An opposing stance towards marriage is displayed by the character Charlotte Lucas who regards happiness between the husband and the wife as an issue that relies entirely on luck. She claims that “If the dispositions of the parties are ever so well known to each other or ever so similar beforehand, it does not advance their felicity in the least." Charlotte does not place any importance on the aspect of love in matrimony. In doing so, she makes her own decision. This character reveals that she has never paid any attention to romance and that she solely desires to live in a pleasant homestead. She states that she could have a shot at leading a happy life alongside Mr. Collins, taking into consideration his personality, ties and social status (Austen). One can refer to Charlotte Lucas’s stance towards marriage as the desire to get involved in a marriage of convenience. However, this should not be regarded as a bad thing, as Charlotte isn’t someone who is willing to do anything for the right price. Instead, she is someone who makes decisions based solely on what her brain dictates, and not on matters of the heart.
The lead character of the novel, Elizabeth Bennet, signifies the equilibrium between the brain and the heart. Opposing the viewpoints of her mother and those of her sister Lydia, the main character is not lighthearted when it comes to the issue of matrimony. She doesn’t take into consideration aspects like the nuance of the wedding ornaments or the groom’s attire. When thinking about the married life of her peers, she takes into account distinct elements. Elizabeth obviously comprehends the significance of wealth and social status. However, she doesn’t regard such aspects as pivotal. She declines Mr. Collins’ proposal because she does not believe they can have a happy marriage together. Furthermore, she also rejects an even better catch, Mr. Darcy, who in addition to being wealthy also has a superior social status compared to that of her family. Marrying Mr. Darcy could bring her many advantages. However, Elizabeth declines his proposal because she isn’t fond of his character. As the story progresses, the lead character finally accepts Mr. Darcy’s proposal, as she notices that he is a different person and that his personality is not as bad as when he first asked her to marry him. When analyzing the main female character’s perspectives, the reader can observe that she is of the opinion that attachment, companionship, and respect constitute the main ingredients of pleasant and firm matrimony. This viewpoint leads to the conclusion that Elizabeth represents equilibrium between opponent attitudes – she seeks a man who is wealthy and has an adequate social rank, and she would not renounce everything for passion like Lydia. Nevertheless, the lead character also hopes to find a husband with a pleasant character, whom she could appreciate and for whom she could have feelings.
Notably, Mr. Darcy places a high level of importance on love in his viewpoints regarding matrimony. He acknowledges the fact that he has the advantage of better social status in comparison to Elizabeth, and the manner in which he approaches this aspect makes her mad. Nevertheless, in spite of these differences in their financial and social position, Mr. Darcy wants to marry Elizabeth. He begins his marriage proposal with the following sentences: “My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you." It is significant to note the fact that Elizabeth turns down his proposal and the way in which she points out to his flaws, stimulate him to change and demonstrate that he is a different person. Love is an essential aspect for Mr. Darcy when thinking of marriage. Nevertheless, one can notice that this male character is rich enough and has enough of social rank not to be preoccupied with such matters.
In Pride and Prejudice, the author presents a character that, as opposed to Mr. Darcy, cares a lot about wealth. Elizabeth discovers that Wickham’s fondness for her sister is uneven compared to what Lydia feels for him. The author remarks that the man dreamt of becoming even wealthier by marrying a woman in a different country. Although he stays in the country and gets married to Lydia, it is evident that he chooses to do this to gain financial and social advantages, and not because he loves her. Thus, Wickham’s character signifies a marriage of convenience in the less sympathetic sense of the word – only to gain a better financial status. In the absence of Mr. Darcy’s intervention and proposal, Wickham would just break up with Lydia and destroy her good name.
Another character that is present in the story, Mr. Collins, symbolizes matrimony due to social perspectives. His stance towards matrimony is similar to that of Charlotte, whom he marries. According to Collins’ description of matrimony, he wanted to get married because he thought it was the right thing to do as a cleric, and because he wanted the members of his parish to learn from his example and start a family (Austen). This, evidently, implies the fact that when thinking about matrimony, Mr. Collins pays attention to neither love nor wealth. Instead, marriage is important to him because it can offer him the adequate social position that he aspires to. A reader can make a comparison between Mr. Collins and Mr. Darcy by the way in which they begin their proposals. Darcy begins by talking about his love for a specific female character, while Collins begins by stating the motives for which he wants to get married. This demonstrates that he doesn’t pay a lot of attention to the personality of his future spouse. He wants to marry a suitable woman with adequate conduct. However, for Collins, it makes little difference which suitable woman he proposes to in case he has various alternatives.
In conclusion, in her novel Pride and Prejudice, the esteemed author Jane Austen demonstrates that stances towards matrimony can differ a lot. Lydia and Mr. Darcy place the highest importance on love, in spite of the fact that their personalities are polar opposites. Mr. Collins and Charlotte represent the better sense of the term “marriage of convenience". When seeking to get married, they only consider their mind and not their heart. Wickham is a representative of the matrimony due to financial reasons. Last but not least, Mrs. Bennet and the lead character, Elizabeth, demonstrate a combination and equilibrium of distinct stances towards matrimony.
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