Jane Austen's Portrayal of Marriage in Pride and Prejudice Essays

Jane Austen's Portrayal of Marriage in Pride and Prejudice Essays

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Jane Austen's Portrayal of Marriage in Pride and Prejudice

Marriage plays an extremely important role in Jane Austen's novel
'Pride and Prejudice'. The novel begins with the sentence "It is a
truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a
good fortune, must be in want of a wife." This single sentence
extremely significant in the fact that it is strongly connected with
one of the main themes of the novel, and introduces a powerful irony
that clashes with the events that unfold during the progress of the
novel.

In Jane Austen's day, women of high status were almost entirely
dependent on men. With the only means of employment available to them
being a governess, most unmarried women remained financially dependent
on their male relatives. Also, the fact that most estates and fortunes
such as the Longbourn estate owned by the Bennets were entailed,
meaning that only male relatives could inherit it drove women to
stereotype marriage as a means of financial survival, with the
gentleman with the highest earnings being the most favoured for a "comfortable
home…connections and a situation in life" (i.e. social status). This
can first be perceived as soon as Mr Darcy is introduced into the
novel; where the attention of the room during the dinner party is
drawn by not only his physical features, but also by "the report which
was in general circulation…of his having ten thousand a year."

Mrs Bennet, the wife of Mr Bennet is persistent in her sole obsession
in wanting to marry off her five young daughters to suitable men. The
reader becomes aware of her intent at the very beginning of the novel
where the news of th...


... middle of paper ...


...nesty and real love and understanding gained through emotional
hardships that they both encountered. This can also be illustrated by
the familiar saying: "The course of true love never did run smooth".

In the novel 'Pride and Prejudice' Jane Austen comments on many
factors such as social class, wealth, and the position of women in her
time and links them closely into her main theme of marriage to try to
make us aware of the various pressures on both women and men as a
result of these factors. She routinely gives us examples of marriages
that can be classified as 'bad' and 'good' throughout the novel to
exemplify these ideas, and the characters she uses as well as the
technique in which she writes in not only brings the story to life
with wit and humour, but also makes this novel very worthwhile and
enjoyable to read.

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