The Theme of Marriage in Jane Austen's Pride And Prejudice
One of the main themes in Pride And Prejudice is marriage. Throughout
the novel, the author describes the various types of marriages and
reasons behind them. "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a
single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.
The novel demonstrates how many women need to marry men they are not
in love with simply in order to gain financial security.
The first instance of marriage seen in the novel is that between Mr
and Mrs Bennet. However it is far from perfect, with the couple barely
speaking to each other. Mr Bennet's extreme sarcasm that is seen
throughout the book makes Mrs Bennet seem incompetent to hold a
conversation and indeed at times a relationship. "They are silly and
ignorant, like other girls". Austen uses the Bennet's relationship to
illustrate at the beginning of the book that clearly many did not
marry because of love or connection but merely for social and
The Longbourn estate is an extreme hardship on the Bennet family; it
produces a hurdle in Mrs Bennet's goal to get all of her children
married. The entailment of Mr Bennet's estate leaves his daughters in
a poor financial situation, which both requires them to marry and
makes it more difficult for them to marry. It might be correct in
assuming that Mrs Bennet felt social and financial pressure to get all
of her children married. Her husband's estate was entailed to his
nephew, Mr. Collins. Therefore, Mrs. Bennet wanted her daughters to
have financial stability elsewhere in case of their father's death.
"If you go on refusing every offer of marriage, you will never get a
husband -- and I am sure I do not know who is to maintain you when
your father is dead." In the time period of this story there was very
little social acceptance of women who were single their whole lives.
For the most part, women could not acquire money on their own without
inheriting or marrying into good fortune. Austen promotes gender
equality throughout the novel, and considers women's inferior status
to be socially unjust. Ironically, Mrs Bennet's single-minded pursuit
to get her daughters married tends to backfire, as her lack of social
graces alienates the very people whom she tries desperately to
attract. Austen uses her continually to highlight the necessity of
marriage for young women. Mrs. Bennet also serves as a middle-class
counterpoint to such upper-class...