vital component of a marriage. "Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance." "When she is secure of him, there will be leisure for falling in love as much as she chuses." "...and if she were married to him to-morrow, I should think she had as good chance of happiness as if she were to be studying his character for a twelvemonth" Most of the other characters see Mr Darcy as a proud man who is extremely conscious of class differences, but Charlotte believes Mr Darcy has the right to be proud simply because of his wealth and status. Austen does not discuss Charlotte in the same way as Mrs Bennet and it seems that Austen sympathises with Charlotte throughout the play. Charlotte actually wants something out of a relationship; she's 27 and is having no luck at all in finding a man to spend the rest of her life with, in this way we see Austen writing almost feeling sorry for Charlotte. Charlotte believes that love and happiness can come after marriage, so she just simply has to find a man with a large fortune to settle down with. "I am not romantic, you know; I never was. ...read more.


She believes that a lady should get to know a man before deciding to spend the rest of their lives together as husband and wife. Elizabeth: "She has only known him a fortnight. She danced four times with him at Meryton; she saw him one morning at his own house, and has since dined with him four times. This is not quite enough to make her even understand his character." Charlotte: "Not as you represent it. Had she merely dined with him, she might only have discovered whether he had a good appetite; but you must remember that four evenings have also been spent together- and four evenings may do a great deal." These two quotes, spoken by Elizabeth and Charlotte show how different their ideas of love and relationships are during a conversation about Jane and Mr Bingley. "Handsome young men must have something to live on as well as the plain." This quote is Elizabeth saying that she now realizes the reality of society of how Mr Wickham must marry a woman who is wealthy and does well in the world. Austen continuously criticizes her society, making out that wealth, status and marriage is all that people want. In 'Pride and Prejudice' we can see that most of the characters are obsessed with these morals and only a very few characters are the ones that are in relationships due to love, which Jane Austen believes is the right kind of relationship. ...read more.

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