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In the nineteenth century, middle and upper-class women could not get
jobs; they lived with their parents or relatives until they married.
There were different reasons for marrying then, by marrying someone
wealthy they secure their future financially, however, to marry
someone wealthy they had to have a high social rank. Other reasons for
people to marry would be to obtain household security; Mrs Bennett
wants her daughters to marry because if Mr Bennett dies, she will be
able to move in with one of her daughters. Others marry for love,
Charlotte says, "In nine of ten cases, a woman had better show more
affection than she feels." Charlotte believes that you should marry
for financial security, and if love happens to be in that marriage
then you are quite lucky. "Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter
Jane Austen uses the third person omniscient narrative technique to
clearly show the thoughts and feelings of each character to one
another. Since marriage is an important aspect towards the story, this
technique shows how the characters attitude towards each other
Marriages that are based on financial security are the kind of
marriage that Mrs Bennett wants her daughters to have. Mrs Bennett
believes that she is going to live longer than Mr Bennett, if this
happens, the next male heir (Mr Collins) can choose whether or nor she
can remain living in that household. Mrs Bennett knows that if one of
her daughters gets married, then she will be able to move in with
them, and Mrs Bennett is the kind of woman who would move in with the
daughter who marries the wealthiest man and out stay her welcome.
Charlotte and Mr Collins have this kind of a marriage; Charlotte
believes that it is better to secure your future financially than to
find true love. Mr Collins married for status, since he is a
clergyman; he knew it would be ideal for him. He also had the
intention of marrying because Lady Catherine De Bourgh advised him to
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Mrs Bennett married Mr Bennett for financial security and believes
that her daughters should do the same and urges Jane to marry Mr
Bingley for this reason.
Although Mr Collins married Charlotte for his social rank, he proposed
to Elizabeth for the same reason, he also picked her because he was
physically attracted to her and claims that she is the prettiest out
of the rest of her sisters excluding Jane because he knew that Mrs
Bennett intended her for Bingley. The very next day he proposed to
Charlotte thus revealing his desperation, Charlotte accepted knowing
that she would now be financially secure.
Darcy believes that Jane is only physically attracted to Bingley or
that she just wants to be financially secure. Bingley, as we learn
early in the story, is the only person that Darcy looks out for. Darcy
tries to separate Jane from Bingley and is successful even though Jane
truly does love Bingley. At the start of the book, we learn that Jane
does not like to freely express her feelings.
The relationship between Wickham and Lydia is based on physical
attraction. Wickham seemed to have his eye on her for a while, Wickham
tried to elope with Darcy's sister Georgiana, this was because he
would inherit a large sum of money. Lydia has no money to give Wickham
so the marriage must be based on physical attraction.
Another marriage that is based entirely on physical attraction is that
of Mr and Mrs Bennett. We know that it couldn't be true love because
Mr Bennett does not respect his wife, "My child, let me not have the
grief of seeing you unable to respect your partner in life." She
overexaggerates everything and has become intolerable.
As the story progresses, and quite a lot at the beginning, Mr Bennett
is very sarcastic and indirect with his answers, it seems the only
thing he enjoys doing with his wife is trying to other her and upset
The ideal marriage is the perfect marriage, a marriage that is based
on true love rather than money or physical attraction, in other words,
the marriage of Bingley and Jane and that of Elizabeth and Darcy.
The marriage between Jane and Bingley is a marriage that was set up by
"love at first sight."
Mrs Bennett exclaims, "To be sure, that did seem as if he admired
her-indeed I rather believe he did.
When Darcy and the Bingley sisters separated Jane and Bingley, she
seemed heartbroken although she didn't show it. Elizabeth also feels
her pain and is angry at Bingley for bringing this grief by letting
himself be deceived by his sisters and Darcy. Elizabeth however, let
her anger diminish when Bingley and Darcy visited her when she was
staying with the Gardiner's. When he arrived and talked to Elizabeth
of Jane, he recollected the exact date of when they last met. He says,
"It is above eight months. We have not met since the 26th of November,
when we were all dancing together at Netherfield." Since his memory
was so exact, Elizabethrealised that he had not been entirely
indoctrinated by Darcy and his sisters, and that he still had some
feelings for Jane or that he was still deeply in love with her.
After Bingley declares his love for Jane and proposes to her, her
spirits are lifted and declares, "I'm certainly the most fortunate
creature that ever existed! Oh! Lizzy, why am I thus singled from my
family and blessed above them all!"
The news of the marriage between Bingley and Jane had spread
throughout the town quickly, this was mostly Mrs Bennett's doing
because she finds it hard to keep a secret.
"The Bennett's were speedily pronounced to be the luckiest family in
The story focuses around Elizabeth and thus she has a more in depth
character. Elizabeth's character is given depth through her
relationship with Mr. Darcy. It is her "prejudice" and his "pride" at
their first few encounters that temper their future while also
inexorably causing them to fall in love with one another. Once again,
Austen uses plot development to speak to larger issues; this is
revealed when Wickham elopes with Lydia and when Darcy writes Lizzy a
letter. It is the pride of attitude and the prejudice against the
lower classes that threaten these two and their relationship between
each other. It asks a reader to reflect on his or her own "pride" or
"prejudice" to help us understand how the character's attitudes
towards each other change.
Darcy and Elizabeth have a more complex relationship. At the beginning
of the story Darcy and Elizabeth aren't on great terms with each
other. Darcy describes Elizabeth as just "tolerable" and Elizabeth
thinks Darcy to have a disgusting amount of pride.
Form the start of the book, Darcy isn't liked by anyone except Jane
who doesn't think ill of anyone. When Elizabeth stays at Netherfield,
the reader gets to see some of Darcy's interests in her. Darcy's
feelings become noticeable although Elizabeth doesn't seem to notice.
He claims that he admires her "dark eyes", whether he said this to
bother Caroline Bingley or whether he really did admire her eyes is
unclear at this point.
After Charlotte marries Mr Collins, Elizabeth is invited to Rosings to
see Lady Catherine De Bourgh.
While there, Darcy proposes to Elizabeth, he insulted her more than he
did compliment her, he did admit that he loved her but Elizabeth
didn't accept. She declined knowing from Colonel Fitzwilliam that it
was Darcy who separated Jane and Bingley. She claims that his pride
The next time they meet is at Pemberley; Elizabethis astonished to
find Darcy reformed as a new man; he had a more compassionate
attitude. It is because of this that her prejudice against him
Lady Catherine De Bourgh confronts Elizabeth about a rumour that Darcy
proposed to her, infuriated by her answers, she tells Darcy what
happened and this has the opposite effect that she had intended,
reimbursed with new hopes, Darcy went straight to Elizabeth to find
out exactly how she felt about him in the hope that her view of him
had changed since they were at Rosings.
Darcy was pleased to find that she now loved him; they got married at
the same time as Jane and Bingley.
The Gardiner's helped unite Darcy and Elizabeth. She stayed with them
for a while and that is how she visited Pemberley.
The Gardiner's have a strong marriage, they seem to go to places with
each other, they have the same interests and both look out for
Elizabeth and Jane. "Darcy, as well as Elizabeth, really loved them;
and they were both ever sensible of the warmest gratitude towards the
persons who, by bringing her into Derbyshire, had been the means of
Jane Austen shows how important marriage was through characters such
as Mr Collins and Mrs Bennett.
She bases the whole book on marriage and different reasons to marry,
and through characters like Elizabeth and Darcy and Jane and Bingley,
she shows her own message, that there are other and better reasons to
marry besides physical attraction and money. She shows that you can be
as happy if not more happy, than people who marry for money or
physical attraction, if you marry for true love instead.
She shows that marriages are better than others depending on why they
married as shown at the end of the book, it shows us how their
marriages turned out, Wickham's and Lydia's were the worst, "His
affection for her sunk into indifference, hers lasted a little
longer." The Collins' were reasonably happy at the end; Mr Collins had
decided to pay his wife more attention. Jane and Bingley were just as
happy as Elizabeth and Darcy, who by all means, seemed to have the
best marriage of them all.