Exploring the Themes of Love and Marriage in "Pride and Prejudice" Essay

Submitted By j_stokes
Words: 476
Pages: 2

Explore the ways Austen presents the themes of love and marriage in Pride and Prejudice
Jane Austen uses dancing and balls as a metaphor to represent the progression of the relationships between characters within the novel. Bingley and Jane’s smooth wooing is used as a contrast to Darcy and Elizabeth’s more elaborate courtship; he begins by taking a preference to dancing with her often then later reserves her for dances at the Netherfield ball, showing a stable rate of progression. Darcy and Elizabeth’s relationship however, progresses through the act of not dancing together; Darcy first refuses to dance with Elizabeth, followed by her refusal of him. Bingley invites Darcy to dance with Elizabeth at their first encounter at Meryton Assembly, it is Darcy’s pride that now appears as he declines ‘She is tolerable; but not handsome enough to tempt me; and I am in no humour at present to give consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other men.’ Their second encounter involves Sir William (ignorant of past declination) who urges Darcy to dance with Elizabeth, this time he agrees but Elizabeth applies her power of refusal. Their courtship is being represented as a dance itself; where one steps forward, the other steps back. Another way dancing is used to portray aspects of love and marriage is shown when both of Elizabeth’s suitors, Collins and Darcy, are present at Netherfield Ball. Mr Collins besieges her and reserves her for the first two dances, which displays a potential interest in marriage. His unsuitability is displayed through his performance as a dance partner ‘The two first dances . . . were dances of mortification. Mr Collins, awkward and solemn, apologising instead of attending, and often moving wrong without being aware of it, gave her all the shame and misery which a disagreeable partner for a couple of dances can give. The moment of her release…