| | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | |
Relationships of Reality
Nearly two centuries after Jane Austen penned Pride and Prejudice to paper the attribute that most grabs your attention is the wonderful familiarity found in the characters. You know these people. You are already acquainted with these characters because you see mirrored in Austen’s characters the very men and women you come into contact with every day. You yourself have lived through the similarities of relationships such as those that come to life within the pages of this novel. This is all too familiar territory. Pride and Prejudice is simply a look at marriage and relationships as they actually were in Jane Austen’s society, a view that still holds true today. Of the five main marriages presented in this novel each relationship is unique yet realistic. These five marriages have their own contrasting qualities which reveal some insight into the thoughts and opinions of Austen on the subject of marriage and relationships.
Clearly Jane Austen views the marriage between Jane Bennet and Mr. Bingley as one of two examples of a successful relationship. Austen expresses this opinion through Elizabeth in Chapter 55 of Pride and Prejudice by writing: “Elizabeth really believed all his [Mr. Bingley] expectations of felicity, to be rationally founded, because they had for basis the excellent understanding, and super-excellent disposition of Jane, and a general similarity of feeling and taste between her and himself.” (328) However, Austen does see a minor flaw in their relationship. She points out that both characters are too good hearted and too trusting to ever act strongly against anything. (Douthan, 3) Also found in Chapter 55 of this novel, Austen writes of this situation through Mr. Bennet stating: “You are each of you so complying, that nothing will ever be resolved on; so easy, that every servant will cheat you; and so generous, that you will always exceed your income.” (329)
The union between Lydia Bennet and Mr. Wickham is a portrayal of a poor marriage. The foundation of their marriage is solely based on appearances, youthful exuberance and vanity. Their marriage is based on a foundation that crumbles once these qualities are no longer visible in one by the other....