In the novel Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, there is a theme that arises which criticizes the idea of what truth is, which is shaped by the thoughts of members of a certain gender. What is meant by truth is how things really are in society during the time that the novel takes place. The central theme around the novel is definitely marriage and how different people feel about the issue. This novel examines the different perspectives of what marriage is and what the reasons to get married were during that time period.
If you were to research the social norms during the time period this novel was set in, were all thought to be the same. These norms are, a man was the head of house unquestionably, the women were more like property than anything else, and social stature was extremely important. Marriage was a persons most likely gateway to a higher social status and many people took advantage of that. Women always wanted to marry the rich men to elevate themselves because that was the value instilled in them from when they were little. The men wanted to marry a beautiful, soft-spoken, and delicate woman because that was what the ideal woman was seen as. What most people do not know is that there were plenty of people that believed in what is more commonly believed among todays married couples, marry for love not money.
In the first chapter alone, we get a good idea of the two main opinions on marriage are. The two opinions are that of an already married couple, Mr. and Mrs. Bennet. It would seem that they have been switched from what you would expect the reasoning to be from each person just because of what is assumed to be the opinion of such a union by each gender in those days. Mr. Bennet saw the marriage of his 5 daughters to be a union in which they were all happy and did it for love. Mrs. Bennet on the other hand was all about marrying her daughters off to the richest and most socially inept bachelor she could find for them.
The Bennets are a family of seven with five girls that all seem to represent all the different classifications of a womans personality. The oldest daughter, Jane is the beautiful one that makes her mom so proud because she will not have any trouble finding a man. Elizabeth is the second oldest and is known as the smart one (who happens to be favored by her father.) Then there is Lydia, who has the humor of the family. Jane and Lydia are the more desirable of the group just because they both represent the characteristics in a woman that the men of those days were attracted to. The other girls arent mentioned as much because they are the most superficial who are very much infatuated with men of the militia.
Throughout the novel, the relationships between Jane, Elizabeth and the two eligible bachelors in the novel are closely followed to show the two paths of which a relationship could go in those days. Jane and her bachelor Mr. Bingleys relationship was very traditional, he wooed her, they wound up falling in love with each other and got married. This was due mostly to the easy-going nature of both of them. This showed why a soft-spoken and beautiful woman like Jane was so desirable; simply because it was easier to form a relationship that would last with a woman like that. Elizabeth and Mr. Darcys relationship was a bit more difficult to develop simply because of their personalities. Elizabeth was very smart and wasnt afraid to use her intelligence to her advantage which was very intimidating to a lot of men in those days. Mr. Darcy was a very prideful man, which was an extreme turn off to Elizabeth. Eventually of course they got over what they didnt like about each other and got married.
Pride and Prejudice is a novel that examines the truth of marriages in the time period it was set. Most people in those days wanted to marry for social status and wealth. What wasnt often realized was that people really did marry for love back then and it was mostly the extremely wealthy and socially elevated that married for superficial purposes. When it really came down to a true marriage, it was for love over all else and Jane Austen showed that.