Appearances do not mean everything

Appearances do not mean everything

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In Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen satirizes the roles and ideas of women. Taking place in the Victorian age, men saw women as stoic beings that would always agree with them, and they saw women through their eyes. Men were only interested in how a woman looked, then realized after their marriage that there was more than looks to a woman. Mr. and Mrs. Bennet did not have a perfect marriage. Since their marriage was not such an optimal marriage, their daughters lacked many qualities women should have. Mr. Bennet’s belief in appearances being the only important thing in a marriage differs from Elizabeth’s opinion on marriage because she understands the burden of being a woman who must get married.
Mr. Bennet acts like every person did in the Victorian age: He acted through his eyes, only looking at appearances, instead of his heart. “Captivated by youth and beauty, and that appearance of good humour which youth and beauty generally give, had married a woman…” (202). He did not fully know Mrs. Bennet until after they were married. “…whose weak understanding and illiberal mind had very early in their marriage put an end to all real affection for her” (202). Because of his mistake of not fully getting to know Mrs. Bennet before their marriage they do not connect anymore because of her lack of knowledge compared to Mr. Bennet. “Respect, esteem, and confidence had vanished forever, and all his views of domestic happiness were overthrown” (202). Proving his point of lack of affection towards Mrs. Bennet, he also losses respect for her and it results in the lack happiness in their marriage. Mr. Bennet’s love of reading and the country he spends the majority of his time dedicated to them. Since he is so fond of his hobbies, Mrs. Bennet regards him as “very little otherwise indebted than as her ignorance and folly had contributed to his amusement,” which is not the greatest gift a man can give a woman (202). She knows that she is not too smart and very cultured as Mr. Bennet thinks himself to be and comments on his lack of attention to her.
Elizabeth, unknowing of her father’s behavior as a husband, saw her parent’s marriage “with pain” (202). Her repression of her father’s behavior cloaks her feelings because of “his affectionate treatment to herself” (202).

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Mr. Bennet had always favored Elizabeth, so although his behavior towards Mrs. Bennet does not epitomize a true marriage, Elizabeth pushes it aside. While pushing aside her parent’s marriage, Elizabeth “banish[es] from her thoughts that continual breach of conjugal obligation and decorum” (203). She has never been the kind of woman to want to get married so she suppresses the idea of it all together. As Elizabeth has become older she “had never felt so strongly as now the disadvantages which must attend the children of so unsuitable a marriage” (203). From seeing how she and her sisters grew up she realizes the disadvantages that they will soon face because of the type of marriage that her parents have. She also has never “been so fully aware of the evils arising from so ill-judged a direction of talents, talents which rightly used might at least have preserved the respectability of his daughters” (203). In the Victorian age, a woman was supposed to have many talents that would make them a fitting bride, but the Bennet girls lacked those talents due to Mrs. Bennet not teaching the Bennet girls the talents of a woman, and he thought that if his daughters had those talents, it still would not enlarge “the mind of his wife” (203). Because of Mr. and Mrs. Bennet’s flawed marriage, the Bennet girls were jeopardized of finding husbands for themselves.


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