Pride & Prejudice Essay

Submitted By Jessdeller
Words: 647
Pages: 3

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife” this line in the book Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen has become one of the most famous lines in English Literature. The Regency period was vastly different to modern society, they had different views on everything from Marriage to the expectations of women and men. This line also alerts us to the importance of maintaining a respectable fortune in the period through inheritance.

For two people to be joined in marriage, a man must be sure of his feelings for the woman before he proposed as he cant break the engagement off as it wasn’t in his power to do so. When a man felt that the lady reciprocated his feelings he would ask the permission of her parents to marry her. Once the proposal was accepted, A marriage was seen as a contract and the only person who could break off the engagement was the woman. The wedding ceremonies were often quite small with only a few guests. A married man with a large fortune was seen as very high in society and having an accomplished wife added to his status. An accomplished wife was talented in many fields such as being able to speak French, could read and write, play piano well and have a thorough knowledge of music, singing, drawing and dancing. Adding to this list a woman must also have a certain air and manner when walking, talking and addressing people. If a woman possessed all these qualities she was seen as perfect. In the novel Georgiana Darcy the sister of Fitzwilliam Darcy was an Aristocrat and was considered an accomplished woman as she played the piano very well and would have a substantial amount of money left to her name if her brother died.

There were many different expectations for men and women during the regency period. Women were almost entirely dependent on men, and could honorably work as governesses, tutors and writers. Women had nothing better to do than gossip, and they lived for social gatherings such as balls. Women could also not inherit any property as the property would be assigned to the next male. The only money a woman could inherit was the money from her mother, this usually was a small amount and was not substantial enough to live of, therefore the first line of Pride and Prejudice gives a lot of insight into how women were seen during this