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Marriage rather than love is the central theme of Pride and Prejudice. Do you agree?

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Introduction

?Marriage rather than love is the central theme of Pride and Prejudice.? Do you agree with this assessment of the novel? Give reasons for your answers supporting them with aid of suitable reference to the text. ?It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife?. From the first line, Jane Austen establishes the two main themes, and emphasizes the strong link between romance and finance. Throughout her novel she gently criticizes the different values and ethics of marriage which are often founded on financial and practical factors rather than pure love. From the beginning of her novel, Jane Austen highlights the importance of marriage within this world. The opening sentence suggests that the sole purpose for marriage was to increase the characters social and financial status. It mentions nothing of love and this underlines the fact that love wasn?t always involved in engagements. Finding a suitable husband for the female characters often became the only goal of their lives. But some characters such as Elizabeth and Jane Bennet do not fit this generalization, in fact, they believed in love. ...read more.

Middle

I ask only for a comfortable home?. Austen criticizes women who marry only for security, but on the other side, she almost admires them because they are able to cope with the difficult situation and learn to live with a man that they don?t really love: ?When Mr. Collins could be forgotten, there was really a great air of comfort throughout, and by Charlotte's evident enjoyment of it, Elizabeth supposed he must be often forgotten.? It seems that Charlotte can live with her relationship even thought it seems impossible for Elizabeth to look on it with anything else but sadness and pity of her dearest friend. Unfortunately, this was the sad situation of many women in the 19th century. Although most of the engagements were based on practical and economical aspects, Austen wrote two of the most admirable love stories in the English literature; the one between Elizabeth & Mr. Darcy and Jane & Mr. Bingley. Austen explores two couples that unlike the others, decide to marry for pure love. Both couples overcame the obstacles and tensions mainly caused by prejudice and proved that love is independent from all the superficial factors. ...read more.

Conclusion

He humors Mrs. Bennet, through her fears and he clearly opposes to her thoughts on marriage: ?Your mother will never see you again if you don?t marry Mr. Collins, and I will never see you again if you do?. Other characters such as Lady Catherine de Bourgh are more concerned with the social aspect of engagements. In fact, she believes that marriages should remain between a small group of people in order to maintain their social status. ?Do you not consider that a connection with you must disgrace him in the eyes of everybody?. Lady Catherine de Bourgh is pointing out that a marriage between Mr. Darcy and ?a woman of inferior birth? such as Elizabeth could ruin Mr. Darcy?s reputation. Overall, it is clear that Austen had very radical views on marriage for her time. In fact, she believed that marriage should be entirely based of love, and other factors such as social connections, money, prejudice? shouldn?t interfere. She uses her heroine (Elizabeth) to show the contrast between those who married for love and lived ?happily ever after? and those who married for superficial purposes and will sooner or later regret it. By exploring Elizabeth?s and Mr. Darcy?s successful union, Austen also proves that true love can easily overcome obstacles and triumph. ...read more.

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