Austen's Diverse Presentations of Marriage Proposals in Pride and Prejudice
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“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.” These are the infamous first words of Jane Austen’s Pride and prejudice. It is a beautiful, semi-epistolary romance novel about the love and relationships in Regency Britain, set in a fictional town called Meryton in Hertfordshire. It also tells a story about how even the most perceptive people can quickly and wrongly judge people as proud or unloving, when in fact, they are just shy and unable and unsure of how to communicate their feelings to each other. The Bennet family has five daughters, the beautiful and elegant eldest, Jane, the intelligent and strong-willed Elizabeth, the uptight Mary and the two youngest, Kitty and Lydia who are “silly,” flirtatious and wild. Mr Bennet is a kind gentleman who married his wife while she was still young. Mrs. Bennet is quite the opposite as she is very talkative and fussy and does not know the full extent of embarrassment that she has caused to her family. The story uses a third-person omniscient narrative type which follows the second eldest daughter, Elizabeth. Elizabeth (or Lizzy as she is sometimes known) is the pride of her father, and she and Jane confined in each other as much as they can. Whilst their mother wishes for them to get married to the richest and powerful man, the contrary wishes of Jane and Elizabeth are to marry for love.
The tall and handsome Fitzwilliam Darcy was raised in a wealthy family, and was probably told that no shame should ever come to their family by his aunt, Lady Catherine de Bourgh. The combination of his shyness and wealth made him look proud and unapproachable when he newly moved into Hertfordshire, and was seen at the first ball ...
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..., the shot showed happily married couples such as Jane and Charles, Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam and Mr and Mrs Bennet. But, when saying negative things, the shot showed people or couples who weren’t happy or didn’t marry for love or for moral reasons, such as the Wickham’s, Lady Catherine de Bourgh and the Collins’.
Jane Austen’s ‘Pride and Prejudice’ has a diverse range of representations of marriage. It is a love story, but doesn’t only look at the romantic side of love, but also about how the “happily ever after” fairy tail ending of an ideal couple is not something that is easy to get or that this is ideal in some cases. Austen uses semi-epistolary, third person narrative, and even talks through characters to carry her point across; even the most perceptive people can misinterpret situations, and that can seriously harm and source prejudice amongst people.