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What does Jane Austin show us about love and marriage in her novel? How and why does she do this?

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Introduction

Task: What does Jane Austin show us about love and marriage in her novel? How and why does she do this? At a time when marriage was a basis for survival and discarded emotion, Jane Austen birthed the infamous Pride and Prejudice, with the intent of appointing us as readers to understand her stance on the substance of marriage. Strongly she felt that marriage was an adjoining of hearts rather than finances, and that this bond should not be made for superficial motives, pressure to wed or social standing. Austen employs distinctive characters as literary devices to juxtapose cold, money-born relationships with matters of the heart. By facilitating readers to see that love is the true birth of marriage, and that it is only this that can result in a blissful one, we begin to comprehend that it is this, and only this, that can enable the characters of our novel to be happy. The voice of Jane Austen permeates the story through the mind and actions of Elizabeth Bennet, whom quickly becomes our heroine and wins our admiration. She fouls those that stand for pride and phoney morals, and through the eyes of an elaborate and strong headed woman we witness the authoritarian lifestyle and expectations of 19th Century Life. We are positioned to empathise with her estimation on the absurdity of marrying for anything other than love. ...read more.

Middle

The relationship between these two characters proves to the readers the outcomes of placing practicality before romance and although Charlotte appears to be able to endure Mr Collins, the readers realize that she will never have a life that she feels is complete. The relationship between Darcy and Elizabeth exposes the qualities that do constitute to a successful marriage, one of these being that love cannot be brought on by appearances: it must gradually develop between the two people as they get to know one and others hearts. Darcy's immediate opinion of Elizabeth is that she is "tolerable, but not handsome enough to tempt me". From this voice we see how their relationship contracts and expands until love emanates through them both. Mr Darcy was not at all attracted to Elizabeth in the beginning, but this changes when they discover each others personalities and Darcy admits "My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you". This course of love was not a smooth one, nor one pursued by either of them consciously. For the most part of the novel Elizabeth in fact despises the character of Mr Darcy, based on her observations of his prudence and the tall tale spoken by the seemingly desirable, up-right Mr Wickham. She respects this man and his sociable manner, and accepts his lies about Darcy and their past as pure fact. ...read more.

Conclusion

Such characters as Mr Collins and Charlotte Lucas and Wickham and Lydia represent marriages forged under superficial purposes, all of which result in misery and discontent. The contrast between these relationships and Darcy's and Elizabeth's illustrate that happiness in marriage can only be acquired if they are true to their hearts. When emotion is stifled, only unhappiness can result. Through the woman of the story the readers distinguish the differing attitudes and reasoning behind marital choices and relationships, which depend mostly on their status and life and personal values. The reader is exposed to predominant and customary ideas held by society in Austen's time, and through the heroine, a separate opinion is explored and valued. We witness how marriage is seen through the eyes of the wealthy and the restrictions they impose on happiness, yet through the eyes of her women and the use of irony opinions are influenced and attitudes adjusted. 'Pride was defined as the ill-founded and unreasonable self-esteem of an individual. Prejudice, which can arise from a sense of pride are the result of misguided or ill informed judgement of the true fact.' When these two themes are conjoined, the epic Pride and Prejudice is formed. The novel successfully depicted the era of regency, and each character and their involvement in the social hierarchy of minute societies in England. The story revolves around the process of self deception of hearts, and the realisation of errors in judgement, assumption too thoughtlessly applied and criticisms too freely given. ...read more.

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