How does Austen present marriage in Pride and Prejudice?
Throughout ’Pride and Prejudice’ Jane Austen conveys the theme of marriage of being of paramount importance. The first line of ‘Pride and Prejudice’ defines the main themes of Austen’s’ novel, as well as subtly giving the reader an insight of Austen’s views of marriage. Her use of hyperbole ‘That a man in possession of good fortune, must be in want of a wife’ hints at a somewhat mocking and ironic tone on Austen’s part, which indicates to the reader that Austen doesn’t agree with the general perception of marriage during her time. The three main marriages that are presented within the novel each denote a different type of marriages that were commonly found in the 18th century. These are the marriages of Mr and Mrs Bennet, Lydia and Mr Wickham and Charlotte Lucas and Mr Collins. Austen has juxtaposed the foremost marriage in the novel, the marriage of Darcy and Elizabeth, with the other three listed, in the sense that the marriage of Darcy and Elizabeth was based on ‘true love’ an ideology that Austen herself adhered to. From observing the marriage of Austen’s characters of Mr and Mrs Bennet, we see a common example of the motivations to marry during the late 18th century. Although it was thought that marriage should be for money, some were based on lust. Mr Bennet was ‘captivated by youth and beauty’ and therefore married a woman of ‘mean understanding’. He married Mrs Bennet on the pretext that she was outwardly desirable. Mr Bennet does not spend much time with his wife he usually spends his time sitting by himself in his study. "I will be glad to have the library to myself as soon as maybe." Mr Bennet as a character, is satirical and sarcastic, especially towards his wife ‘You mistake me, I have the utmost respect for your nerves, they have been my constant companion for 22 years’ From Mr Bennet’s withdrawal from his wife and family as a whole, and the mocking way in which he addresses his wife, we as...
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