How does Jane Austen present the theme of marriage in Pride and Prejudice?
In Jane Austens novel Pride and Prejudice matrimony in primarily viewed in two ways, as a chance for happiness and romance or as a mean of securing a comfortable home. In this novel Austen teaches us about marriage in the 19th century and gives insight into the lives of a small number of middle-class families in a few villages in England. In the novel there are four marriages. This novel is based on marriage and money. Austen is a social critic and uses different characters to show the readers the difference between marriage between Charlotte Lucas and Mr. Collins. Contrast greatly with the love match of Elizabeth and Darcy, which Austen hints is the better match.
A wealthy man with good fortune must be in search for a good wife. The opening chapter immediately gives the importance of marrying well Oh single my dear, to be sure! A single man of large fortune; four five thousand a year, what a fine thing for our girls! From this statement Mrs. Bennet reveals her attitude to lover and marriage. It also demonstrates to the readers that the book is based on marriage and wealth and that it is important to marry someone who is socially and financially secure. This statement doesnt mention anything about love. It tells us the readers that the reasons for marrying were not for love but to have a safe and secured future.
Elizabeth Bennet is a smart and intelligent person, who has a lot of things her sisters lack. She has a quick mind. Shes outspoken and very wise. Elizabeth sees things very clearly. In this novel we the readers often view the world through Elizabeths eyes. Elizabeth is a free spirit individual who is different from other female character. Elizabeth believes in love, she refuses to marry Mr Collins she has no affection on him. She does not love him. Elizabeth learns form her mistakes. The relationship between them is comic. Mr Collins is so ignorant he is oblivious to what goes around him. Elizabeth finds Mr Collins as being greedy. Pompous and narrow minded silly human being. She realizes that her observation was quite correct. Elizabeth rejection was such a shocking decision it changed the structure and rejection opinion about the novel. We definitely learn that Elizabeth is such a strong and intellectual character. Mr Collins is socially attractive; he would provide Elizabeth home and long term stability for the Bennett family. Elizabeth realizes that marrying Mr Collins would have made her mad and could have lost her mind. She could never love such a man. We the readers we feel sympathetic towards Elizabeth. We definitely agree with her decision not to marry Mr Collins as we our influence with her attitude on marrying for love and we begin to realize that her heart can never be happy until she marries for the correct purpose.
Charlotte Lucas accepts Mr Collins proposal. Charlotte is a very dull person. She doesnt believe in marrying for love. Even though she is physically beautiful shes good marriage material, because she is calm and wants a family. She understands the basics of raisings a family also shes not flirtatious. She is the total opposite to Elizabeth. She feels that you should on marry for social status. So she could have a secured future. Charlotte is not considered to be an attractive person by men. They dont find her good looking. Marrying Mr Collins is a good opportunity for her because shes not getting any younger, she is a very pragmatically person. Charlotte is aware of Mr Collins behaviour and attitude but then she chooses to be his wife. The fact that Charlotte is marrying Mr Collins is a good thing because it means that she would be high in society and have a good status. She would have a good connection with Lady Catherine. Charlottes view on marriage is very pessimistic she says I am not romantic you know, I never was. From that statement we learn that Charlotte is a very serious and old fashioned lady, who just wants to keep her marriage simple. Mr Collins and Charlottes marriage is like an arranged marriage in modern time no companionship and passion in their marriage. Charlotte enjoys keeping her distance away from Mr Collins. We could clearly see that Charlotte and Mr Collins is an example of Jane Austens marriage for security.
Mr Bingley is a rich single man. He shows interest in Jane Bennet the oldest daughter born to Mr and Mrs Bennet. Jane is calm and polite, she is outspoken like her sister Elizabeth. Jane likes Mr Bingley as well. Jane and Mr Bingely disguise their love for each other. Mr Bingley is one of those men that when loves someone he never holds back his affection. Even though Jane comes from a background with no class Mr Bingley doesnt care, he just likes her personality and likes her for who she is Jane Bennet.
The marriage between Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth reveals the characteristics of a successful marriage. They surely prove that loves cannot be bought, and that love develops between people as they get to know themselves. Mr Darcys first opinion about Elizabeth was really hurried She is tolerable but not handsome enough to tempt me. Mr Darcy was not really interested in Elizabeth she didnt catch his attention like a rose in a beautiful garden. Eventually Mr Darcy saw and learned about Elizabeths personality and characteristics of her. He was fascinated by it and confessed that he was about her and has strong feelings towards her. My feelings will not be repressed you must allow me to tell you how ardently admire and love you. Mr Darcy completely changes his views about Elizabeth from that statement. He grows so passionate towards her. . He has strong beliefs that he could grow old with her.
This shows us that he doesnt just like her because of her beauty or physical attractions, but instead he loves her for her inner beauty and her intelligence. Mr Darcy and Elizabeths relationship shows us that Jane Austen believes in love not because of beauty or attraction, but instead knowing the true personality of your partner before you devote your life to them. Jane Austen uses Darcy and Elizabeth to reflect on her beliefs on the reasons and importance of marrying for love. She proves to us by using these two characters that happiness in marriage only works well if both partners feel the same way for each other. The relationship between Mr Darcy and Elizabeth is quite fiery they deny their love for each other. Austen uses a classic technique in the dialogue between Mr Darcy and Elizabeth, because they like each other. Although Austen suggests to the readers it is best to marry for love but this love needs to be based on more than physical attractions. Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy have a similar sense of humour and are intellectually compatible.
Lady Catherine de Dough comes to visit Elizabeth with one intention which is to come and confirm the rumours that Elizabeth and Darcy are engaged. She wants her daughter to marry Darcy but feels Elizabeth is preventing that form happening. She looks down on Elizabeth; she feels Elizabeth is not wealthy to marry Mr Darcy. She also feels that they come from different background. To be prevented by a young woman of inferior birth of no importance in the world, as a wealthy unallied to be the family. What Lady Catherine De Bourgh is saying in that statement is that in equal status she has no importance in the world. Elizabeth has nothing compared to what Mr. Darcy has. Shes below his standard. That is what Lady Catherine means and implying. Lady Catherine is such a rich woman she has different views on marriage between an aristocrats and a normal individual. She feels that a wealthy person wants to get married they must marry someone of the same background in order for the marriage to prosper. From Lady Catherine it is very clear to us that marriage was really and issue in the 19th century. Lady Catherine says Your alliance will be a disgrace. What she is implying in that statement is that Elizabeths status in society, and herself would be a disgrace, because she and Mr Darcy are not on the same level.
The marriage between Lydia and Mr. Wickham is based on the appearance childish ignorance. Lydia and Wickhams relationship is the most fatal in the novel. The two characters are based on marriage that lacks love. Lydia is a nave attractive flirtatious girl: she is oblivious towards Mr Wickhams behaviour. The marriage between these two simple attractions and neither character felt true love for one another. In this novel we learn that the relationship between Elizabeth and Lydia are not so close especially when she tries to stop Lydia going to Brighton. She advices her dad to deprive her from going. She will at sixteen, be the most determined flirt that ever made herself and her family ridiculous. In reality Lydias marriage is the worst of the bad marriages in the novel, and they are at least the least happiest of all the worst of the couples in the novel. Despite the money that Darcy gave Mr Wickham they are still the worst financially situation. Wickham and Lydias marriage was based on good looks.
Mr and Mrs Bennets their marriage is a joke. Mr Bennet a gentleman and a man with intelligence. Their marriage truly represents marrying for the wrong reasons. The two characters explain to the readers what happens when you marry without love. Austen shows us the loneliness between both of them. Mr Bennet has a witty sense of humour and makes sarcastic mockery out of his wife. Mrs Bennet married Mrs Bennet because of her attractive looks and her sense of humour. Now he isolates himself from the Bennet family in order for him to get his own space. He spends most of his time in the library.
Bingley and Darcy offer Jane and Elizabeth a secure future they have given both women a high position in society and are offering them a good life. Both women are now able to say proudly that they are independent. The gentlemen have giving both women something most marriages lacked in the 19th century and also today in modern day. Love and friendship. Those elements were scarce to find back then and even in modern time. It was very important that a woman should get married as soon as possible because it meant that she was independent. If that was unlikely to not happen, the only alternative was to live in her parents house until they pass away which is not very wise. Luckily that situation wouldnt happen to Jane and Elizabeth because Darcy and Bingley have prevented that from happening. They have offered wealth and connections. Elizabeth and Jane went from being the daughters of a gentleman and now to become associated with aristocrats. Reputation in Pride and Prejudice is a lot.
My conclusion about Pride and Prejudice is that it teaches us a great lesson which is that we should marry because of love and not for any other reasons. Austen has influenced her readers to agree with her attitude on the importance of marrying for love. Jane Austen has clearly used her characters to express her issue of love. Such character like Charlotte Lucas and Mr Collins, Wickham and Lydia. They show one belief of marrying for materialistic purpose. They also show the purpose of marrying for what they would get out of it, and for those reasons they lack happiness. The relationship between the character of Darcy and Elizabeth proves to the readers that happiness in marriage could only last if the couple dont just think about beauty, attractions and financial status. And for no other thing but love. Austen does accept that theres room in society for other kind of marriage.