It is evident from reading Pride and Prejudice how different the lives of women were during the end of the eighteenth century. During the eighteenth century it is evident that a women’s reputation is of the greatest importance. Women, in general, were expected to behave in certain ways in order to uphold their reputation, such as wed when age appropriate, focus primarily on arts, and always look presentable.
From the first sentence, “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife,” (1) it is evident that there is great importance on marrying a man of well-established status and fortune. The entire novel speaks of Mrs. Bennet trying to seek out suitable men for her five daughters to marry. An extreme amount of attention is paid to these men in hopes of an engagement. When one of the sisters married, Lydia, she said to Mrs. Bennet, “’and what do you think of my husband? Is not he a ch
Lady Catherine de Bourgh, Jane, Lydia. During Elizabeth"tms first encounter with lady Catherine, she was asked whether she played andor sang. She later proceeds to say that because her sisters are not wed that they must not have anything important to do at all. Also, it is imperative that women of the eighteenth century always look presentable. That she should have walked three miles so early in the day, in such dirty weather, and by herself was almost incredible to Mrs. On Elizabeth"tms way to Netherfield she was "crossing field after field at a quick pace, jumping over stiles and springing over puddles with impatient activity, and finding herself at last within view of the house, with weary angles, dirty stockings, and a face flowing with the warmth of exercise" (23). This discrediting may be attributed to a women"tms social, as well as economical, position being dependent upon their father and their future husband. Although patriarchal views of the eighteenth century are in abundance throughout the novel, Austen seems to enter her own views of women"tms standings in rural England society. Lydia is apparent in her expressions that her sisters are unfortunate because they are not wed. arming man I am sure my sisters must all envy me. Elizabeth exhibits this independence by rejecting two marriage proposals, discarding proper decorum, traipsing around the countryside, paying little regard to appearance, and providing lively disagreements to several topics. I only hope they may have half my good luck"tm" (236). Austin seems to embody an early feminist voice throughout the novel with the use of her protagonist, Elizabeth Bennet. When Elizabeth finally arrived at Netherfield, her "appearance created a great deal of surprise.