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Austen's Diverse Presentations Of Marriage Proposals In Pride And Prejudice

2223 words - 9 pages

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.” These are the infamous first words of Jane Austen’s Pride and prejudice. It is a beautiful, semi-epistolary romance novel about the love and relationships in Regency Britain, set in a fictional town called Meryton in Hertfordshire. It also tells a story about how even the most perceptive people can quickly and wrongly judge people as proud or unloving, when in fact, they are just shy and unable and unsure of how to communicate their feelings to each other. The Bennet family has five daughters, the beautiful and elegant eldest, Jane, the intelligent and strong-willed Elizabeth, the uptight Mary and the two youngest, Kitty and Lydia who are “silly,” flirtatious and wild. Mr Bennet is a kind gentleman who married his wife while she was still young. Mrs. Bennet is quite the opposite as she is very talkative and fussy and does not know the full extent of embarrassment that she has caused to her family. The story uses a third-person omniscient narrative type which follows the second eldest daughter, Elizabeth. Elizabeth (or Lizzy as she is sometimes known) is the pride of her father, and she and Jane confined in each other as much as they can. Whilst their mother wishes for them to get married to the richest and powerful man, the contrary wishes of Jane and Elizabeth are to marry for love.

The tall and handsome Fitzwilliam Darcy was raised in a wealthy family, and was probably told that no shame should ever come to their family by his aunt, Lady Catherine de Bourgh. The combination of his shyness and wealth made him look proud and unapproachable when he newly moved into Hertfordshire, and was seen at the first ball of the novel. It took him a long time to understand that he had fallen into love with Elizabeth and to admit this to himself. His best friend Charles Bingley on the other hand is care-free and falls in love at first sight of Jane. He is not quite so rich or handsome, but is friendly and well mannered which brings him friends wherever he goes.

The representations of marriage in Pride and Prejudice are varied from being out of spite, lust and vengeance to being full of love, respect and infatuation. Chapter nineteen brings the first proposal, the unwanted prospect of marriage to Mr. Collins. When Mr. Collins asks Mrs. Bennet for a private audience with her daughter, Elizabeth anticipates what is coming and tries to excuse herself with the excuse that will not only get her away from him, but she also tries to show her mother that she is not interested in a man like him. “…I beg you will not go. Mr. Collins must excuse me. He can have nothing to say to me that anybody need not hear. I am going away myself.” But, this comes to no avail.

In his speech, Mr. Collins presents three main ideas that he thinks represents marriage. His first motive is that he thought that he should, as a clergyman, set an example to his parish...

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