Pride and Prejudice

Pride, Prejudice, and the Social Politics of Marriage 11th Grade

During the mid to late 1700s, Maria Theresa, Queen of Hungary, oftentimes sowed and cemented the seeds of her influence through the diplomatic marriage of her several children, sending them off to serve as her political pawns. Such a concept, albeit dehumanizing and objectifying, was rather commonplace, for it provided both families royal and common with some sort of stability, whether that solidity be social or financial. Even after the Hungarian queen’s death in 1780, the notion she had exemplified-- the idea of marriage for profit, of marriage as a business-- did not disappear; the strategy carried over well into the future, even managing to contaminate the supposedly feminist text of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Thus, whereas some choose to view the novel as a story of one woman escaping the double standards of her society and finding happiness with a man she truly loves, the very blatant fact that these romantically-blinded readers have a tendency to overlook is that Elizabeth’s marriage to Darcy also lands her family heaps of money and status, which, through the lens of feminist theory, only perpetuates the notion of marriage being a business of sorts. Rather than providing the England of her time with a covertly...

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