Satire In Pride And Prejudice By Jane Austen

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In Regency England, women were reduced to the status of mere commodities in the marriage market. Women were in the very unfortunate position of being unable to earn income, so the only way they could ‘succeed’ in life was to marry well so they would no longer be a burden on their families. This system places women in an inherently disadvantaged position in life and this is the society that Jane Austen writes of in her books. She is quite critical in her discussions of marriage and social structure and she uses satire very effectively to point out problems with the institution of marriage. In Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen thoroughly explores the particularly repressive nature of the highly stratified social structure in conjunction with the …show more content…
She has a keen intellect and a strong independent mind. One would think that despite her independence, she might still bow to social norms especially given the financial straights that await her and her sisters upon their father’s death. Elizabeth’s father’s fortune is entailed to their cousin, Mr. Collins, because he is the closest male relative. Despite this situation, Elizabeth is unwilling to take part in the husband-hunting games that her mother seems intent on playing. Her focus is to find a husband that she genuinely loves and his fortune (or lack their of) is immaterial. This viewpoint is apparent in Elizabeth’s interactions with Mr. Collins. He proposes to her and in doing so her fails to consider that Elizabeth is not marrying for pragmatic reasons. Despite the fact that marrying Mr. Collins would safeguard her father’s fortune and to some extent protect her sisters and mother from financial destitution, she must marry for love, and she does not love Mr. Collins. Mr. Collins motives for marriage are very interesting and indicative of the state of marriage in Austen’s time. Marriage is simply an economic decision: a way for women to advance in society. By having the heroine eschew these ideals Austen is making the important point that the system of marriage at that time was severely flawed. Elizabeth (and clearly Austen) prioritizes happiness and love over any sort of economic …show more content…
In Austen’s mind, the focus marriage should be about love and happiness and not about making the best financial ‘connection’. Class and wealth go hand in hand, and by eschewing the value of finances in marriage she is also saying that class standing is not important, so long as the two people are of equal intellect and complement each other well. Pride and Prejudice shows that Austen was a forward thinking early feminist who viewed women as equal to men in regards to intellect and morality. As such, it seems only logical that marriage should be based off of these traits and virtues and not on economic

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