The Matrimonial Value Orientation in Pride and Prejudice

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Money and Marriage----The matrimonial value orientation in Pride and Prejudice

[Abstract] Pride and prejudice is a very popular novel written by Jane Austen and it is read widely all over the world. It was written in 1813. That specific history time decided that people at that time took money much more seriously, even on their marriage. In this paper, the marriage cases of most characters in the book were taken as typical to analyze how money influenced their matrimonial value orientation.

[Key words] Pride and prejudice, money, matrimonial value orientation, marriage

[摘要] 简·奥斯丁的《傲慢与偏见Ӎ









[关键词] 傲慢与偏见,金钱,婚姻价



Pride and Prejudice is the most enduringly popular novel written by Jane Austen. It talks about trivial matters of love, marriage and family life between country squires and fair ladies in Britain in the 18th century. The plot is very simple. That is how the young ladies choose their husbands. Someone said that "Elizabeth Bennet, the protagonist of the novel, flatly rejected William Collins' proposal, who is the heir of her father's property and manor, and refused the first proposal from the extremely wealthy nobleman Fitzwilliam Darcy later,"(1) all this makes it clear that Elizabeth "seeks no fame nor fortune, but self-improvement and high mental outlook."(1) It's right. From the view point of Austen, Elizabeth's marriage, who finally marries Darcy, as well as Jane-Bingley's, composing money and love, is the ideal marriage people should after. But in other marriage cases in this novel, we can see that if money and love can't be held together in one marriage, love would always make a concession to money because of the special social background. After reading through the whole book, we will find that money acts as the cause of each plot and the clue of its development. It affects everybody's words and deeds, even Elizabeth Bennet. Tony Tanner once said, "Jane Austen, as well as other authors, is very clear that no feeling could be extremely pure and no motive could be definitely single. But as long as it is possible, we should make it clear that which feeling or motive plays the leading role." (2)

Social Background

The story of Pride and Prejudice took place in the time of the Regency in Britain. At that time, Britain was at the period of transition from the earlier stage of Capitalism to Capitalist Industrialization. In the countryside, the aristocratic family still held great power and right that country squires were likely to fawn upon them.

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