Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice Essay

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Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice

"It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife"

Jane Austen used this quote to open her second book, 'Pride and
Prejudice', which was first published in 1813. This is a story of the attitudes towards love and marriage in the nineteenth century, through the eyes of a number of people in different family situations and levels of society. It explores what was socially acceptable and disgraceful at the time, as well as the author, Jane Austen's, personal opinion on the matter. This is shown mainly through the character of Elizabeth Bennet, the second of five daughters of Mr and
Mrs Bennet, inhabitants of the Longbourn
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This theory, however, is slightly contradicted by Mr Bingley when he is at
Netherfield, when the family and Elizabeth are having a discussion about Mr Darcy's sister and women's talents,

"It is amazing to me how young ladies can have patience to be so very accomplished, as they all are"

As well as keeping to complicated social standards, a lady was expected to have a wide range of useful skills, such as playing the pianoforte and doing embroidery.

One of the reasons for marriage which is explored in great detail in
'Pride and Prejudice' is for material success or gain. The main example of this which is given to us by Austen is is Charlotte Lucas and Mr Collins' relationship. Charlotte is in a very different position to Elizabeth Bennet; she is not exceptionally pretty, nor in a position to have almost any man she choses, and at the ripe old age of twenty seven is starting to become an 'old maid'. He future is at stake because if she does not find a husband quickly, she will be forced to live with her parents for the rest of her life, and her reputation in society in society will be badly damaged. The prospect of marrying someone that she doesn't love isn't a worry to Miss Lucas, however, because as she says to Elizabeth, "I am not a romantic you know." She does not believe in love, probably because she hasn't found it yet. Previously, she told Lizzy that "Happiness in a marriage is entirely a matter of chance." She
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