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Examples Of Pride And Prejudice Essays

English 110H
February 1, 2005
Love, Wealth, and Marriage
Pride and Prejudice, authored by Jane Austen, is a skillfully crafted novel dealing with love, comedy, and first impressions. The novel follows the main character, Elizabeth Bennet, and her middleclass family living in 19th century England. Elizabeth, unlike her younger sisters, is quite quick-witted but perhaps is too judgmental and relies very heavily on her first impressions of people; this is clearly evident after her first meeting with Mr. Darcy. Lydia, Elizabeth’s youngest sister, is rather childish and seems to be quite foolish; this is made quite evident when she marries Mr. Wickham. Another important female character is Charlotte Lucas, Elizabeth’s opportunistic friend; she marries Collins after Elizabeth rejects his marriage proposal. Another interesting concept portrayed in the novel is the motivation behind the main characters’ marriages: Elizabeth marries out of love, where as her friend, Charlotte, marries so that she might continue with her lavish lifestyle. Lydia, Elizabeth’s youngest sister, marries out of what she thinks is love but, in fact, out of something more sinister.
The first marriage found in the novel is that of Charlotte Lucas to the nervous Mr. Collins. Charlotte, being a “well-educated woman of small fortune”(120; Vol.1, ch. 22), readily accepted Collins’ proposal regardless that her best friend, Elizabeth, had rejected the same proposal not a week before. Charlotte marries Collins primarily because he will be able to provide for her and will be able to make her life quite easy considering, that upon the death of Mr. Bennet, Collins would “be in possession of the Longbourn estate” (120; Vol.1, ch. 22). Charlotte’s family, Like Elizabeth’s family, did not receive their wealth from their inheritances, but rather from work and trade. People who earned their wealth in this fashion were considered to be of a lower class; so when Mr. Collins does propose to Charlotte it is seen as extremely good fortune since he earned his money through inheritance and is in the command of the wealthy Lady Catherine. In conclusion, Charlotte married Collins not out of love but out of her desire for material gain.
Lydia’s marriage was of an even more serious note; she had eloped with the unsavory Mr. Wickham, whose character was more than questionable. At the time of her departure Lydia was little more than sixteen and was rather foolish; this was clearly demonstrated in her letter to Elizabeth stating her feelings toward Wickham. Wickham was eventually forced to marry Lydia which caused him to halt his plan of abandoning her and taking her money to pay off his debts. Their marriage seemed successful in the beginning but as time passed they drifted apart and lived for the most part in poverty, constantly calling on Lydia’s sisters for financial aid. Their marriage was not based off of love or mutual care; it was based off of Lydia’s need to outperform her sisters and Wickham’s need for money. In the past Wickham had been able to seduce other woman and essentially rob them of their fortune; once he was finished with them he would leave them to their own means. He was attempting to do the same to Lydia but was confronted by Mr. Darcy, Elizabeth’s eventual husband. Their relationship was too hasty and each did not have time to fully explore the others character. The outcomes of such unions usually end in guilt and regret for both parties.
Of the three examined couples Elizabeth and Darcy have by far the most loving and prosperous marriage. Elizabeth first met Mr. Darcy, one year before their marriage, at a ball. Her fist opinion of him was that he was extremely vain and not worthy of her affections; quite similarly Mr. Darcy initially felt that Elizabeth was “tolerable…but not handsome enough to tempt [him]”(12; Vol. 1, ch. 3). Elizabeth found support for her initial impressions of Mr. Darcy from her friends and acquaintances who shared her opinions and from the sinister Mr. Wickham. Darcy’s first impressions of Elizabeth and her family were that they were of a lower class and that Mrs. Bennet, Elizabeth’s mother, was a scheming simpleton who tried to trick any rich bachelor into marrying one of her five daughters. Acting on his impression Darcy convinced his good friend Mr. Bingly into leaving the area and to break off relations with Jane, Elizabeth’s eldest sister. When Elizabeth became aware of Mr. Darcy’s actions she became quite cross with him and her opinion of him worsened. Her dislike of Darcy actually blinded her to his feelings for her and she was quite shocked when he proposed to her the first time. She declined his first proposal and stated her grievances with him as her reasons for not accepting. After receiving a letter from him describing his actions and a visit to his estate in Pemberly she began to see Darcy’s true nature. After learning of his true nature she started falling in love with him and in the end accepted his second marriage proposal. Their relationship grew over time and each had the chance to observe the others character; this being the case they were both able to obtain an accurate idea of what the other was truly like. A union like theirs typically lasts much longer and is one of love and prosperity for both parties involved.
The idea of the novel seems to lie in the portrayal of the three main unions. The union of Collins and Charlotte demonstrates the ideas of ambition and a one-sided marriage; where as the union between Elizabeth and Darcy shows one of compassion and mutual love. Lydia’s marriage to Wickham shows the darker side of society and how an unscrupulous character can easily take advantage of an innocent and foolish child. The novel is a grand example of human interaction in 19th century England and could even be useful for studying that period in history.

Work Cited
Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice. London, England: Penguin Classics 2003

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Exploring the Theme of Pride and Prejudice Essay

2643 Words11 Pages

How does Jane Austen explore the theme of Pride and Prejudice in the novel? The original title of Jane Austen's novel, "Pride and Prejudice" was
"First impressions". From this title it is clear that Jane Austen wanted to convey to the reader the importance of first impressions and how we form them so quickly. Other themes of the novel include pride, prejudice, conceit and vanity. Most people have these feelings or opinions without even realising it. Pride is a feeling of satisfaction that you have done well, however, it can also mean that you feel better than others. Pride can be linked to vanity, which can be described as a feeling of excessive pride regarding aspects of yourself, for example, your looks or abilities.…show more content…

Elizabeth's prejudice against Darcy is fuelled when she hears from
Wickham that Darcy has treated him wrongly. Elizabeth accepts
Wickham's story without exploring it fully because she believes that he is a gentleman and so is trustworthy. This is another example of how first impressions can be wrong, as Wickham is not a gentleman as
Elizabeth first thought and has not told Elizabeth the whole truth about why Darcy treated him wrongly. When Elizabeth finds out the vital information that Wickham has not mentioned her opinion of both
Wickham and Darcy changes dramatically. This is a crucial point in the novel as this is when Elizabeth realises how easily she has formed prejudices and opinions about people that are wrong. Austen has also guided the reader to have the same opinions, as Elizabeth and this is the point in the reader realises that they too have formed inaccurate opinions and prejudices against characters.

At the beginning of the novel the reader is intended to dislike Darcy.
Austen creates this through the use of language by the omniscient narrator. Without realising it the reader has been forced to form a certain opinion of each character by the narrator, which is later
reversed.

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