The Theme of Marriage throughout Pride and Prejudice
The theme of marriage is seen from the very beginning of novel. Jane Austen makes her views on marriage known from the very first sentence. She opens her highly acclaimed novel with:
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife. However little known the feelings or views of such a man may be on his first entering a neighbourhood, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of the surrounding families, that he is considered as the rightful property of someone or other of their daughters. (5) The quote signifies that a wealthy man is the most eligible bachelor whether or not he is in love. Money ranks over love in all cases. There are a wide variety of proposals throughout the course of the novel. Marriage is supposed to be about love but when your property is entailed and you have five daughters things can become more complicated. The marriages that occur in Pride and Prejudice are for both love and money. Darcy and Elizabeth, as well as, Bingley and Jane marry for love but Lydia and Wickham marry because they are forced together through Wickham’s debt and Lydia’s hormones. Mr. Collins and Charlotte marry because of Mr. Collins’s need to please his patroness. The twenty-first century view on marriage is quite different.
From the moment Mr. Collins is introduced he comes off as an annoying, rambling, fool who takes orders from his patroness, Lady Catherine de Bourgh. He makes long, awkward speeches that tend to bore people to sleep. He is called amiable many times but is not considered a bachelor by anyone, except Mrs. Bennet after Mr. Collins’s proposal to Elizabeth. His proposal to Elizabeth is sloppy and selfish. He lists his reasons for wanting to marry as being: wanting to set an example in his parish, adding to his happiness, and wanting to please “the very noble lady whom [he has] the honour of calling patroness. (103)”...
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