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Who makes the best marriage in pride and prejudice?

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Introduction

Who makes the best marriage in pride and prejudice? '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 social view of marriage during the time of Jane Austen and 'Pride and Prejudice'. In a society like this marriage is the status all women strive to achieve and love comes second to wealth when choosing someone to marry. This however is not Austen's view of love. Elizabeth and Darcy's deep mutual love seems to imply that Austen views love as something separate from these social forces, as something that can only be achieved by overcoming the effects of social hierarchy. When found, love can overcome even the most difficult circumstances. This is the definition of love I would agree with. We see two established marriages, the Bennets and the Gardiners and throughout the novel four other marriages take place, Lydia with Wickham, Charlotte with Mr Collins, Elizabeth with Darcy, and Jane with Bingley. The marriages are not all because of love. Some marry according to social views and standards, for example Mr Collins and Charlotte Lucas. Mr Collins is a man dependant on society in every possible way. He relies greatly on the approval of Lady Catherine De Bourgh. So much so that he does not strive to gain any other role in society and believes that his only duty is to follow Lady Catherine's orders quickly and precisely. This is the reasoning behind him coming to Longbourn to find a wife. In his own mind his intentions were nothing but good and his proposal to Lizzie should have been accepted immediately without further thought. He did not, however, count on Elizabeth being so head strong and was shocked at her refusal, as was Lizzie's mother. Subsequently he was forced to extend his courtesies to charlotte who, being a lot less independent thinking than Lizzie, took no time in accepting gladly for the sake of herself and her family. ...read more.

Middle

The importance of her eyes may be symbolic of her abilities of perception. She has pride in her abilities to perceive the truth of situations and of people's characters. However, her perceptive abilities fail her frequently because she is influenced by vanity and judges people rashly, in the cases of Mr Wickham and Mr Darcy for example. Darcy and Elizabeth's relationship does not get off to an excellent start.Darcy at first seems to be self important and proud, the impression everyone, including Elizabeth, has of him after his attending the first dance. Darcy offends Elizabeth. Bingley suggests that Darcy dances with Elizabeth, but Darcy thinks 'she is tolerable; but not handsome enough to tempt' him. Furthermore, he says he is not going to dance with women that have been 'slighted by other men'. Elizabeth overhears this and is not left with many 'cordial feelings towards him'. This makes Elizabeth prejudiced against Darcy. Later on Darcy starts to feel attracted to Lizzie. He admires 'the beautiful expression of her eyes', her figure and above all the 'playfulness' of her character. The stay in Netherfield, when Jane gets sick, shows that Darcy is attracted to Elizabeth despite himself. He seems to enjoy talking to Elizabeth and is beginning to feel the danger of paying too much attention to her. Elizabeth still is prejudiced, but she seems to enjoy the challenge of talking to him. Wickham's story that Darcy refused to keep his father's promise after his death affects her opinion on Darcy. Despite her mother, family situation and hostility towards him Darcy cannot erase his feelings for Elizabeth. Whenever he approaches Elizabeth in an attempt to express these feelings he ends up offending her more, for example, his first proposal, consisting of far too much reasoning and understanding of Elizabeth's inferiority, did not go down well with her and she was more offended that the had said and thought these things than flattered that he wanted to marry her in spite of them. ...read more.

Conclusion

When Elizabeth declines Darcy she is also only acting on emotion as he has just insulted her. This again shows that marriage cannot be based purely on emotions. Towards the end of the novel Darcy is finally able to accept his reasoning as well as his love for Elizabeth and she herself understands her place in society and so is able to see that what he was saying was the truth and not meant to be hurtful, and so they now have a successful relationship based on both love and reasoning. This however is not what I have decided to be the best marriage because the two are so open about their opinions they are bound to clash on many an occasion. I believe the best marriage to be Jane and Bingley's. They each love each other and have similar ways of expressing it, their personalities are almost identical and they will have few if any arguments. They are each aware of where they stand in society but do not dwell on it so much that it becomes a problem. Bingley, who is portrayed as someone with very little reasoning, has, in his choice of a wife, whether knowingly or not, picked the perfect one for him, one who shares his views on everything and will be accepted in society, despite her 'inferiority' purely because she is so incredibly likeable. 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. The marriage will probably be the most socially successful and the two will be respected, admired and loved by all who know them. I see the best marriage to be one containing an equal amount of love and reasoning, this is certainly it. ...read more.

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