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Authors Take on Women

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Author's Take on Women

Women of Austen's 1800's are selfish. They appear to think only about themselves. Lydia, being a self-centered girl, only thinks about what she wants and what would make her happy. She never thinks about the misery she puts her family through when she runs away with an army officer named Wickham. When she comes to visit her family, as a married woman, Lydia does not mention what has happened; "nothing of the past was recollected" (pg. 211). This just shows how egotistical Lydia is and how she disregards her family's feelings. Her selfish behavior also puts a strain on Mr. Darcy, a family acquaintance, because he has to force Wickham to marry her. It is perhaps in Wickham's personality to just take advantage of Lydia and not marry her if someone doesn't make him do it. Mr. Darcy has to put his life on hold to take care of this business for the Bennet family. Lydia's actions bring turmoil into her life, as well as that of her family and Mr. Darcy's. Lydia's marriage starts off on the wrong foot.

Occasionally, women of the 1800's marry for the wrong reasons. Lydia, for example, wants to marry Wickham because of his appearance and position in society. She is blinded by his good looks and the fact that he is an army officer. She is superficial. Her upcoming marriage is based only on physical attraction, for "Wickham has every charm of person and address that can captivate a woman" (pg. 189), though he is only fake. Lydia does not marry for love; she marries for lust. She can't overlook his physical attractiveness, even though he is thought by some as one of the "wickedest young [men]" (pg. 197), ever. It is an odd coincidence that "wick" is part of Wickham, as well as, wickedest. It is well known around town that this army officer is quite manipulative. Lydia is unaware of a personality defect in Wickham and puts his good looks and status over everything else. Their union is a marriage without a solid foundation. An unbalanced couple cannot contribute to society as much as a happily married pair. Austen utilizes Lydia's character to demonstrate that a marriage based only on physical attraction will end up in financial insecurity. Lydia's quickie marriage places her exactly in that position.

The attitude of certain women towards marriage is questionable. Lydia makes marriage a game. She sees it as a competition between her and her sisters. She becomes very proud, for she tells Jane, "I take your place now, and you must go lower, because I am a married woman" (pg. 212). This is evidence that Lydia sees marriage as a game she can win at. Lydia not only mistreats the institution of marriage, but she also mistreats the relationship between her and her sisters. Lydia's proud attitude can quite possibly destroy her relationship with them. Lydia positions



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