Jane Austen's Attitudes to Marriage in Persuasion Essay

Jane Austen's Attitudes to Marriage in Persuasion Essay

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Jane Austen's Attitudes to Marriage in Persuasion


In Persuasion, marriage is one of the major themes of the novel, and
Austen's attitudes towards marriage are present in chapter four of the
novel. The first episode in which we can examine Austen's attitudes to
marriage is in chapter four. In chapter four we must notice that there
is no direct speech, which shows that all of the narration is Austen,
with her views and opinions being presented to us. When talking of Mr.
Wentworth, Austen says ' He was a remarkably fine young man, with a
great deal of intelligence, spirit and brilliancy' and of Anne 'an
extremely pretty girl, with gentleness, modesty, taste and feeling.'
In a novel so concerned with wealth and status we must notice that
Austen makes no comment concerning the wealth of either. Austen says
of Anne and Wentworth that 'they were gradually acquainted, and when
acquainted, rapidly and deeply in love.' It would seem that Austen is
implying that in English society you must either gain wealth or love
from a marriage, as very rarely were both love and wealth gained.

Another theme of the novel which seems to accompany the theme of
marriage is that of the private and the public. Austen says of Anne
and Captain Wentworth's togetherness 'A short period of exquisite
felicity followed, and but a short one. Troubles soon arose. Sir
Walter on being applied to thought it a very degrading alliance.'
Austen here presents to us that when the public discover the news the
relationship turns sour. Sir Walter by calling Anne and Wentworth's
relationship an 'alliance' shows that he believes it should be no more
than a business relationship. Austen's tone of 'He thought it a very
degrading alliance' scorns this op...


... middle of paper ...


... titles are measured and weighed in the consideration of
marriage. In finality, Austen uses marriage in the novel as a social
yardstick to measure and compare the characters in the novel. Austen?s
tone is condemning when talking of marriages based on money, which on
one hand shows her recognition of romance and sentimentalism but on
the other can be seen as her bitterness for never finding love and
marrying. For a novelist so concerned with the theme of marriage, it
would seem that Austen believes in love with marriage being the just
way to display affection. Austen?s condemning tone towards marriages
based on class and wealth could be Austen recognising that marriage is
not the only important thing in life. Austen would have had time to
contemplate this, being so close to the end of her own life and
realising that her life was complete without marrying.

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