Love and Marriage in Pride and Prejudice Essays
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How does Jane Austen present love and marriage in Pride and
Jane Austen presents love and marriage in many ways in the novel
“Pride and Prejudice.” In this essay I am going to discuss some of these marriages, not only from Jane Austen's portrayl of her characters but also from my own point of view.
Jane Austen opens Pride and Prejudice with a statement:
“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must want be in want of a wife.”
By using this statement as her opening line she makes it very clear that she is humoured by the idea that every young an who has a large sum of money are eagerly looking for a wife. The main part of her book is based on matrimony. The…show more content…
When Mr Bennet speaks to his beloved daughter Lizzie, he feelingly says to her,
“ My dear child, let me not have the grief of seeing you unable to respect your partner in life. You know not what you are about.”
This happens when Mr Darcy has just proposed to Elizabeth. When I question why Mr and Mrs Bennet’s marriage is so unsuccessful, I am faced with three points that I think contribute to their marital problem. Between Mr and Mrs Bennet there is no intellectual equality. Mr
Bennet is clever, but on the other hand his wife isn’t, in fact Mrs
Bennet is a fool! She does not understand her husband in the slightest manner, and so Mr Bennet frequently takes this opportunity to make a quick comment that will offend Mrs Bennet. Jane Austen says, “ The experience of three and twenty years had been insufficient to make his wife understand his temper.”
These twenty-three years of his unhappy marriage had brought Mrs
Bennet’s characteristics out in a true light. She was a woman of mean understanding, very little information and an uncertain temper. She fancied herself nervous whenever she felt discontented. The business of her life was to get her daughters married, it seemed that was all the poor woman ever went on a bout and it infuriated Mr Bennet greatly. The second point is that Mr Bennet never showed any respect for his wife and almost seemed to enjoy ridiculing her in front of her
I would like to write about what makes a successful marriage, which is unfortunate, as I don't know the answer. All I know is what a working marriage looks like close up, which is a different thing. The first thing to say about "happy marriages" is that I doubt there are many of them. Very roughly, half of all marriages end in divorce.
I suspect that of those who stay together, half are hanging on because of children, money, or fear of loneliness. Some are truly and consistently happy, out of a fortunate combination of circumstance, rather than any particular brand of love or tactic. Most of the remaining marriages, I think, are not about happiness or unhappiness, but accommodation and negotiation. And I say that as half of a married couple in which both of us have probably made one another both happy and unhappy, probably in roughly equal measure. We are very different people, but then all people are very different people. And therein lies the central problem of marriage, which asks you to spend close company with one person for years on end.
My wife and I both have a very strong sense of individuality, and I like that, but it means we have our fair share of fireworks. Anyone who does not have a lot of disagreements in a marriage is probably repressing a lot of stuff, which is liable to explode sooner or later.
I have already had one marriage that did not work out (I hesitate to call it a failed marriage because it succeeded for a fair while) and this one has already lasted a lot longer, which I take as a good sign. We have the basics – we love each other – but that is just the beginning. To me, there are three keys to marriage and they are all very difficult to forge.
The first is communication, which I have written about here before and which I don't intend to go into again. Suffice to say that good communication requires practice, goodwill, determination and a considerable amount of inborn talent.
The second is respect, which in many ways is more important than love. Love comes and goes, but respect endures, and provides the space for love to flow after the ebb, which is bound to come in all long marriages sooner or later.
The third is trust. And this is the hardest of all, because if you have ever been let down – and we all have – reconstructing the trust is difficult. This isn't about infidelity, but many small matters – broken promises, bad intentions, frustrated hopes.
You have to trust, even though you have no guarantee you won't be let down, and then, if you are let down, trust again, and then again. You must keep doing this as long as you are humanly able to, and your marriage will either stand or fall on it. This requires what I call the power of "forgettory" as opposed to memory. You need to forget and forget again about any perceived hurts and mistreatment. Dragging the weight of the past behind you will drag you down in the end.
But you will never, can never, "get there", because there is nowhere to get to. A marriage is a moving process, a living thing, and if it stops being fed with these existential nutrients, it will finally expire. Complacency and laziness is what kills marriage, far more than lack of love, and that is why it is often described as hard work. But no work is ultimately more rewarding.
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