How does the marriage institution stand in today’s society? I find that there are many similarities between how Hogarth portrays it, in Marriage a-la-Mode, and how many view it today.
Firstly however are the differences. Most marriages today are not arranged. One could argue that the characters in Hogarth’s painting were not in love and that’s why they didn’t respect each other or their marriage. But today, it’s rare for someone to have no say in whom, or for what reasons they marry. So it is really his/her own fault if it does not turn out.
However, as mentioned above, there seems to be a lack of respect in the marriage relationship in both Hogarth’s time, and our own. I believe it can be somewhat attributed to our instant gratification society. Virtually anything we want is available to us instantaneously. Most things can be obtained without ever leaving the house. I also believe that no matter how the media tries to portray it as being the opposite, the majority of society views pre-marital sex as inappropriate. So, given the other societal conditioning with which we have been treated, if one decides they want to have sex. They should be married first. There seems to be a lack of understanding that marriage is not about ones selfish desires, but about putting the other person in the relationship first. Also, I am unsure about the list of causes in marital problems, but I’m fairly certain that finances are higher up on that list than infidelity in our day. But again, it boils back down to the lack of patience. Instead of working hard together to obtain a nice house, and all the toys, young married couples want all of the things their parents have, and they want them now. They spend money irresponsibly which leads to defaulting on loans, and greater stress in their relationship.
Either way, I think Hogarth’s representation of marriage is a valid one. The causes may vary, but the attitude seems to be the same, that people take those marriage vows lightly, which brings a slew of other problems to themselves.