How Society Viewed Love and Marriage in Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

How Society Viewed Love and Marriage in Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

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How Society Viewed Love and Marriage in Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Jane Austen was born in 1775 and spent most of her life in the
countryside in a village called Steventon, Hampshire. She was the
daughter of a clergyman, Reverend George Austen and her mother was
called Cassandra Austen. She had a brief education starting at the age
of seven and ending at eleven, when she settled at home. Like women in
Austen’s society, she had little education due to the beliefs at the
time; the only education she would have received would likely have
been to up her social status, through marriage. She wrote “Pride and
Prejudice” to portray society’s views of love and marriage to the
reader and to shoe that marriages take place for different reasons. We
see throughout the novel the excessive number of marriages and
courtships that take place.

The opening sentence “It’s a truth universally acknowledged, that a
single man in the possession of a good fortune must be in want of a
wife” introduces the theme of love, marriage and money in an ironic
way. The irony is contained in the fact that marriage is meant to be
about love and happiness but clearly revolves around wealth and social
standing. In the novel we see two established marriages take place;
The Bennet’s and the Gardiner’s. Throughout the novel four other
marriages take place; Lydia and Mr Wickham, Charlotte Lucas and Mr
Collins, Elizabeth and Darcy and Jane and Mr Bingley.

The marriage between Mr Collins and Charlotte Lucas is purely based on
financial and social security not love or appearance, It was extremely
common fro women in Austens era to marry and save themselves from
spinsterhood and social security and to gain, the above mentioned,

... middle of paper ...

...however, that Darcy is her ideal match.
Intelligent and forthright, he too has a tendency to judge too hastily
and harshly, and his high birth and wealth make him overly proud and
overly conscious of his social status. When he proposes to her, for
instance, he dwells more on how unsuitable a match she is than on her
charms, beauty, or anything else complimentary, “not handsome enough”.
Here Darcy is reflecting society’s views of love and marriage because
many people married for higher social status and financial status
rather than for love and beauty.

Pride and prejudice is a love story but does not reflect the romantic
side. It gives the reader a sense of all the different kinds of
relationships, none of them are the same. It shows that the ideal
couple is difficult to find, the established marriages in the book
being The Bennet’s and the Gardiner’s.

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