The concept of love is developed and endured throughout an healthy relationship in Jane Austen’s novel, Pride and Prejudice. She successfully incorporates different examples of marriage in nineteenth century and distinguishes the perfect marriage from the hopeless marriage. The definition of authentic love is caring for someone unconditionally. It means putting someone before yourself and not asking for anything in return. There are a variety of different examples of marriage in the novel, but Elizabeth, Jane, and Lydia’s marriages are the best examples of a perfect marriage, easily-influenced marriage ,and a hopeless marriage.
It is emphasized that Elizabeth and Darcy will have the happiest marriage within the novel because of their commited relationship with each other. The perfect marriage between a man and a woman in the nineteenth century would probably be centered around Elizabeth and Darcy’s marriage. Elizabeth’s character was always honest to herself and especially to others. Her defiant attitude made her stand out from the rest of the women according to Darcy.
Although Elizabeth did not love Darcy at first, her loved developed through the ups and downs of their relationship. Once Darcy figured out that he could not win the heart of Elizabeth by lying and being prideful, he started to change for the better good of their relationship. Elizabeth fell head over heels for Darcy and accepted his proposal, “The happiness which this reply produced, was such as he had probably never felt before; and he expressed himself on the occasion as sensibly and as warmly as a man violently in love can be supposed to do” (Austen 200).
Once she realized that he had a change of heart and his affectionate love for her was unconditional, Elizabeth knew that her marriage with Darcy would be one to last for a life time in complete and utter happiness. Love at first sight is not authentic in some cases. It takes time to love one another to recognize each others flaws and weaknesses. The ability to overcome our flaws and problems with our significant other helps us to develop authentic love with our partner. Jane and Bingley’s relationship was not produced over time, yet they knew that they were soul mates after two dances at the ball.
The reason why Bingley came into town was to find a wife; “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). Their marriage and relationship will probably be amusing and entertaining in the beginning, but their marriage will sooner or later fall apart. Since they barely knew each others faults and weaknesses before they entered into marriage, their relationship might crumble because of the lack of stability each other has in their relationship. Jane and Bingley’s character are both described as innocent people in society.
For example, Elizabeth describes Jane’s character as, “Affectation of candour is common enough— one meets with it everywhere. But to be candid without ostentation or design— to take the good of everybody’s character and make it still better, and say nothing of the bad— belongs to you alone” (Austen 29). Rather than making their own decisions, they usually obey the commands of others and depend on other people’s judgments. The main reason why many people elope rather than marry into a relationship is due to the fact that they want to make their relationship official as soon as possible.
A rushed marriage will only cause more problems because it is partially due to get it over with, or to hide their relationship from the people that they love. Lydia and Wickham’s marriage was an elopement rather than a real marriage. Both characters acted upon their foolishness instead of their heart and mind. Lydia’s character was described as, “Her character will be fixed, and she will, at sixteen, be the most determined flirt that ever made herself and her family ridiculous.
A flirt, too, in the worst and meanest degree of flirtation; without any attraction beyond youth and a tolerable person; and from the ignorance and emptiness of her mind, wholly unable to ward off any portion of that universal contempt which her rage for admiration will excite. In this danger Kitty is also comprehended. She will follow wherever Lydia leads. Vain, ignorant, idle, and absolutely uncontrolled! (Austen 156). Infatuation also played a huge part within Lydia’s relationship towards Wickham. He knew that he could easily sweep Lydia off her feet because she was the youngest and most immature one in the Bennet family.
Wickham was self-indulgent in his plan to fancy Lydia. All Wickham ever wanted was money and pleasure, he did no care for Lydia as much due to his self-contempt. Since Wickham was in finnancial trouble with creditors, he made the foolish mistake of eloping with Lydia to get out of town. His decision proved that he did not care about Lydia’s reputation, but only himself’s. Although love may develop in a variety of ways, there should still be the distinction between infatuation and authentic love. Infatuation does not last as long as authentic love does, rather it sets a person up for heart breaks and instability.
The elopement of Lydia and Wickham are the perfect example of infatuation because Lydia only loved Wickham for his devious ways of fancing her and Wickham only loved Lydia for her money and her being as an excuse to get out of town. Jane and Bingley’s marriage defined love, but not authentic love. They knew each other’s strengths and priorities, but they did not know each other’s flaws and weaknesses. Both Jane and Lydia’s marriage are the ones to be slightly less felicitous compared to Elizabeth’s marriage because they did not with hold the unconditional love that Darcy and Elizabeth had for each other.
In order to have a healthy long-living marriage, both persons within the relationship need to know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and are willing to help one overcome their flaws. The love they should have for each other should be based upon the love that Darcy has for Elizabeth. He put Elizabeth before himself and his problems in order to prove his devotion towards her. Austen made Elizabeth and Darcy’s relationship the ideal marriage in order to show society how a man and woman should love each other.