Views of marriage and social class in the society of 19th century England were very different from views in modern American society. In 19th century England there were two main concerns about marriage, to marry for wealth (money) and social class (stability.) Jane Austin shows that marriage was not an act of love for most people in that day and age but and act of survival, high ranking, and a place in society. The values of people in 19th century England were mostly the same. Women married for wealth and stability and men married for comfort and companionship. However, like everywhere, there were exceptions.
Not all women and men married for those reasons. There were others who did not share in the same opinions and values as the rest of 19th century England. Mrs. Bennet wife and mother of 5 daughters had a very simple view on the subject of marriage. She wanted to marry off her daughters to the most richest and most prominent men. She is not a very bright woman; in fact she is too simple in her opinions and thoughts especially her way of reasoning.
She is an annoying woman who does not have enough common sense. Her main concerns in life are to marry off her daughters to some one wealthy, that is to say the least, her main concerns are ludicrous. Her perspectives on marriage are conventional and conflict with Elizabeths view points on marriage. Two of Mrs. Bennets daughters share in the common viewpoint on marriage.
The other 2, Elizabeth and Jane have a very different view point. Jane had a different perspective. She wanted to marry for all the right reasons. She wanted to marry a handsome young man who she loved very much, of course the gentleman should be wealthy, and able to support himself, her, and their way of life. Elizabeth also had a different perspective on marriage and social class.
She did not believe in marriage without love. Attraction was also necessary, and the man could not be a baboon. He had to be extremely witty and clever, just as she was. He had to be well educated and proud, but not to proud, not like Mr. Darcy.
If the gentleman was quite wealthy or well off is certainly a plus, but he could not be arrogant and think that just because he was rich he was perfect and the center of attention. Elizabeths view point stands in great opposition to the conventional view. Everything that Elizabeth hopes for in a man, and everything that she detests, is either accepted or denounced by the conventional view. The conventional view has only one thing that is absolutely necessary, the man has to be wealthy, and partially handsome but nothing else. Mr. Darcy like Elizabeth does not have a conventional point of view on the subject of marriage.
His view point on marriage is very similar to Elizabeths. In the beginning he was not in the least attracted to Elizabeth, but as time passed he noticed her bright, shining, intellectual eyes. He was attracted to her wit and intellectualism. Elizabeths education and attitude attracted him even more, and every time she mortified him and tried to ignore him, his passion for her grew. Elizabeth is not in the least attracted to Darcy because of what he said to Mr. Bingley at the ball, and every time Mr. Darcy makes an effort to converse or learn something about her she turns away and blocks him out (she always tries to leave.) Elizabeth thinks that Mr.
Darcy is a stuck up, snobbish, disagreeable, and arrogant man with too much pride. She also thinks that he believes that because he is rich he can do and act as he pleases. Mr. Darcy is very attracted to Elizabeth, but he fears to do anything about it because of her familys financial situation. He is far more wealthy than she, and he is afraid the he will be judged by his friends and family if he were to marry Elizabeth.
Jane Austin shows that the inequalities between men and women and marriage are a financial arrangement. In the society of 19th century England women marry men for money. Since love is not involved most of the time, marriage is basically a financial arrangement between men and women. Men marry women for comfort, for companionship and for swaggering. Women marry men for wealth and for balance. Love in 19th century England was not an essential part of marriage.