Older Views Of “Marriage Equality”

In Chapter 59 of Pride & Prejudice, Mr. Bennet is shocked to learn that Elizabeth wants to marry Mr. Darcy. He says to her, ““I have given him my consent. He is the kind of man, indeed, to whom should never dare refuse anything, which he condescended to ask. I now give it to you, if you are resolved on having him. But let me advise you to think better of it. I know your disposition, Lizzy. I know that you could be neither happy nor respectable, unless you truly esteemed your husband, unless you looked up to him as a superior. Your lively talents would place you in the greatest danger in an unequal marriage. You could scarcely escape discredit and misery. My child, let me not have the grief of seeing you unable to respect your partner in life. You know not what you are about.”

Mr. Bennet does not see marrying someone Lizzy looks up to as a superior as incompatible with marriage equity. A marriage wherein she did not regard her husband as superior would be “unequal.”

Published by Joshua Gibbs

Sophist. De-activist. Hack. Avid indoorsman.

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