Marriage Proposals in Pride and Prejudice

1917 Words8 Pages
During the novel Pride and Prejudice, there are several proposals of marriage. Marriage itself is one of the main themes of the book. This is shown instantaneously by the famous opening sentence. We are told immediately how important marriage was in Jane Austen's era. However we also find out throughout the course of the book how marriage wasn't always about love. Charlotte Lucas claimed, "Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance". A very common view then, that Austen herself would have been very familiar with. Often marriages were more like business deals, simply a means of acquiring an establishment where habitually feelings weren't relevant. There was the mercenary marriage, brought about for financial reasons, the marriage based on passion and physical attraction, and lying somewhere in between, was the ideal. This was often how Elizabeth and Darcy's or Jane and Bingley's marriages were described. An interesting point about the proposals in Pride and Prejudice, is that we never actually see the successful ones, they are all done rather quickly, without us really being able to notice exactly what went on. The first proposal of the book is in Chapter 19. It is a very surprising proposal from Mr Collins to Elizabeth, the second oldest Bennet girl. Right from the beginning, Austen makes no falsifications to us about Mr Collins. He is one of the only characters that she is completely forthright and candid about. He is totally infatuated by Lady Catherine, and is not perceptive enough in himself to be able to see actually how overbearingly patronising she is towards him. It is as though as soon as Mr Collins hears the words "you must marry" from Miss de Bourgh, he is utterly compliant to her every word, and almost immediately tries to get one of the Bennet girls. Austen herself comments on his
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