An individual often pursues either love or money figuring that is the only way to happiness. However, usually, the real path to happiness is through compromise between love and money. This is the situation in Jane Austen's novel Pride and Prejudice. Austin first shows us two unsuccessful marriages to show that compromise between love and money is necessary to find the perfect match. Both these unsuccessful marriages lack the aspect compromise between the two partners. On the other hand Austen shows us marriages that turn out to be successful because of compromise. One of the successful marriages is between Elizabeth and Darcy. The protagonist, Elizabeth Bennet, is an intellectual and lively woman whose family's financial situation suggests that she may never get married. Mr. Darcy is a rigid and upper-class man, who falls in love with Elizabeth, despite her social standing. By the end of the novel, Elizabeth and Darcy each learn to compromise between love and money, and, in doing so, become truly happy. In Pride and Prejudice this marriage at the end of the novel shows us Jane Austen's ideal view of marriage.
Jane Austen illustrate us how she views both society and marriage throughout this book, by showing us two unsuccessful marriages. The theme of marriage is set in the very first line of the novel. Austen writes, "It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife" (P&P, p.5). The sentence implies that the novel will be about courtship and marriage. It also introduces the issue that motivates marriage in this time. She implies here that many young women with less of a fortune need a husband with large amount of money to secure their financial future. Austen's view on this is the direct opposite and she uses different characters to show her point of view on marriage. The first person to get married in the novel is Charlotte Lucas. Austen uses Charlotte Lucas to show that women often married for financial security. Charlotte says,
"I am not romantic you know. I never was. I ask only a comfortable home; and considering Mr. Collin's character, connections, and situation in life, I am convinced that my chance of happiness is as fair, as most people can boast on entering the marriage state." (P&P, p.123)
Austen uses Charlotte's marriage as a negative example. It seems as if Austen herself does not agree with this type of marriage because of the way the marriage works out later in the novel. Elizabeth says, "Poor Charlotte!-it was melancholy to leave her to such a society."(P&P, p.209). Here we can see that that Elizabeth feels sad for Charlotte. Charlotte is now living in a very...