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Love And Marriage In Jane Austen's Pride And Prejudice

3238 words - 13 pages

Love and Marriage in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice

Analyse Jane Austen's presentation of love and marriage in her novel
Pride & Prejudice. From your evidence suggest what Austen regards as a
'good' marriage.

On first impressions of the novel, my own prejudices clouded my
judgement of the book and of what it might have consisted. Living in
the 21st Century it is somewhat difficult to imagine anything remotely
similar, interesting or slightly scandalous happening in a period in
which rich men marry apparently beautiful women whose main ambition in
life is to marry well. However, as Jane Austen illustrates in the form
of Elizabeth, not all women in this period marry just for money, but
as Elizabeth proves, some marry for love.

Austen, through the image of Lizzy, projects her opinion on love and
marriage: she is clearly a woman who believes in marrying for love and
I expect that many of her personality traits are possessed by Lizzy,
perhaps it is with this level of intimacy and openness that she has
discretely (and perhaps subconsciously) projected herself into a
character so as to make Elizabeth a reflection of herself. It is
within the physical form of Lizzy that the authorial view is made
clear.

I suppose I shall have to follow suit in the beginning of an essay of
Pride & Prejudice. Where else could I start, other than one of the
most famous quotes ever:

"It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in
possession of a large fortune must be in want of a wife."

This practically sums up everything that any gentleman or gentle lady
living in the late 1790's and onwards would have had to have known. It
is to them, what the 10 commandments are to Christians, what nuts are
to squirrels, what a mouse is to a cat- something that they (apologies
for generalisations!) would follow and believe religiously. It is a
rather frivolous and pointless expression; that no rich man should be
without a wife at home or by his side, answering to his 'beck and
call'- feminists would have a field day if they were to travel back to
this period!

There are many examples of 'good' and 'bad' marriages, unfortunately,
more 'bad' in regards to the lack of basic marriage components in the
relationship. For example, Mr. and Mrs. Bennet, who demonstrate how
not to marry for lust, let alone without true understanding of each
other. Throughout the novel we are presented with incidences whereby
they expose their incapability to parent, their lack of control and,
specifically directed at Mrs. Bennet, her immaturity and frivolity: "A
single man of large fortune; four or five thousand a year. What a fine
thing for our girls!"

One could base an entire essay on this pair, examining and most
certainly disagreeing with the majority of the decisions that they
make. One incident in...

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