Shallowness of Marriage in Pride and Prejudice

shallowness of marriage in Pride and Prejudice.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife" (Austen 1).Jane Austen begins Pride and Prejudice with this famous sentence, and introduces to her readers a satirical view of, not love, but marriage, concepts that in 19th century England were not necessarily very closely connected.

England at that time faced serious social problems from the halcyon days of Royalty and Nobility. One of the most significant of these was the trend to marry for financial achievements. Best match was one who could provide for comfortable sustenance, held a laudable status and to add to all possessed looks to be admired and envied. Only when these pre-requisites were fulfilled would love and understandings were considered.This process went both ways: a good-looking woman might be able to find a rich husband, or a handsome man could entice a lady with promises of huge dowry. In these marriages, money was the only consideration. Love was left out, with the thought that it would develop with time. All through out the story, jane Austen highlights that marriage in her time is more like a financial contract than binding on two hearts and minds; love is strictly a matter of chance. Love does take part but merely in finally knotting the relationship and only after the social barriers are evaded and financial security is confirmed like in Elizabeth and Darcy’s relationship or Bingley and Jane’s relationship.
Given the limited schooling and employment opportunities available to women during Austen's time the only occupation open to them was to become wives to wealthy men to gain financial refuge for old age.

To fail in marriage market was to fail in the most imperative of female jobs, as winning a husband was essential if a young lady wished to occupy a fully respectable position in society. The motive for marriage as financial necessity is expressed most clearly in Pride...