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Love And Marriage In Jane Austen's Pride And Prejudice

2826 words - 11 pages

Examine the themes of love and marriage in Jane Austen's Pride and
Prejudice.

Pride and Prejudice is the best known and best loved novel of the
English writer, Jane Austen, who first gave the novel its modern
character through the treatment of everyday life. Austen started to
write for family amusement as a child, and received a broader
education than many women of her time, as she grew up in an
upper-class environment, which she wrote chiefly about. The reader can
learn much about the upper-class society of this age, and also gets
and insight to the author's opinion about 18th century society, which
at the time was divided into three: aristocracy, gentry and common
people, although these divisions were becoming blurred. Austen
presents the high-society of her time from an observational point of
view, ironically describing human behaviour. She describes her views
and adds her own comments to it in a very light and easy way. She
never seems to be condescending or snubbing in her criticism but
applies it in a playful manner. This playfulness and her witty, ironic
comments on society are probably the main reasons that make this novel
still so enjoyable for readers today.

She was greatly inspired by woman writers of the Romantic Movement
such as Fanny Burney, and even though this movement was reaching its
height, the reader is kept unaware of this, much like the many events
that occurred during Austen's life. Her generation lived in a period
of great social and political upheaval, that saw events such as the
French Revolution, the American War of Independence, the Battle of
Trafalgar, Stephenson's first locomotive and the Battle of Waterloo.
Instead, Jane Austen devoted herself to very limited canvas. Her main
concerns were those of universal fascination today - love and money.
In a world in which an advantageous marriage was the only realistic
and legitimate was for an impoverished woman to better herself and
secure her future, love stories of necessity were stories about money,
or the lack of it. Even so, marriage was starting to become less of a
financial agreement and allowed a bigger freedom in the choice of
marriage partner, although in the Bennet family Mrs. Bennet was
endlessly seeking a man who would allow her to stay at Longbourn or
would bring fortune to her family. And so, it has to be considered
whether love and marriage of necessity could have co-existed
particularly at the time of the novel, which revolves around
relationships and the difficulties of being in love. Jane Austen is
known for her perceptive depiction of relationships. In Pride and
Prejudice, she shows us all kinds of marriages, no two of them alike:
Mr. and Mrs. Bennet, Charlotte and Mr. Collins, Lydia and Wickham,
Jane and Bingley, and, finally, Elizabeth and Darcy.

The relationship between Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy is
arguably the most central and exciting, not only because they are the
main characters, but...

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