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What different aspects of marriage are presented in Pride and Prejudice?

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Introduction

What different aspects of marriage are presented in Pride and Prejudice? Jane Austen opens the novel with her famous saying which quite sets the whole theme for the rest of the story.- "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife". We can see just by reading this that Jane Austen did not share traditional views about marriage. She lived in times where marriage was a necessity for all women or else they would live a life without independence or freedom as maids or governesses, and not to forget the social neglect they would face if they remained single throughout their life. However in her writings, Austen displays quite comical and at times satirical themes towards marriage, which was quite the contrary to what people thought in the 18th century. Mrs Bennet is portrayed as an annoying woman who focuses every aspect of her life into marrying off her five daughters. She appears to be an overprotective character and she never fails to cease a chance with encounters between her daughters and rich men. ...read more.

Middle

It should also be said that it was regarded as quite the fashion for men to acquire attractable and agreeable wives and therefore there was sometimes rivalry between the ranks which Austen portrays amusingly. She also displays views in her characters which opposes the statement that men wanted agreeable wives. "I do not want people to be agreeable, as it saves me the trouble of liking them." During the romance period and the early 18 hundreds if a rich and respected man proposed to a woman, it was extremely rare, and rude to decline the proposal. "It is always incomprehensible to a man that a woman should ever refuse an offer of marriage." However we can see in pride and prejudice that in the cases of both Mr Darcy and Mr Collins proposing to Elizabeth, she turns both men down initially. Later on we find out Elizabeth's true feelings for Mr Darcy and they do in fact get married. These two examples of declined proposals in pride and prejudice strengthen the fact that Jane Austen shared rather radical views which were frowned upon for her time. ...read more.

Conclusion

I think this marriage is a fine example of why you should not marry for financial status. The marriage between Mr Wickham and Lydia sparks the issue of marriage for lust. Later on we can see that actually she loves him a great deal more than he does her. In this case, it is in fact Mr Wickham who is marrying for the financial support, as before he had many unpaid debts but he used the money they got from marrying to pay off the debts. So we can see that in this relationship some of the main aspects are in reverse. Elizabeth's and Mr Darcy's relationship is without doubt the sweetest and loving relationship in the novel. Although Elizabeth gained great wealth and support from this marriage, they were not her reasons for marrying Mr Darcy. The couple were genuinely in love with each other. I think Austen is trying to tell us that successful marriage has to contain all of these characteristics: physical attraction, financial stability, social status and security. But above all the most important reason a woman should marry should ultimately be down to mutual love between a couple. James Reynolds James Reynolds ...read more.

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