An individual often finds himself in a conflict with the rules of
society. Occasionally, rebelling is the path to happiness. However, usually,
the real path to happiness is through compromise. This is the case in the early
nineteenth century England setting of Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen. In
the novel, Miss Elizabeth Bennet is a lively, independent woman, whose family's
financial situation and whose strong mindedness suggest that she may never marry.
Mr. Darcy, is a rigid and proper man, who falls in love with Elizabeth, despite
their differences. By the end of the novel, Elizabeth and Darcy learn to
compromise, and, in doing so, become truly happy. In marrying, they not only
fulfill themselves as individual, but also affirm the principle values of
society. As in many of her novels, this marriage at the end of the novel shows
us Jane Austen's ideal view of marriage as a social institution.
The novel Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen gives us the reader a
very good idea of how she views marriage, as well as society. The theme of
marriage is set in the very opening sentence of Pride and Prejudice; "It is a
truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good
fortune, must be in want of a wife" (Austen, 1) As Norman Sherry points out,
this is Austen's way of implying that 'a single man in possession of a good
fortune' is automatically destined to be the object of desire for all unmarried
women. The statement opens the subject of the romantic novel; courtship and
marriage. The sentence also introduces the issue of what the reasons for
marrying are. She implies here that many young women marry for money. The
question the reader must ask himself is, does Jane Austen think this is moral?
Sherry shows us that Austen was not particularly romantic. She reveals these
sentiments through Charlotte remarks concerning her marriage to Mr. Collins.
"I am not romantic you know.... [continues]
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(1999, 10). Marriage: the Perfect Ending to Pride and Prejudice. StudyMode.com. Retrieved 10, 1999, from http://www.studymode.com/essays/Marriage-Perfect-Ending-Pride-Prejudice-4424.html
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