Discuss the presentation of love and marriage in "Pride and Prejudice".

Authors Avatar

Sarah Lavin

Discuss the presentation of love and marriage in “Pride and Prejudice”

Marriage in general is presented as a central theme in the novel, “Pride and Prejudice,” and love often has to do with marriage but not vice versa. “Pride and Prejudice” itself is a light-hearted tale of love and marriage in very early 19th century England. From reading the novel, we can get a clearer understanding of what life was like for men and women at this time. The first line of the novel suggests that marriage is a central theme when we read:

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.”

Love and marriage in the novel centre and revolve mainly around the two elder Bennet daughters, Jane and Elizabeth. Their personalities in the novel as well as the roles of pride and prejudice play a large part in the development of their individual relationships. The novel shows love and marriage as a state of admiration between men and women, finally resulting in marriage.

From the novel, we learn that marriage in this time is very different from marriage now. Nowadays, in most cases, couples marry for love. However, in the early 19th century, when this novel was written, we learn that marriage is not always for love. It becomes more of a competition between mothers who are obsessed with trying to marry their daughters off and they often take it to extremes. It is evident from the novel that marriage is more to do with wealth than anything else and that the mothers are only interested in upper class men with large fortunes rather than whether their daughters will be treated fairly. The mothers just want their daughters to achieve or accomplish something in life and they think that wealth is the answer. However, this is proved not always be the case. Throughout the novel, Mrs Bennet is in close competition with other mothers. The outcome that they all want is to marry their daughters off to a wealthy man and then get on with their life satisfied with the fact that they have given their daughters the best thing in life. At the beginning of the novel, Mrs Bennet is excited at the fact that Bingley has arrived nearby and she immediately thinks of her daughters and marriage even though she has never met the man. This can be seen in a conversation with Mr Bennet when she says:

Join now!

“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 girls!”

Society at this time meant that women should marry. It was unheard of that a woman should reach the age of thirty and still be single so marriage and looking for a husband is all everyone thinks about in the novel. We are also made aware that women are respected more in society when they are married, especially if they are married to a well-liked and respected man. People suddenly think of ...

This is a preview of the whole essay