Pride and Prejudice: Love and Money Free Essay Example
Throughout the novel Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, there is a connection between money and relationships. The opening line of this book sets the tone for this by saying “it is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man of good fortune must be in want of a wife. ”7 This shows that it is only socially acceptable in this society to be well off. Many women in this society who aren’t wealthy relied on finding a wealthy man that would marry them.
Love and happiness were often times overlooked.
All relationships in this book debate whether love and happiness or money is more important when looking for a spouse. Pride and Prejudice shows that love and happiness should be the basis of a marriage but in order to get by in society, money must also be a concern. Charlotte Lucas’s marriage to Mr. Collins shows that happiness doesn’t always coexist with financial security in a relationship. Of all the female characters in the book, Charlotte makes the most realistic comments about love.
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She states that “happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance”.
Charlotte did not care whether or not she loved Mr. Collins because she believes that love grows after two people marry. She married Mr. Collins for his money and the life he could provide for her. She’s showing that the heart doesn’t always dictate marriage. Charlotte explains to Elizabeth Bennet “I am not romantic … I ask only a comfortable home; and considering Mr.
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Collins’s character, connections, and situation in life, I am convinced that my chance of happiness with him is as far as most people can boast on entering the marriage state. ”.
Charlotte doesn’t have much to offer a man in wealth or beauty so she takes advantage of Mr. Collins’s proposal considering it may be her best and only offer she’ll have. She is an intelligent woman who married an odd man and this also shows that this isn’t the best marriage. Elizabeth Bennet, Charlotte’s best friend, disapproves of this marriage not out of jealousy, but knowing that Charlotte doesn’t genuinely love Mr. Collins. She loves the idea of benefitting from her marriage to him. The marriages of Mr. and Mrs. Bennet and Lydia Bennet and Mr. Wickham suggest that when looking to marry, love and happiness come second to monetary concern. Mrs. Bennet encourages her daughters to marry anyone they can get and it can be assumed that this was how she came to marry her husband. She tells her daughter, Elizabeth, “Miss Lizzy, if you take it into your head to go on refusing every offer of marriage in this way, you will never get a husband at all—and I am sure I do not know who is to maintain you when your father is dead”. She thinks that men should take care of their wives as long as they can.
With no sons, she feels the need to send her daughters off to men that can take care of them since they don’t have any inheritance. The narrator of Pride and Prejudice tells of Mrs. Bennet that “the business of her life was to get her daughters married”. She is foolish and narrow-minded compared to Mr. Bennet who seems to be intelligent and clever. Mr. Bennet “captivated by youth and beauty, and that appearance of good humor which youth and beauty generally give, had married a woman who’s weak understanding and illiberal mind had very early in their marriage put an end to all real affection for her”.
Mrs. Bennet married Mr. Bennet for his money and he married her for beauty. This didn’t set a good stage for their marriage or a good example for their daughters. Their daughter, Lydia, saw this and wanted to marry an attractive man of good fortune. She thought she had found this in Mr. Wickham. Mr. Wickham, ironically, was marrying Lydia for what little money she had. Lydia, Mr. Wickham, Mr. and Mrs. Bennet were all selfish in their perusal of marriage and what little joy they had in the beginning faded into mutual disinterest. Jane and Mr. Bingley and Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy’s marriages prove that love and happiness can be the basis of a marriage and still it can provide financial security. Elizabeth and Jane are both drawn to men with good fortune.
Jane is more conscious about it, however. She does love Mr. Bingley but it is shown that she does look somewhat for money in a man when she tells Elizabeth that she has more understanding of Charlotte Lucas’s reasons for marrying. Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth have many issues in their relationship throughout the novel and they both despise the thought of being with each other. For example, Mr. Darcy “really believed that, were it not for the inferiority of connections, he should be in some danger”. Both knew they were attracted to one another but they didn’t want each other. When they finally start to come around, Mr. Darcy declares his love to Elizabeth in saying “my feelings will not be repressed. “You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you”. He goes on to tell her that he doesn’t want to love her because she has terrible connections and a very small social circle and despite all this, he loves her. Elizabeth takes his proposal as more of an insult and is furious with the situation.
However her feelings have obviously changed when she tours Pemberley with her family. When she first sees the estate she thinks to herself that “at the moment she felt that to be mistress of Pemberley might be something”. She doesn’t think this just because the estate is so beautiful but she imagines what her life would be like with Mr. Darcy as her husband and she is pleased with the thought. After deciding to marry, Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth have a conversation that surrounds their love for one another and how it all began but not one time did they mention any financial aspect of their relationship.
These relationships in the novel show that love and happiness can come before monetary concern and they can just as successful, if not more. Marriages based on money or social status, like Charlotte and Mr. Collins, or first impressions, like Lydia and Wickham, are unsuccessful. They are the couples that grow to be like Mr. and Mrs. Bennet. When marriages are based on mutual attraction they are happier. These are represented in the relationships of Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Bingley and Jane Bennet. The marriages in Pride and Prejudice suggest that love, money, and happiness should have a good balance in any marriage.
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