Pride and Prejudice
Successful Marriage l: Biography Looked upon as being one of the most influential and popular writers during the romantic period, Jane Austen published many romance novels, such as her most famous, Pride and Prejudice. Austen focused her writings on the importance of “romantic love as a true happiness to marriage” (Olsen 426). Having not experienced marriage, Jane often based her stories off of her familys romance. Jane was born into a middle class family with very little income; Jane used her lack of money to inspire new novels.
She mainly focused her novels over social standings and how love is haracterized as true happiness. Her focus on love began when her siblings married for money rather than love. Austen strived to fix the many family issues by creating “fairy tale stories” ending “happily with the heroines marrying the men they loved” (Ruth 50). Jane Austen wrote her novels around the controversy of whether love should be based upon increasing one’s “social status” or “falling in love” (Bernard 34). Jane creates romance novels to replace the love that’s missing in her life.
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From growing up in a poor family Jane rarely received the opportunity to find love and arry a suitable husband, giving her thoughts and dreams of what her life would be like if she found marriage through love. Austen’s novels portray that marriage shouldn’t be based upon personal wishes such as money or class, but for one to be happy one should find love. In the novel, Pride and Prejudice, the author shows that despite social pressure, for a marriage to be successful it must be based upon love.
II: Pride and Prejudice The novel Pride and Prejudice is surrounded with young couples and the issue of marriage through social class and public opinion. Many critics follow Jane Austen’s heme that love builds to create a happy successful marriage. The critic Bilal Hasan follows Austen’s theme and supports the theory that one shouldn’t marry for money if they plan on being happy. Also, he believes that “through their relationship Jane Austen shows that a hasty marriage based on superficial qualities looks and leads to unhappiness” (Hasan).
Both supporting Jane’s theme over happy marriage, the critic Rachel Davies uses the qualities of Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth’s love to show a successful marriage. “Darcy and Elizabeth’s love is genuine, existing despite social arriers” (Davies). Davies relates Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth’s marriage to the marriage of Charlotte and Mr. Collins, comparing that due to the burden Charlotte held on her family, she created a limit to finding love. Charlotte became a “burden to her family’ when she became the age not very few men adored to marry; she hadn’t found love and caused her to marry for money (Olsen 425).
Austen chooses to influence all the characters to show their struggles between them, providing that they all come to the reality that “without money, it is probable marriage will not happen” (Disney). Many focus on the differences in financial status when finding marriage. A woman who is a burden would more like to marry a man of wealthy class without caring whether she was in love. The character Elizabeth Bennet money. Jane Austen writes that for a man to best show his love for a woman, he would ask for her hand in the next dance at the ball. Money divides real love and incites false love initially in Pride and Prejudice. Love is shown to demolish the seeming impossibility of Darcy and Elizabeth’s marriage” (Davies). She does believe that there is a relation between love and money in marriage. Money to some she believes, can buy happiness, but love overpowers money and creates a strong everlasting bond in a marriage, while money can be lost. An example would be “when Darcy pays Wickham to marry Lydia, thus giving Elizabeth feelings towards Darcy for caring for her family’ (Davies).
Austen herself faced the issues of money on marriage, creating a similar character named Charlotte. Despite that Austen never was forced to choose to marry for money instead of love; Jane created Charlotte in comparison how they both became a burden to their families. Charlotte later in Pride and Prejudice marries Mr. Collins, only to simply please her parents and “secure herself financially’, creating an unhappy marriage and making them “the darkest note in the novel” (Paris 34). By choosing to marry Mr. Collins, Charlotte increased her social status by removing herself from a burden to her family any longer. People cannot always fall in love where they choose, but their choice of a marriage partner should not be governed primarily by concerns for money or status” (Paris 34). Both critics Davies and Hasan support Jane’s theme, that love is the key to a successful happy marriage. Hasty marriages acting on impulse and based on superficial qualities will not survive and will lead to unhappiness” (Hasan). Davies continues to discuss the importance of marriage based upon love, yet also follows that money contributes to creating a happy marriage.
There are very few critics who can argue that Austen doesn’t show that love creates a bond for successful marriage. Yet at the same time, arguing with her opinion, Jane states that money is also important in finding marriage. “Neither Elizabeth nor Colonel Fitzwilliam would marry for money, but they must hope to fall n love with someone who has money’ (Paris 34). Many women during the eighteenth century didn’t receive any of their familys money or dowries after the death of their father. Having no money caused many to search for a suitable wealthy husband, with the small hope of finding love in the process.
The critic Katie Disney argues that Austen does not suggest the theme that love is the most important, but “shows her obvious unhappiness with the way marriages work” (Disney). The conversation between Mr. and Mrs. Bennet shows their desire to quickly marry their five daughters to rich well-known men. With higher class came the responsibility to find a wife similar to their class and share the wealth among their families. “It is truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife” (Austen 1).
Jane makes clear that wealthy men of a higher class sought to find a bride similar to them. Yet, Jane contradicts her belief by making Mr. Darcy fall in love with Elizabeth Bennet, a lower middle class woman: “He is so much in love, however, that he decides to make a social sacrifice for the sake of personal satisfaction” (Paris 35). To most, money is seen as a necessary possession, but also is used to secure ones financial future: “Money in Pride and Prejudice is used to buy one’s way, or marry one’s way, to a higher social rank” (Copeland 74).
There is no ruling that marriage should be solely founded either on love or money. Women are seen as the main audience of Pride and Prejudice, and as we grow up, we become planted with the notion of “ending happily ever after. ” Love is always a major theme in every fairy tale; either a prince rescues the princess and they fall madly in love or the girl finds her true love and is destined to live a happy life. The novel Pride and Prejudice is seen by many as one of the most famous fairy tales. Jane Austen creates the novel based upon her dreams of what her life could be.
A fairy tale doesn’t always consist of witches and dragons, yet Austen creates characters who share similar characteristics. The character Lady Catherine shares the qualities of an evil witch who wishes happiness for none but herself. Austen creates Lady Catherine as a wealthy woman of high society who looks down to everyone, believing that marriage should remain within the family and love is unimportant. Pride and Prejudice can be related to a fairy tale not only for its characters but for its happy ending. The novel can be compared to one of the most known fairy tales, Cinderella. Mr.
Darcy is the wealthy sophisticated prince who falls in love with the maiden, Elizabeth Bennet. Elizabeth fantasizes of one day finding the man of her dreams. Another comparison to Cinderella would be that Elizabeth as well as Cinderella is first introduced to her future husband at a ball. Also, both female characters at first play hard to get. In the beginning Elizabeth is disgusted by Mr. Darcy and his arrogance towards those of lower class. Social status was important in the eighteenth century; many women were born into lower class but were not accepted into society unless they married a wealthy man.
Yet, in the end Elizabeth falls madly in love with Darcy and of course they live “happily ever after” Just like in a fairy tale. Even in animated movies today such as Shrek, the fairy tale romance of living happily ever after exists. The main character Shrek, in this movie is in much relation to Elizabeth due to their social standings. Both have little to offer for those of higher class such as Darcy or Fiona. Despite the fact that she is also an ogre, Fiona is the daughter of the King and Queen.
Even though their social standards are very different they are able to overcome this because of their strong love they have for each other. In the end of the movie, Shrek leaves the audience with the allusion of this couple living happily ever after. Not everyone searches for love and many don’t believe they will every fall in love. Often we wonder if love can truly be the answer to one’s happiness. In many ways love is unknown, but we must open our heart to possible opportunities. Yes fairy tales can be thought of as make believe, but they also provide a base for a life e can all hope and dream about.
Like Pride and Prejudice all of Jane Austen’s novels follow the theme of love conquering all. Austen created her novels based upon the dreams and life she never had. Much like her characters, Austen dreamed of falling madly in love and living happily ever after. All of Austen’s books leave female readers with the hope of finding their true soul mate. Reading a Jane Austen novel is a way to escape everyday pressures and explore a world of love and passion. Many couples today must overcome the obstacles of social pressure and money; however successful marriages are based upon love.