Why Is Mr Darcy a suitable partner for Elizabeth in "Pride and Prejudice"?

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Christopher de Wardt    20/4/07

Why Is Mr Darcy a suitable partner for Elizabeth in “Pride and Prejudice”?

         Jane Austen makes it clear to the reader of Pride and Prejudice that, from her perspective, people often married for incorrect reasons. Jane Austen disregards factors such as wealth, looks, or how passionate a person is as being overriding issues in terms of suitability for marriage. In place of these superficial attributes, she puts the emphasis on moral characteristics and mutual love as being the basis for suitable marriage. By the time Darcy proposes to Elizabeth the second time, they share a mutual love based on morals - as opposed to material values such as wealth. Darcy and Elizabeth also integrate well in terms of character. They both have strong, considerate personalities. They are also shown to be two of the most intelligent people in Pride and Prejudice. This high level of intelligence that they share is often shown by the rhetoric that they use, especially when talking to each other. This combination of a mutual attraction based on morals, and compatible personalities would represent Jane Austen’s version of an ideal basis for marriage.

        Lydia and Kitty, the sisters of Elizabeth, are examples of people who base their concepts of a good relationship purely on looks and money. This is shown by their admiration of the soldiers stationed in Meryton, with soldiers being the “sex-symbols” of the era: “They could talk of nothing but officers; and Mr Bingley’s large fortune”. This also shows the sister’s infatuation with wealth. When Lydia later marries for herself to Mr Wickham, the marriage appears to deteriate rapidly, suggesting that this has occurred by basing her relationship on looks alone. This is shown in the last chapter of the book by: “His affection for her [Lydia] soon sunk into indifference; hers lasted a little bit longer”. This relationship itself started with elopement. In nineteenth-century England, this would have brought great scandal to both Lydia and the rest of her family ; by eloping, Lydia has demonstrated her total lack of consideration and intelligence. By using the example of Lydia and Wickham’s marriage, Jane Austen is showing that a relationship without a moral basis is a bad marriage – likely to fail - and can possibly hurt others.

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        Darcy and Elizabeth both have very kind, considerate personalities; this is often shown by the way in which they help their friends and relatives. Elizabeth walks for miles through muddy countryside at one point so that she can visit her poorly sister at Netherfield. She does this against the judgement of her mother, who says to Elizabeth, “You will not be seen fit when you get there”. Elizabeth simply replies, “I shall be very fit to see Jane – which is all I want”. This demonstrates her unpretentious and sincere nature: she does not care about superficial aspects or formalities ...

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