What ‘Pride and Prejudice’ tells about life of women in early nineteenth century ?

Pride and Prejudice is a romantic novel by Jane Austen, was first published in 1813. It is a classic of English literature which centres on the relationship between Elizabeth Bennet, the daughter of a country gentleman and Fitzwilliam Darcy, a rich aristocratic landowner. The novel throws light on role of women in early nineteenth century Britain. The importance of marriage in the lives of Elizabeth Bennet and her sisters have been revealed which reflects on how hard it is to be in a unmarried state, where one needs to depend on others to support themselves financially.

Those days it was believed that marriage as a vital part in a women’s life who needed support inorder to lead their life. The men were allowed to pursue higher education, then job and were let to live independently whereas women were denied education and as a result only few of them got employed. This situation of women are represented through the story of Elizabeth Bennet and her sisters. The women of those period weren’t given choice of independent life and were left to relay on someone else. Although the daughters of the middle and upper class were sent to school still their education was in a restricted form. It created lesser academic knowledge in them and restricted them from pursuing in various fields. Education for women of that time was only gained through private tutors or private institutes thus higher education got restricted and even those who were able to complete their studies successfully were not able to choose the job of their choice. As these cases can be seen through the novel where Elizabeth Bennet being lively and inquisitive mind was able to further her education independently whereas her sisters needed a more elaborate and structured one. Another major cause for denial of women’s formal education was the less job opportunities. In turn these less job availability paved way for marriage as a unavoidable part of their life. The novel also clearly states how the inheritance of property moves only to the male heirs. In case of unmarried state they remained dependent upon their relatives, receiving small incomes. At the end women were left to depend on men to support themself financially. In order to live a independent life and to ensure it for everyone there was a need for structured form of education. The novel thus clearly portrays the life of women of early nineteenth century and also stands as a record which shows the changes the life of women had been through.