Middlemarchvpride and prejudic

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Middlemarchvpride and prejudice: women in the novels Middlemarch clearly defines the expectations and functions of middle and upper class women in nineteenth century England. It becomes immediately obvious that the woman is inferior in every way to the man and that the function of the wife is that described in the words of the marriage ceremony; "to love, honour and obey", with emphasis on obedience. "A woman dictates before marriage in order that she might have an appetite for submission afterwards". The woman's role was to serve her husband, to entertain him, to adorn his house much like a bunch of flowers or a painting. Lydgate sought in his wife "that distinctive womanhood which must be classed with flowers and music". Sir James insisted that his wife become a perfect horsewoman, not for the skill or pleasure that it might give her but so "that she may accompany her husband".

Should the husband fall ill, it was her duty to nurse him. As Mr Trumbull remarks, "a man whose life is of any value should think of his wife as a nurse". Mr Causabon married so as to secure "the solace of female tendance for his declining years". As with his work, causabon is disillusioned about his marriage. He had married Dorothea hoping for a quiet docile companion who could also function as his secretary. Instead, he finds a person who makes intellectual demands on him that he is unable to fulfil. His marriage can be added to his long list of failures of which he is aware but which he is unable to acknowledge fully. Similarly, in Pride and Prejudice we are immediately introduced to the idea that women are thought of as a possession or an aid to man, as opposed to a fellow human being. "It is...