What is the attitude towards marriage in novel Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen?

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M.P. Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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The attitude towards marriage depends entirely on the characters.

We can start by stating that the overall attitude was that marriage was a symbol of status and a rite of passage that women and men alike had to undertake in order to belong fully to society. Depending on the riches and properties, the marriage will be considered socially powerful, and will ensure benefits for both sides.

Men, when coming of age and acquiring property, were expected to look for a wife.

The women, however, had different views of it.

Elizabeth, who was independent and did not think of the criteria of the time, was focused in finding the love of her life. Her marriage would have to be for love.  In that she shares with her sister Jane, but Jane never specifically stated  her views of marriage in general, other than she loved Bingley.

Charlotte Lucas and Mrs. Bennet, however, represent the side of society which found matrimony as a way out of poverty and as a way for women to take a place in society. Charlotte went as far as marrying Mr. Collins knowing that she may learn to tolerate him, and because she just wanted the comfort of a home of  her own. Mrs. Bennet, as we know, was nearly obsessed with marrying her daughters so that (if their father dies) their entire property would go to Mr. Collins, as the nearest male heir in the family.

As of Lydia, Kitty, and Mary, we kjnow that the three are superficial in their opinion. Lydia eloped thinking that Wickham was in love with her and will  undoubtedly marry her. We know that it was not the case. He was forced to. Mary, since she had no chance due to her dull personality, would appear too virtuous. Poor Kitty could only follow Lydia, and without her she was not much.

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