Marriage in the 19th century has always been an important issue and thus, it is manifested in most of the novels of the 19th century. Pride and Prejudice as well as Jane Eyre are two novels in which the dialectics of marriage are strongly present. In the opening of Pride and Prejudice, the narrator claims that “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife; thus, foretelling that the theme of marriage will be the most dominant throughout the novel .
This sentence is true because it is only logical to say so if one believes that the ultimate goal of a man or even a woman is to marry. However, this truth is fixed in the minds of the few families in the novel and thus, it is not a universal truth. From the moment Elizabeth and Darcy meet, Elizabeth is blinded by prejudice and Darcy by pride though they like each other. Only when they admit the wrong they have done, especially Elizabeth, they are to be married.
She should accept the right of Darcy to have some sense of pride toward his class and she has to learn to comply to social rules . therefore, it is not about marriage as much it is about learning to comply to rules. Elizabeth and Darcy will meet on common grounds. It is about finding moderation between nature represented by Elizabeth and art represented by Darcy. Only then the marriage would be successful. Furthermore, Charlotte Lucas who has no fortune settles for marriage with Mr. Collins, the arrogant, self important, materialistic and boring man. She thinks that it is better to be married than not, even if she doesn’t like him and he is not likely to make her happy. Elizabeth is so upset about charlotte marrying Collins because she is afraid if being forced into a similar marriage or ending up as having no money, no marriage.
Concerning the civil status and economic right of woman , Austen is hitting at the patriarchal society. The nightmare of not marrying is worse than marrying someone like Mr. Collins. On the other hand, Charlotte Bronte, author of Jane Eyre is an anti-Austenian. Her heroine Jane breaks all proper behavior for a girl her age and in her social situation, as an orphan, when she is a child. Even later on as an adult when she meets Rochester as a governess, she is always seeking equality with him . Jane loves Rochester for what he is, not for his rank and money, but when she comes to know about his wife, she cannot go against her moral principles and social sense and become his mistress.
Unless she escapes and leave this entrapment, she won’t feel free. Bronte Rewards Jane by giving her economic independence and punishes Rochester at the hands of his victim wife Bertha who burns Thornfield. His former strength becomes weakness; he is tempted to become a simple man, to be in need of someone else. His self-sufficiency turns into dependence on Jane in their marriage at the end. Jane has not come to Thronfield looking for a husband or estate to live in. she looks for an experience to join public life, not to be locked up in an attic or castle.
However, she is rewarded by marriage outside the 19th century domestic sphere. I n conclusion, both Austen and Bronte address human nature in the issue of marriage. However, Austen is more realistic and looks at the seen and unhidden; whereas, Bronte looks at the hidden and unseen and refuses the domestic sphere. marriage in pride and prejudice and in jane eyre Most of the novels we read involve marriages . Discuss the dialectics involved in the marriage of Pride and Prejudice and another novel of your choice.