A dowry was an amount of goods, property, or money that the bride brings in exchange for marriage ("Elizabethan Wedding Customs" 2).
Dowries are extremely important to consider when it comes to arranged marriages. A dowry is a gift that could be goods, money, or land that a bride’s family will give to the groom to marry the bride. Dowries could be used to bring two powerful families together by having their children marry, for example, royal arranged marriages. In the Biblical sense, a girl who is still a virgin is more of prize than one who is not. In a way dowries make the daughter or son feel as property as told by Sara Smolinsky, “to [my father] I was nothing but his last unmarried daughter to be bought and sold” (205). Mr. Smolinsky stated, “It’s not enough to take my Bessie without a dowry. You must pay me yet” (47). Mr. Smolinsky, being the stubborn man he is, decided when Berel Bernstein asked for Bessie’s hand in marriage without the need of a dowry, that Mr. Smolinsky should get a bride price as well. A bride price
England has always had a rich history of interesting cultural traditions but arguably none as prevalent as marriage. Marriage, the union of two people with emotional ideals and expectations, are brought on by many different factors that include: for love, for money, for climbing social status, escapism, survival, etc. In Jane Austen’s novels, she focuses on the importance of marriage in her world because she wanted to emphasize how marriage is the most important life event of a woman as this would determine her place in society. Persuasion shows readers good and bad examples of marriage: the amiable Crofts and other couples such as Sir Walter & Lady Elliot and the Smiths. Jane Austen uses the Crofts to support the importance of marriage
Pin money is an estate which the wife was to possess for her sole and separate use and was not subject to the control of her husband (Staves 133). This dowry was the only separate property that married women could own and control in accordance with the law of coverture. Furthermore, married women were legal as well as economic non-entities.
From this day you must be a stranger to one of your parents. ---Your mother will never see you again if you do not marry Mr. Collins, and I will never see you again if you do’” (97). Mrs. Bennet makes a fuss over trivial things and is partial to exaggeration. These attributes prompt her children and husband to see her as unimportant and harmless. Although her word is ineffective in her household, Mrs. Bennet’s persistence to marry her daughters is ceaseless: “Not yet, however, in spite of her disappointment in her husband, did Mrs. Bennet give up the point. She talked to Elizabeth again and again; coaxed and threatened her by turns” (97). Mrs. Bennet can’t see past her marital ideals for her daughters and can’t understand why they don’t concern themselves as ardently as she does with them. In a fit of anger, Mrs. Bennet claims to disown Elizabeth for refusing Mr. Collin’s proposal by stating, “’But I tell you what, Miss Lizzy, if you take it into your head to go on refusing every offer of marriage in this way, you will never get a husband at all --and I am sure I do not know who is to maintain you when your father is dead’” (98). Elizabeth’s mother thinks that her threats have weight but all the Bennet children know her warnings are hollow. Even when Lydia runs away with Wickham and brings shame to the Bennet family, Mrs. Bennet is only concerned with the fact that Lydia is getting married: “She was now in an irritation as violent from
In Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen introduces the major thematic concept of marriage and financial wealth. Throughout the novel, Austen depicts various relationships that exhibit the two recurring themes. Set during the regency period, the perception of marriage revolves around a universal truth. Austen claims that a single man “must be in want of a wife.” Hence, the social stature and wealth of men were of principal importance for women. Austen, however, hints that the opposite may prove more exact: a single woman, under the social limitations, is in want of a husband. Through this speculation, Austen acknowledges that the economic pressure of social acceptance serves as a foundation for a proper marriage.
This stands in stark contrast to what Miss Elizabeth Bennett wants. Mrs Bennett wants her daughters to marry because it’s thea only way for them to solidfy that they will have food on their plates and a roof over their head. Mr. Collins is Mr. Bennetts brother and is set to inherit his estate when he dies. He comes to visit in the middle of the book and his main intentions are to ask on of the daughters to marry him and to observe what he will in time own. Mrs. Bennett says in response to all this “Oh! Single, my dear, to be sure! A single man of large fortune; four or five thousnd a year. What a fine thing for our girls!” (57, Austen) The single man she speaks of his Mr. Collins, the Bennett kids uncle. Austen describes Mr. Collins as a self retious kind of man who thinks he is above the Benntt’s just because he is set to inherrit their estate. This gives him a villeness quality. Austen is commenting on the blindness of Mrs. Bennett to the qualitys of Marraige. She only shes Mr. Collins as money but Elizabeth sees him as a bad person to spend the rest of her life with and theirfore turns down his marraige purposal. Which causes trouble between her and her mother. This is the best example of the contrast in what the two women see as the meaning of Marriage.
Similarly, Mary's awkward and reclusive actions promote her as an agreeable suitor; this makes her the only Bennett sister to not have the opportunity to be married. The two oldest sisters contain the most agreeable and independent personalities among the Bennett sisters, which foreshadows their successful relationships. Jane’s positive attitude causes Bingley to be attracted to her, but Darcy questions Bingley’s choice. By the end of the novel, Bingley realizes that he made a mistake to leave Jane. Jane’s marriage is the first marriage bring prestige to the Bennetts. As for Elizabeth, her personality first comes across unagreeable to suitors, but suitors realize that she is the next respectful Bennett sister besides Jane. Darcy's entitled personality clashes with Elizabeth's prideful attitude; eventually, Darcy discovers that Elizabeth's odd behaviors results from taking care of her family. He admires her commitment; like Elizabeth, Darcy values his sister more than anyone. Darcy and Elizabeth family values cause them to find common ground away from their previous views of each other. Austen wrote the Bennetts' family dynamics to foreshadow the success of the sisters’ future marriage; they also demonstrate the importance of family values in a relationship.
The Regency time period was an era of great wealth. Both men and women worked vigorously to become part of the upper class. Marrying for upper class women was the only way to gain a source of income (Hall). Women would even change their way of life to be able to marry into wealth. A truth universally acknowledged, that a single main possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife, said Mrs. Bennett (Hall). In the Regency time period, wealth played a huge role in both men and women’s lives
Their limited education consisted of needlework, fine handwriting, singing, dancing, playing piano, and reading (3). Marriage at this time was the only thing that could give a woman any sense of security. If their fathers were to die, it was custom that only the eldest son could inherit the money and property. Unfortunately, if the family did not have a male son the land would be given to the closet male relative, which left the women in a very delicate position. Austen show’s readers this aspect of her society by having the Bennet sisters in the same situation. Without a male sibling their land and home will be entailed to a Mr. Collins. If Mr. Bennet were to die, his five daughters and his wife would be left homeless or at the charity of others because Mr. Collins would not have it in his heart to let them reside in the house with him. Their only way to escape this fate would be to get married. However, there was many obstacles that middle class young women had to deal with that kept young suitors uninterested. One was their social station. The society of this time was so stratified that even one class could be broken down into more distinctions of rank (2). The people did not often marry outside of their social rank, which left middle class women with middle class men. Unfortunately, money also played a big part in the determination of whether
This shows us that Mr Bennet knows he made a mistake marrying the prettiest girl all those years ago, and he wants to make sure that his favourite daughter doesn't make the same mistake.
Jane Austen’s novel is commanded by women; Pride and Prejudice explores the expectations of women in a society that is set at the turn of the 19th century. Throughout the plot, Austen’s female characters are all influenced by their peers, pressures from their family, and their own desires. The social struggle of men and women is seen throughout the novel. Characters, like Elizabeth, are examples of females not acting as proper as women were supposed to, while other women like Mrs. Bennett allow themselves to be controlled by men and society. Mr. Collins is a representation of the struggles males deal with in a novel dominated by women. The theme of marriage is prominent during Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Marriage can be examined in
After her father died, Mary Astell was left without a dowry, resulting in her being considered incompatible for marriage. In her book, Some Reflections Upon Marriage, Astell pointed out that there were only few lively marriages in England because of the way the English institution worked. Marriages in England were determined by income, and no thought went into the emotional harmony and compatibility of husband and wife. This was so rendering to Astell’s life because she didn’t have the money to marry someone with the same viewpoints as her or even respectable enough to take her hand in marriage. Mary Astell proclaimed that “[marriage] for Love, an Heroick Action, which makes a mighty noise in the World, partly because of its rarity, and partly in regard of its extravagancy” (Astell 41). In this quote, Mary Astell is saying that men and women rarely marry for love because it was more common for them to be bounded together for financial benefits and an increase of social status. But, when a couple married for love, they made a larger mark on the world this is because it showed that there was a step closer in the direction of women marrying a man that will love her and had no need to support her financially. Astell believed that women should not be viewed as a slave or property, and that they should have the ability to chose their own destiny. She showed that men rarely married for love because if a man admired a woman for her wit, than an unsuccessful marriage would
The families of Elizabeth and Charlotte play a very important part in their lives, and in the prospect of their future companions. Elizabeth’s family are more prone to exposing themselves and being ridiculous , and it is partly down to her family that Mr. Darcy is so adamant on Mr. Bingley not marrying her sister Jane. However, unlike her family, Elizabeth is socially graceful, sensitive and conscious of her appearance in the eyes of others. This leads to her acute awareness of the social failing of some members of her family, particularly her mother and youngest sister.
Jane Austen was a Georgian era author who was best known for her novels that commented on social issues and class, and Northanger Abbey is no exception. Austen’s social commentary is apparent in this novel’s plot, as the reader follows a seventeen-year-old protagonist, Catherine Morland, as she matures and forms intimate relationships with fellow characters in an England town called Bath. Marriage between characters in the novel is heavily based on wealth, and because of England’s unstable economy at the time, marrying into wealth meant maintaining a high social class and economic stability for the characters. The importance of economic prosperity and social rank heavily influenced marriage in 19th century England, and this idea bourgeoisie classism and marrying for wealth is contradicted by Austen in her novel, Northanger Abbey.