Discovering a Woman’s Role in Society in Pride and Prejudice Essay

1226 Words5 Pages
Throughout the early 1800s, British women often played a subordinate role in society, flexed by many obligations, laws, and the superior males. A young woman’s struggle for independence and free will can often be compared to a life of servitude and slavery. Women were often controlled by the various men in their lives; whether it be father, brother or the eventual husband. Marriage during this time was often a gamble; one can either be in it for the right reasons such as love or for the wrong reasons such as advancing social status. In 19th century Britain, laws were enacted to further suppress women that eventually bore the idea that women were supposed to do two things: marry and have children. In Pride and Prejudice, Austen…show more content…
Every social interaction had its own procedure, from the way a woman holds her cup of tea to the way a woman holds a man’s hand to indicate interest. Like previous periods, the social hierarchy importance was stressed. Since many women did not inherit wealth nor did they find their own means, women looked to marriage in order to secure a comfortable future. Also, many historic events such as the French Revolution and the War of 1812 happened during this time. The Regency period draws upon many issues and ideals that are prevalent throughout Pride and Prejudice. In order to gain a clearer perspective of the novel, it is important to understand the foundation of the Regency period. Beneath the glamour of the Regency period, lied a society that relied heavily on its definite social hierarchy and the status of money. A woman from the Regency period had no other option but to find a husband, “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortunate must be in want of a wife” (Austen 3). Women were often objectified and treated as a possession rather than a life partner. Moreover, marriage seemed like a business proposition rather than a matter of love and happiness. In order to do so, the couple must go through the process of a highly established society that had its rules and regulations. Class structure played an influential role during the Regency period, as it was rarely changeable and marriage matches often depended on it.
Open Document