Jane Austen's Portrayal of Marriage in Pride and Prejudice

Powerful Essays
Jane Austen's Portrayal of Marriage in Pride and Prejudice

Marriage plays an extremely important role in Jane Austen's novel

'Pride and Prejudice'. The novel begins with the sentence "It is a

truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a

good fortune, must be in want of a wife." This single sentence

extremely significant in the fact that it is strongly connected with

one of the main themes of the novel, and introduces a powerful irony

that clashes with the events that unfold during the progress of the


In Jane Austen's day, women of high status were almost entirely

dependent on men. With the only means of employment available to them

being a governess, most unmarried women remained financially dependent

on their male relatives. Also, the fact that most estates and fortunes

such as the Longbourn estate owned by the Bennets were entailed,

meaning that only male relatives could inherit it drove women to

stereotype marriage as a means of financial survival, with the

gentleman with the highest earnings being the most favoured for a "comfortable

home…connections and a situation in life" (i.e. social status). This

can first be perceived as soon as Mr Darcy is introduced into the

novel; where the attention of the room during the dinner party is

drawn by not only his physical features, but also by "the report which

was in general circulation…of his having ten thousand a year."

Mrs Bennet, the wife of Mr Bennet is persistent in her sole obsession

in wanting to marry off her five young daughters to suitable men. The

reader becomes aware of her intent at the very beginning of the novel

where the news of th...

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...nesty and real love and understanding gained through emotional

hardships that they both encountered. This can also be illustrated by

the familiar saying: "The course of true love never did run smooth".

In the novel 'Pride and Prejudice' Jane Austen comments on many

factors such as social class, wealth, and the position of women in her

time and links them closely into her main theme of marriage to try to

make us aware of the various pressures on both women and men as a

result of these factors. She routinely gives us examples of marriages

that can be classified as 'bad' and 'good' throughout the novel to

exemplify these ideas, and the characters she uses as well as the

technique in which she writes in not only brings the story to life

with wit and humour, but also makes this novel very worthwhile and

enjoyable to read.