Marxism in Pride and Prejudice

In: English and Literature

Submitted By roopanki
Words 739
Pages 3
Marxist theory of class and ideology suggests that society is driven by money and economy. All the social, historical changes that take place in a society are guided by changes in modes of production and class struggle. Marx also stated that the ruling class not only dominates the material sources of society, but also controls the intellectual modes of production. The ruling class circulates its ideas as the only rational, ideal, universal ideas, to maintain their hegemony.

Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice was written much earlier, however even then class expectations restricted the English society. The novel is a critique of society through social satire by the means of social caricatures embodied in Mr. Collins and Lady Catherine de Burgh. The plot of the text largely centers on the idea of class. Not only does the novel concern itself with the class of various characters, but also describes their mode of production and by what means each character gained their status. Lady Catherine De Burgh and Mr. Darcy are a member of the landed aristocracy, whereas Mr. Collins and Mr. Phillips belong to the bourgeoisie class. The Gardiners, Mr. Bingley and The Lucases earned their status through a respectable line of trade.

In the novel, Mrs. Bennet is the embodiment of Marx’s ideology of class and economy. Her singular goal is to marry off her daughters to wealthy, high class men. That is the reason why Mr. Bingley’s visit to Netherfield puts her in frenzy and she constantly pesters Mr. Bennet to invite him to dine with them. Similarly throughout the novel, all the characters are preoccupied with the income and class of each other. For instance, Charlotte Lucas accepts Mr. Collins proposal, because of his decent income and respectable status in the society. Likewise, the romantic desire Elizabeth begins to feel for Darcy is shown as being linked to his social power.…...

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