Circumstance and money figure heavily in Jane Austen's first two novels—Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice—particularly in the way these social and financial considerations impact marriage. They can cause multiple problems, thwarting passionate romance, such as in the cases of Elinor Dashwood and Edward Ferrars, Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy, and Jane Bennett and Mr. Bingley; the same considerations also create affectionless unions motivated entirely by circumstance, as seen in the instances of John Willoughby and Miss Grey, Robert Ferrars and Lucy Steele, Wickham and Lydia Bennett, and Mr. Collins and Charlotte Lucas. The accumulated effect of the marriages in these novels underscores a predominant theme in Austen's writings: when entering into a state of matrimony, circumstance should be a secondary consideration to love, because without love there can be no marital happiness.
[...] Circumstance and money dominates Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice, the considerations of which affect each character profoundly, particularly in the manner social and financial concerns impact their marriages. Consistently, these considerations only affect matrimony negatively, both in the way they blunt true love and the way they promote affectionless unions based on social and financial circumstance. In the cases of Edward Ferrars and Elinor Dashwood, Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett, and Mr. Bingley and Jane Bennett, these matters of money and status keep [...]
[...] In the union of Charlotte to Mr. Collins, Austen strikes a more socially satirical note, taking an obvious swipe at a British society that forces women without fortune, or better romantic prospects, to either enter into a loveless marriage, or become an old maid. Unlike Lucy Steele, the reader empathizes with Charlotte, for “without thinking highly of either men or of matrimony [marriage] was the only honorable provision for well- educated young women of small fortune, and however uncertain of giving happiness, must be their pleasantest preservative from want” (83). [...]
[...] Lucy, in her predatory quest to secure a husband with money, dumps Edward and then fixes on—and ultimately gains—the now financially solvent Robert. The outcome of their union calls attention to all that is wrong with Lucy's behavior, and behavior similar to hers. During the denouement, Austen describes the consequences of Lucy and Robert's marriage when she writes, setting aside [ ] the frequent disagreements between Robert and Lucy themselves, nothing could exceed the harmony in which they all lived together” (351). [...]
[...] Dashwood is different from the majority of her society in that she believes social and financial circumstance is not the most important consideration to take into account when marrying; for her, It was enough that [Edward] appeared to be amiable, that he loved her daughter, and that Elinor returned the partiality. It was contrary to every doctrine of her's that difference of fortune should keep any couple asunder who were attracted by resemblance of disposition. (17). The reader can reasonably infer that the doctrine of Mrs. [...]
[...] Darcy is willing to face such obstacles as the ones described, his proposal of marriage should have focused on Elizabeth's good qualities that made him fall for her. Elizabeth, of course, rejects his offer, among other reasons, because Mr. Darcy is more concerned, it seems, about class considerations than of true love. Had Elizabeth accepted his hand, the message sent would run counter to the theme of the novel, suggesting marriage must be entered into with love first in mind. Mr. Darcy's considerations of circumstance not only affect the union of Elizabeth and himself, but that of Jane Bennett and Mr. [...]
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