Jane Austin's Pride and Prejudice
Attitudes to love and marriage in the nineteenth century was very
different from the comparatively liberal approach of today, and strict
codes of etiquette were applied to Courtship for all but the lower
classes of society.
At the time of Pride and Prejudice, women's role was firmly in the
home and the young ladies portrayed in this middle and upper class,
occupied themselves with singing, playing the piano, sewing and other
such accomplishments that would enhance their prospects of suitable
Courtship was almost a formal procedure, and often engineered by
parents, wishing a suitable match. Jane Austin demonstrates this when
Bingley, a rich bachelor, is quickly drawn into the Bennett family on
his arrival at Netherfield Park. The book also shows the intricacies
of meeting and socialising the Bennett sisters with prospective
suitors and the restraints of withholding any affection's until after
If a couple were to exchange gift, escort one another in carriages or
touch intimately they were assumed, engaged.
However, in Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austin also wishes to illustrate
the desire of young woman to choice lifelong partners for love and
compatibility, rather than arranged marriages which are set up for
considerations of wealth and social standing.
A lot of woman in these days were classed in gentry and were almost
entirely dependant on men. However if a woman did not marry she relied
financially on her male relatives. They were allowed, employment as a
governess but this was viewed as an unsatisfactory way of life.
If a woman was proposed to and rejected marriage she would keep the
man's failure to herself. She might tell her sisters but would never
tell another man. We see this when Elizabeth rejects Darcy's offer of
marriage and after only tells her sisters.
In this book we see many sorts of marriages. This included marriage of
love, marriage of duty and marriage of propriety. We see marriage of
love between Mr Darcy and Elizabeth and Mr Bingley and Jane on the
other hand it is also a little of marriage of duty because Mr and Mrs
Bennet know that there daughters will be sorted financially. Also had
Elizabeth got married to Mr Collins we would have seen marriage of
duty as they would have got to keep their house. Finally we see
marriage of propriety between Charlotte Locus and Mr Collins.
Jane Austen uses humour to present her views by satirising many of her
characters especially Mrs Bennet. In Chapter 1 we are introduced to
her business, which is the basis of the novel: 'The business of her
life was getting her daughters married; its solace was visiting and
We laugh at Mrs Bennet because her stupidity is shown during every
crisis in the book. When Jane receives an invitation to dine at
Netherfield, Mrs Bennet works out a way to enable Jane to spend the
night there and saw her off "with many a cheerful...