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Pride And Prejudice Patriarchal Hierarchy Essay

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The Failure of the Patriarchal Hierarchy in Austen's Pride and Prejudice In the eighteenth century, the Married Women's Property Act of 1753 was passed into law; it stated that once married off, all of a woman's possessions and properties became that of their husband's. This left women with nothing and made them completely dependent on their husbands (Baker 369). This societal tradition plays a significant role in Jane Austen's famous novel, Pride and Prejudice. The novel is centered on "Austen's implicit critique of the patriarchal hierarchy as the proper foundation for social organization." (Burgan 537). In the opening line of Pride and Prejudice, "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune,…show more content…
Bennet's character is portrayed when his youngest daughter runs off to elope with Mr. Wickham. The whole scandal could have been avoided if Mr. Bennet refused to let Lydia go to but instead Mr. Bennet thinks of himself and how annoying Lydia will be and that there "Shall be no peace at Longbourn if Lydia does not go to Brighton." (209), so he gives his permission. Elizabeth tried to reason with her father and warn him that Lydia would only bring disgrace to the family name. To this Mr. Bennet shows how little he cares about his youngest daughter when he says "At Brighton she will be of less importance even as a common flirt than she has been here. The officers will find women better worth their notice. Let us hope, that her being there may teach her her own insignificance. At any rate, she cannot grow many degrees worse, without authorizing us to lock her up for the rest of her life." (209). Talking this way about his own children illuminates how emotional inattentive he actually is. After Lydia runs away with Wickham, Mr. Bennet follows what one hopes is a paternal instinct to protect his family. When he returns from London without any news of Lydia, Elizabeth goes to comfort him he only replies " No, Lizzy, let me once in my feel how much I have to blame. I am not afraid of being overpowered by the impression. It will pass away soon enough. (265). This simple response sheds so much light on the true nature of Mr. Bennet and how his is a great risk to the Bennet family because Mr. Bennet knows he should feel miserable that he has not educated his daughters enough for them not to do such foolish things, like running away and eloping, but Mr. Bennet cannot wallow in sorrow for long because his emotional ineptitude prohibits him from worrying about his family for
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