“It death. Therefore, Mrs. Bennet wanted her

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“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of
a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” This first sentence of Jane
Austen’s Pride and Prejudice could not have better prepared the reader for the
rest of the novel. The thread that sews together the lives of all the characters
in this classic is the establishment of marriage. Austen uses the Bennet family
of Longbourn to illustrate the good and bad reasons behind marriage. Mrs. Bennet
is an irritating woman whose main goal in life is to get her five daughters
married. It might be correct in assuming that she felt social and financial
pressure to do so. Her husband’s estate was entailed to his nephew, Mr. Collins,
upon Mr. Bennet’s death. Therefore, Mrs. Bennet wanted her daughters to have
financial stability elsewhere in case of their father’s death. In the time
period of this story there was very little social acceptance of women who were
single their whole lives. For the most part, women could not acquire money on
their own without inheriting or marrying into good fortune. Women who could not
find a husband were often referred to as “old maids” and lived their
whole lives with their parents. I can understand why Mrs. Bennet did not want
this for any of her daughters. The Bennets’ marriage was not ideal. Mr. Bennet
had married his wife because she was beautiful in her youth and her ability to
supply him with children. Eventually though, her beauty faded and so did their
enjoyment of each other. He enjoyed his time alone in his study where he could
be away from his wife and daughters. Mrs. Bennet enjoyed gossiping about
neighbors and finding future husbands for her daughters. I do believe that
Austen is showing the reader that marrying only for physical appearance is wrong
– beauty fades with time. Charlotte Lucas, Elizabeth’s dearest friend, marries
Mr. Collins for money. The narrator plainly states that Charlotte accepted his
proposal for “the pure and disinterested desire of an establishment.”
She was twenty-six years old and her family was beginning to be worried. Upon
hearing of her engagement, her brothers were “relieved from their
apprehension of Charlotte dying an old maid.” Charlotte wanted nothing more
out of marriage than financial stability and that is what she got. In Hunsford
it seems that Charlotte did nothing but tend to the chores of maintaining her
home and pleasing Lady Catherine. I do not believe that Charlotte and Mr.

Collins were in love at all and they did not really seem too happy in each
other’s company. I think their marriage was an illustration of why you should
not marry just for financial reasons. Lydia’s marriage to Wickham was simply for
romance and lust. For a good while, the flirtatious teenager had had her eye on
military officers. I believe that when Wickham showed her attention she fell in
love and henceforth came their marriage. The sad fact is that she liked him a
great deal more than he cared about her. Wickham had many debts and used the
money he got from marrying her to pay them off. Therefore, Lydia is married to a
man that doesn’t really care for her all that much and Wickham is married to a
girl that cannot really offer him anything. This couple shows that you should
marry someone who feels the same towards you or eventually you will be unhappy.

The marriages of the two eldest Bennet daughters were pleasant and appear to be
ideal. Jane had longed for Mr. Bingley for quite a while. Bingley was handsome,
rich, kind, and well liked. He and Jane shared many conversations and had
complimentary personalities. They were pleasantly matched and I believe that
they shared a happy life together. Elizabeth and Darcy’s marriage was an
excellent match. They were equal in intellect, had physical attraction and deep
love for one another, financial security, romance, and companionship. They are
the two I believe would be most happy in life. Austen wanted the reader to know
that marriage should be approached as a package deal – a package of love,
financial stability, physical attraction, and happiness.

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