Explore how the themes of love and conflict are presented in Austen’s Pride and Prejudice Essay

* Literary context ( good for introduction) in these times, marriage was the only way for women to survive financially. So there is a conflict between waiting to marry a rich, respectable husband and have financial security or waiting for your true love to come along. This is clearly shown by Elizabeth’s rejection of Mr Collins proposal, and later on the union between Charlotte and Mr Collins, which was based entirely on a social contact rather than romantic love.

* The Bennets marriage is in no way a good model for their daughters. Mr Bennet seems quite distant to the family, while for Mrs Bennet, the sole “business of her life was to get her daughters married” and was often found “intolerable” by these surrounding her. This explores how relationships stemming from an infatuation ( or sexual lust/passion) do not end up well. – “a family so deranged..a father absent and a mother incapable of exertion”. The author stresses that an essential part of a good marriage is getting to know one the partner’s character, which sometimes happens through conflict, like in Darcy and Elizabeth’s case.

* Even though Darcy is attracted to Elizabeth from the start – “fine pair or eyes”, but the nasty comments of his sisters about the family’s financial status do put him off.

* This conflict is another one widely explored in the play – financial status and relationships. Darcy, according to the rules of society was not supposed to even think about marrying Elizabeth, it is equivalent of nowadays royalty marrying a commoner. This is why he tries to suppress his feelings the best he can, and urges Mr Bingley to do so as well. In Fact, Darcy is the main cause for the separation between Bingley and Jane. And when they do unite, hey are condemned by the society – “such mother and father.. such low connections”

* Charlotte, however, disagrees. She states that “it is best to know as little as possible of the defects of the person with whom you are about to pass your life”, portraying a classical, traditional approach to marriage during these times.

* Mr Collins seems to agree with her, and this is why they make a union that will work out in the long term. Collins states in no uncertain terms that he comes to the house to “admire” the sisters, and choose one to marry. As soon as he is told that Jane is about to be engaged and gets a stern no from Elizabeth, he turns to Mrs Loucas, who gladly accepts his hand in marriage, which is the first marriage in the novel.

* There is also the conflict within the characters – Darcy fights an inner battle within himself – on the one side he has a lot of affection for Lizzie, on the other he knows it is “wrong” according to the society. The protagonist, Lizzie, also has a conflict that is resolved in Volume 2, where she understands that she has been “blinded by her pride” and suppressing her actual feelings for Darcy. “vanity, not love, has been my folly”

* Adding to the conflict of society Vs love, subject of Lydia’s elopement has to be mentioned. Even though their love is romantic (abeit stupid) it is looked down upon by the society, mostly for the fact that nothing is gained from it – none benefit in financial or status terms. Also, judging from the relationship of the Bennets, the reader has no illusions about just as well how this marriage might end up.

* Ironically, when Bingley proposes to Jane it is seen as the “most reasonable end” to their relationship. However when Darcy proposes to Elizabeth, after their long journey of self-realization and their stripping of pride, vanity and prejudice; he is regarded as a “simpleton”, and followed by sneer comments such as “are the shades of Pemberley to be thus polluted”


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