Morality In Vanity Fair By William Makepeace Thackeray

1829 Words 8 Pages
**HOOK NEEDED** In the satiric novel, Vanity Fair, William Makepeace Thackeray exposes and examines the vanities of 19th century England. Numerous characters in the novel pursue wealth, power, and social standing, often through marriage or matrimony. Thackeray effectively uses the institution of marriage to comment on how these vanities often come at the expense of the true emotions of passion, devotion, and, of course, love.
In Vanity Fair, money is the pinnacle to all solutions to nearly all of the characters ' relationships. Thackeray connects England 's merchant families, the lesser nobility, and the high aristocracy through money and marriage as parents are evidently the chief negotiators in business transactions. Mr. Osborne is perhaps
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He forbids his daughter Jane to marry an artist with whom she has fallen in love with, swearing to her "that she should not have a shilling of his money if she made a match without his concurrence" (Thackeray 364). For Mr. Osborne, love has little to do with marriage and is simply a transaction that should increase family wealth and prestige. This concept was not common during the 19th century. The rise of industrialism and colonialism meant many as a way of either rising in station or cementing business ties saw an influx of wealth into England as marriage. Furthermore, the terminology of business is frequent in discussions of marriage in Vanity Fair, and money, not love, is the motive for marriage. Mr. Osborne states these feelings very clearly to his son: "Unless I see Amelia 's ten thousand down, you don 't marry her. I’ll have no lame duck’s daughter in my family." (104). Mr. Sedley 's misfortunes are a convenient way for Mr. Osborne to force the cancellation of the engagement, for he sees an opportunity to marry his wealth, which was only acquired through Mr. Sedley 's facilitation, through George to Miss Swartz, a young heir with connections to the …show more content…
Thackeray 's characters are often very willing to forsake true love for money and social eminence. The arrangement between Mr. Osborne 's daughter Maria and Fredrick Bullock is prominently significant to this theme, where as the author notes, in such a marriage whom you marry is irrelevant. For instance, when Maria says, "... her mind being fixed as that of a well-bred young woman should be, upon a house in Park Lane, a country house at Wimbledon, a handsome chariot, and two prodigious tall horses and footmen, and a fourth of the annual profits of the eminent firm of Hulker and Bullock ...", she states that she may as well marry Frederick 's father for the same reason (Thackeray 113). Once again, it is evident that love is unimportant, and money is the issue upon which such engagements revolve. Since the topic of love is nonexistent, even Frederick is more concerned with the "economics" of marriage. It is apparent of George’s intentions, when Thackeray narrates “George being dead and cut out of his father 's will, Frederick insisted that the half of the old gentleman 's property should be settled on his Maria, and indeed, for a long time, refused, ‘to come to the scratch’ on any other terms (360). Fred consents to marry Maria only after his business partners have persuaded him of "the chances of the further division of property" at the death of Mr. Osborne (412). Theirs is

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