Throughout Jane Austen’s novels she suggests marriages that are for wealth are more common as those for love. This idea is revealed in the course of her novels by the examples of marriages she provides. One example is Willoughby and Miss Sophia Grey in Sense and Sensibility, married not because of love, but because it was the choice that promised financial security. Edward’s sister, Fanny Dashwood, opposed Lucy Steele and Edward Ferrars’ marriage because Edward came from a wealthy past, which Lucy was not familiar with. However Austen also illustrates that some marriages occur due to a deep love between two characters.
Within Austen’s novel Pride and Prejudice there are marriages that occur because of strong passionate love. First the most obvious marriage for love was between Jane Bennett and Charles Bingley who instantly fell for one another. Although some opposed and actively tried to keep them apart, the love they had for each other brought them together in the end. The marriage between Elizabeth Bennett and Fitzwilliam Darcy, although their connection started out in a negative light, both finally realized, in their own time how much they cared for one another thus leading to their marriage. The marriage between Lydia Bennett and George Wickham, although no love between them existed, the love that Darcy felt for Elizabeth made him pay off Wickham’s debt. In turn this forced Wickham to marry Lydia to save the Bennett family name. This novel just goes to show how love can conquer all. The connection between Jane and Bingley was instantaneous.
From when they first saw each other at the dance they both knew there was something between them. However any relationship between them was opposed by some because of Jane’s financial status. For example Caroline Bingley acted as if she was fond of Jane only to write her a letter telling Jane that Darcy was settled in London probably never to return to Hertfordshire again. She did this because she would have rather seen her brother and Miss. Darcy together because they both can bring money to the marriage.
Even Darcy admits of trying to keep them apart, as he admits in his letter to Elizabeth “I had detached Mr. Bingley from your sister” (Austen, 2003, p 185). The match between Jane and Bingley was frowned upon because Bingley came from money and Jane had no money to bring into the marriage. However Bingley’s love for Jane was strong enough to make money seem obsolete.
He eventually makes a deal with Jane’s father and proposes to Jane.The connection between Elizabeth and Darcy took a bit longer to develop. In their initial meeting Elizabeth frowned upon Darcy because of his pompous manner. As time goes on Darcy falls for Elizabeth, but Elizabeth still has no feelings for Darcy. Elizabeth is convinced by Wickham that Darcy is not a person worth Elizabeth’s feelings. However he is proven wrong when Elizabeth visits Darcy’s estate and is told by Darcy’s help how agreeable of a man he is.
Once the news of Darcy and Elizabeth’s feelings for each other starts to spread there relationship is protested by Lady Catherine when she comes to Elizabeth and asks “Tell me once and for all, are you engaged to him? I am not. And will you promise me never to enter into such an engagement?” (Austen, 2003, p 331). Elizabeth of course denies Lady Catherine’s request and is soon engaged to Darcy after his second proposal to her.
The connection between Lydia and Wikham only occurred because of Darcy’s love for Elizabeth. Wikham was running from his gambling debt and Lydia went with him without being married. In doing this Lydia shammed her family and made her other sisters unmarriageable. The only way the Bennett family could right her wrong would be to disowned her or to have her and Wickham married. Neither of these option seemed possible until Darcy came through and paid Wickham’s debt and in turn forced Wickham to marry Lydia.
Darcy only did this because he loved Elizabeth so much and greatly wanted to marry her. In conclusion the connection between Jane and Bingley and Elizabeth and Darcy never had anything to do with money. It was always surrounded by love. Although Lucy and Wickhams marriage had nothing to do with their own love, had Darcy not loved Elizabeth the way he did Lucy and Wickham would have never been married. Austen showed an importance of money within a marriage in her novel Sense and Sensibility and yet in Pride and Prejudice I feel she surrounded the marriages with love rather than money. I have a feeling that the next novel we read Northanger Abbey the marriages that occur will have a balanced mix of love and money affecting the marriages.
Works CitedAusten, Jane. Pride and Prejudice. New York, NY: Fine Creative Media, Inc.