Love and marriage between Wickham and Lydia Pride and Prejudice is the most successful and popular novel written by Jane Austen. It revolves around the intricacies of courtship and marriage between members of social classes, which, in this case, is her own class – the middle class. In Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen describes many different loves and marriages. Whereby, she can express her viewpoint that one’s character often reflects his or her marriage and attitudes towards love.
In this essay, I want to focus and analyse the sex-oriented marriage between a dissolute Wickham and an empty-minded Lydia. Wickham first appears as a very charming fellow. As an officer in the regiment stationed at Meryton, Wickham is quickly judged to be a perfectly good and amiable man because of his friendliness and the ease of his manners. Initially, his sexual fascination is so great that Elizabeth, who is normally very critical in judging people, sees at first absolutely nothing in him but makes him seem the most charming man she has ever met.
Wickham’s constant attention to Elizabeth makes her feel sure that she is in love with him. He even makes Elizabeth to be inclined to believe his made-up story about Darcy. However, his true nature, on the contrary, gradually shows itself to be mean and wicked. “A curious degree of sexual attraction often goes with a lively, unreliable disposition, which may either be somewhat superficial but perfectly well-meaning, or driven by circumstance which it has not the strength to withstand, become that of a scoundrel. (Douglas Bush, 1956)Wickham’s love was short-lived. After being realized the real person by Elizabeth, he is immediately reported to court another lady, Miss King, who possesses ten thousand pounds. A sharp contrast emerges between his agreeable appearance and mean character. He regards love as nothing but a tool to acquire wealth. His elopement with Lydia is very sudden. It really leaves us some rooms to contemplate his real motivation. Lydia is not rich. It seems that Wickham’s elopement with her was beyond understanding.
Nevertheless, further reading clarifies the obscurity and tells us his whole character. There are two motivations behind it. Firstly, he is a dissolute man who never stops seeking sexual passion. Secondly, he availed himself of a chance to flee his creditors. His flight was rendered necessary by distress of circumstances rather than by his affection to Lydia. Lydia is the youngest of the Bennet’s sisters. She is gossip, immature, and self-involved. She is also the favorite of her mother because the two have such similar characters. Mrs.
Bennet’s affection has brought her into public at an early age; therefore, makes her become a stout, well-grown girl of fifteen. She has high animal spirits, and a sort of natural self-consequence, which the attentions of the officials, to whom her uncle’s good dinners and her own easy manners recommended her, has increased into assurance. Lydia is an empty-minded and uncertain flirt who never ceases seeking her own fun and sexual excitement. The only interests in her life are to flirt with red-coated officials in a militia regiment in the neighborhood.
Lydia’s minds are more vacant than their sisters’, and when nothing better offered, a walk to Meryton is necessary to amuse their morning hours and furnish conservation for the evening. And “Lydia, with perfect indifference, continued to express her admiration of Caption Carter, and her hope of seeing him in the course of the day, as he was going the next morning to London. ” She is so temperamental that she cries bitterly when she hears that red-coated officials would leave the local town and rejoices when some new red-coated officials come in. As Lydia is young and empty-minded, she never gives love a serious and proper consideration.
Her thirsts for carnal desire and unrestrained life determine her sex-oriented marriage, Wickham is seductive and pleasing outwardly, but mean and dirty inwardly. While Lydia, foolish and dissipated, only enchanted by his glorious appearance, sees nothing of his real intention and personality. Obviously, Lydia and Wickham’s marriage is an example of bad marriage. Their marriage is based on appearances, sensuality, superficiality and youthful vivacity. Once they can no longer see these qualities in each other, their relationship will then fade away.
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