Love in the Time of the Victorian Era

2331 Words10 Pages
True love is not found within the goals of economic survival or societal gains, rather it is found when two individuals unite in marriage because they have a genuine affection for each other. In her novel, Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen depicts what love in a traditional Victorian era would be defined as. Austen displays love as the center of attention for all of society, along with the influences society has on it. Through various characters, such as Mr. Collins and Mrs. Bennet, Austen demonstrates how money and status can largely shape love and the idea of who to love. Yet, with the characters of Jane and Bingley, Austen conveys, in the end, that true love results not from economic necessity or societal gains, but from a sincere affection. Society, as Austen describes it, is similar to the survival of the fittest. In order to get to the top, one must do everything he or she can to get there, including manipulating marriage. In the novel’s society “family and marriage occupied a far more public and central position in the social government and economic arrangements” (Brown 302). The members of the society in Austen’s novel, specifically Mrs. Bennet, will do anything, including marrying their daughters off to wealthy men, in order to gain a respectable status amongst there peers. Marriage, therefore, becomes a way of getting to the top of the social ladder. This focus on the importance of the social order significantly influences the idea of love and whom to love because it changes the people into thinking that marriage is not about love, but about status. It shapes the individuals into thinking that societal gains are what truly matter in a relationship. In Vyas 2 this situation, Austen illustrates how the society i... ... middle of paper ... ...not money or status. By satirizing love, Austen displays real love in all its purity. Jane and Bingley have a pure, honest love, and this is the kind of love Austen presents in her novel, which is what should be established in a real relationship. Money and society mold love, and place certain implications on it that do not hold true. These implications shape the idea of love and who to love. Within Pride and Prejudice, love is defined as materialistic, yet true love can defy all, and does when Jane and Bingley wed in the end. Through money and status, Austen constructs a premise of flawed love, which she uses to mock society. Nevertheless, this satire is exactly what communicates the true meaning of love proposed by the novel. Affection shapes love, not wealth or status. Love is not about what one has or gains; love is about whom one spends it with.
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