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Marriages(Pride And Prejudice)

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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 the most love.

The Lucas' marriage is the foundation of Charlotte's marriage. The Lucas' seemed to marry for convenience and security reasons, which fit perfectly because Mr. Lucas was a man of status, and Lady Lucas not being the brightest was more than likely told to marry him for financial reasons. Their marriage is not very prevalent in the book, but it serves the purpose as an outline for Charlotte's reasoning for getting married to Mr. Collins. Their marriage also serves as an example of how family morals are passed down even on a subject such as marriage. There is no reason to expect that their marriage will not work since they are comfortable with each other.

The Phillips is a marriage in the book that does not have much influence but shows an example of a different kind of marriage. There is not much known about this marriage, but Mrs. Phillips is much like Mrs. Bennet, and with them being sisters and brought up in the same household, they share some of the same views of marriage. Though the Phillips appear to be happy with each other, their situation could be better. They are like the Bennets except in one major way; Mr. Phillips cares about his wife's feelings, and he takes the time out to address what she is saying:

The usual inquiries as to his success were made by the latter. It had not been very great he had lost every point; he had lost every point; but when Mrs. Phillips began to express her concern thereupon, he assured her with much earnest gravity that it was not of the least importance, that he considered the money as a mere trifle, and begged she would not make herself uneasy.(Austen 71)

This shows that they do have strong feelings for each other, and that their relationship will last, and that their relationship will be successful.

The Gardiners is the best example marriage out of the marriages previous to the story. They appear to be genuinely in love with each other and comfortable financially. " The Gardiners is a perfect example for Elizabeth"(Magill 5330). They served as a guide to Elizabeth. It was with them when she first sees Darcy in his true form at Pemberley. They were also the only couple in the book that provided a one hundred percent positive relationship in the book. They serve as better parents to Elizabeth than Mr. And Mrs. Bennet do. The Gardiners represent everything that Elizabeth believes in. She believes that women should be smart and equal to their husband and Mrs. Gardiner represents this idea. Mr. Gardiner gives Elizabeth a positive male figure other than her father, but unlike her father he respects his wife and since he married for love, he is willing to embrace her ideas and values creating the perfect marriage. The Gardiners marriage will definitely



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