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Marriage Without Love In Pride And Prejudice By Jane Austen

1566 words - 6 pages

The very first sentence of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen satirizes womens’ inability to be self sufficient and respected in society without a husband. Elizabeth Bennet resembles Austen as young women, as she chose to be old maid rather than be married inappropriately. Elizabeth cannot stand the frenzies her mother and sisters get in over superficial marriages. Unlike her sisters, Elizabeth is set on finding love, and will not sacrifice love for any absurd amount of money or status. Austen wrote during the uprising of the middle classwhich created an increase of individualistic views. Thus, Austen challenges class hierarchy by juxtaposing Elizabeth with the aristocracy in order to satirize the nobility’s divergence from the natural love of a man and women in holy matrimony, to marriages imposition as an artificial institution of society, used to preserve order and wealth. Austen challenges the ideals of class hierarchy and indicates ones’ status is independent of wealth, or heritage, and is decided by how close ones’ view of marriage matches the natural love between a man and women.
Jane Austen puts Elizabeth in charge of her rebellion against the gentry’s use of marriage as a way to attain social status and economic security. Elizabeth disgusted by their arrogance and rudeness, and unfazed by their wealth and status, surprises both Mr. Collin and Mr. Darcy by denying their marriage proposals. Elizabeth directs her defiance at the aristocracy as a group, for its endorsement of loveless marriage, to uphold their bloodline, as it engulfs society into a superficial lifestyle. Even though Elizabeth rejects these superficial relationships, she cannot escape aristocracy’s grip on her life, as her own mother and sisters are surround by society’s idea to marry up in status and wealth. Austen criticizes the aristocracy’s superficial view of marriage, reflecting their lack of merit, but praises Elizabeth’s refusal to partake in her mother’s shallow ‘game’ of marriage, conveying her superior nature. Austen states that the aristocracy’s view of holy matrimony no longer reflects the natural love between two people, dropping their status below Elizabeth’s.Austen humorously disparages Charlotte’s superficial view of marriage by starkly contrasting them with Elizabeth’s to expose Charlotte’s low status. Charlotte believes that “happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance” and that “very few of us have heart enough to be really in love without encouragement” (14). This indicates that Charlotte believes love is not essential to the success of marriage and therefore she lacks status. Her satire commends Elizabeth’s rebellion against class hierarchy, and commends her refusal to marry without love even if it means passing up the most sought after bachelors, and thus raising her status above Charlottes.
Similar to Charlotte, Ms. Bingley’s actions embody nobilities’ view of marriage as an artificial institution to secure status and wealth. Austen...

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