Materialistic Marriage in Pride and Prejudice
Each individual in this world surely have a dream to get married once they grow up, especially with the one they love. Even though today’s society accepts unmarried relationship where couples live together and have babies out of wedlock, in the end marriage is what they hope for as a symbol of their relationship. Clearly, marriage is a must in human’s life. This necessity influences humans to create stories that end with marriage and live happily ever after. Pride and Prejudice, written by Jane Austen, is also one of those stories that fulfils this criterion. In this novel, Jane Austen described various marriages which differ from each other. Instead of love, there are marriages that are based on appearances and wealth, full of hypocrisy. At first glance, readers might not be able to recognize what Jane Austen’s messages from this diverse marriage assortment. However with deep analysis to the entailment issue, Jane Austen’s bibliography and Elizabeth Bennet’s psychological state, there is some evidence that Jane Austen was actually criticizing the manner in which marriages took place during her time that was mainly based on one’s wealth. Even though some couples were truly in love, nothing comes first before wealth.
The first enquiry that readers should doubt is the uncertainty of the entailment created in this novel. Mimetically, the entailment is just a tool created by Jane Austen to prove that she criticized marriage. Clearly Mr. Bennet cannot hand over the Longbourn estate to any of his immediate family members because he has no male heir. The rule of the entailment stated that no one can inherit any property unless they are the gentlemen of the family. The entailment had made Mrs. Bennet desperate to get her daughters married as soon as possible so that no one from her family including herself would live in poverty when her husband dies. "The business of her life was to get her daughters married." (Austen 3). If the entailment is really applied on that society, then the biggest failing in this novel is the property that Miss King and Lady Catherine de Burgh inherited. From the entailment’s rule it is clearly wrong for Miss King and Lady Catherine de Burgh to be the heirs because they are ladies. If the entailment is applied to everyone but the royal classes, it is not applicable because Miss King does not represent the royal class. Externally this contradiction makes the readers reckon that the author had made a huge mistake. Jane Austen actually created two situations that are differentiated by the entailment. Ladies who are bonded with the entailment are keen to attach themselves with rich men. For instance Mrs. Bennet, although she is not the one who should get married, she wants Elizabeth to be married with Mr. Collins so that the entailment would not be such a difficult thing.
This was his [Mr. Collins] plan of amends ' of atonement - for
inheriting their father’s estate; and he thought it an excellent
one... His plan did not vary on seeing them. Miss Bennet’s lovely
face confirms his views... (Austen 53).
This quote represents the part when Mr. Collins plans to marry one of Bennet’s daughters to ease the inheritance affair and Mrs. Bennet realizes his plan and really agrees. She knows that if Collins be her son in law, she can still stay in the Longbourn estate. Meanwhile ladies who were not bonded with the entailment do not have any interest in marrying early like Miss King. However, although Lady Catherine is already rich, she is still eager to engage her daughter with Mr. Darcy because of her passion to increase her wealth. Therefore, it is clear that the entailment is just a creation of boundaries so that readers can detect the main purpose of marriage in this novel.
There are also several scenes in this novel that are based on Jane...
Bibliography: Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice. United States: Oxford University Press Inc., 1980.
“Jane Austen’s Biography: Life (1775 - 1817) and Family.” pemberley.com. 13 March 2009
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