“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession ofa good fortune, must be in want of a wife.
” This first sentence of JaneAusten’s Pride and Prejudice could not have better prepared the reader for therest of the novel. The thread that sews together the lives of all the charactersin this classic is the establishment of marriage. Austen uses the Bennet familyof Longbourn to illustrate the good and bad reasons behind marriage. Mrs. Bennetis an irritating woman whose main goal in life is to get her five daughtersmarried. It might be correct in assuming that she felt social and financialpressure to do so. Her husband’s estate was entailed to his nephew, Mr.
Collins,upon Mr. Bennet’s death. Therefore, Mrs. Bennet wanted her daughters to havefinancial stability elsewhere in case of their father’s death. In the timeperiod of this story there was very little social acceptance of women who weresingle their whole lives.
For the most part, women could not acquire money ontheir own without inheriting or marrying into good fortune. Women who could notfind a husband were often referred to as “old maids” and lived theirwhole lives with their parents. I can understand why Mrs. Bennet did not wantthis for any of her daughters. The Bennets’ marriage was not ideal. Mr. Bennethad married his wife because she was beautiful in her youth and her ability tosupply him with children.
Eventually though, her beauty faded and so did theirenjoyment of each other. He enjoyed his time alone in his study where he couldbe away from his wife and daughters. Mrs. Bennet enjoyed gossiping aboutneighbors and finding future husbands for her daughters. I do believe thatAusten is showing the reader that marrying only for physical appearance is wrong- beauty fades with time.
Charlotte Lucas, Elizabeth’s dearest friend, marriesMr. Collins for money. The narrator plainly states that Charlotte accepted hisproposal for “the pure and disinterested desire of an establishment.”She was twenty-six years old and her family was beginning to be worried.
Uponhearing of her engagement, her brothers were “relieved from theirapprehension of Charlotte dying an old maid.” Charlotte wanted nothing moreout of marriage than financial stability and that is what she got. In Hunsfordit seems that Charlotte did nothing but tend to the chores of maintaining herhome and pleasing Lady Catherine. I do not believe that Charlotte and Mr.Collins were in love at all and they did not really seem too happy in eachother’s company. I think their marriage was an illustration of why you shouldnot marry just for financial reasons.
Lydia’s marriage to Wickham was simply forromance and lust. For a good while, the flirtatious teenager had had her eye onmilitary officers. I believe that when Wickham showed her attention she fell inlove and henceforth came their marriage.
The sad fact is that she liked him agreat deal more than he cared about her. Wickham had many debts and used themoney he got from marrying her to pay them off. Therefore, Lydia is married to aman that doesn’t really care for her all that much and Wickham is married to agirl that cannot really offer him anything. This couple shows that you shouldmarry someone who feels the same towards you or eventually you will be unhappy.The marriages of the two eldest Bennet daughters were pleasant and appear to beideal. Jane had longed for Mr.
Bingley for quite a while. Bingley was handsome,rich, kind, and well liked. He and Jane shared many conversations and hadcomplimentary personalities. They were pleasantly matched and I believe thatthey shared a happy life together.
Elizabeth and Darcy’s marriage was anexcellent match. They were equal in intellect, had physical attraction and deeplove for one another, financial security, romance, and companionship. They arethe two I believe would be most happy in life. Austen wanted the reader to knowthat marriage should be approached as a package deal – a package of love,financial stability, physical attraction, and happiness.Book Reports