19th century England had some serious social problems left over
from the heyday of Royalty and Nobility. One of the most significant of
these was the tendency to marry for money. In this basic equation, a
person sought a spouse based on the dowry receivable and their allowance.
This process went both ways; a beautiful woman might be able to snag a
rich husband, or a charring handsome man could woo a rich young girl. In
these marriages, money was the only consideration. Love was left out,
with a feeling that it would develop as the years went by. In Pride and
Prejudice, Jane Austen comments that marriage in her time is a financial
contract, where love is strictly a matter of chance.
Lady Catherine states the fact that happiness in marriage is
strictly a matter of chance. This holds true in the conception of
marriage held in the novel. All of the marriages in the book formed under
the bonds of money rather than the bonds of love end up unhappy or
unsuccessful. The whole novel o
Confident in his knowledge of his own wealth and magnificence, Darcy'sless than romantic first proposal to Elizabeth is a good example of thefirst of these truths. We interpretit to mean that a wealthy man either actively pursues a wife based on hisknowledge that no one would turn down a wealthy suitor, or attractivewomen use their beauty to their advantage to attract a rich husband. She can hope at best for security and a degreeof comfort. She found Darcy mostdisagreeable, but would have been furious if Elizabeth had told her theshe had turned Darcy's marriage proposal down. Colleen's marriage proposal, as she does notunderstand fully Charlottes predicament. She is furious when Elizabeth turns down Collins, as her marriage to himwould mean the estate would stay in the family. Bennett is the embodiment of the second part of the rule. utlines attempts to dance around love forthe combination of a wealthy person with an attractive person. In conclusion, the essential statement made about marriage inPride and Prejudice is that a marriage for money will end up unsuccessful. The first line of Pride and Prejudice, "It is a universallyacknowledged fact that a single man in possession of a good fortune must bein want of a wife", sets the tone for the rest of the novel. Bennett, a seeminglysensible and self controlling man, by, "keeping her mouth shut and smilinga lot. She had no real love for him, only a desire to gainfinancially. " Basically stated, she entered their marriage under falsepretenses.