The Marriage 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). Jane Austen started her book Pride and Prejudice in this way clearly stating that one of her major themes would be marriage. The line implies that men who are financially stable must want to get married. In some cases this is true, but in others it is the exact opposite. It is the female who does not have any money who is in want of a husband. In fact in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, it is mostly the female characters that not only are in want of husbands but also are doing most of the pursuing. This shows that no matter whether you are speaking of marriage back in those times, or speaking of marriage in more current times it still has not changed much. Marriage can be defined and looked upon in several different ways. It can be a religious sanctity, a convenient partnership, and to some a quick way to get rich. Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice shows a wide variety of aspects of marriage through the four marriages previous the book and the four marriages that took in the book. Though marriage is constantly sought after for several different reasons, there are only two different outcomes possible. Either they work or they do not. However marriage is viewed, it is still the agreed commitment between two individuals. This being so ultimately gives the pursuer the power to control his or her own fate. The first marriage introduced in the book is the Bennet's marriage, which is not the best marriage in the novel, but it comes out to be what is expected of it. The first problem is that the foundation of their marriage is questionable: "He consulted only his personal desires and made a disastrous marriage"(Magill 5331). Mr. Bennet obviously married Mrs. Bennet for physical reasons but did not realize that in time the beauty would fade. Mr. Bennet made a common decision that is made by many couples. Physical attraction is not all that bad of a reason to marry as long as it is accompanied with compatibility. In the short run, he mad a good choice, but in the end he will end up regret his decision. After time their relationship consisted of Mrs. Bennet talking meaninglessly and Mr. Bennet making sarcastic comments and insulting her any chance he could. Yet the relationship still works because she either does not know that she is being insulted or chooses to ignore it and keep her mind focused on her daughters. Marriage is first seen through Ms. Bennet's point of view while she is ranting about this new bachelor coming to town. Her time is totally consumed by the idea that he could marry one of her daughters: "The business of her life was to get her daughters married; its solace was visiting and news"(Austen 2). Mrs. Bennet married for financial security, and tries to enforce the same values upon her daughters. "If I can but see one of my daughters happily settled at Netherfield, and all the others equally married, I shall have nothing to wish for" (Austen 6). Her meaning of equally married was not pertaining to the love that was being shared there, but the amount of money and status that was entering the family. Mr. Bennet first responds to Mrs. Bennet's obsession, with getting her daughters married, as nonchalant and unexcited. He even goes as far as telling her that he was not going to visit the new bachelor in town, not even giving them a chance at marriage. He gives off the impression that he has no intention on visiting the bachelor, Mr. Bingley, then: "Mr. Bennet was among the earliest of those who waited on Mr. Bingley"(Austen 3) showing that he really does care about his daughters getting married, just not as much as Mrs. Bennet. The Bennets may have married for the wrong reason, but over the years have learned to ignore each other enough to survive together, showing that a successful marriage is not necessarily the marriage with...
Cited: Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice. USA: Tome Doherty associates Inc, 1988
Bloom, Harold. Pride and prejudice bloom notes. PA, Broomall: Chelsea house publishers, 1996
Hand out from class
Magill, Frank N. Masterplots. Pasadena, California: Salem Press Inc, 1996
Norman, Sherry. Jane Austen. New York: Arco, 1969
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