Major Themes Pride As said in the words of Mary at the beginning of the novel, “human nature is particularly prone to [pride]” (Volume I, Chapter 5). In the novel, pride prevents the characters from seeing the truth of a situation and from achieving happiness in life. Pride is one of the main barriers that creates an obstacle to Elizabeth and Darcy’s marriage. Darcy’s pride in his position in society leads him initially to scorn anyone outside of his own social circle.
Elizabeth’s vanity clouds her judgment, making her prone to think ill of Darcy and to think well of Wickham. In the end, Elizabeth’s rebukes of Darcy help him to realize his fault and to change accordingly, as demonstrated in his genuinely friendly treatment of the Gardiners, whom he previously would have scorned because of their low social class. Darcy’s letter shows Elizabeth that her judgments were wrong and she realizes that they were based on vanity, not on reason. Prejudice Pride and prejudice are intimately related in the novel. As critic A.
Walton Litz comments, “in Pride and Prejudice one cannot equate Darcy with Pride, or Elizabeth with Prejudice; Darcy’s pride of place is founded on social prejudice, while Elizabeth’s initial prejudice against him is rooted in pride of her own quick perceptions. ” Darcy, having been brought up in such a way that he began to scorn all those outside his own social circle, must overcome his prejudice in order to see that Elizabeth would be a good wife for him and to win Elizabeth’s heart. The overcoming of his prejudice is demonstrated when he treats the Gardiners with great civility.
The Gardiners are a much lower class than Darcy, because Mr. Darcy is a lawyer and must practice a trade to earn a living, rather than living off of the interest of an estate as gentlemen do. From the beginning of the novel Elizabeth prides herself on her keen ability for perception. Yet this supposed ability is often lacking, as in Elizabeth’s judgments of Darcy and Wickham. Family Austen portrays the family as primarily responsible for the intellectual and moral education of children. Mr. and Mrs. Bennet’s failure to provide this education for their daughters leads to the utter shamelessness, foolishness, rivolity, and immorality of Lydia. Elizabeth and Jane have managed to develop virtue and strong characters in spite of the negligence of their parents, perhaps through the help of their studies and the good influence of Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner, who are the only relatives in the novel that take a serious concern in the girls’ well-being and provide sound guidance. Elizabeth and Jane are constantly forced to put up with the foolishness and poor judgment of their mother and the sarcastic indifference of their father.
Even when Elizabeth advises her father not to allow Lydia to go to Brighton, he ignores the advice because he thinks it would too difficult to deal with Lydia’s complaining. The result is the scandal of Lydia’s elopement with Wickham. Women and Marriage Austen is critical of the gender injustices present in 19th century English society. The novel demonstrates how money such as Charlotte need to marry men they are not in love with simply in order to gain financial security.
The entailment of the Longbourn estate is an extreme hardship on the Bennet family, and is quite obviously unjust. The entailment of Mr. Bennet’s estate leaves his daughters in a poor financial situation which both requires them to marry and makes it more difficult to marry well. Clearly, Austen believes that woman are at least as intelligent and capable as men, and considers their inferior status in society to be unjust. She herself went against convention by remaining single and earning a living through her novels.
In her personal letters Austen advises friends only to marry for love. Through the plot of the novel it is clear that Austen wants to show how Elizabeth is able to be happy by refusing to marry for financial purposes and only marrying a man whom she truly loves and esteems. Class Considerations of class are omnipresent in the novel. The novel does not put forth an egalitarian ideology or call for the leveling of all social classes, yet it does criticize an over-emphasis on class. Darcy’s inordinate pride is based on his extreme class-consciousness.
Yet eventually he sees that factors other than wealth determine who truly belongs in the aristocracy. While those such as Miss Bingley and Mrs. Hurst, who are born into the aristocracy, are idle, mean-spirited and annoying, Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner are not members of the aristocracy in terms of wealth or birth but are natural aristocrats by virtue of their intelligence, good-breeding and virtue. The comic formality of Mr. Collins and his obsequious relationship with Lady Catherine serve as a satire class consciousness and social formalities.
In the end, the verdict on class differences is moderate. As critic Samuel Kliger notes, “It the conclusion of the novel makes it clear that Elizabeth accepts class relationships as valid, it becomes equally clear that Darcy, through Elizabeth’s genius for treating all people with respect for their natural dignity, is reminded that institutions are not an end in themselves but are intended to serve the end of human happiness. ” Individual and Society The novel portrays a world in which society takes an interest in the private virtue of its members.
When Lydia elopes with Wickham, therefore, it is scandal to the whole society and an injury to entire Bennet family. Darcy considers his failure to expose the wickedness of Wickham’s character to be a breach of his social duty because if Wickham’s true character had been known others would not have been so easily deceived by him. While Austen is critical of society’s ability to judge properly, as demonstrated especially in their judgments of Wickham and Darcy, she does believe that society has a crucial role in promoting virtue.
Austen has a profound sense that individuals are social beings and that their happiness is found through relationships with others. According to critic Richard Simpson, Austen has a “thorough consciousness that man is a social being, and that apart from society there is not even the individual. ” Virtue Austen’s novels unite Aristotelian and Christian conceptions of virtue. She sees human life as purposeful and believes that human beings must guide their appetites and desires through their use of reason.
Elizabeth’s folly in her misjudgments of Darcy and Wickham is that her vanity has prevented her from reasoning objectively. Lydia seems almost completely devoid of virtue because she has never trained herself to discipline her passions or formed her judgment such that she is capable of making sound moral decisions. Human happiness is found by living a life in accordance with human dignity, which is a life in accordance with virtue. Self-knowledge has a central place in the acquisition of virtue, as it is a prerequisite for moral improvement.
Darcy and Elizabeth are only freed of their pride and prejudice when their dealings with one another help them to see their faults and spur them to improve. Themes Themes are the fundamental and often universal ideas explored in a literary work. Love Pride and Prejudice contains one of the most cherished love stories in English literature: the courtship between Darcy and Elizabeth. As in any good love story, the lovers must elude and overcome numerous stumbling blocks, beginning with the tensions caused by the lovers’ own personal qualities.
Elizabeth’s pride makes her misjudge Darcy on the basis of a poor first impression, while Darcy’s prejudice against Elizabeth’s poor social standing blinds him, for a time, to her many virtues. (Of course, one could also say that Elizabeth is guilty of prejudice and Darcy of pride—the title cuts both ways. ) Austen, meanwhile, poses countless smaller obstacles to the realization of the love between Elizabeth and Darcy, including Lady Catherine’s attempt to control her nephew, Miss Bingley’s snobbery, Mrs. Bennet’s idiocy, and Wickham’s deceit.
In each case, anxieties about social connections, or the desire for better social connections, interfere with the workings of love. Darcy and Elizabeth’s realization of a mutual and tender love seems to imply that Austen views love as something independent of these social forces, as something that can be captured if only an individual is able to escape the warping effects of hierarchical society. Austen does sound some more realist (or, one could say, cynical) notes about love, using the character of Charlotte Lucas, who marries the buffoon Mr. Collins for his money, to demonstrate that the heart does not always dictate marriage.
Yet with her central characters, Austen suggests that true love is a force separate from society and one that can conquer even the most difficult of circumstances. Reputation Pride and Prejudice depicts a society in which a woman’s reputation is of the utmost importance. A woman is expected to behave in certain ways. Stepping outside the social norms makes her vulnerable to ostracism. This theme appears in the novel, when Elizabeth walks to Netherfield and arrives with muddy skirts, to the shock of the reputation-conscious Miss Bingley and her friends. At other points, the ill-mannered, ridiculous behavior of Mrs.
Bennet gives her a bad reputation with the more refined (and snobbish) Darcys and Bingleys. Austen pokes gentle fun at the snobs in these examples, but later in the novel, when Lydia elopes with Wickham and lives with him out of wedlock, the author treats reputation as a very serious matter. By becoming Wickham’s lover without benefit of marriage, Lydia clearly places herself outside the social pale, and her disgrace threatens the entire Bennet family. The fact that Lydia’s judgment, however terrible, would likely have condemned the other Bennet sisters to marriageless lives seems grossly unfair.
Why should Elizabeth’s reputation suffer along with Lydia’s? Darcy’s intervention on the Bennets’ behalf thus becomes all the more generous, but some readers might resent that such an intervention was necessary at all. If Darcy’s money had failed to convince Wickham to marry Lydia, would Darcy have still married Elizabeth? Does his transcendence of prejudice extend that far? The happy ending of Pride and Prejudice is certainly emotionally satisfying, but in many ways it leaves the theme of reputation, and the importance placed on reputation, unexplored.
One can ask of Pride and Prejudice, to what extent does it critique social structures, and to what extent does it simply accept their inevitability? Class The theme of class is related to reputation, in that both reflect the strictly regimented nature of life for the middle and upper classes in Regency England. The lines of class are strictly drawn. While the Bennets, who are middle class, may socialize with the upper-class Bingleys and Darcys, they are clearly their social inferiors and are treated as such.
Austen satirizes this kind of class-consciousness, particularly in the character of Mr. Collins, who spends most of his time toadying to his upper-class patron, Lady Catherine de Bourgh. Though Mr. Collins offers an extreme example, he is not the only one to hold such views. His conception of the importance of class is shared, among others, by Mr. Darcy, who believes in the dignity of his lineage; Miss Bingley, who dislikes anyone not as socially accepted as she is; and Wickham, who will do anything he can to get enough money to raise himself into a higher station.
Mr. Collins’s views are merely the most extreme and obvious. The satire directed at Mr. Collins is therefore also more subtly directed at the entire social hierarchy and the conception of all those within it at its correctness, in complete disregard of other, more worthy virtues. Through the Darcy-Elizabeth and Bingley-Jane marriages, Austen shows the power of love and happiness to overcome class boundaries and prejudices, thereby implying that such prejudices are hollow, unfeeling, and unproductive.
Of course, this whole discussion of class must be made with the understanding that Austen herself is often criticized as being a classist: she doesn’t really represent anyone from the lower classes; those servants she does portray are generally happy with their lot. Austen does criticize class structure but only a limited slice of that structure. Motifs Motifs are recurring structures, contrasts, and literary devices that can help to develop and inform the text’s major themes. Courtship
In a sense, Pride and Prejudice is the story of two courtships—those between Darcy and Elizabeth and between Bingley and Jane. Within this broad structure appear other, smaller courtships: Mr. Collins’s aborted wooing of Elizabeth, followed by his successful wooing of Charlotte Lucas; Miss Bingley’s unsuccessful attempt to attract Darcy; Wickham’s pursuit first of Elizabeth, then of the never-seen Miss King, and finally of Lydia. Courtship therefore takes on a profound, if often unspoken, importance in the novel. Marriage is the ultimate goal, courtship constitutes the real working-out of love.
Courtship becomes a sort of forge of a person’s personality, and each courtship becomes a microcosm for different sorts of love (or different ways to abuse love as a means to social advancement). Journeys Nearly every scene in Pride and Prejudice takes place indoors, and the action centers around the Bennet home in the small village of Longbourn. Nevertheless, journeys—even short ones—function repeatedly as catalysts for change in the novel. Elizabeth’s first journey, by which she intends simply to visit Charlotte and Mr. Collins, brings her into contact with Mr. Darcy, and leads to his first proposal.
Her second journey takes her to Derby and Pemberley, where she fans the growing flame of her affection for Darcy. The third journey, meanwhile, sends various people in pursuit of Wickham and Lydia, and the journey ends with Darcy tracking them down and saving the Bennet family honor, in the process demonstrating his continued devotion to Elizabeth. Symbols Symbols are objects, characters, figures, and colors used to represent abstract ideas or concepts. Pemberley Pride and Prejudice is remarkably free of explicit symbolism, which perhaps has something to do with the novel’s reliance on dialogue over description.
Nevertheless, Pemberley, Darcy’s estate, sits at the center of the novel, literally and figuratively, as a geographic symbol of the man who owns it. Elizabeth visits it at a time when her feelings toward Darcy are beginning to warm; she is enchanted by its beauty and charm, and by the picturesque countryside, just as she will be charmed, increasingly, by the gifts of its owner. Austen makes the connection explicit when she describes the stream that flows beside the mansion. “In front,” she writes, “a stream of some natural importance was swelled into greater, but without any artificial ppearance. ” Darcy possesses a “natural importance” that is “swelled” by his arrogance, but which coexists with a genuine honesty and lack of “artificial appearance. ” Like the stream, he is neither “formal, nor falsely adorned. ” Pemberley even offers a symbol-within-a-symbol for their budding romance: when Elizabeth encounters Darcy on the estate, she is crossing a small bridge, suggesting the broad gulf of misunderstanding and class prejudice that lies between them—and the bridge that their love will build across it.
Pride And Prejudice’ by Jane Austen was set in the 19th century, when there was a lot of difference between the social status of men and women. Women were expected to stay at home, reproduce, bring up children, cook and clean. Along with this women were also expected to sew, sing, dance, write, read and play musical instruments well. Most houses had maids and reputation was everything to families. Men were evaluated on their wealth and they were all looking for wives.
Women were expected to just marry any man as long as they were safe and secure with money and a comfortable home. No love had to be present or involved, which is why this book has been registered as one of the best ever written, because it is so utterly controversial with the cultures of that time therefore it has made a staple in the theme of love and marriage and indeed in literature. For example, looking at the relationship between Jane Bennet and Mr. Bingley. From first sight the two of them knew they were meant to be.
Jane is in a much lower class to Bingley therefore she has to match up to his social expectations of what she should look like, talk like, act like, even though he doesn’t say this being the kind, loving gentleman he is, she knows it by social cultures, class and general gossip. They marry with the blessing of everyone around them and everyone can see they’re very much in love. The marriage puts Jane in a fantastic position, the man is attractive, kind, they are in love and he is very rich earning 5000 a year. The pressures put on Jane as spoken of before are made lesser from the contentment of her husband.
From an older generations point of view looking at Mr and Mrs. Bennet we see a very odd pair! Their social status as a bourgeoisie family means they own property but do not have a great fortune or income. Their reputation is evened out, as some of their girls are intelligent, modest and polite having received most of their genes from Mr. Bennet, whilst Mrs. Bennet and others of her girls are rude, brash and loud. But with a family of five girls everyone knows that Mrs. Bennet is desperate to get them all married, so she is secure in her old age.
But the way she does this drives men away rather than brings them closer. Her views on marriage entail her own self-centeredness only. She doesn’t care who the men are or how her daughters feel about them. They should preferably be rich but really she just wants to be taken in when she is a widow and have her girls looking after her like they should. Mr. Bennet however just wants to see his daughters happy. If they’re happy then he is more than likely to be ecstatic and wouldn’t mind if they all died old maids. He humours Mrs. Bennet, through her selfish struggle and fears. Speaking of Mr.
Bingley ‘ Oh! Single My Dear to be sure! A single man of large fortune, four or five thousand a year! What a fine thing for our girls! ” She makes it seem like she is worried for the welfare of her children and their happiness but her frantic thoughts and tense nerves surround herself. When it comes to Mr. Collins and Charlotte Lucas there is a certain amount of shock concerning their engagement. One of the factors is the speed in which after Elizabeth’s refusal of marriage to Mr. Collins was made, he practically immediately asked for Charlotte’s hand. This tells us that Mr.
Collins is very interested in getting a wife and his view on marriage does not involve love but only an agreeable woman whom he can call his own, and a woman who is more likely to agree with him on his views, like Charlotte, rather than a fiery woman, like Elizabeth, who would challenge his every high and mighty statement or remark out of pure hatred for him. Another factor is that Charlotte and Elizabeth are very close friends, which firstly slightly bends the rules of feminism, and secondly readers expect Elizabeth’s strong, feminine, powerful opinion to rub off and slightly input on people around her and their decisions, not Charlotte.
Charlotte immediately accepts Mr. Collins, ignores Elizabeth’s slight plea to reconsider and goes on to marry him. Charlotte knows that Elizabeth isn’t jealous and understand her point of view in marrying the most ridiculous man in Britain’. But she looks out for herself by realising that Mr. Collins is stable, not poor, and has property. She also keeps her distance when they are living together ‘When Mr. Collins could be forgotten, there really was a great air or comfort throughout. And by charlottes evident enjoyment of it Elizabeth supposed he must be often forgotten”.
It seems Charlotte can live with her relationship even thought it seems impossible for Elizabeth to look on it with anything else but sadness and pity of her dearest friend. Sadly this was the same as many women’s opinion of marriage at that time. Charlotte is the cultural character throughout, exactly as a woman should be. On the other hand marriages from that time could be deceitful for example with Mr. Wickham and Lydia. Being the youngest and most stupid girl of the family she is the most open and willing to be led into any trap. Persistently flirtatious she is noticed by Mr.
Wickham. First of all Wickham and Lizzy produce a slight bond, then Lizzy hears of his dealings with Miss. King. Wickham is in pursuit of Miss King but eventually that stems to nothing. The story unfolds and Wickham runs away with young Lydia and as people talk it seems that Mr. Wickham is quite the scoundrel who tried his best with Georgiana Darcy to try and inherit her vast fortune. This did not work but he searches on for the next mindless teenage girl. Sixteen-year-old Lydia couldn’t be more perfect but she does not have great fortune to offer. Lydia is obsessed with men.
She likes to live the dream of marriage and can’t wait for her future to roll out in front of her very eyes/ therefore when Mr. Wickham takes her away she definitely believes they will be married and is nave to the fact that Mr. Wickham has absolutely no intention in the slightest to marry her. If they do not marry, a black cloud could hang over the Bennett household likely to prevent the other young girls from leading happy lives as their family name would have been disgraced, as it was unheard of for a young girl to run away with a man and not get married. Therefore, Mr.
Gardiner (Mrs. Bennetts brother-in-law) sets off to help out. Mr. Wickham is paid to marry Lydia and everyone apart from the Gardiner’s, Mr and Mrs. Bennett, Jane and Lizzy are none the wiser, and just believe they went away to get married happily. When Lydia returns home. With her new husband there is much boasting to be done by Lydia, she starts ‘Ah, Jane! I take your place now, and you must go lower because I am a married woman. ” The language used by Austen states that the character of Lydia knows she now has the name of the first married Bennett sister.
She revels in her sisters’ so called envy but she doesn’t know it had al been a set up therefore she looks utterly and completely foolish in front of Lizzy and her father and they sincerely cannot wait to get rid of them. Now we come to the meaning of the whole book, the passion involved, undying love and absolute chemistry between the two lead characters is one of the reasons this book is so utterly adored. Elizabeth Bennett And Fitzwilliam Darcy. The first time the two met was at a ball in Netherfield just as Mr.
Darcys close friend Mr. Bingley had moved in. from the first meeting Darcy seems a proud, pompous man who knew his fortune and looks to well. Elizabeth is known to everyone as a very opinionated, strong-minded, rationable, sensible, intelligent, young woman. Which was in fact very rare for that era. Women were not allowed opinions and Lizzy was a special type of feminine’ which madder her determined to have one and speak it aloud wherever the fancy took her, in the politest of distributions of course!
But, yes readers of this novel immediately believe these two have opposite personalities and would find each other’s opinions worthless, rude and confrontationally impolite at every instance. But they are a lot more similar than they seem both of them seem to have a reason to doubt everything unless it is very close to their hearts, disloyalty angers the pair of them. Also even though Darcy seems rude, vein, snobby and had a personality which genuinely tried everyone’s patience at the start of the book, further on in the story when Lizzy has started to make a passionate effect on the thoughts and indeed the life of Mr.
Darcy, (without knowing it) he seems to be very viscious towards other people being this way e. g Lady Catherine De Bourgh and Miss Bingley. There is always a lot of tension between the two when they meet or even speak through letters, whether it is certain shyness of the enemy or of the lover, at the start of the book we do not know. But it is noticeable that there is a lot of tension between either of the two and another person who may be asking after either of the two, disregarding or being rude about the other one in any way results in snapping on Mr.
Darcys part and running away on Lizzys part. E. g. between Mr. Darcy and Miss Bingley ‘But afterwards she seemed to improve on you, (the ball at Netherfield) and I believe you thought her rather pretty at one time? ” ‘Yes but that was only when I first knew her for it is many months since I have considered her as one of the handsomest women of my acquaintance. Elizabeth believes that if you are going to get married your husband must be perfectly worthy of his wife.
She believes you should be in love to get married, she also believes if you are in love then looks, riches, stability come afterwards and if you are lucky enough to get all four bonuses then so be it, but love always comes first. And if she cant have that no-one can have her. Quite the opposite opinion to most in her generation, hence her outspokenness. Darcy tends to think practically the same. He believes his wife has to be worthy of him he doesn’t want a rich snob like Miss Bingley, he wouldn’t want someone who would agree with his every word and be an easy catch like Charlotte Lucas.
He wants a woman so pure and so sure of her self-respect that she would challenge him in every way possible, someone he would go from disliking abominably to loving with the strongest love possible, someone who would make him determined to prove himself a good person, someone who would put such a dint in his arrogance by turning down a Marriage proposal and then leave him with feelings unchanged’/ that is the kind of woman he wants and eventually he realises that woman is Miss Elizabeth Bennett. And indeed she feels the same way about him in many respects, e. g. hilst talking to Jane ‘ I just cannot bear to think that he is out in the world and thinking badly of me” In Darcy’s first proposal of marriage to her Elizabeth’s feelings have been growing stronger but of course she is trying to push them back with the facts that Darcy told Bingley to stay away from Jane which could have ruined her sisters future happiness and that he treated Mr. Wickham awfully when his father died and cast him aside due to jealousy and pride. Therefore, when Darcy proposes he does it completely wrong and maybe he wouldn’t have done it in such a fashion if he knew of what Eliza had been told, but he didn’t.
Mr. Darcy storms in and Lizzy is quite shocked, he proceeds, ‘in vein I have struggled, it will not do, my feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you. ” This is the kindest thing he says to Lizzy throughout. He goes on to insult her family name, be very rude about her mother, insist that he will never forgive himself for admitting his feelings and undoubtedly crediting the obvious fact that she is beneath him in every way she possibly could be. This scene of confession highlights the major and more or less only issue in this relationship.
Elizabeth replies quite rightly ‘why with so evidently a design of offending and insulting me, you chose to tell me you liked me against your will, you reason and even your character? Was not this some excuse for incivility if I was uncivil? After this disastrous first step towards their eventual matrimony Elizabeth finds out that the facts mentioned before regarding Jane and Wickham are both bended truths. In some degree he warned Bingley off Jane, but not to the extent made out and with Wickham it was quit the opposite as Elizabeth knew about Wickhams plan for Georgiana Darcy and the fact that it wasn’t Mr.
Gardiner her kind uncle who paid Wickham to marry Lydia in fact it was Mr Darcy these revelations changed miss Elizabeth’s feelings and made them grow stronger. As for lady Catherine de Bourgh, oh gracious, owner of Rosings Park, when she hears of a proposal she hops into the carriage and brings her sickly daughter with her to show Miss Eliza Bennet a thing or two about her family, so she thinks. Eliza and Lady Catherine indulge in a heated debate at Longbourne after Lady Catherine insults Eliza, her family, her house, her social status and situations to the point of insignificance.
Eliza stays strong, annoys lady Catherine purposefully and understands that she is jealous because her daughter is supposed to marry Mr. Darcy. ‘Miss Bennet do you know who I am? I have never been accustomed to such language at this! ” To be prevented by a young woman of inferior birth, of no importance to the world and wholly unallied to the family! ” This conversation was brushed off by Lizzy. She does at this point in the book have better things to think about. The second proposal is given soon after and Lizzy accepts with open arms.
Bringing a tear to every reader’s eye. Referring to less important issues in the story, Miss Bingley always very much admired Mr. Darcy and was forever talking down to and about Miss Eliza ‘her teeth are tolerable I suppose”, ‘we were just agreeing we should hardly know her at all”. Miss Bingley also contributes towards trying to sabotage Jane and Bingleys relationships, as she believed her brother was destined to marry Miss Georgiana Darcy. Eliza and Georgiana get along amazingly well which contributes to the fairy tale love story.
The Gardiner’s are a big help towards the story. They love each other very much and even agree to take credit for Mr. Darcys dealings with Mr. Wickham! They play the helping hand role throughout the story conveniently living very close to Mr. Darcy Elizabeth is Invited there to visit which leads to her bumping miraculously into Mr. Darcy many times. On the nicest of terms they fit in very nicely with the structure. One of the main reasons so many marriages took place was because of the balls.
It is well known balls are the best place to meet young ladies, which is why there is so much dancing. Jane and Mr. Bingley met because of a dance and it is one of the main reasons so many people disliked Mr. Darcy at the start. He was stood next to two or three girls who were seated and in want of a dance, one of them being Elizabeth, and he ignored all of them. When asked why he did not ask Elizabeth to dance he replied ‘she is tolerable, but not handsome enough to tempt me and I am in no humour at present to give consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other men. ‘ Of course very rude indeed, but makes up for it in due course. In conclusion, I believe the comment Jane Austen is trying to make on marriage is that, the two main marriages that work are Jane and Elizabeth’s and a less important marriage that works extremely well also was that of the gardeners, because these are the people that really loved their partners and of course good things come to those who wait! Lydia and Wickhams was quick, arranged and stupid, Collins and Charlottes was quick mismatched and pitiful.
It shows that sometimes going against the grain can really help and I think the main point Austen was trying to put across is that the intelligence of girls to see through all the buildings, names and money, contributes to their self-respect and happiness and to be honest is a lot more refreshing, pure and attractive. I think the bennets were used as the main family because for a start it is a big family therefore more open to plot, disaster, arguments and clashing opinions. They are also bourgeoisie therefore some members of the household member try to stress how much they give to society by being alive and crave other peoples approval e. . Mrs. Bennet and Lydia. On the other side they blow away new people with their politeness. Show no flaws and have the charms and politeness to make people instantly fall at their feet e. g. Jane, Lizzy and in some cases Mr. Bennet. I think the family was also chosen as the lead as they were all girls, creating future problems for the welfare of Mrs. Bennet (practically what the character of Mrs. Bennet makes the whole book about) and of course added plots can be thrown in (fighting over the same man, two men who hate each other marrying a sister each) they were the perfect family to use if a little odd.
The family relationships also help towards sticking the interior of the story together e. g. kitty and Lydia, Lydia and Mrs. Bennet, Jane and Lizzy, Lizzy and Mr. Bennet. At that time the issues that were apparent were all about reputation, social status and marriage. Even thought they struggled, waited and fought for it by the end of the book they achieved or maintained all three gracefully and with dignity (to the naked eye). This is one of the best books ever written. The language is elegant and perfect and the structure leads you from one glorious plot to the next.
The themes of love and marriage stand out the most and it is probably the biggest topic used throughout. The Theme Of Marriage In Pride And Prejudice Jane Austen’s novel, Pride and Prejudice presents five married couples. No two are alike. From the pure love which was experienced through Elizabeth and Darcy. To the love and attraction shared by Jane and Bingley. The convenience of marriage was portrayed through Charlotte and Mr Collins while Lydia and Wickham’s marriage was based on their desire, attractions and financial status. Mr and Mrs Bennet’s marriage was for their necessity.
Austen reveals many messages through her characters on her major theme, being marriage. Elizabeth and Darcy share common interests that help reflect their love and marriage. During Elizabeth’s stay in Pemberly while Jane is ill, Austen reveals to the readers, that Elizabeth and Darcy share a common interest. For example, Miss Bingley states that ‘Miss Eliza Bennet is a great reader’ p34. While in a conversation between Darcy and Miss Bingley, it is stated, ‘What a delightful library you have at Pemberly,’ p34. This illustrates to the readers that the two share the same interest of reading.
Having the interest reading portrayed to the readers as an interest, reveals that Elizabeth and Darcy may be suitable match for one another. It clearly shows how common interests can increase the chance of marriage as it makes the bond for one another stronger. Thereby demonstrating that the love between Elizabeth and Darcy reflects on their interest shared by each other. The marriage of Elizabeth and Darcy was also pure love for one another. Though this is not established until the end of the novel. Darcy’s love for Elizabeth is expressed from his heart.
Austen illustrates this when he states to Elizabeth, ‘You must allow me to tell you I admire and love you,’ p157. Austen portrays Darcy’s character as being very proud, so they way he expresses his love for Elizabeth seems pure and genuine. A proud man would find hard to express such feelings in that manner. Thus it proves his love for Elizabeth is clear. Elizabeth also shows her love towards Darcy. Mr Bennet calls Elizabeth into the library after his proposal. In a conversation between the two Elizabeth states, ‘I do like him, I love him. ‘ P303.
She is aware that her feelings towards Darcy haven’t always been this positive, but she believes that he is able to make her happy. Elizabeth believes happiness is the first sign to a good marriage. Therefore, this reflects Elizabeth and Darcy marry for love. The marriage of Jane and Bingley was one for physical attractions and love. This is portrayed to the readers during the early stages of the novel. For example, Bingley states at the ball, ‘she is the most beautiful creature I ever beheld! ‘ p13. This clearly illustrates his attraction towards Jane.
Bingley’s love for Jane is strengthened by her beauty. The love between them is shared equally. Jane’s idea of marriage is to find someone who loves her and respects her as much as she does him. Jane married Bingley for love. Their marriage was a perfect match and their feelings for one another were undeniably from the heart. Thus showing Jane and Bingley married for love and attractions. Charlotte and Mr Collins’ marriage was one for convenience. Mr Collins was in the position of needing to be married whilst Charlotte was never romantic and wanted to be happy.
For instance, in a conversation between Charlotte and Elizabeth, she explains, ‘I ask only a comfortable home; and considering Mr Collins’ character, connections, I am convinced happiness with him is as fair’ p105. Charlotte’s idea of marriage is completely different of that of Elizabeth. Charlotte doesn’t’ need love to make her happy, just that of social security. Charlotte wishes for a stable life. As Mr Collins was a man of connections, a tolerable situation in life, and offering her a comfortable home, Charlotte thought her reasons for marriage were as reasonable as Elizabeth’s.
Hence, the reason for Charlotte and Mr Collins’ marriage was convenience. The marriage of Lydia and Wickham was mainly that of desire, attraction and financial reasons. Lydia married Wickham as she believed he was one with large fortune and high social status. For example, ‘their elopement had been brought on by the strength of her love, rather than his,’ p256. Lydia believed that a man of this fine countenance could not go unnoticed and was immediately drawn in by him charm. Lydia found Wickham to be good looking and was sure that these reasons were good enough for marriage.
Wickham, however, married Lydia for her money and position in society. He saw Lydia to be good looking be never married her for love. For instance, ‘Wickham’s affection of Lydia not equal to Lydia’s for him. ‘ P256. Wickham was not a young man to resist an opportunity of having a companion. So when Lydia reveals her feeling towards him, he jumps at the chance to obtain a wife. Therefore, Lydia and Wickham reasons for marry were desire, attraction and financial problems. The marriage of Mr and Mrs Bennet was not love, like Jane and Bingley. Nor was if for social advancement like Charlotte and Mr Collins.
Mr Bennet was captivated by youth and beauty and married a women without intelligence. Affection had worn off between the two. This is evident when it states, ‘he had very early in their marriage put an end to all real affection for her. Respect, esteem and confidence had vanished forever. ‘ P194. Mr and Mrs Bennet married purely for necessity. Austen reveals in the time the novel was written a man of large fortune should be in want of a wife. Though Mr Bennet was not a man of large fortune, he did however, need a wife so that in the event of his death, he had a heir to pass of family fortune to.
Mrs Bennet married Mr Bennet simply because women wish to get married. It seemed a perfect match, Mr Bennet had to marry someone to pass on family heritage whilst Mr Bennet married for her own needs. Those being, for connections and fortune of another man. This reflects how marriage between Mr and Mrs Bennet is conveyed to the readers as entirely different reasons. Thus showing how Mr and Mrs Bennet married for necessity. Five married couples are married together for different reasons Austen’s major theme discussed during the text is marriage.
Many messages are put forward to readers as to what an ideal reason for marriage is like. For instance, Elizabeth and Darcy marry for love and interests. Jane and Bingley marry for love and attractions. Charlotte and Mr Collins marry for convenience. Lydia and Wickham marry for their desire, attractions and financial reasons, while Mr and Mrs Bennet marry for necessity . This is established in Jane Austen’s novel, Pride and Prejudice. Wickham and Lydia’s marriage is also one of little “understanding of one another’s characters,” no “good dispositions,” no “similarity in eeling and taste” and as we later find out, there is no “financial security” either. The initial attraction was based on good looks and affection for one another. But after the initial attraction, Mr Wickham becomes disinterested in Lydia and this is even more of a problem. Lydia doesn’t understand the shame she has brought upon her family and boasts that all her sisters should “look up” to her because she is a “married woman. ” We see many incidents through Elizabeth’s eyes; even when we first meet Wickham, we see that he is never really shown to the reader as a potential partner for her.
Her first potential partner is in fact Mr Darcy, who at the first ball “drew the attention of the room” and Elizabeth, with his “fine tall person and handsome features. ” Unfortunately, for his reputation and Elizabeth’s, he refuses to dance with her. She overhears him speaking to Mr Bingley, saying that she is “tolerable” but then he also says that she “is not handsome enough even to tempt me. ” Because of this, throughout the novel, Elizabeth misreads his forthcoming conduct. Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, set in Nineteenth century England, is a novel about marriage.
Austen’s feminine writing and weaved storyline creates a novel which can be interesting to read and which women especially enjoy. The novel has a strong theme of marriage as a mother (Mrs. Bennet) desperately trying to marry her daughters off. She didn’t care about the quality of the men her daughters were marrying, but was satisfied just as long as they found a man. When her sixteen-year-old daughter Lydia marries Wickham, she is thrilled and proceeds to make plans for visiting her neighbors with her, despite the fact that they had lived togetherfor over a year without being married, and that Wickham was forced into marrying her.
Mrs. Bennet’s strong desire to marry off her children and her unsatisfactory attempts at matchmaking show that in her society, marriage is held in high regard. It is a person’s personal worth and the transfer of family fortunes that occurs during a marriage in this time that is probably the most important factor, not how the couple gets along or likes each other. Austen plays on this social behavior and seems to be making a statement. Therefore, I believe that Pride and Prejudice is a social satire. The language of Pride nd Prejudice is astonishingly simple and the verbiage frugal, especially for the period in which it is written. There is no drastic action or heroic characters; however, Austen convincingly 1 develops character with it, and her characters, each with their own dialogue and languistical nuances, stand apart very well. Another interesting note about her characters is that at the end of the novel, all of her characters are punished or rewarded according to their actions throughout the course of the book. This shows her moralistic side. This quote, a typical Mr.
Bennet speech, occurs when the issue of Kitty going to Brighton is brought up: “This is a parade which does one good; it gives such an elegance to misfortune! Another day I will do the same; I will sit in my library, in my night-cap and powdering gown, and give as much trouble as I can – or, perhaps, I may defer it til Kitty runs away. ” Contrasting this to someone like Mrs. Gardiner, as she is quoted here speaking to Elizabeth about Darcy’s estate, one can see a completely different tone and manner of speaking: “My love, should you not like to see a place of which you have heard so much?
A place, too, with which so many of your acquaintance are connected. Wickham passed all his youth there, you know. ” It must also be noted that her male characters are not nearly as developed and refined as her female ones. Men never gathered alone to discuss, or have parties – this is reserved for the women. Most of the men aren’t even taken seriously. But I must give credit to Austen, for as Mark Twain once said, “Write what you know about,” and Jane Austen probably wouldn’t have done so well with her men as she did with her women.
This is the basic argument that she is a feminine author, appealing mostly to women. Most importantly, she uses language to make her society’s view a marriage look like a joke as evidenced in the language of Mrs. Bennet and of the Miss Bennets. Furthermore, marriage and matchmaking is downplayed in the novel’s playing with first impressions and their effects. Had Darcy acted a bit more polite at the first dance and Elizabeth less critical of him, then the 2 two of them would probably been married by Chapter VI and what is now a 250+ page novel would have been a 50 page short story.
But, contrary to what the romance novels of the past two hundred years seem to tell us, life is not always like that, and oftentimes our personal prejudices and imperfect selves get in the way of our best will, leaving only our libidious egos to judge. Her treatment of characters helps us to see the shallowness of the peoples of her time. Mrs. Bennet, the matchmaker, makes us laugh at the very notion of marriage between some of the people in the novel. Kitty and Lydia, however, are caught up in their own frivolous worlds and in the end get what they are eventually seeking, anyway.
Lady Catherine, an extremely proud woman, simply looks foolish. Sir William Lucas is the epitome of all that is arrogant and pompous. These characters help to play a part in showing the one-sidedness of the people of this time and in portraying the lack of depth in their marriages, which are usually only for money or prestige. As a conclusion, romance is what a writer like Austen is really good at, and the people of her time would buy it (if it sold well in her time, then she’d be financially worry-free). That is why it is written in the form that it is.
Pride and Prejudice is essentially a satire of social behavior, especially of marriage. What Austen appears to be asking is ‘Can love really be found in society? ‘ According to her book, it is hardly likely. Even though Darcy and Elizabeth appear happy at the end, it is hard to imagine the Darcy from the first part of the book married to Elizabeth. This long, interwoven theme of marriage can appeal today as social classes and position are factors in people’s marriages – Austen seems to be saying that none of this is important, and one should marry someone that he/she really likes as a person, not as a means of prestige.
In my opinion, pride comes in for the sharper criticism by Austen. She has chosen to personify this trait in several characters in “Pride and Prejudice” although it is hard to find one character who portrays prejudice alone, throughout the novel. When prejudice does occur in this novel, Jane Austen has shown it in the hands of a notoriously proud character. Because prejudice is not personified (ie. depicted as a major characteristic flaw) I believe that it was not to be the object of Jane Austen’s sharper criticism.
Jane Austen has depicted pride in her minor (functional) characters as a means of demonstrating it’s importance as a theme of this novel. Lady Catherine is one of the main offenders, her airs, arrogance and pride are fuelled by other characters like Mr Collins who is put there to satire proud people and their followers. Another important character to note is Mr Darcy. He is an extremely important character in this novel, a major character, and I think that the fact that he was perceived to have been ‘proud’ at the beginning of the novel by the reader,
Elizabeth, and the community of the shire, and our perception, along with Elizabeth, of his character, has changed throughout the novel points to Jane Austen’s criticism of pride and snobbery (insinuating that once pride is done away with (and along with it, prejudice) a character becomes much more favourable. (Note that Lady Catherine does not sway from her proud arrogant position, from beginning to end of the novel, this partly to provide a contrast between the supposed arrogance of Mr Darcy at the beginning of the novel, and his behaviour by the end. Throughout this novel we are shown the arrogant and haughty dispositions of the upperclass of this society. (We are also shown the exceptions to the rule, namely Mr Bingley and Miss Darcy. ) These people are exceedingly proud of their great fortunes and estates and as a result of the emphasis at that time on monetary issues, they are prejudiced (and commit acts of prejudice) towards their financial, and social, “inferiors”. An example of this is the beginning of the novel, the ball, when Mr Darcy snubs Elizabeth Bennet in an act of prejudice. He refuses to dance with her on account of her not being “handsome enough to tempt me. After being described throughout the chapter as being “the proudest, most disagreeable man in the world” because he would not socialise (“he danced only once with Mrs Hurst and once with Miss Bingley, declined being introduced to any other lady, and spent the rest of the evening walking about the room, speaking occasionally to one of his own party”) his refusal to dance with Elizabeth Bennet is consistent with the rest of his snobbery and it is logical that he is slighting Elizabeth Bennet because he is excessively proud and does not feel that her handsomeness is worthy of his.
Another example of proud character executing prejudice on an “inferior” candidate is Miss Bingley and Mr Darcy’s conspiracy against Mr Bingley and Miss Bennet’s courtship and inevitable marriage. Together, Mr Darcy and Miss Bingley decide that Mr Bingley and Jane are not suited and therefore should not be married because Jane’s background is not worthy of Mr Bingley’s rich, socially handsome estate. Firstly, Mr. Darcy influences Bingley to leave Netherfield, then Miss Bingley “fails” to tell him of Jane’s prescence in London (although she knows that it would be of great interest to him. It is because of their pride, and their warp perception of their own, and in this case their brother or friend’s pride, that influences to think they would be “doing the right thing” by keeping Jane and Mr. Bingley apart. Marriage Austen is not a critic of marriage as such but is deeply critical of the general female obsession with the institution. This is the novel’s starting point, the ironical statement that a wealthy, single man must need a wife: this reflects the proprietorial attitude of those women who want to acquire a man and who know his needs better than he does.
Great wealth and an elegant manner are a man’s most important qualities; profundity and wisdom are unfashionable. Mrs. Bennet best demonstrates this preoccupation in the novel. She and her friends (Mrs. Long, Mrs. Philips and Lady Lucas) spend all their time looking out for newcomers to the vicinity, Mrs. Bennet and Lady Lucas being especially eager to find husbands for their many daughters. Long before she knows anything of Bingley, other than his fortune, Mrs.
Bennet declares to her perplexed husband: “You must know that I am thinking of his marrying one of them” (the Bennet girls) – adding that “it is very likely that he (Bingley) may fall in love with one of them”. There is fine irony in the fact that this most improbable expectation is realised. As it happens, Bingley is a fine son-in-law, but Mrs. Bennet is equally happy with anyone, however worthless. This is illustrated by her reaction to Lydia’s marriage with Wickham. The shame of the elopement, the silliness of her daughter, the hopelessness of the marriage – all these are forgotten in her excitement that Lydia has gained a husband.
Even more ridiculous is Mrs. Bennet’s response to the news of the impending marriage: the man who has tried to seduce her daughter is now “dear Wickham”, but even more important is Lydia’s trousseau: “But the clothes, the wedding clothes! I will write to my sister Gardiner about them directly. Lizzy… run down to your father, and ask him how much he will give her”. She duly regales Jane with “all the particulars of calico, muslin, and cambric”. The same kind of attitude can be found in Lady Lucas, though less outrageously, in Mrs. Hurst and Caroline Bingley, and even, in some measure, in Lady Catherine.
Mrs. Hurst has entered an empty marriage, for convenience: she and her husband spend all their time in trivial social diversions. Caroline Bingley wishes to marry Darcy for the wealth and status this will confer on her – his interests and hers are very different and she doesn’t really understand him, but this seems not to matter to her. Lady Catherine has let it be known that Mr. Darcy is intended for her daughter, Anne. We see that this claim is ridiculous when Elizabeth sees Anne de Bourgh – a sickly, unattractive creature. Lady Catherine’s expectation is wholly unrealistic.