The Influence Of Marriage In Pride And Prejudice

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In nineteenth century England, both pride and prejudice were very common traits amongst people of all classes. The pride and prejudices that occurred during this time period greatly affected many aspects of life including marriage. The influence of these traits on marriage is common theme in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Marriage was very important during this time period and is still very important today. Unlike today, however, the reasons for marrying someone were less likely rooted in love. During this particular point in England 's history, women were considered nothing if they were not married. Men and women were also not given nearly as much freedom when it came to choosing their lifetime partner, and as a result, many factors played …show more content…
While it may seem trivial, social status was extremely important in England during this era. England was greatly divided into distinct social classes. Consequently, one’s social status affected whom one would fraternize with and more importantly, whom one would marry. In the novel, Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley are members of England’s most elite social class while the Bennet family falls in England’s upper middle class. The class difference between Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley and the Bennet family made it socially unacceptable for the Bennet girls to associate themselves with Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley let alone marry them. The rigidity of social class lines is revealed when Mr. Darcy first proposes to Elizabeth Bennet. He does so by stating, “ ‘In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed’,” (Austen 220). Through his biting words, Mr. Darcy tells Elizabeth Bennet that the two are indeed considered to be an unfit match. He also reminds her that it is socially unacceptable for her sister, Jane, to be with Mr. Bingley. Another example of social status affecting marriage is when word of Mr. Darcy’s potential second marriage proposal to Elizabeth Bennet reaches the ear of Lady Catherine de Bourgh. Lady Catherine is horrified when she discovers that her nephew, Mr. Darcy, is planning to ask Elizabeth Bennet for her hand in marriage. Lady Catherine believes the …show more content…
During that time period women were considered to be second-class citizens, meaning that they could not hold jobs or own property. A woman needed a husband to take care of her financially. Consequently, women often married for financial convenience. An example of convenience playing a role in influencing nineteenth century marriages is the marriage between Charlotte Lucas and Mr. Collins. Immediately after being rejected by his cousin, Elizabeth Bennet, Mr. Collins asks Charlotte Lucas for her hand in marriage. Charlotte accepts even though she admits to Jane that she is not in love with him. Charlotte believes that she needs to be married in order to provide herself with financial security. That belief is evident when she states, “ ‘I ask only a comfortable home; and, considering Mr. Collins’ character, connections, and situation in life, I am convinced that my chance of happiness with him is as fair as most people can boast entering the marriage state,’ ” (Austen 157). If a woman was not married, she was nothing. Because of this, Mrs. Bennet works very hard to ensure that her daughters get married, regardless of whether or not they love the man they marry. For example, Mrs. Bennet wants Elizabeth to marry Mr. Collins, not because he is a respectable man, but because he will inherit Longbourn after Mr. Bennet 's death. All in all,

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