Essay about attitudes and reasons for marriage, based on Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.
At the end of the XVIII century, families with daughters used to be worried about setting good marriages for them. Getting a good husband was the main objective of young ladies at that time. Austen uses the Bennet family of Longbourn to illustrate the good and bad reasons behind marriage. Since they had so many girls to be married, Mrs. Bennet made huge efforts to make her daughters well married. Her husband's estate was entailed to his nephew, Mr. Collins, upon Mr. Bennet's death. So, Mrs. Bennet wanted her daughters to have financial stability in case of their father's death.
Women who could not find a husband were often referred to as old maids and lived their whole lives with their ...view middle of the document...
Charlotte Lucas, Elizabeth's best friend, married Mr. Collins for money. Jane Austen plainly states that Charlotte accepted his proposal for the pure and disinterested desire of an establishment. She was twenty-six years old and her family was beginning to be worried. Charlotte wanted nothing more out of marriage than financial stability and that is what she got.
Lydia's marriage to Wickham was simply for romance and lust. For a while, the teenager girl had had her eye on military officers. When Wickham showed her attention she fell in love and then came their marriage. The sad fact is that she liked him much more than he cared about her. Wickham had many debts and used the money he got from marrying her to pay them off. Therefore, Lydia is married to a man that doesn't really care for her all that much and Wickham is married to a girl that cannot exactly offer him anything.
The marriages of the two oldest Bennet daughters were pleasant and seemed to be ideal. Jane had longed for Mr. Bingley for quite a while. Bingley was handsome, rich, kind, and good-looking. He and Jane had many conversations and had complimentary personalities. They were pleasantly matched and they propably shared a happy life together. Elizabeth and Darcy's marriage was an excellent match, although during the story they had some arguments. They were similar in intellect, had physical attraction and love for one another, financial security, romance, and companionship. They are the two who would probably be most happy in life.
After the analysis of these four marriages, we can clearly see that they are all typical of that period, but some of them had love involved. The thing is: that love happened by chance, and if the circumstances hadn’t permitted, Jane and Elizabeth wouldn’t have had a so happy end, and would end up marrying men they didn’t love, just like the other girls.