Marry For Love
The point of view of a novel usually decides which characters we sympathize with. In the novel Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, Elizabeth Bennett is the focal character, which causes the reader to feel closest to her. The reader can relate more easily to her feelings and actions, and given that all of Elizabeth’s opinions on large issues are known and understood, the reader tends to side with her. By making the story from the point of view of Elizabeth, Austen is able to take advantage of the closeness between reader and character to make a political statement about the institution of marriage, and thus shows her own feeling that it is a mistake to marry for any other reason besides love.
;#9;One way that she shows her feelings on matrimony is by using Elizabeth’s voice as her own to approve of some characters decisions about marriage. Elizabeth’s approval of certain characters shows Austen’s approval, and in this case, Elizabeth approves of the marriage between Jane and Bingley. Jane and Bingley show throughout the novel their genuine affection for one another, and Elizabeth observes about Bingley’s affection for Jane, ;quot;I never saw a more promising inclination. He was growing quite inattentive to other people, and wholly engrossed by her Is not general incivility the very essence of love?;quot; (106). Mrs. Bennett approves of the match mostly on a monetary basis, and exclaims, ;quot;Why, he has four or five thousand a year, and very likely more. Oh my dear Jane, I am so happy!;quot; (260). Elizabeth, however, looks down on her mother for this, and approves of the marriage because she can tell that the two are truly in love with one another. Austen also makes those in love the happiest of all the characters. Jane and Bingley are truly in love, consequently, they are two of the happiest characters in the novel. Jane announces that, ;quot;’Tis too much! By far too much. I do not deserve it. Oh! why is not everybody as happy?" (259) and, "I am certainly the most fortunate creature that ever existed!" (262). Jane and Bingley’s happiness shows the author’s approval of their marriage. Austen uses Elizabeth’s voice as her own to make the statement that love is the only acceptable reason to marry.
Another way that Austen uses Elizabeth to show her feelings on the issue of matrimony is by the opinions that Elizabeth herself expresses about the issue of marriage. Elizabeth will not marry others for money, even when she is encouraged by others to do so. She turns down offers of marriage from both Mr. Collins and Mr. Darcy. Her mother becomes very concerned after she turns down Mr. Collins and exclaims, ;quot;if you take it into your head to go on refusing every offer of marriage in this way, you will never get a husband at all;quot; (86). She also does not want to worry about money when it comes to falling in love. Before she knows the truth about Wickham’s character, she does not rule out the possibility of ending up with him as her husband because she thinks that he is "the most agreeable man I ever saw" (108). She disregards the fact that he has very little to offer her, and looks solely into his disposition and character to decide whether or not he would be a suitable husband; she lets her heart guide her. Even when her aunt warns her against marrying a man with no finances, she answers back, "I should be very sorry to be the means of making any of you unhappy; but since we see everyday that where there is affection, young people are seldom withheld by immediate want of fortune from entering into engagements with each other, how can I promise to be wiser than so many of my fellow creatures if I am tempted, or how am I even to know that it would be wisdom to resist?" (108). Austen uses Elizabeth as the focal character so that attention will be drawn to her opinions, and thus Austen shows her own feelings about marriage. Elizabeth states throughout the novel that she wants to marry for love, and she ends up doing so to Mr. Darcy. Her extreme happiness at the end of the novel as a result of this connection shows that Austen approves of this marriage. The fact that the focal character ends up in such an enviable position is not chance; Austen takes advantage of the closeness between reader and character to display her feeling that marriage should be based on love. Elizabeth is rewarded, (not only in terms of happiness, but also monetarily) for persevering and marrying for the right reasons, and therefore she encourages others to follow her example.
Austen uses Elizabeth as the focal character to show her unconventional feeling that marriage should be for love instead of money or practicality. Elizabeth’s condemnation of certain matches demonstrates Austen’s disapproval. Austen uses Elizabeth as her own voice, which is a result of point of view. Elizabeth disapproves of the marriage between Charlotte Lucas and Mr. Collins because she knows that they are not in love with one another. "It was a long time before she Elizabeth became at all reconciled to the idea of so unsuitable a match" (96). As a result of this, Elizabeth believes that her friend has sacrificed all chances of happiness because one cannot be happy in marriage without love. She believes that it is "impossible for that friend Charlotte to be tolerably happy in the lot she had chosen" (96). Elizabeth shows that she looks down on marrying for money when she states, "she Elizabeth could not have supposed it possible that when called into action, she Charlotte would sacrifice every better feeling to worldly advantage" (96). This quote is a result of the information that she has just received about the engagement of Charlotte and Mr. Collins. Elizabeth’s point of view expresses Austen’s belief that it is unwise to marry for any reason besides love.
Although Elizabeth disapproves of the marriage between Charlotte and Mr. Collins, an even more inferior marriage is that between Lydia and Wickham. Although they do end up marrying (which is better than what may have happened), their marriage is based not on love, but on lust and then necessity. Wickham has no intention of marrying Lydia until Darcy offers him a great deal of money. "he Darcy was reduced to meet, frequently meet, reason with, persuade, and finally bribe, the man Wickham whom he always most wished to avoid" (241). To Elizabeth and Austen, this marriage is definitely worst of all of the poor marriages in the novel, which is shown by the fact that they are given the least happiness of all of the couples. Their affection for each other soon "sunk into indifference" (291), and despite the money that was given to Wickham by Darcy, they are the ones in the worst financial situation. "They were always moving from place to place in quest of a cheap situation, and always spending more than they ought" (290-291). By using Elizabeth as the character from whose point of view we see the other characters, we are shown by Austen how to feel about each specific situation. In the case of Lydia and Wickham, we are to agree with Elizabeth (and thus Austen) that they have gotten what they deserve for jumping into marriage for the wrong reasons. Therefore, Austen’s voice comes through Elizabeth to make the statement that it is foolish to marry for any reason besides love.
;#9;Jane Austen uses Elizabeth as the focal character in the novel Pride and Prejudice to relay a message to the reader. Her own voice comes through Elizabeth to make the political statement that it is unwise to marry for any reason other than love. Elizabeth (and thus Austen) feels that true happiness cannot be achieved in a marriage unless there is a great deal of love between the partners, and so explains her pursuit for true love, and her disapproval of marriage between those she knows are not in love.