Pride And Prejudice: The Theme Of Marriage
Pride and Prejudice is frequently proclaimed as one of the greatest romance novels in history. Although it may seem like a simple love story, there are many obstacles that others face in this novel. Nearly every character marries by the ending of this book, though many of the couples are not as well off as Elizabeth and her husband are in terms of feelings. Other than Elizabeth and Darcy’s love-based relationship, some characters in this story create marriages of comfort, or for the financial and cultural stability them or their family could provide; this all would matter more to them than compatibility in marriage. In Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen uses humor, characterization, and narrative to convey the contrasts between the views of marriage between men and women.
Along with the topic of marriage comes gender and course oppression where females are cut to commodities for marriage on account of their gender. In Austen’s reality, women have some chances to sustain themselves at society apart from becoming governesses or marrying into riches and prestige. Females had a small chance for a job; to turn into the governess was considered degrading, and when there are no brothers or successors to the property, the home must be turned over to a male relative, in this case, Mr. Collins, Elizabeth’s distant cousin. Women suffer on numerous counts due to their gender, in the suffocating world of manners and social class pretension, and family and marriage turns into a necessity for life. However, Elizabeth remained the independent minded woman who refused Mr. Collins’ proposal and initially Mr. Darcy’s proposal as she does not believe marrying only for position or property. Regardless of this, she becomes pleased with herself after finding herself crazy about the obnoxious man, Darcy, who holds a huge property and is esteemed highly in society. This all ties into the cultural reality extremely stratified and burdened with class conflict and pretension between the characters in the novel.
Throughout the novel, it is clearly displayed that there are different aspects of marriage between men and women. As stated earlier, marriages were mostly formed on the basis of wanting to achieve personal satisfaction or simply, lust. When comparing the different incentives for marriage in the book, the readers are able to analyze the reasons for them: Mr. Collins and Charlotte Lucas, who married for convenience, Mr Wickham and Lydia, which occurred due to physical attraction and prosperity, and Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy and Jane and Mr. Bingley are due to love. Many of these marriages were affected by the time period as well; since the story took place in the 1800s, attitudes towards marriage were treated differently. Jane Austen relies on these married couples to portray her own opinion on the way marriage worked during that time.
Marriage is considered one of the main themes in Pride and Prejudice, which affects how everything else in the story can be interpreted. Austen describes the many marriages that appear and why they occurred, “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife. (Austen, Chapter 1). The novel demonstrates how many women need to marry men they are not in love with simply in order to gain financial security. However, what could be interpreted from the text as a whole is changed when the focus is shifted to the priority of the marriages. Not only was marriage considered to be of great importance during this time period, but women needed to marry for financial security and stability, and men mostly for personal satisfaction.
The beliefs of the nineteenth century’s view of marriage were able to be enhanced through the main character, Elizabeth. Through her, Jane Austen reveals the contrast between marriage for love and marriage for self pleasure. Since Elizabeth’s views were highly disregarded, the author uses this to show the contrast between how happiness is often found in Elizabeth’s idealistic views than in taking a “lucky shot” with someone who is able to offer the financial needs to women. Along with this concept comes feminist criticism, where the author portrays her feminist views on women’s issues. Elizabeth’s character suggests that although the marriages that occur in the story do help with achieving a higher social status and seem suitable for society, their marriages are, in reality, unsuitable because they lack both love and happiness.
Men are the target of the women in the end as females only had one way to be well off without financially suffering, and it was through getting married. Since the story is based on Austen’s opinions, it is hard to analyze what exactly the men were thinking of marriage. Some didn’t care much, some gave in due to the attraction they felt, and others for love. Austen depicts a world in which options for the genders are very specific, based almost entirely on the family’s social status and connections. To be born as a woman into such a world meant having even less of a choice about who to wed or how to decide the pattern of one’s lifetime.
The way that society operated and weakened women in the novel helps to tell in role Mrs. Bennet’s fear about marrying off her girls, and why such marriages must usually require possible, financial considerations. As members of the rich class, the Bennets are not required to create a job for themselves, yet as females, they are not allowed to require anything. As a result, family is essentially their only choice for achieving wealth and social position. This can be reflected by an event that occurred in chapter 36, when Elizabeth first rejects Darcy, a filthy rich man, due to his overwhelming pride, but ends up marrying him later on after realizing what advantage the marriage would provide her with.
Now not only were women’s views affected by this exact rule, but men were as well. Often pressured to marry due to property and class, rather than marriages of any thought, it was unusual to see how some married out of pure love and affection toward one another. Wealth influenced almost everything in this era: cultural interactions, matrimonies, social life, and much more.
In the end, it is easy to tell that Jane Austen poured many of her own beliefs and opinions when writing the novel; displaying her feelings all throughout the dialogue, characters, and even the plot. Specifically through her character Elizabeth Bennet, Austen is able to reflect her feminist perspective and ideas that are profound. Her opinions shape the plot by almost discreetly including her own thoughts about what she thinks should be an aspect of a perfect marriage.