Love, Wealth, and Marriage

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Pride and Prejudice, authored by Jane Austen, is a skillfully crafted novel dealing with love, comedy, and first impressions. The novel follows the main character, Elizabeth Bennet, and her middleclass family living in 19th century England. Elizabeth, unlike her younger sisters, is quite quick-witted but perhaps is too judgmental and relies very heavily on her first impressions of people; this is clearly evident after her first meeting with Mr. Darcy. Lydia, Elizabeth’s youngest sister, is rather childish and seems to be quite foolish; this is made quite evident when she marries Mr. Wickham. Another important female character is Charlotte Lucas, Elizabeth’s opportunistic friend; she marries Collins after Elizabeth rejects his marriage proposal. Another interesting concept portrayed in the novel is the motivation behind the main characters’ marriages: Elizabeth marries out of love, where as her friend, Charlotte, marries so that she might continue with her lavish lifestyle. Lydia, Elizabeth’s youngest sister, marries out of what she thinks is love but, in fact, out of something more sinister. The first marriage found in the novel is that of Charlotte Lucas to the nervous Mr. Collins. Charlotte, being a “well-educated woman of small fortune”(120; Vol.1, ch. 22), readily accepted Collins’ proposal regardless that her best friend, Elizabeth, had rejected the same proposal not a week before. Charlotte marries Collins primarily because he will be able to provide for her and will be able to make her life quite easy considering, that upon the death of Mr. Bennet, Collins would “be in possession of the Longbourn estate” (120; Vol.1, ch. 22). Charlotte’s family, Like Elizabeth’s family, did not receive their wealth from their inheritances, but rather from work and trade. People who earned their wealth in this fashion were considered to be of a lower class; so when Mr. Collins does propose to Charlotte it is seen as extremely good fortune since he earned his money through...
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