Theme Of Marriage In Pride And Prejudice

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Written to change the outlook of marriage, Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice presents marriage as the business of life with an array of intelligent and comical characters. Faced with the challenge of marrying off five daughters, Mr. and Mrs. Bennet have greatly influenced the choices of their daughters with their own marriage. This causes some of the daughters to marry for status and wealth, while others choose something less superficial. The relationship between Mr. and Mrs. Bennet is not necessarily a loving one, differing much from the Gardiners we meet later in the novel. “Mr. Bennett was so odd a mixture of quick parts, sarcastic humour, reserve, and caprice, that the experience of three-and-twenty years had been insufficient to make…show more content…
Bennet has also warned his daughter about making the same mistake he did in terms of marriage. “…Unless you truly esteemed your husband; unless you looked up to him as a superior. Your lively talents would place you in the greatest danger in an unequal marriage. You could scarcely escape discredit and misery” (Austen, 246). This reflects the own feeling that he has involving the marriage to his wife.
Mr. Bennet’s discontent for his wife, causes him to hide away in his study. Where Mr. Bennet is smart, sarcastic and passive, Mrs. Bennet is loud and ignorant. “Her father, captivated by youth and beauty, and that appearance of good humour which youth and beauty generally give, had married a woman whose weak understanding and illiberal mind had very early in their marriage put an end to all real affection for her” (Austen, 153). Mrs. Bennet married for the same reason she pushes Mr. Collins on Elizabeth, for business. Mrs. Bennet has married a man who doesn’t respect her simply because he was a decent choice.
“Respect, esteem, and confidence had vanished for ever; all his views of domestic happiness were overthrown…To his wife he was very little otherwise indebted, than as her ignorance and folly had contributed to his amusement. This is not the sort of happiness which a man would in general wish to owe to his wife; but where other powers of entertainment are wanting, the true philosopher will derive benefit from such as are given ” (Austen,
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At first she held feelings for Mr. Wickham and a sense of prejudice for Darcy. When Darcy proposes to Elizabeth she is shocked and offended by his prideful nature. “He believed, that were it not for the inferiority of her connections, he should be in some danger” (Austen, 33). During the proposal, Darcy emphasizes the distance in their social standings. This is an immediate turnoff for Elizabeth and reassures her feelings toward him. Only after much contemplation and Darcy helping Elizabeth’s family after Lydia elopes with Wickham, does she realize that she truly loves Darcy. This relationship has more substance than that of Jane and Bingley, who simply have mutual feelings and is based off much more than “business” like that of Lydia and Wickham.
Mr. Bennet’s advice to Elizabeth, not to marry someone who she didn’t see as an equal as well as finding someone she loved, was a significant in her choice of Mr. Darcy. She chose someone who she could build a relationship with similar to the Gardiner’s and learn from her father’s mistakes. Jane and Bingley’s relationships is dull but loving reflects a kinder and less complicated version of Mr. and Mrs. Bennet’s relationships while Lydia’s poor judgment and naivety has put her in a less than perfect
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