The Status Of Women In Pride And Prejudice By Jane Austen

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The role of women evolved through time. In Jane Austen’s novel of manners, Pride and Prejudice, the author suggests that women’s absolute role in English society of the early 19th century is to consolidate their social status exclusively through marriage. Marriage provides financial and social benefits and mothers will lead their daughters to marry judiciously in order to consolidate their social status. To begin with, marriage provides financial benefits to women which can improve their social status. Often, women will marry out of necessity rather than out of love to ensure a promising future. When Charlotte Collins explains to Elizabeth her decision to marry Mr. Collins, she reveals that she is “not a romantic” (Austen 123) and “ask[s] …show more content…
For instance, Lydia Wickham flaunts the fact that she is a married woman who benefits from her new social status. She mentions to Jane that she must go lower because as a married woman, she herself is more important in society (300). In this quote, Jane Austen clearly indicates that a married woman has a superior status to a single woman. As Jane is the eldest, she naturally should have more influence than Lydia. However, since Lydia is a married woman now, she undoubtedly is considered a person of higher rank. Additionally, women would often disregard their husband’s flaws in order to preserve their marriage because unmarried women do not have a future. At one point, Elizabeth acknowledges Charlotte’s firm resolution to secure her union with Mr. Collins. When Mr. Collins expressed indecent remarks, “Charlotte wisely did not hear.” (154). Hence, Charlotte puts up with her husband’s disgraceful comments in order to preserve her marriage with Mr. Collins because divorcing would degrade her current social status. In this quote, Jane Austen criticizes the English society of the early 19th century as a male dominated society where women have trouble defining themselves. In the society of Pride and Prejudice, the female characters are often subject to men and are not able to articulate a specific role in society. Lastly, women are determined to be or remain married in order to benefit from a superior

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