Marriage in Pride and Prejudice

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Marriage: The Foundation of Happiness or Misery

In today’s world, 50 percent of marriages end in divorce. Although the other 50 percent of marriages don’t end in divorce, not all those marriages are considered an ideal marriage. The concept of an ideal marriage has changed as time has progressed. An ideal marriage in our time is a marriage based on love and family. Most societies have always had the same perspective of an ideal marriage during their time periods. However, in Jane Austen’ Pride and Prejudice, the author defies the view of the ideal marriage of her society by giving her own perspective on an ideal marriage. In the time period of Pride and Prejudice, society viewed ideal marriage as one based on financial stability and social equality. Although Jane Austen’s view of an ideal marriage includes financial and social stability, love was a major factor as well. In the novel, Jane Austen writes about suitable marriages and unsuitable marriages. Although the marriages based on wealth and social class seems suitable through society’s eyes, Jane Austen suggests those marriages to be unsuitable because of their lack of love and happiness. In the novel, many of the marriages reflect society’s view of marriage as a business affair and these marriages are quite unsuitable. Although Mr. and Mrs. Bennet have been married for 23 years, there is no mutual affection between them. Mr. Bennet married Mrs. Bennet because he was “captivated by [her] youth and beauty… he married a woman whose weak understanding and illiberal mind had very early in their marriage put an end to all real affection for her” (202). Mr. Bennet practically never communicates with his wife and when he does, he teases her for his own enjoyment. Their marriage was solely based on physical attraction which has now faded away. Both of these characters were mismatched in personality and in social class. However, this couple isn’t the only unsuitable marriage through Austen’s eyes. Mr. Collins and...
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