Pride and Prejudice
The book pride and prejudice begins with an aphorism about marriage, which shows us that marriage had a lot of importance back when she was writing her book. Jane Austen’s view on marriage is that in the right circumstances it is a wonderful thing and that everyone should be happy in a marriage, however if they do not fit the quote she has given, then it is not worth getting married.
Jane Austen never married; her quote was ideally a fantasy on what she thought a good marriage would be and maybe what she hoped she would find in a man. She was a victim of the system of marriage and social status so her books are based around this system. She was a victim because she turned down the chance to marry after originally accepting the proposal. She then became a social out cast and could never marry again. She obviously felt very bitter about this and decided to view this in the books she wrote.
One couple, which fit Jane Austen’s quote perfectly, are Elizabeth and Darcy. However their relationship did not start out very well and were very critical of each other. The first signs of this are when Elizabeth criticizes Mr Darcy’s pride and how he is very confident, she says “and I could easily forgive his pride, if he had not mortified mine.” The tone of this quote is very critical and has no room for her to forgive Mr Darcy. When she uses the word mortified this shows us that she is not just upset by his criticism but she cannot forgive it as it has left a huge mark on his character. When she uses the word easily, this shows us that she can easily forgive him if he had shown the right attitude and acceptance. This shows us that Elizabeth thinks he is too confident and if he had of been kinder maybe Elizabeth would have liked him form the start and they would not of had to go through all the awkward times which followed them later in the story. Later on in the story Darcy begins to fall in love with Elizabeth and then makes excuses to hide his feelings. This is shown when he stares at her after she leaves Mr Bingley’s and when is asked on her feelings for Elizabeth he replies criticizing her and then changes the subject. After a while they do begin to fall in love and it becomes clearer that Darcy is in love with her more then she is. This is shown in the text when it says, “Was a very long time since he had the pleasure of seeing her.” This shows us that he falls in love with her very quickly and that she likes the pleasure of seeing her. It also shows us that he cannot stand being away from her for a long time and when he does see her, he has great pleasure in doing so. However Elizabeth soon falls in love with Darcy quickly after seeing Pemberly when she says, “to be mistress of Pemberly won’t be too bad at all.” This shows us that Darcy has slowly began to show his more admiring parts and what a man he can truly be and by seeing Pemberly it makes her fall in love with him more and she cannot bare to be with anyone else but him.
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In light of Jane Austen’s quote, they do have a love match and have grown to love each other in the time they have got to know each other. Darcy has a good fortune and they have financial security. Their characters are very different which will help them as they will not get bored of each other and will always have something to talk about. Elizabeth and Darcy is a good couple and in Jane Austen’s quote they fit it perfectly. This marriage is a big step forward for Elizabeth as this moves her up the social status ladder, which is a big step forward for her.
However not all of the marriages in Pride and Prejudice fit Jane Austen’s quotation perfectly. One example of this is the marriage between Mr and Mrs Bennet. Mr Bennet is seen to tease his wife and they do not seem to get along. This is seen very early on in the book when Mr Bennet replies to a question Mrs Bennet has asked him. He replies, “You want to tell me, and I have no objection to hearing it.” The tone of this quotation is very sarcastic. When he uses ‘objection to hearing’ this shows us that he will not stop his wife from telling him what she has to say, but he will not listen to what she has to say, as it seems he is not interested. This shows us that he is not very interested in what she has to say and in a way is teasing because he is exploiting her intelligence by criticizing her and she does not seem to notice. They do not spend very much time together and avoid each other. Mr Bennet spends most of his time in his library and uses it as a way to spend time away from Mrs Bennet. This echoes the way Charlotte Lucas and Mr Collins spend their marriage. Mr and Mrs Bennet are like two strangers living together. They obviously do not love each other and have very different characters. In light of Jane Austen’s quote this is not a perfect marriage as they do not love each other and it seems obvious Mr Bennet is not very wealthy. They have not looked into the long-term effects of their marriage and the way it will affect them in the future.
A further example of a ‘bad’ marriage in the light of Austen’s quotation is between Mr Collins and Charlotte Lucas. Charlotte views her marriage with Mr Collins as a way to secure her life with a good home. She does not expect a “love match.” She says to Elizabeth “I’m not a romantic; I never was. I only ask for a comfortable home.” The tone of this quotation is like she is talking about a business and the way she seems to have financial security. When she says ‘I am not a romantic’ this shows us that there was no intention of love and she was never in love to begin with. When she uses the term ‘considering’ this tells us that she has found an all right marriage and thinks she has a good deal. The word ‘connections’ tell us that she is only interested in climbing the social ladder and this will give her a good window in what she wants to achieve. When she says ‘I am convinced’ this is telling us that she has had to force herself into thinking this is the right marriage and that there is no better deal out there for her. This quotation demonstrates that Charlotte was not looking for love but only for financial status and moving up the social ladder. However Mr Collins views this marriage as a way to impress his patron, Lady Catherine de bough. He does not think he is in love and he only went to visit Mr Bennet to find a wife. It seems he was bullied by Lady Catherine de bough because she was the one who said he should go out and look for a wife.
Another example of a marriage, which fits Jane Austen’s quote, is the relationship between Jane and Bingley. From the start when they first met each other they immediately fell in love. This is shown by the way Bingley reacts to Jane after meeting her at the ball. Bingley says “oh! She is the most beautiful creature I ever beheld!” the tone of this is as if he is surprised and shocked. He repeatedly says ‘oh!’ this shows us that there is a lot of surprise and love in this as he is amazed that there id anyone so pretty on this earth. The word ‘beautiful creature’ tells us that there is no one as pretty and amazing as her and that he hopes to be with her always. This is also shown when he says ‘I ever beheld’ this also gives us the impression that she is perfect and she is the only one for him. This shows us how Bingley is amazed at her beauty and he cannot see how any person can be as beautiful as her. He obviously hopes that he can one day marry Jane and be with her for many years. Jane is also amazed at the way she is in love with Bingley and cannot see her life with anyone else but him. She says, “How shall I bear so much happiness.” The tone of this quotation is very happy and almost like a dream come true. The whole quotation tells us that she cannot be any happier even if she tried. ‘Bear so much happiness’ tells us that this is the happiest she has ever been and she does not know how to cope with all the joy she is feeling. This shows us that she is totally in love with him and she cannot spend anytime away from him, as she is too happy with him. This shows us that if she is with him for the rest of her live, then she will not be as happy as she in now. The only flaw in their relationship is that they never see badly in anybody and will always find the best part of a person. They have a good character and Bingley has a good fortune. In the light of Jane Austen’s quote they have a good relationship and are in love with each other. Fortune did not come into it as much as they fell in love with each other’s personality. This marriage is a good step forward for Jane as it moves her up the social ladder significantly, in Jane Austen’s time social status was a very big thing, and the higher your social status the better.
The last marriage in Pride and Prejudice is between Lydia and Wickham. This marriage in the light of Jane Austen’s quote is a ‘bad’ marriage. Lydia believes she
has married out of love for Wickham, but she has only married to spite her sisters and to become the first one of the family to go into matrimony. Wickham however has gone into this marriage for financial settlement. This is shown when it says, “Wickham never intended to go there, or to marry Lydia at all.” The tone of this is very critical and evens a sense of shock. The term ‘never’ shows us that Wickham was only planning to use her and was never expecting to be forced into marrying her. He planned on using this relationship as a business to get out of debt. This shows us that Wickham never wanted to marry Lydia and that if he had to marry her it would be used as a financial settlement. This marriage has got him out of many debts, which he had on his head, but now he has complete financial security for the time being. In Austen’s quote, they are not a very good couple. They do not love each other and they have got completely different characters. Wickham is not very wealthy and they are both socially disapproved of. Their characters are both selfish and irresponsible, and like Mr and Mrs Bennet they have not looked ahead to the long-term effects of their marriage and how they are going to be in 20 years time. Their marriage back then would have been perfectly acceptable and not uncommon for a fifteen year old to marry a thirty year old, however these days their marriage would be seen as perverted and very unacceptable because of how times have changed.
Pride and prejudice is based around marriages and in the way Jane Austen herself views marriage. The marriages in pride and prejudice show how some marriages can turn out very well and how others can turn into complete failures. These marriages show us how it can sometimes take a while to get to know someone and that how jumping into marriage without getting to know someone can turn out to be complete failures. These were shown perfectly in the way she based the marriages of Darcy and Elizabeth, as they got to know each other before marrying, and the marriage of Mr and Mrs Bennet, as they jumped straight into marriage before getting to know each other.
Jane Austen was a romantic person and she thought marriage should be based on love and not just on fortune. She does not believe that marriages just based on money are a very good idea and that it will soon turn out to be a very big mistake. Austen did not think that the marriage system was fair and that if you did not marry you would become a social outcast.
My view on this is that some marriages can turn out to be a very good and if you put in the time and effort it will be one of the best things, which can happen to you. I think that Austen’s quote is very accurate and that if you do not have love and character a marriage cannot work. The way this quote works with the 21st century is very different. Now it is not essential to marry and you are not considered a social outcast if you do not marry. Even though it is legal to marry your cousin it is frowned upon and it is very uncommon to do this. Marriage these days is based on love more then just money and character is important. Women do not have to marry for financial security these days as they earn as much as men. Marriage has changed a lot since Jane Austen wrote pride and prejudice but there are still certain aspects of it that remain the same. These include marrying for love and beauty, which was the marriage structure for Jane and Bingley, and Elizabeth and Darcy. Some marriages are still based around fortune and financial security in the 21st century. The marriages of charlotte Lucas and Mr Collins was a financial marriage and so was the marriage between Lydia and Wickham as this got Wickham out of many debts he had.
Pride and prejudice is a decent book if you can get into it and it shows the way marriages have changed over the years. It shows us how you cannot just marry for fortune, you have to marry for love otherwise your relationship will fail. The main purpose of this book is to demonstrate the way marriages work and fail.