The Theme Of Money And Marriage (Pride And Prejudice)


Marriage and its strong relationship with wealth and social position are one of the key topics in “Pride and Prejudice.” According to Austen, a middle-class lady did not frequently have the means to marry entirely based on love; she needed to be aware of the man’s potential to provide for her financially. Mrs. Bennet’s anxiety over marrying off her daughters is partly justified by the way society restricts and weakens women and why those unions must always include realistic financial considerations, a concept illustrated by South (172). Marriage is effectively their only chance of accumulating wealth and elevating their social class. The story involves a couple, Mr. and Mrs. Bennet, and their daughters Elizabeth, Charlotte, and Lydia, who meet up with a number of bachelors, including Charles Bingley, Darcy, Lieutenant George Wickham, and Collins.

The marriage of Charlotte and Collins

The union between Charlotte and Mr. Collins was on the basis of practicality. This is due to Charlotte’s belief that Collins has a regular income and can provide for her the opportunity to acquire a property. She does not adore him, but she does not believe love is essential for a prosperous marriage. This behavior relates to mannerisms in marriage discussed by Gillis (82). When Charlotte accepted Collins’ proposal, she merely wanted a nice home, a greater social status, and more income, but she never got married for love. “Mr. Collins was neither rational nor agreeable but would still be her husband” (Austen 22). Charlotte is portrayed as a cynical and realistic lady who feels that marital happiness is totally dependent on chance, emphasizing the significance of selecting a mate who can provide financial security.

Charlotte’s ambition had always been to marry, believing that it was the only reliable option for well-educated young women of modest means. Charlotte admits to her friend Elizabeth, “I am not romantic, and I have never been.” “ I only want a decent place to live, and given Mr. Collins’s character, relations, and life situations, I am confident that my satisfaction with him is as great as most others claim.” (22). Collins was in a similar situation to Charlotte. He diverted his feelings to Elizabeth’s friend Charlotte when Elizabeth rejected him, as he never understood love. Mr. Collins was under pressure to marry since he could not remain a bachelor in his position as a clergyman, despite having a very comfortable home and a decent income. Love was not a significant element in his marital life. He believed he could marry a woman with no deep feelings for her and still provide her and his future family an honorable and prosperous life.

The marriage of Lydia Bennet to George Wickham

Austen attacks the cultural expectations imposed on males and females, the societal pressure to marry a man and a woman, and the economics that often motivated these expectations. A man’s motives. Wickham’s character implies that he had no interest in marrying Lydia from the start, as his friend Darcy exposes Wickman’s engagement with another lady, “Georgiana.” Lydia has no idea about his bad reputation when she runs away with him. Even if she had known, owing to her immaturity and inexperience, she never would have really realized what she had done by eloping with him. Lydia does not disclose her feelings, but Elizabeth believes Lydia “couldn’t be deliberately eloping without the willingness of being married” (Austen 193). It was morally incorrect for a lady to run away with a man, mainly if the relationship broke without getting married. Their elopement played a significant role in their marriage and not love.

Wickham would be able to progress in his life with no repercussions if they did not get married, while Lydia could become a woman with a ruined reputation. Because reputation was a critical social aspect in conveying a woman as qualified for marriage, this would have harmed her and all of her sisters’ marriage prospects. Hopkins argues that from the personality perspective, Lydia is regarded as a futile spender, and Wickham has a history of debt (5). Due to their terrible financial foresight, Elizabeth doubts they will be supported in manageable independence, which is proven true later in the novel, where Lydia writes, “It is a great relief to have you so wealthy” (Austen 196). This meant that the couple would need all of the financial assistance they could get from their different family members. Lydia and Wickham’s relationship disregards social norms and is based on passion and infatuation, attributes that were not encouraged.

The Marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Bennet

Mr. and Mrs. Bennet’s marriage is depicted as unbalanced and mismatched. Mr. Bennet has a higher social level than Mrs. Bennet because he possesses the land, whereas his wife hails from a lower social class. Mrs. Bennet acquires a place to reside and relations with Mr. Bennet’s position as a landholder, while Mr. Bennet finds a wife of “mean comprehension, little knowledge, and unstable temper” (Austen 39). Mrs. Bennet’s goals for marriage are revealed to be superficial, centered on social and economic advancement. This concept is facilitated through her relationships with her daughters, who she pushes into wealthy or property-owning husbands. Mrs. Bennet exerts the most forceful marriage pressure on her daughters, who is adamant that they marry a wealthy man, even if they despise him. “The business of her life was to have her daughters married; the comfort was visitation and news.” (Austen 3). Her entire existence revolved around getting her daughters married.

The emphasis on women’s financial responsibilities may be observed in the fact that Mrs. Bennet is the most concerned about money, whereas Mr. Bennet shows no evidence of being concerned about his family’s financial status. Mrs. Bennet’s opinion of people changes according to how capable they can provide fortune to her family. Mr. Darcy is described as “far more handsome than Mr. Bingley, and he was viewed with great adoration” when the ladies first recognized his wealth (Austen 265). When Mrs. Bennet discovered Mr. Darcy was egocentric, she despised him. According to Austen, Mrs. Bennet can afford to despise Darcy until he marries Elizabeth; however, her opinion of him improves immediately when he brings money to the household (265). She is overjoyed when she learns about the marriage and exclaims, “How wealthy and great you will be!” What pin-money, jewelry, and vehicles you shall possess!” (Austen 266). Mrs. Bennet is depicted as a woman who equates happiness with wealth.

The Relationship between Darcy and Elizabeth

The relationship between the two ladies blossoms amid adversity due to a mutual dislike of one another. As stated by Austen, because of Elizabeth’s inferior social rank, Darcy, a self-conscious man, rejects to dance with her (271). Elizabeth’s natural feminine vanity is offended by Darcy’s attitude, which is reflected in his words, which Elizabeth overhears. The circumstances lead to both characters’ self-discoveries and the opposite character’s rediscovery. Darcy learns to value Elizabeth, and Elizabeth learns to appreciate Darcy. Darcy is a genuinely generous man who saves the Bennet family from a devastating social scandal, albeit for his benefit.

When Darcy proclaims his love and proposes to Elizabeth, she is surprised. However, while expressing his passionate love for her, he points out the significant social divide between them, remarking that Elizabeth should not anticipate him to “take delight” in her “inferior connections” (Austen 273). The communicative aspect aligns with Furlong’s analysis of Austen’s text (45). Elizabeth vehemently rejects him, offended by his pride, but later discovers that she has grown to love Darcy after he secretly intervenes in her family’s crisis (Austen 273). He proposes again, and they marry in a double ceremony with Jane and Bingley. The two partners’ marriage will be founded on time-tested love and, as a result, is likely to be stable. This marriage shows that love holds a firm basis in relationships than financial status. As demonstrated by Darcy and Elizabeth, they prove that marriage can last without greed, pride, and extravagance.


According to Austen, the best marriages balance prudence and dedication, sense and qualities, and economic and emotional considerations. The marriage of Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy is an excellent example of this marital balance. Marriage teaches that a family can be emotionally and socially satisfied while belonging to a higher social class and having financial stability. On the other hand, men lose wealth by marrying women who might not add to their fortune. Furthermore, the social class divide is not maintained within these relationships, which may result in socially awkward situations. Besides retaining class and affluence, marriage should be built on love and a compatible personality. Through Lydia and Wickham’s marriage, Austen teaches us that knowing your spouse’s character is crucial before marrying them and that infatuation should not take precedence.

Work Cited

Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice. Penguin Classics, 2017.

Furlong, Anne. “Adapting Pride and Prejudice: Stylistic Choices as Communicative Acts.” Narrative Retellings: Stylistic Approaches, edited by Marina Lambrou, Bloomsbury, 2020, pp. 45-60.

Gillis, Stacy. “Manners, Money, and Marriage: Austen, Heyer, and the Literary Genealogy of the Regency Romance.” After Austen, edited by Lisa Hopkins, Palgrave Macmillan, 2018, pp. 81-101.

Hopkins, Lisa. “Introduction: Looking at Austen.” After Austen, edited by Lisa Hopkins, Palgrave Macmillan, 2018, pp. 1-15.

South, Scott J. “For Love or Money? Sociodemographic Determinants of the Expected Benefits from Marriage.” The Changing American Family, edited by Scott, J. South, Routledge, 2019, pp. 171-194.