Illustration of Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy with neutral expressions on their faces

Pride and Prejudice

by Jane Austen
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How does Jane Austen present the themes of love and marriage in Pride and Prejudice?

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For Jane Austen love was absolutely necessary for a good marriage.  However, in English society at the time, which is depicted in the novel, love is not the greatest consideration for marriage.  The ideal goal for marriage is to marry someone financially capable of supporting you. Love is secondary. Austen mocks...

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For Jane Austen love was absolutely necessary for a good marriage.  However, in English society at the time, which is depicted in the novel, love is not the greatest consideration for marriage.  The ideal goal for marriage is to marry someone financially capable of supporting you. Love is secondary. Austen mocks this practice in the book.

For example, Mrs. Bennett is constantly reminding her daughters about the rule that since there is no male heir among her children, that their home will pass out of their family to the next male in the family, Mr. Collins.  The Bennetts will be homeless when Mr. Bennett dies. So it is imperative that the girls, especially Jane and Lizzy, find husbands who can provide them with a home and possibly their mother and sisters as well.

Marriage is considered an arrangement between parties who occupy the same social level.  Love is certainly a necessary consideration, but not required for a good match.  For example, Darcy has been promised to Lady Catherine Debourgh's daughter since birth. 

Even though he does not love her, he is supposed to marry her.  Darcy is an exception, since he does fall in love with Lizzy, but is reluctant, at first to court her because he believes that her family is socially inferior.  Darcy and Lizzy's marriage is an example of both love and financial security coming together.  She and Jane both marry men who not only love them but can support them well.

    

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