Relationship In Pride And Prejudice Essay, Research Paper
In the novel Pride and Prejudice, written by Jane Austen, several, if not all of her characters, can confirm the belief that in order to achieve happiness one must discard their pride and in turn, replace it with self-respect accompanied by some humility. In addition, acceptance and mutual respect must replace one s prejudice. The novel reveals four couples that live through social inconviences. The setting, although the novel does take place in many different places, is mainly broadcasted from Longbourn, somewhere in England. It is set around the Bennet family, which consists of seven members. Mr. and Mrs. Bennet, and their five daughters which of whom none are yet married. At this period in time, marriage was based a great deal upon money and reputation, not so much love and trust. When a single man entered town, he was called upon only if his financial situation was above normal. Marriage was based around land, family connections, and wealth.
In many minor characters of the novel, pride is a common characteristic. Mrs. Bennet, for instance, is extremely proud when it comes to her daughter s marriages of mercenary benefits. She is so concerned that her neighbors have a high opinion of her that her own vanity will not even allow her to think of her daughters love and happiness. This is best shown with the case of Elizabeth Bennet s proposed marriage to the esteemed Mr. Collins, a man she did not love.
Four couples are followed through this novel, three of which involve the daughters of the Bennet family. However, all the couples face their dilemmas, and it is more important how they deal with their issues rather than the overall
The central focus of all the couples is the relationship between Mr. Darcy and Miss Elizabeth Bennet. These two have the most interesting relationship, because they challenge the ideals of the surrounding society in a great way. Elizabeth comes from a middle class family, with no connections, and very little land. Darcy hails from a rich family, and is recognized as one of the wealthiest men in the land. Many of the upper class citizens view the two as a disgrace. As Darcy s Aunt said, he was to be married to one of significant wealth, not to a young woman without family, connections, or fortune. Their relationship, as all the others, suffers from an excess of pride and prejudice.
Both Darcy and Elizabeth come to recognize their pride as a flaw in their characters. Darcy realizes that he must exam his pride in order to be seen in a good light by others. Elizabeth, the object of his affections, is so turned off by his prideful ways that a touch of vanity enables him to change himself for her. Elizabeth, while observing the transformations of Darcy, realizes that she, too, has been guilty of too much pride. She sees that she was indeed prejudiced and that she must come to terms with the failings of her family. Darcy and Elizabeth are able to overcome their pride, which enables them to establish a long-lasting relationship. Most of the credit for the union should compliment Mr. Darcy, as it was Elizabeth who was congratulated on the marriage, and Darcy who was criticized. He was condemned for marrying a woman and not receiving any benefits from the marriage.
Another couple that is similar to Darcy and Elizabeth would be Mr. Bingley, a close friend of Darcy, and Miss Jane Bennet. The only difference between the two relationships is that Darcy has more money than Bingley. However, Jane is also put through more criticism than her sister, as her critics are the blood of Bingley, his own sisters. The Bingley women express their prejudice towards Jane because of their differences in social status. It is their pride that forces them to believe they are better than others solely because of the amount of money they have. It is their prejudice that causes them to seriously avoid people of different social status and do everything their powers allow to protecting family members such as Mr. Bingley from people of the lower class. Instead of realizing the love Bingley and Jane had towards each other, Caroline and Miss Hurst blind themselves of the truth and they foolishly assume that only a lady of equal status such as theirs is worthy of their brother s love. To destroy any hopes Jane might entertain of marrying Mr. Bingley, the sisters convince her that her love for Bingley is unrequited. They continue by saying that the marriage of Bingley to Miss Darcy, who will be hereafter our sister will secure the happiness of so many people. But towards the end of the novel, even after all their efforts and hopes of separating the two, Jane and Bingley manage to get married. Miss Bingley and Mrs. Hurst are forced to swallow their pride and make amends with Jane because they know that if they didn t, Mr. Bingley would never forgive them. The Bingley sisters displayed their tolerance and mutual respect towards Jane after the lower social class prejudice was removed. They show values and morals containing true love throughout their relationship. All though class split them, they continued their love and let nothing get in their way. This was uncommon in those times. Most women wanted to marry wealth, with or without the love. What were more important to Bingley and Jane were each other. However, for a short time, he showed a weakness, when his good friend Darcy seriously showed his displeasure towards the union. But upon his return, he displayed honor and faithfulness when, despite the disapproval made by his sister, he continued to show his love for Jane.
The third couple, one whose values did not contain love or respect, was the marriage of Lydia Bennet to officer Wickham. The most important aspect of this relationship is the history of Mr. Wickham. He was a childhood friend of Darcy s, and his roots are far from honorable. He once attempted to seduce Miss Darcy into marriage, for the sole purpose of inheriting her father s fortune. Darcy stepped in, ending the engagement. He then came across Elizabeth, and once he found that there was no heir to her fathers land, he once again tried to seduce her, but he failed once Elizabeth heard from Darcy the true story of Wickham s past. So once Elizabeth was away, Wickham found her youngest sister, Lydia, who was yearning to get out of the child stage and become a woman. She ran away with Wickham, only to send a note that said the two were to be married and he was to inherit the land, and the family would pay off all his debts to merchants. This marriage showed no sings of challenging the criticisms of society, but instead showed the values of an officer and the profit of marriage. Wickham made Lydia believe he was in love with her, but in truth he was actually trying to escape from his debts and inherit land.
The last couple is the one with the longest lasting relationship, and values that are the same as any other family in those times. Mr. and Mrs. Bennet demonstrated strong support towards their daughters. Mr. Bennet wanted happiness for each in their marriages, and showed nothing but love for each of his five daughters. Mrs. Bennet was concerned with reputation, along with wealth. They do not dispute any of society s virtues. They were married and were both young and beautiful. But as they aged, she became ignorant, and Mr. Bennet loved her just the same, and found this ignorance amusing. He came to realize that although things may be different, he should make do with what he has.
All the marriages in the novel must at some time or another go through life s ordeals, and find a way to conquer them. Although some occurred on terms that were less than respectable, others, such as Elizabeth and Jane, followed their hearts and achieved all their goals. The marriages of Elizabeth and Jane are most impressive and praiseworthy. At one point, both the young women wished to gain wealth and respect out of their marriages, but towards the end, they changed their views and could only think of love. The novel shows that all the characters involved must disregard one of their traits in order to achieve happiness. Austen focuses on pride and prejudice, believing that neither are answers to a happy and successful relationship.