A response to Mark (which was in response to Ann)
Posted by SaraDJ on December 06, 1997 at 19:45:19:
In response to a fascinating discussion down the page, written by Kate on December 06, 1997 at 13:38:40
Ann's post was wonderful, and I would agree with all she said, but varying slightly only a couple of points.
If Darcy, in the heat of
passion, had been accepted at his first proposal, the marriage would have been a disaster, because he did not yet respect Elizabeth.
While I agree that he did not at that point respect Lizzy, I don't think it means he never would. As Ann points out, marriage during JA's time was indeed 'til death do us part. So I would think this would afford more than enough time for the couple to work through the respect problems, on the assumption that the two are worthy of respect. Does that make sense? I'm comparing them to characters such as Wickham, who we know to not be worthy of respect; if Lizzy had married him, I would doubt respect could ever be possible. Of course, we know from the story that D & L are, and in time, would work through the respect problems (Mark explains this better in his response to Ann). I think the attraction was there from almost the beginning for both of them (acknowledged or not), so the mutual love would also develop. But either before or after marriage, I agree that JA required a *true* happy relationship to include love, respect, prudence . . . that balance.
I think we are more willing
to believe in the ideal of love than she was, and this colors our reading of Austen.
While I think we do tend to be more romantically inclined, I think our ideal is still that balance. In the throes of love/lust, we see more respect, prudence, etc. in a relationship than is there (which is what could have happened to Mr. Bennet); with marriage and divorce easier than ever to accomplish, we tend to act on feelings quicker, then realize what a mistake it was (but don't have to remain "stuck" in a relationship, again like Mr. Bennet). . . hence that high divorce rate Ann mentioned. In JA's time divorce wasn't an option, so the selection of a mate was extremely important. Had divorce been as easy in her time, the situation would have been very similar to ours now. So even though the circumstances of marriage/divorce have changed, I don't think our real desires have. If given a choice, we'd all still want a mate we loved, respected and kept us comfortable.
Sara (hoping this makes sense!)
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