Tom Jones Questions and Answers
by Henry Fielding

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Comment on the institution of marriage as seen in 'Tom Jones' by Henry Fielding.

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Marriage in Henry Fielding's The History of Tom Jones, A Foundling, is a rather convoluted affair (no pun intended, although there were more affairs in marriage than there was fidelity in marriage). Marriages were undertaken (no funereal pun intended there, either) in Tom Jones for a variety of reasons. Marriages were undertaken for necessity, as in Bridgett's baby being born eight months after her marriage to Blifel, and, yes, the customary time of pregnancy is nine months, which is particularly interesting because Bridgett met Blifil one month before the marriage.

Marriages were also undertaken for money, as was the case when Mrs. Arabella Hunt proposed to Tom and he was tempted, though he finally declined. Marriages were sometimes undertaken for love and necessity together as when Nightingale and Nancy were married. This brings up the point that marriages very often...

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