Loveless Marriage

LizzyCharlotteMrCollins-01At the beginning of the 18th century arranged marriages were the norm, but by the end of it they fell out of favour with nearly everyone, the upper class excepted. Family’s interest stood in opposition to Christian morality. Marriage should be for love, because it’s instituted by God, and not by any civil contract. Anglican marriage is a lesser sacrament, and its only condition is the mutual vow of love. One can lie and sign any papers, but one cannot possibly cheat God or hope that God would bless what is an abuse of the sacrament He instituted.

In fact the romantic notion of love and marriage revived because people became more concerned with religion than they were in the 17th century. Yet, it doesn’t mean that they ceased to care about the prudential aspect of it. Parents took care that their daughters met only those gentlemen they could marry without degradation. In other words they were free to fall in love with the men they knew, but the group of the men they were allowed to meet was limited in advance.

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Easter in Pride and Prejudice

ppm498_emivAusten chose Easter for the most significant turn in Pride and Prejudice.

Darcy comes to Rosings around Palm Sunday (likely Monday, since Darcy, unlike Mr. Elliot, wouldn’t travel on Sunday), that commemorates the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem in the days before his Passion.

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Elizabeth’s Love for Darcy: Holy Matrimony

unknown_germany_c1815_window_sm_gWhen talking of love it is important to define the word. Is it emotion, feeling, decision or all of the elements? According to some Christians i.e. Anglicans and Catholics four kinds of love must be present for the Holy Matrimony to be valid and complete. I’ll try to explain, on their example, Elizabeth’s growing love for Darcy in Pride and Prejudice.

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Woman in Love

66_brock_pp_1_sm_gThere is a lot of confusion as to when and why Elizabeth Bennet fell in love. (See this post at Austenprose and subsequent comments for example, but it’s only one of many such opinions.) This post is to show that the reason of it does not come from any imperfection of Lizzy’s affection or Austen’s writing, but rather our modern notions that downplay the significance of love.

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Defoe on The Education of Women

unknown_ladyreadinginaninteriour_smI uploaded Daniel Defoe’s short essay on The Education of Women. The more of his works I read the more I wonder whether Austen in particular was influenced by Defoe, or just everyone was, and so the ideas present in his writings were generally embraced by the time Austen was born.

In this Defoe argues in defence of female education, bringing arguments, including a great deal of reading, that make one think of Elizabeth Bennet.

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Bingley and Georgiana

Bingley

Mr. Bingley

Twice in the book we are told about Darcy’s wishes for Bingley’s marriage to Georgiana. Once by Caroline, the second time by the omniscient narrator.

This is the one thing about Darcy people have the most trouble to believe in, even though Austen said so. One can think it in the first part of the book, but in the second, when one already knows what a great man Darcy is, an arranged marriage of his sister seems out of character.

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Caroline and Darcy’s Joint Wishes

Caroline and Darcy

Caroline and Darcy

Caroline writes to Jane:

Mr. Darcy is impatient to see his sister, and to confess the truth, we are scarcely less eager to meet her again. I really do not think Georgiana Darcy has her equal for beauty, elegance, and accomplishments; and the affection she inspires in Louisa and myself is heightened into something still more interesting, from the hope we dare to entertain of her being hereafter our sister.

It’s funny that after mentioning that “[Georgiana’s] relations all wish the connection as much as [Bingley’s] own” she ends her letter with: “With all these circumstances to favour an attachment and nothing to prevent it, am I wrong, my dearest Jane, in indulging the hope of an event which will secure the happiness of so many?”

While Darcy’s POV during Lizzy’s visit at Pemberley focuses on the one circumstance that might prevent it, however, what I found interesting now is the use of words: Continue reading