Marriage in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice

Good Essays
Marriage in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice

The novel 'Pride and Prejudice', written by Jane Austin, tells the

story of a man, his five daughters, and his wife whose sole purpose in

life is to marry off her daughters to 'suitable' men. Her eldest

daughter, Jane is her most prized daughter. Mrs. Bennet is assured

that Jane's beauty and meticulous manners will win her a high-quality

husband who may be able to support not just Jane, but her other

sisters as well. The story is told by the second daughter, Elizabeth.

She does not necessarily want to be confined to a marriage of

convenience and social status. Elizabeth is the only character who

demands to marry not only a suitable man, but also one she loves. Her

younger sisters however, Lydia and Catherine are immature and simply

obsessed with flirting with officers. Jane Austin clearly conveys her

judgment of the characters through their actions and through their

marriages. Once Mrs. Bennet begins to accomplish her goal of marrying

her daughters, the reader is able to evaluate each of the marriages

and their circumstances. There are four main marriages in the novel:

Charlotte's marriage to Mr.Collins, Lydia's marriage to Wickham,

Jane's marriage to Mr. Bingley, and Elizabeth's marriage to Mr.Darcy.

Jane Austen uses the character of Elizabeth to voice her opinions on

the makings of a good marriage.

Mr. Collins will be the inheritor of the Bennet family's home when Mr.

Bennet dies. When Mrs.Bennet hears Mr.Collins may be interested in one

of the daughters she is ecstatic because this will ensure that the

home stays with one of her girls. Mr. Collins hears that Jane is

involved wit...

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... Mr. Darcy did not have to overcome so many barriers. The only barrier

that exists for him is the vast difference in family class between the

two. However, this seems to bother others much more than it bothers


The marriage between Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth shows the most promise.

They genuinely love each other. The most unlikely marriage to occur of

the three previously mentioned marriages turns out to be the

strongest! Darcy is a man of reason, stability, and intellect.

Elisabeth is an intellectual equal to Mr. Darcy, and through her

marriage to Mr. Darcy is now more socially stable.

Jane Austen clearly conveys her judgment of the characters through

their actions and through their marriages. Lydia and Wickham's

marriage is the only marriage that is portrayed as being irrational

and altogether irresponsible.
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