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Prostitution Within Pride And Prejudice By Jane Austen

1408 words - 6 pages

"The novel dramatises the economic inequality of women, showing how women had to marry undesirably in order to gain some financial security. It is no exaggeration to see the system as another form of prostitution." To what extend is this true of Pride and Prejudice?Through Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen creates a small sheltered world which reflects many aspects of nineteenth century, England. An aspect which is dramatised in the novel is the economic inequality of women. This inequality forces many women to marry undesirably in order to gain some financial security. Marrying a wealthy man is often women's only chance of acquiring money in this society. This is often seen as another form of prostitution. In which prostitution is, women selling themselves for security by marrying a man purely for his money. Although some women of that period sought after a man for his money many women such as Elizabeth did not settle for a man purely because he was wealthy. Within Pride and Prejudice prostitution is also evident in marriages that are passed on passion, not reasoned love. Jane Austen disapproved with loveless marriages and the characters in her novel who have marriages like this often later suffers.Although many women in this society were seen as prostituting themselves they had little else to do. Women of that society were greatly disadvantaged compared to men. Women had virtually no means of creating a wealth for themselves. Their education which women today rely on to get an occupation, was limited to domestic lessons. So their education was not helpful in allowing women to get a job. But in that society women were no expected to have a job so their education was not necessary. Without a job women had no means of earning money for themselves. Women's economic inequality was also due to the fact that the father's house and wealth was inherited by the closest male in the bloodline. This means that women did not even have a right to her family's wealth. All these factors put women in a situation were they had to find a wealthy man who then becomes their economic salvation. Also marriage was a 'condition' which was seen as the most important act in a women's life in that society. It was very important because the woman was seen as being successful if she was married to a wealth bachelor. Unmarried women were considered of lower status to married women and were doomed to the unhappy life of being a governess. This change in status is shown after Lydia was married. She became more important than Jane just because she was married. "Ah Jane, I take your place now, and you must go lower, because I am a married woman."(pg255) Although some women believed that marrying for money was all that they were capable of there were also many other women of that society who did not conform to that structure of marriage.In Pride and Prejudice there are many examples of marriages that show this so called 'prostitution' of women. One of these is the marriage between...

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