Women's Role in Pride and Prejudice Essay

2462 Words 10 Pages
Throughout the early 1800s, British women most often were relegated to a subordinate role in society by their institutionalized obligations, laws, and the more powerfully entrenched males. In that time, a young woman’s role was close to a life of servitude and slavery. Women were often controlled by the men in their lives, whether it was a father, brother or the eventual husband. Marriage during this time was often a gamble; one could either be in it for the right reasons, such as love, or for the wrong reasons, such as advancing social status. In 19th century Britain, laws were enacted to further suppress women and reflected the societal belief that women were supposed to do two things: marry and have children. In Pride and Prejudice, …show more content…
As in previous periods, the importance of reinforcing the prevailing social hierarchy was always preeminent. In the regency period, women did not inherit wealth nor were they empowered by their societies rules to create it. Thus women were forced to look to marriage to secure a comfortable financial future. Also, many historic events such as the French Revolution and the War of 1812 happened during this time. The Regency period embodied many issues and ideals that are prevalent throughout Pride and Prejudice. In order to gain a clearer perspective of the novel, it is important to understand the societal norms and structure of the Regency period. Beneath the glamour of the Regency period was a society that relied heavily on its restrictive social hierarchy and the status of money. A woman from the Regency period had no other option but to find a husband, “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortunate must be in want of a wife” (Austen 3). Women were often objectified and treated as a possession rather than a life partner. Moreover, marriage seemed like a business proposition rather than a matter of love and happiness. In order to get married, a couple had to go through the process of a highly established society that had its rules and regulations. Class

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