Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
'Pride and Prejudice'is a novel about love and marriage. Examining the
main marriages in the story, discuss how successfully Jane Austen
communicates her own views on the nineteenth Century attitudes towards
'It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in
possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.'
This is a very ironic opening statement. The reader instantly detects
the wit and humour of the well-loved author Jane Austen. This wit and
humour is reflected and plays a major part is this novel. For in fact
rather than it being a 'truth universally acknowledged' it is in fact
the notion of a certain shallow-minded Mrs Bennet. Mrs Bennet is the
mother of five girls. She finds it her ultimate duty to get all of her
five girls married and preferably to a wealthy gentleman. Marriage in
the nineteenth century was very important for a girl. She would want
to get married as soon as possible before she was too old to do so.
Most young girls would want to marry a wealthy man, with a big estate
who could take care of her.
Jane Austen never married but she reflected many of her own views in
her writings. Austen was writing at a time when then interests of
society were of passion and emotion, which many of the authors of that
time wrote about, but instead Austen's work reflected the classical
ideals of order and reason.
There are many different attitudes to love and marriage in the novel.
Mrs Bennet influences her two youngest daughters, Lydia and Kitty but
perhaps captures a more negative sentiment for example the way she
lets them fool around with the regimental soldiers. It is probably
this ill-founded freedom that allows the disastrous marriage to
happen. After this event Mr Bennet realises their irresponsibility and
condemns himself for letting it happen. We see this when he received a
letter from his brother-in-law and he gives it to Elizabeth and Jane
to read. He tells them that he was to blame for this and if he had
been more responsible it would never have happened.
The two eldest daughters of the Bennet family, Jane and Elizabeth,
know their place in society and their good and pleasant manners are
shown on their several outings to balls. In the novel we see Jane and
Elizabeth on several occasions, expressing their views to each other
on marriage. Elizabeth also has a conversation with Charlotte Lucas.
They discussed Jane Bennet's love affair with Mr Bingley and while
doing so Charlotte tells Elizabeth that she would marry for economic
reasons rather than love. She says:
'"Jane should therefore make the most of every half hour in which she
can command his attention. When she is secure of him there will be
leisure for falling in love as much as she chuses"'
Elizabeth does not believe that...