Marriage dates back to the ancient Mesopotamian era. Since then the rules and what goes along with marriage have changed constantly. In Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen marriage makes the novel. Jane Austen uses her character's relationships to convey her message about the importance of love in marriage.
The relationship of Mr. Collins and Charlotte Lucas is an example of marriage for reason. Mr. Collins visits the Bennets looking for a wife. He immediately falls in love with Jane but when he learns that she "was likely to be very soon engaged" (p.48); he just turns toward Elizabeth as in "love" once again. Elizabeth rejects his proposal so he moves to the next girl he can find, Charlotte. He proposes to Charlotte and is accepted this time. Mr. Collins could not possibly be in love with Charlotte, when he was j ...view middle of the document...
Collins, the reader realizes Mr. Collin and Charlotte's marriage for practicality and not for love shows that is the wrong decision because she will be comfortable but never truly happy.
Austen uses her character Elizabeth Bennet and her ability to rise above the ridiculousness of society to make the right decision. Elizabeth rejects Mr. Collins marriage proposal because she see's Mr. Collins as a "conceited, pompous, narrow-minded, silly man" (p.107). For a woman to reject someone in today's society is perfectly acceptable, in the time of Jane Austen it was a much more complex situation. Mr. Collins being the wealthy man that he is can provide Elizabeth a home and respectable lifestyle. Elizabeth comes to the realization that she could never marry a man like him, even for stability, for it would surely drive her insane.
Austen creates a successful relationship between Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth to demonstrate to the reader the importance of love in marriage. Darcy at first is not attracted to Elizabeth one bit. "She is tolerable; but not handsome enough to tempt me" (p.7). Although at first Darcy was not interested in Elizabeth he gets to know her personality and he admits that "My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you" (pg 157). By not originally falling for her looks he ignored her, until he got to know what she was really like. Unlike most of the characters in Pride and Prejudice they marry for love. The fact that Austen made Elizabeth and Darcy's love based relationship the only successful relationship to prove to the reader that marriage must involve a mutual love and affection towards one another.
Jane Austen has positioned the reader to look through the eyes of Elizabeth and see marriage the way she does; marriage being special and involving mutual love. In the time of Jane Austen few had this view and married for social stability. Austen displays to the reader that marriage must be brought forth though love and not for misguided proposes of financial gain.