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Pride & Prejudice: Marriage

In: English and Literature

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Pride & Prejudice: Marriage

Austen uses the marriages of Charlotte, Lydia, Jane, and Elizabeth in “Pride and Prejudice” to show the good and bad reasons behind typical marriages during the late 18th century in England. The marriages of those four characters illustrate the different motives women had behind getting wedded.
Charlotte Lucas accepts Mr. Collins’ hand in marriage as soon as he proposed to her even though she had only known him for a short period of time because he was financially stable. Charlotte is described to be simple with no outstanding qualities; as she is twenty-six years of age, she has a different opinion on marriage from the Bennet daughters as they are younger. She marries Mr. Collins for practicality and survival as she tells Elizabeth, “I ask only a comfortable home; and considering Mr. Collins's character, connections, and situation in life, I am convinced that my chance of happiness with him is as fair as most people can boast on entering the marriage state.'” (P&P pg 124) Her family members are happy when they hear the news as they no longer need to support her – her new husband will take care of her and finances. Women married at a young age; Charlotte’s age was considered old, and it being rare to find a groom for an old bride, Charlotte’s brothers were relieved that she would not die unmarried. Austen uses the marriage of Charlotte and Mr. Collins to represent women that marry wealthy men in order to be financially secure, which was very common during the Regency era.
Lydia and Wickham’s elopement represents infatuation and lust. Being only sixteen, Lydia is naïvely infatuated by Wickham, a soldier, who is described to be very well-mannered and extremely handsome, “he had all the best parts of beauty, a fine countenance, a good figure, and very pleasing address.” (P&P pg 75) Though their elopement creates a chaos,…...

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