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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 womans 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 a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife suggests
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