Materialistic Marriage in Pride and Prejudice Each individual in this world surely have a dream to get married once they grow up, especially with the one they love. Even though today’s society accepts unmarried relationship where couples live together and have babies out of wedlock, in the end marriage is what they hope for as a symbol of their relationship. Clearly, marriage is a must in human’s life. This necessity influences humans to create stories that end with marriage and live happily ever after. Pride and Prejudice, written by Jane Austen, is also one of those stories that fulfils this criterion.
In this novel, Jane Austen described various marriages which differ from each other. Instead of love, there are marriages that are based on appearances and wealth, full of hypocrisy. At first glance, readers might not be able to recognize what Jane Austen’s messages from this diverse marriage assortment. However with deep analysis to the entailment issue, Jane Austen’s bibliography and Elizabeth Bennet’s psychological state, there is some evidence that Jane Austen was actually criticizing the manner in which marriages took place during her time that was mainly based on one’s wealth.
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Even though some couples were truly in love, nothing comes first before wealth. The first enquiry that readers should doubt is the uncertainty of the entailment created in this novel. Mimetically, the entailment is just a tool created by Jane Austen to prove that she criticized marriage. Clearly Mr. Bennet cannot hand over the Longbourn estate to any of his immediate family members because he has no male heir. The rule of the entailment stated that no one can inherit any property unless they are the gentlemen of the family.
The entailment had made Mrs. Bennet desperate to get her daughters married as soon as possible so that no one from her family including herself would live in poverty when her husband dies. “The business of her life was to get her daughters married. ” (Austen 3). If the entailment is really applied on that society, then the biggest failing in this novel is the property that Miss King and Lady Catherine de Burgh inherited. From the entailment’s rule it is clearly wrong for Miss King and Lady Catherine de Burgh to be the heirs because they are ladies.
If the entailment is applied to everyone but the royal classes, it is not applicable because Miss King does not represent the royal class. Externally this contradiction makes the readers reckon that the author had made a huge mistake. Jane Austen actually created two situations that are differentiated by the entailment. Ladies who are bonded with the entailment are keen to attach themselves with rich men. For instance Mrs. Bennet, although she is not the one who should get married, she wants Elizabeth to be married with Mr.
Collins so that the entailment would not be such a difficult thing. This was his [Mr. Collins] plan of amends ‘ of atonement – for inheriting their father’s estate; and he thought it an excellent one… His plan did not vary on seeing them. Miss Bennet’s lovely face confirms his views… (Austen 53). This quote represents the part when Mr. Collins plans to marry one of Bennet’s daughters to ease the inheritance affair and Mrs. Bennet realizes his plan and really agrees.
She knows that if Collins be her son in law, she can still stay in the Longbourn estate. Meanwhile ladies who were not bonded with the entailment do not have any interest in marrying early like Miss King. However, although Lady Catherine is already rich, she is still eager to engage her daughter with Mr. Darcy because of her passion to increase her wealth. Therefore, it is clear that the entailment is just a creation of boundaries so that readers can detect the main purpose of marriage in this novel. There are also several scenes in this novel that are based on Jane Austen’s personal life experience.
Jane Austen relates her life story with this novel to criticize the purpose of marriage. Historically, the entailment in the Pride and Prejudice is actually a portrayal of her father’s death. After her father’s death in 1805, the income due to the remaining family, [Mrs. Austen and her two daughters, who were the only children still at home] was considerably reduced since most of Mr. Austen’s income had come from clerical “livings” which lapsed with his death. So they were largely ependent on support from the Austen brothers. ” (pemberley. com, ). After her father’s death, if it were not her brothers that support her remaining family, they would have live in poverty. From this experience, Jane set up the entailment, so that the Bennets will become poor with the death of their father. Mrs Bennet and her daughters will need to depend on someone else who is rich when her husband died because they will inherit nothing from Mr. Bennet. Since the Bennets do not have any other immediate male members unlike Jane Austen, the best thing that they can do is to marry rich men.
This concludes that marriage is just a strategy used by the Bennets to achieve a comfortable life. Jane Austen also relates her own love experience and her sister’s in criticizing the marriage trend during her time. Jane Austen and her sister Cassandra Elizabeth Austen failed to find their true love. Cassandra Austen engaged with Thomas Fawle in 1794. Due to lack of money, she and her fiance were engaged for a long time until 1797 before her fiance finally died due to yellow fever. Cassandra never married after that. Meanwhile for Jane Austen] it was a man named Harris Bigg-Wither, who was six years younger than herself, proposed to Jane, and she accepted, though she did not love him. However, the next day she thought better of it, she and Cassandra showed up unexpectedly at Steventon, insisting they be taken out of the neighborhood to Bath the next day. This was socially embarrassing, but her heart does not seem to have been seriously affected. Mr. Bigg-Withers, though prosperous, was big and awkward.
In the end, Jane Austen, like Cassandra, never married. (pemberley. com ). Cassandra’s situation is exactly similar to the relationship between Lydia Bennet and Mr. Wickham. Lydia elopes with Wickham but never gets married until Mr. Darcy supports their finances. On the other hand Jane Austen’s experience reflects the marriage between Charlotte Lucas and Mr. Collins. The marriage between the pair did not have any love at all, especially on Charlotte’s part, similar to what Jane Austen feels towards Mr. Bigg-Withers. Mr.
Collins was also characterized as a rigid, annoying and obsequious person, just as awkward as Mr. Bigg-Withers. Though the two couples in this novel got married in the end, they never happy. Jane Austen provides a paradoxical situation between her real life stories to picture the irony of it. It is clear that the failure in Jane Austen and her sister’s love story made Jane views marriage in a sarcastic way in the novel Pride and Prejudice. Jane Austen also criticized marriage through the main character of this novel, Elizabeth Bennet.
Readers might see Elizabeth as the perfect character in this novel. When other characters married based on wealth and appearances, Elizabeth protested against their behaviour. This can be proven by her countenance when she is not attracted to Darcy at all even though Darcy is a rich man. Darcy’s vast property does not influence Elizabeth to change her perception on Darcy’s arrogant manner. But subconsciously, Elizabeth is affected by riches and wants to marry a rich man. From the naked eye readers might disagree with this statement.
Clearly Elizabeth married Darcy because they love each other but if psychological theory is applied on Elizabeth act, the id or the desire of Elizabeth is to marry a rich guy and wealth is her priority in choosing husband. Elizabeth was actually attracted to Darcy’s fortune but the super-ego or her pride argues with her desire. Therefore the ego appears to satisfy those two psychological identities. Elizabeth does not show any affection towards Darcy and act arrogantly to defend her pride but at the same time she intends to speak with Darcy because of her desires.
The best example is at the Pemberley estate. After looking at the beautiful and big Pemberley estate and Darcy’s house, Elizabeth seems to regret in refusing Darcy’s proposal. This can be proven by this quote of Elizabeth monologs with herself. ‘And of this place [Pemberley and Darcy’s house],’ thought she, ‘I might have been mistress! With these rooms I might now have been familiar acquainted! Instead of viewing it is a stranger, I might have rejoiced in them as my own… ‘(Austen, 186).
The letter she receives from Darcy might be the start of her compunction but the view of Pemberley obviously reinforces that doubt. It shows Elizabeth leaning towards materialistic. However because she is embarrassed by her earlier misjudgements, she acts as if she does not regret anything but she still talks to Darcy with the hope in winning his heart back. Another example that shows her materialistic instinct is in volume two, chapter three when Elizabeth’s aunt, Mrs Gardiner, warns her not to closely attach herself with Mr. Wickham because he does not have any money and her life would be miserable if she marries with Wickham.
Elizabeth agrees to follow her aunt’s advice for the sake of her safety. (Austen 111) Even though Elizabeth agrees for the sake of safety, but subconsciously she also agrees because she does not want to live in poverty. Her pride or super-ego makes her accept as if it is for the sake of safety. Furthermore, even though it is clear that she likes Wickham, she barely regrets or feels disappointed when Wickham turns his attention to the rich heiress Miss King but surprisingly, she regrets rejecting Darcy’s proposal although she dislikes him. Austen 116, 186) From all these, it is proven that Jane Austen clearly wants to criticize marriage by describing the materialistic behaviour in the main character so that readers can easily identify her message in this story. By applying mimetic criticism to the entailment issue, relating the bibliography of Jane Austen to the story and revealing the true manner of Elizabeth Bennet from psychological theory, it can be deduced that Jane Austen criticized the reasons behind marriage during her time.
She creates the entailment based on her life’s experiences to show the desperation of people to be rich and dependence on other’s wealth to continue their lives. Jane Austen’s misery from her failed love life and her sister’s leads her to criticize marriage. She criticized marriage by creating a materialistic main character subconsciously so her society would be able to realize her messages through the most dominant character without direct criticism.
Ironically, Jane Austen sets the perfect marriage on to the character that have the same name with her because she wants to express the true marriage she has been dreaming of, the marriage that was based on true love like Jane Bennet and Mr. Bingley. Bibliography Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice. United States: Oxford University Press Inc. , 1980. “Jane Austen’s Biography: Life (1775 – 1817) and Family. ” pemberley. com. 13 March 2009 < http://www. pemberley. com/janeinfo/janelife. html> ———————– Adam 2 Adam3 Adam4 Adam 5 Adam5