For this essay, I chose to read the perhaps most famous book by the English author Jane Austen. During the reading I was thinking about which theme I should choose to write about and analyze, and eventually I felt that marriage was the central keyword in the book. I will concentrate on the situation of the daughters in the family, since these are the best described in the novel. My dealing with different ideals and problems within a marriage will be illustrated with examples from the text.
"Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance. If the dispositions of the parties are ever so well known to each other, or ever so similar beforehand, it does not advance their felicity in the least. They always continue to grow sufficiently unlike afterwards to have their share of vexation; and it is better to know as little as possible of the defects of the person with whom you are to pass your life."
This is a quote from Charlotte Lucas, one of the female characters in the novel, and a quote which very well exemplify the general feelings against marriage for the period and the people in upperclass England.
Marriage is central for all characters in the novel: not just daughters and sons, but parents, aunts, uncles and everybody else who has some interest in the subject. Though it is of course most in the interest of the daughter herself to get married, the interests of the own family can be important for the choice of husband and wife. It is not appropriate for the daughter to choose whoever she likes for her husband, which she- if she wants a happy marriage- is not very likely to do. I will discuss the reasons for the careful choice of a proper husband below.
"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife"
This is the first line in the novel, which clearly shows the connection between money and marriage....