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.
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, "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?" (106). Mrs. Bennett approves of the match mostly on a monetary basis, and exclaims, "Why, he has four or five thousand a year, and very likely more. Oh my dear Jane, I am so happy!" (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, "’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, "…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…" (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,...