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Essay on Love vs. Society in Pride and Prejudice

Love vs. Society in Pride and Prejudice

Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice explores the English social standards during the early 1800’s. It shows the emphasis on marriage, or, namely, whom you marry. This story consists of three marriages. The first is socially based, the second is based on mutual admiration between two people, and the third represents one man’s love and fight for a woman. This novel shows how marriage and love can arrest or improve social status and how love overcomes adversity.

The first marriage is that of the youngest Bennet, Miss Lydia. She is imprudent and spontaneous. On a trip to the home of her aunt and uncle, she elopes with Mr. Wickham, a militia man. Mr. Wickham has no intention of marrying her. This is a tragic social step. It is thought that the real motive for this elopement is not of love. To this Mrs. Gardiner then says, “It is really too great a violation of decency, honor, and interest, for him to be guilty of it” (Austen 375). Only a few chapters later, Mr. Wickham is persuaded financially to marry Miss Bennet. Neither has any way of supporting the intemperate lives they live. These two extravagant young people do not, however, end happily. Mr. Bennet refuses to see his daughter after her marriage. Despite the financial help occasionally given by Jane Bingley and Elizabeth Darcy, they are rarely invited to see their family, as they often overstay their welcome. In the final chapter it is said, “. . . His affections for her soon sunk into indifference; hers lasted a little longer”(Austen 520). This marriage based entirely on an attraction between a good-looking, charming man and an impetuous, stupid girl of sixteen resulted in a poor social appearance and exclusion from many close f…

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… society will be improved, but when love is found for society, society will fail the lovers.

Works Cited

Auerbach, Nina. “Waiting Together: Pride and Prejudice.” Pride and Prejudice. By Jane Austen. Ed. Donald Gray. New York: Norton and Co., 1993. pp. 336-348.

Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice. 1813. Ed. Donald Gray. New York: Norton and Co., 1993.

Harding, D. W. “Regulated Hatred: An Aspect in the Work of Jane Austen.” Pride and Prejudice. By Jane Austen. Ed. Donald Gray. New York: Norton and Co., 1993. pp. 291-295.

Johnson, Claudia L. “Pride and Prejudice and the Pursuit of Happiness.” Pride and Prejudice. By Jane Austen. Ed. Donald Gray. New York: Norton and Co., 1993. pp. 367-376.

Mudrick, Marvin.”Irony as Discovery in Pride and Prejudice.” Pride and Prejudice. By Jane Austen. Ed. Donald Gray. New York: Norton and Co., 1993. pp. 295-303.

Imagination and Realism in Hamlet

Imagination and Realism in Hamlet

Shakespeare’s tragic drama Hamlet is a composite of poetic and realistic elements. Which predominates? This paper analyzes the presence of both realism and imagination.

Richard A. Lanham in “Superposed Plays” discusses the poetic or imaginative side of Hamlet:

The real doubt comes when we ask, “What poetic do we bring to the Hamlet play?” As several of its students have pointed out, it is a wordy play. Eloquence haunts it. Horatio starts the wordiness by supplying a footnote from ancient Rome in the first scene, by improving the occasion with informative reflections. Everybody laughs at Polonius for his moralizing glosses but Hamlet is just as bad. Worse. Gertrude asks him, in the second scene, why he grieves to excess and he gives us a disquisition on seeming and reality in grief. The King follows with h is bravura piece on grief. Everybody moralizes the pageant. The Hamlet play abounds with triggers for straight revenge-tragedy response. The whole “mystery” of Hamlet’s hesitant revenge boils down to wondering why he doesn’t go ahead and play his traditional part, complete with the elegant rants we know he can deliver. (89)

The real battle in the play between imagination and realism is forcefully presented by another literary critic. Harold Goddard’s essay, “Hamlet: His Own Falstaff,” highlights this battle in the play:

Hamlet, the conclusion is, is a failure because the materials Shakespeare inherited were too tough and intractable. Too tough and intractable for what? That they were too tough and intractable for a credible historical picture may be readily granted. But what of it? And since when was poetry supposed to defer to history? Two world wars in three decades ought to have taught us that our history has not gone deep enough. But poetry has. The greatest poetry has always depicted the world as a little citadel of nobility threatened by an immense barbarism, a flickering candle surrounded by infinite night. The “historical” impossibility of Hamlet is its poetical truth, and the paradox of its central figure is the universal psychology of man. (14)

The play opens on the ramparts of Elsinore castle – a very realistic setting. But very soon the imaginative element of a ghost, the likeness of dead King Hamlet, makes its appearance before Barnardo, Marcellus and Horatio. Mysteriously, it says nothing, prompting Horatio and Marcellus to leave in search of Hamlet, the prince and their friend, who might be able to interpret this spectral figure.

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