Marriage plot

Marriage plot is a term used, often in academic circles, to categorize a storyline that recurs in novels most prominently and more recently in movies. Until the expansion of the definition of marriage to include same-sex couples , this plot centered exclusively on the courtship rituals entre a man and a woman and the obstacles faced That the potential couple on icts way to the nuptial payoff. The marriage plot has become a popular source of entertainment in the 18th and 19th centuries with the rise of the middle class novel. Samuel Richardson , Jane Austen , The foremost practitioners of the form illustrative namesGeorge Eliot and the Brontë sisters .

Use in novels

Post-1980 deconstructionist criticism HAS highlight highlighted how the plot Was a profitable publishing and Ideological Production Ensure That served to the ascendancy of the middle class . The marriage plot was the liberal age of the reformulation of the medieval romance , which excluded all but aristocratic ladies and their chivalrous knights from its epics of love. The marriage plot promises to be liberated by making it available to greater sections of society, the working classes , who are relegated to comic reliefin 16th and 17th century, suddenly become serious moral subjects. Today, FEW doubt the ennobling qualities of love, purpose giving That nobility of soul to anyone goal noble Was an innovation to be found foundationally in the wedding stud, Perhaps pioneered by Richardson’s Pamela , où a lowly goal virtuous maid is raised beyond her birth through her insist on chastity and her subsequent marriage to the Lord B.

Use in film

Film, which supplanted the novel as the most popular narrative form in the 20th century, did not abandon this innovation of the novel. Rather, the marriage plot has continued to flourish, and is well known to the ” romantic comedy”. At its most formulaic, the criticisms of assertion, the conventions of the marriage plot, with the cathartic closure of its marriage leaders, and ultimately renounces politics and engagement in the world of privacy and domestic bliss. We can see this, for instance, in the movie You’ve Got Mail , which resolves the political opposition between mega-bookstore boss Tom Hanks and bookshop-around-the-corner owner, Meg RyanUnity of the Leaders in a Union that Deletes the Unqualified Distribution of Capital.


  • Shaffer, Julie A. “The Ideological Intervention of Ambiguities in the Marriage Plot: Who Fails Marianne in Austen’s Sense and Sensibility?” A Dialogue of Voices: Feminist Literary Theory and Bakhtin. Eds. Karen Hohne and Helen Wussow. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1994. 128-51.
  • “Foiling the Marriage Plot”, Joseph Allen Boone, Review of Tradition Counter Tradition: Love and the Form of Fiction, Novel: A Forum on Fiction , Vol. 24, No. 1. (Autumn, 1990), pp. 111-114. (Source: membership required)