Pride and Prejudice

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Marriage is classified as a formal union between a man and a woman. In Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, this formal union is a prevalent factor in the relationships between many characters, whether the marriage is for love, or for financial security. There are developing relationships, relationships that begin at first sight, and relationships based solely on desperation. While all the women depicted in this novel improve their social situations through marriage, it is not always intentional, and it does not always end in happy wedded bliss. For example, Elizabeth Bennet marries into wealth; however, her reasons for marriage were just and unlike those of someone like Charlotte Lucas whose sole purpose for marriage was to gain wealth. Consequentially, Elizabeth marries into good fortune, but unlike Charlotte Lucas’s marriage of desperation, Elizabeth marries for love and unintentionally marries a wealthy man. While Jane Austen is not critical of wealth and social status, she is critical of those who see marriage solely as a financial gain. Marrying based upon the wealth and social standing of the spouse, a concept Jane Austen criticizes, can be seen looking at the marriage of Charlotte Lucas and Mr. Collins. Mr. Collin’s is a single man of good fortune and it is only sensible that a women seeking such wealth, Charlotte Lucas, would desire the financial standing she would gain from such a man. As Jane Austen expresses in the beginning of the novel, “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife” (page 5). This illustrates a side of matrimony that is founded upon the wealth of a man and a woman seeking financial stability. This depiction of marriage is similar to the union between Charlotte Lucas and Mr. Collins because Charlotte feels a need to wed and secure herself financially. Charlotte’s reasons for marrying Mr. Collins become questionable because it is so soon after Mr. Collins was...
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