Four Different Marriages in Pride and Prejudice

By Shawn Clark,2014-08-28 16:17
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Four Different Marriages in Pride and Prejudice

    Four Different Marriages in Pride and Prejudice


    Through the viewpoint of the marriage in Pride and Prejudice, the author in this thesis attempts to analyze the marriage of

     various characters, such as the marriage of Elizabeth and Darcy, Charlotte and Mr. Collins, to reveal the effect of the economic status in people‟s marriage, life and destiny, and to probe into the root of the pride and prejudice.

     Key words: marriage, possession, character






     关键词,婚姻观; 财产;性格



    Abstract……………………………………………………i 摘要…………………………………………………………ii contents……………………………………………………iii Introduction………………………………………………1 1.The Marriage between Collin and Charlotte………………3

    1.1 Collin’s vulgar and arrongance

    1.2 1.2 Charlotte’s vanity

    2.The Marriage between Wickhame and Lydia……………5

    2.1 wickhame’s mean and wicked

    2.2 Lydia‟s ignorant and carnal

    3. The Marriage between Bingley and Jane………………7

    3.1 Bingley’s sensible and good--humored

     3.2 Jane’s mild and kind

    4. The Marriage between Darcy and Elizabeth……………11

    4.1 Darcy’s change


    4.2 Elizabeth‟s self-dignified and sensible

    4.3 Elizabeth‟s witty and sensible




     Among all the novels written by Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice has been valued as the most successful and popular masterpiece. This novel is peopled with characters of her own social class: The ladies and gentlemen of the landed gentry. The plot of this novel revolve around the intricacies of courtship and marriage between members of her class, which is great attraction to many readers. Deeply impressed by four different marriages in Pride and Prejudice, I made an analysis of those four types of marriages and came to an conclusion that one‟s character reflects his or her marriage and their attitudes towards marriage. The four couples, varied in their characters, presented us with four different distinct marriages.

    The combination of vulgar Collins and mediocre Charlotte results


    in a despicable marriage. Collins is a vulgar, pompous and rapacious man who is subservient to his parsons and always arrogant before his inferiors.

    His pompous and rapacious character determines that his proposal to Elizabeth is a failure. His vulgar and servile character and his ridiculous concept of love lead to his quick marriage with Charlotte. Charlotte is a vain and mediocre girl. Her mediocre character and perception result in her marriage with Collins. Her vain character brings about her false decision of her married life. The combination of dissolute Wickhame and empty-minded Lydia results in a sex-oriented marriage. Wickhame is a dissolute and cunning villain who is changeable in his love and crazy about money.

    King. Lydia is an empty-minded and uncertain flirt who always seeks her own fun and sexual excitement. Her dissipation and foolishness lead to her romantic deeds with officials in Meryton.

    The combination of pleasant Bingley and mild Jane results in a happy marriage.

    Bingley is a cordial and simple young man who is easy to approach and constant in love, but he lacks strength and independence


in his marriage.

    The combination of decent Darcy and sensible Elizabeth results in a successful marriage.

1. The Marriage between Collin and Charlotte

    1.1 Collin’s vulgar and arrongance

    The first marriage presented before us is the marriage of Collins and Charlotte. Collins was a conceited and foolish young man. He would inherit the estate of Longbourn, the property of Mr. Bennet upon his death, which amounts to depriving five daughters of Mr. Bennet of everything. Therefore, the five daughters would have not enough money to support their life unless they are lucky enough to marry well-to-do husbands. Collins was vulgar and servile, seldom opens his mouth without mentioning his patroness, Lady Catherine de Bourgh. Her “affability and condescension” is so impressive upon him that he felt greatly flattered only by “her visit in his humble

    [1]parsonage”. Having been refused by Elizabeth, he quickly marries


    Charlotte. “In as short time as Mr Collins‟ long speeches would allow,

     [21]everything was settled between them to the satisfaction of both.”

    We can see from here that his love to Charlotte was by no means sincere and genuine. To Collins, Charlotte was the only choice he could make. He was the very man who was incapable of normal personal feelings. His whole character has been absorbed by his social mask, and he relates only his social self to other social surfaces. Thus Collins did not exactly capitulate to social claims, for he never recognized personal claims, and he was blind to the fact that his own personal claims were distorted social claims. A brief analysis of his combination of arrogance and servility will explain this distortion. Collins valued only social power, and so he sought security by cringing before his superiors. To his potential inferiors he was arrogant and rude, which behavior expressed anger at those who would not recognize his social power and vindictive compensation for his cringe. As long as a wife could be settled, it doesn‟t matter whether it was Charlotte or Elizabeth or anyone else.

    1.2 Charlotte’s vanity

    Charlotte‟s letters about her married life to Elizabeth fully


    revealed her vain character. She (Charlotte) wrote cheerfully, seemed surrounded with comforts, and mentioned nothing that she could not praise. The house, furniture, neighborhood, and roads, were all to her taste, and Lady Catherine‟s behavior was most friendly and obliging. She knew that Elizabeth had looked down upon her for her choice, as no one could understand the strangeness of Mr. Collins‟ making two offers of marriage within three days and “any woman who marries Collins, a conceited, pompous, narrow-minded, silly man, can‟t have a

     [1]proper way of thinking.” Actually, she marries for the sake of

    marriage but she pretends to be happy. Charlotte is pitiable and Collins is contemptible. “Their marriage presents a complete

    [2]abandonment of personal claims in favor of social claims.”

2. The Marriage between Wickhame and Lydia

    2.1 wickhame’s mean and wicked

    The combination of dissolute Wickhame and empty-minded Lydia results in a sex-oriented marriage.

    Wickhame first appears us as a very charming fellow. But his


    character , on the contrary, was mean and wicked. “A curious degree of sexual attraction often goes with a lively, unreliable disposition, which may either be somewhat superficial but perfectly well-meaning, or driven by circumstance which it has not the strength to withstand,

     [3]become that of a scoundrel.” Wickhame was well on the way to

    being a scoundrel; but his sexual fascination was so great that Elizabeth Bennet, who was normally of a very critical turn of mind, saw at first absolutely nothing in him but made him seem the most charming man he had ever met. Wickham‟s constant attention to Elizabeth made her feel sure that she was in love with him. Wickham‟s love, however, was short-lived. Soon after he was

    reported to court another lady, Miss King, who possessed ten thousand pounds. A sharp contrast emerged between his agreeable appearance and mean character. He regarded love as nothing but a tool to acquire wealth.

    2.2 Lydia‟s ignorant and carnal

    As Lydia was young and empty-minded, she never give love a serious and proper consideration. Her thirsts for carnal desire and unrestrained life determine her sex-oriented marriage, Wickhame was


    seductive and pleasing outwardly, but mean and dirty inwardly. While Lydia, foolish and dissipated, only enchanted by his glorious appearance, see nothing of his real intention and personality. “At the opposite extreme to Collins and Charlotte, Wickhame and Lydia, who

     [4]yield almost completely to personal claims”

3. The Marriage between Bingley and Jane

    3.1 Bingley’s sensible and good--humored

    The combination of pleasant Bingley and mild Jane leads to a happy marriage.

    Bingley was a popular person in the novel. He had a pleasant countenance and easy unaffected manners. We soon found that he was agreeable both in appearance and character. In the first ball at Netherfield, we began to make acquaintance of his personality through his behavior. “ Mr Bingley had soon made himself acquainted with all the principal people in the room, he was lively and unreserved, danced every dance, was angry that the ball closed so early, and talked of giving one himself at Netherfield. Such amiable qualities must speak


     [1]for themselves” These personal strength certainly won Jane‟s

    admiration, she thought that He was just what a young man ought to be, and sensible, good-humored, lively, and she never saw such happy manners! so much ease, with perfect good breeding! Bingley‟ falls in love with Jane at their first ball and their romance flourishes quietly and steadily. His affection towards Jane was obviously sincere and unaffected. When Jane suffered an illness his anxiety for Jane was evident, and his attentions to herself most pleasing. And “ diffuseness and warmth remained for Bingley‟s salutation. He was full of joy and

    attention. The first half-hour was spent in piling up the fire, lest she should suffer from the change of room, and she removed at his desire to the other side of the fire-place, that she might be farther from the

    [1]door. He then sat down by her, and talked scarcely to anyone else.”

    We can feel Bingley‟s real concern and affection towards Jane from these details. He was cordial and constant in his love.

    3.2 Jane’s mild and kind

    Jane was the most mild, kind and modest girl in this novel. Her character is vividly showed in many parts of the novel. “Compliments always take you (Jane) by surprise, and me (Elizabeth) never” and


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