How do the roles of women in Pride and Prejudice differ from that of women today?

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I agree with sherif1993 in the focus on the importance of marriage and how easily this is misunderstood today. Back in Austen´s times, really marriage was the only future for women who wanted some form of autonomy or limited independence. Obviously Mrs. Bennet is a caricature of a mother who...

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I agree with sherif1993 in the focus on the importance of marriage and how easily this is misunderstood today. Back in Austen´s times, really marriage was the only future for women who wanted some form of autonomy or limited independence. Obviously Mrs. Bennet is a caricature of a mother who is completely obsessed by marrying off her daughters, but it does reveal the grain of truth behind this exaggerated character by stressing the importance of marriage. This is why Charlotte Lucas was so willing to make the compromise of marrying the ridiculous Mr. Collins. To her, as a 27 year old (and thereby nearly classified a spinster without hope of marriage), Mr. Collins represented her last hope to have her own house and gain the social status that married women had at that time. Again and again in the novel, the fate of not marrying is referred to, such as when Mr. Collins rather insensitively alludes to Elizabeth maybe not having any further hopes of marriage if she refuses him. In many ways it was a brutal world for women, who had severely restricted choices and options open to them, wheras today, women can be single, can marry, can work, can have their own lives and not be censured by society.

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