“Pride and Prejudice” deal with several issues important to people in the early 19th century. Marriage is a key theme in this book of love, hatred, pride and prejudice. Marriage was highly imperative in the early 19th century, especially with girls born into less wealthy families. Being over 25 and unmarried was an extremely undesirable position to be in. It was also necessary for a young girl to marry so that she was not financially dependant on her family. At the beginning of the novel, Austen writes, “a wealthy, single man must need a wife.” This was the attitude of women who wanted and needed a husband.
For women in the early 19th century, women were customarily restricted to the home and their families. For women in upper-middle class, such as the Bennet family, life consisted of dances, dinners and visits to their friends and relatives.A woman’s place in society was to marry a (preferably wealthy) man as a duty to her parents. Also she would have been expected to have at least one son to ensure that their family’s estate can stay in the family. Mrs Bennet was so keen to marry her daughters off to a wealthy gentleman to ensure Mr Collins would not get the Longbourn estate, which would be disastrous. As Mr and Mrs Bennett had 5 children, they had assumed that at least one of them would be a boy and inherit Longbourn.
However this was not the case, and due to an entail, women were prevented from inheriting estates, and therefore Mr Collins would inherit Longbourn.Jane Austen uses different marriage models to show the common beauties and vices in marriages of the time. The marriage model of Mr and Mrs Bennet show us that Mr Bennet married Mrs Bennet for her “youthful beauty,” despite the face that their personalities are mismatched. This was often the case in 19th century marriages. Lydia Bennet and Mr Wickam are all that a marriage should not be. They are two reckless individual who have been forced together to save their families reputation. There is also no way they can support themselves.
However, the marriage of Mr Darcy and Lizzy is a marriage model of an ideal match. Lizzy has wit, strength of character, beauty, a good heart and other desirable qualities. She is very well suited to Mr Darcy, who is intelligent, rational, handsome and (possibly most importantly) very rich.
The main characters of this novel often have their judgement clouded by the powerful vices of pride and prejudice. These vices must be overcome before the characters can find love and happiness through their true matches.In chapter 19 Mr Collins enters the Bennet household and requests to be alone with Lizzy. Lizzy has already guessed that Mr Collins will ask her to marry him, and she begs her mother not to leave. Mrs Bennet will not hear of this, and quickly exits along with the rest of the family. Mr Collins then delivers to Lizzy a very rehearsed, cold and unheartfelt proposal.
Mr Collins says that he has come to Longbourne specifically to ensure that “loss to them is as little as possible.”Mr Collins believes that he is doing a huge favour to Lizzy if she marries him, and that the Bennets’ will be forever in debt to him for saving their daughter. At first, Lizzy is desperate not to listen to Mr Collins or let him carry on. However, as Mr Collins thinks he will be “run away with feelings” he decides to give a longwinded explanation of “the three reasons I wish to marry you.” Lizzy begins to find this situation rather humorous, as it is very clear that there are no feelings involved whatsoever, other than his pride, and prejudice.
This proposal brings out man of Mr Collins’ negative points. This is another one of Mr Collins’ negative traits. An example of how pompous he is is shown when he states his “three reasons for marrying you.” The first is that it is the duty of every clergyman. This alone shows that he is very concerned with how other people portray him and that he should lead by example. This shows us that he is also arrogant, as he thinks that he is superior to other people and therefore, they should follow his lead. His second reason that he wants to marry Lizzy is that it will “greatly add to my happiness.” This shows us that Mr Collins is a very selfish man, whose happiness comes before anyone else’s.
This can also be seen as arrogant, because he thinks that his happiness is of utmost importance because he is superior to those around him. His third reason for marrying Lizzy is that his Patroness, Lady Cather De Bourgh, has told him “Clergymen must marry…choose a gentlewoman for my sake.”This shows us that Mr Collins has obviously put little or no thought into marrying Lizzy, and has only thought of the idea because Lady Catherine suggested it. This is reason also to suggest that he does not love Lizzy, as he if did he would not need prompting to find a wife. None of these reasons make Lizzy feel very special or loved.
Lizzy doesn’t see him as a hero, nor does she want to marry for convenience. Lizzy was a great believer in love marriages and found Mr Collins ghastly and conceited, even before he gave her such a pompous proposal. Mr Collins also suffers from being prejudice. He assumes that Lizzy would obviously want to marry her because she is getting older and may not get another proposal.
He also assumes that because her family are fairly poor, that Lizzy needs a wealthy man to look after her.When Lizzy turns him down he tries to cover up how devastated he is by saying “it is a custom of your sex to reject a man on the first application and perhaps..
.encourage my suit.” He also tells Lizzy that because he has turned him down it makes her seem like more of a lady. This would have been important in his mind because he wants a stereotypical woman to boost his rating amongst other men. These lines show us that he is very patronising and he has a lot of pride. Rather than just accepting that Lizzy has rejected him, and he has been somewhat embarrassed as he almost forgot that Lizzy had no accepted his proposal, him he tells Lizzy that “it be the established custom of your sex to reject a man on the first application.”It is possible to look at Mr Collins’ proposal as sensible.
It is a wise business investment on his part. He also has good connections, for example being the Patroness of Lady Catherine De Bourgh, and it is only fair that he should try and use these to get what he wants. He is also being sensible because he is trying to be good to the Bennet family, even if his intentions are dampened by the prestige he would receive for saving them all.Although Lizzy is put in a difficult situation, she does not always behave amicably. For example, after Mr Collins’ has requested time alone with Lizzy she “begs (she) you will not go.” This was quite rude of Lizzy, but Mr Collins’ thinks it “only adds to your other perfections.” Lizzy is also guilty of being subject to the vices of pride and prejudice.
She is prejudice towards Mr Collins’ who has been brought up to believe that he is dull and boring, however she does not know him very well. She is also prejudice towards him because she thinks the worst of him because he is entitled to the estate after her father dies. This is not his fault or anything he has done to deserve it, it is just the entail law. Lizzy is also guilty of having a lot of pride. She does not want to marry Mr Collins even though she knows that it will save her estate and she is getting old. She does not want to marry Mr Collins beause she does not want to have to swallow her pride and admit that she is going against her values and marrying for convenience rather than love.In chapter 34 we see Mr Darcy, in an agitated manner walked towards Lizzy and he said, “In vain have I struggled. It will not do.
My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.” This is already a contrast to Mr Collins’ proposal.
Here we can tell that Mr Darcy is nervous about asking for Lizzy’s hand in marriage, whereas Mr Collins “set about it in a very orderly manner.” Lizzy was very shocked by this, whereas she knew exactly what was coming when Mr Collins asked to be left alone with Lizzy. A similarity between Mr Darcy and Mr Collins has been established; that Lizzy doesn’t like either of them.
These are both due to Lizzy’s prejudices. She dislikes Mr Darcy for nothing other than Mr Wickham’s words, and how he interfered with her sister’s affairs.Lizzy also finds them both overly proud and overbearing. However, Mr Collins and Mr Darcy both regard her as inferior socially as well as intellectually, due to her gender. This is an example of Mr Collins’ and Mr Darcy’s prejudices against someone because they are of an inferior gender of the time. It is also an example of their pride, as they would both like to see themselves as above other people. Ask Mr Darcy proposes he speaks greatly of his pride as though it is not a vice.
He also acts like his proposal to her is a huge honour, which Elizabeth cannot turn down. This is similar to when Mr Collins’ proposed to her.However a difference between these two proposals is how Lizzy reacts.
In Mr Collins’ proposal, Lizzy laughed the whole thing off, before being forced to tell Mr Collins straight that she does not want to marry him. However, Lizzy erupts into a huge angry tirade towards Mr Darcy when she has heard enough. She accuses Mr Darcy of interfering with Jane and Mr Bingley, of treating Mr Wickham horribly, and just generally being unbearably arrogant. At first, Darcy doesn’t understand what he has done and has nothing to say to what she has said. It is now that he launches his own set of hurtful words at Elizabeth which clearly show his negative points.
Ironically in this chapter, Mr Darcy accuses Lizzy of pride, and Elizabeth accuses Mr Darcy of being prejudice against people, for example Mr Wickham and Jane. His vices of pride arrogance are shown as he says, “I am thus rejected. But it is of small importance.” He means that although he has just been rejected, it doesn’t really matter because the girl he just asked to marry him isn’t very special anyway.
This is true of both Mr Collins’ and Mr Darcy’s proposal, as they both make Lizzy feel like she isn’t extraordinary and as though it doesn’t matter if she has turned them down. He is also guilty of prejudice.You can see this when he says “I have every reason in the world to think ill of you.
” Mr Darcy does not know Lizzy very well and so he is being prejudice by thinking that he can hate her after knowing so little. Mr Darcy can also be very rude. An example of this is when he says “and this…
is your opinion of me…I thank you for explaining it so fully.” This sarcasm shows his spitefulness and rudeness towards her. He saying “Mr Darcy’s shameful boast of what misery he had been able to inflict” shows his cruelty as he is actually proud of the misery he has caused.
The major difference of Mr Darcy’s proposal compared to Mr Collins’ proposal is the passion that is being portrayed by both Mr Darcy Lizzy. If Mr Darcy felt no passion towards her, he wouldn’t have been nervous before he proposed to her. Also when he was rejected he wouldn’t have felt such anger and hostility towards her, as he wouldn’t care about her. This was true in Mr Collins’ case. His proposal was more about trying to persuade Lizzy to marry him rather than showing his love for her.
Another difference is Lizzy’s reaction after the proposals have all been said. Lizzy cries for half an hour after Mr Darcy has proposed to her, whereas she shows no emotion for Mr Collins. Another difference in these proposals is the words in them. Mr Darcy is brutally honest with Lizzy, even though it hurts her greatly. However Mr Collins only has words of false praise for Lizzy, which makes her feel that Mr Collins is very ungenuine.In chapter 58 Mr Darcy visits Longbourn upon returning from London.
From a slip of the tongue, Lizzy has heard about how Mr Darcy saved the family from disgrace after Lydia ran away with Mr Wickham. After it has been established that it was not Mrs Gardiner who told Lizzy about paying for the wedding he proposes to her again. This time Lizzy accepts his proposal. Lizzy and Mr Darcy both talk about how truly sorry they both are and many of their harsh words and disagreements are resolved. Mr Darcy asks Lizzy to burn the letter that he wrote to her, as “I (he) believed myself perfectly calm and cool, but I am since convinced that it was written in a dreadful bitterness of spirit.”This is a big change of character of Darcy. Burning the letter written to Lizzy is like burning a small piece of his pride and his heart went into that letter. Before he would never have stood down and admit that he was wrong, but now he is confessing it himself.
Lizzy also says “We will not quarrel for the greater share of blame annexed to that evening.” This shows us also that she has changed, as she is not fighting a subject to the bitter end to try and get her point across. She too is stepping down and trying to stop quarrelling over past events. This shows us that she too does not have as much Pride as she used to.
They have both overcome the vice of prejudice. By the end of the novel, Lizzy has realised that her views on Mr Darcy were unfounded, and in fact she was wrong to judge Mr Darcy on the ill treatment of Mr Wickham, as he was the one in the wrong. Mr Darcy also overcame prejudices towards Lizzy that she is inferior to him. By his second proposal.He also realises that “I have been a selfish being all my life, in practice, though not in principle.
” This means that he has got rid of some of his pride that he is he most important person and everyone else is inferior. By forgiving him for his vices, Lizzy has shown that she has overcome her Pride as she can listen to others and accept it when they apologise. By the end of this chapter Mr Darcy modestly enlightens Elizabeth that he has apologised to Mr Bingley about his unfounded advice about Jane. Again, this shows us that Mr Darcy has overcome both Pride and prejudice. He has overcome pride by talking to someone and apologising for something that he did out of superiority.
He is also less prejudice as he realises that Jane really did love Mr Bingley despite her inferior connections and social status.Throughout this novel we see many vices in almost everyone we meet. By the end of the novel both Mr Darcy and Lizzy have overcome their vices and have found true love. Jane Austen uses this to show the reader how our views can be clouded by unfounded judgements and feelings of superiority and inability to swallow our pride and accept our faults and wrong doings. She also used this to show how when we break away from these harsh moulds we can find true beauties in people we never thought possible.