The Beatles echo popular sentiment with their hit tune from the 60's, “Can't buy me love.” The lyrics profess that love holds more value than money or materialistic cravings. Certainly, a romantic relationship can yield substantial benefits to both participants, including companionship, intimacy, stability and status. However, must a couple share love to realize these comforts? Love, with its accompanying emotional distractions—jealousy, envy and insecurity—can prove burdensome and impractical over time. Subtract love from the equation and the remainder equals two people seeking social and financial advancement. Marriage may mark modern man's most memorable misconception. Without potential profit motive, no logical reason exists for such a union to endure. In relationships, the desire for gain overpowers the need for love.
In the novel Pride and Prejudice, ulterior motives hide behind the guise of good intentions. Miss Bingley claims that she and her brother remain in London because she wants her brother, Charles Bingley, to be happy.
[...] Clearly, she does not view love as the key to familial contentment, oblivious to this missing ingredient from her relationship with Elizabeth. She reconciles the void by suggesting that distancing herself represents an appropriate course of action. Mrs. Bennet's own sense of isolation within her household fuels her determination to win a permanent position within a wealthy social circle. The fact that her conversations revolve around little more than gossip reflects her desire to escape a life of boredom and mediocrity. [...]
[...] Bennet to a bitter fate, prompting her to insist, “People who suffer as I do from nervous complaints can have no great inclination for talking. Nobody can tell what I suffer! But it is always so. Those who do not complain are never pitied.” (p. 84). Mrs. Bennet wants and needs to be pitied. The more people feel badly for her, the more likely they will feel inclined to follow her bidding. Ironically, she pleads innocent to complaining in the middle of her own complaint. [...]
[...] Wickham elopes with Lydia to give the community the impression that their love is greater than that of any standard love. This charade confirms Wickham's superiority not only in maintaining his wealth and rank, but also in pursuing compromise over compassion. In a similar fashion, Mr. Collins settles for second best, proposing to Charlotte in an effort to save face after Elizabeth rejects him. A stubborn man, Mr. Collins visits the Bennet estate intent upon finding a wife and refuses to leave until he completes his mission. [...]
[...] Collins never stops to ponder the importance of love in a relationship. Instead, he lowers his standards in an effort to keep his options open. Without concerning himself with romance, he can freely enjoy marriage under the pretense of never being emotionally attached. The novel, Pride and Prejudice, portrays several loveless relationships. Surprisingly, each of these affiliations appears successful in the eyes of the individuals involved. The compromising of feelings seems to lead to a happier lifestyle. After all, when one invests his emotions, he risks injury to his heart. [...]
[...] To secure her goals, Miss Bingley surrounds herself with people of status in order to feel accomplished—never investing any real emotion in these acquaintances. Her selfishness propels her along the path to personal gain as she seeks to win the affections of Mr. Darcy at the expense of her brother's well-being. During a time when relationships embody a person's most valuable assets, Miss Bingley cannot share the happiness of another because she cannot understand the selfless requirements of love. Likewise, Charlotte discards love as an unnecessary aspect of a relationship. [...]
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