Pride and Prejudice

Discuss the irony in the opening lines of the novel: "It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife".

Chapter 1

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I think it is the subtext here that is ironic. This social expectation is placed upon women in that her function is "supposed" to compete for a rich man's affection regardless of what that man might be like. Austen poses this as a universal truth which does seem rather harsh on the female gender.