Money holds a significant role within the plot and development of the major characters within Pride and Prejudice, as well as shaping the novel as a whole. Throughout the novel the theme of love is heavily linked with money but seems to be of less importance when discussing it along with money, this is shown within the opening paragraph of Pride and Prejudice: It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife”. (Austin, 2006, UP) Student’s use of the words ‘good fortune’ projects the importance of money within a relationship between men and women.
By mentioning both marriage and money within the opening paragraph the reader is given the impression of what the two main themes could possibly be and also the significance money may hold over love. Mrs.. Bennett plays a major link between love and money, this is particularly evident when her purpose is set out within the opening chapter as the novel, “The business of her life was to get her daughters married”. (UP) But Mrs.. Benzenes intentions for who her daughters may marry where to be someone of a higher social class, “A single man of large fortune; four or five thousand a year. What a fine thing for our girls”.
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UP) This extract shows that Mrs.. Bennett is not concerned if her daughters marry for love as long as they marry someone with a good financial status. The use of money within Pride and Prejudice has large influence over how characters are initially viewed by other characters, and when most characters are introduced their financial status is stated, “Mr.. Dared soon drew the attention of the room C… ] of his having ten thousand a year”. (Pl 0) This influence has a substantial effect on people falling in love with each other and whom they will marry; this is particularly evident between Elizabeth Bennett and Mr..
Dared and also Mr.. Bentley and Jane Bennett. Pride and Prejudice was written in the early Regency Period in England, where social classes where changing and a new class of bourgeoisie where forming, when the middle class where making money in rising industries, threatening the formerly protected state of aristocracy. (Turner-Mobs, 2009) I think Austin tried to show this breaking down in social class within Pride and Prejudice by using love to try and emerge the social classes, as the Bonnet’s are known to be Of middle class while Dared and Bentley are both aristocrats.
Throughout the novel Austin tries to show that money and social class would not determine whom someone should marry, apart from the relationship between Charlotte and Mr.. Collins. Where Austin takes a more realist approach to what would of truthfully happened in the 18th Century, when Charlotte marries Mr.. Collins for finical support rather than for love, demonstrating the majority of women in this period in time that would have married for money even if they did not love or care for the man. Sparseness Editors, 2007) The following quote from Charlotte reflects how most women in the 18th Century would view marriage, “l am not romantic I ask only for a comfortable home”. Within Pride and Prejudice I believe Austin pushes the boundaries of that time, showing in my opinion a slightly feminist view, by projecting Elizabeth as a strong independent women who values love over money, showing that love may over power money which in that period of time would not have been seen acceptable.
The relationships in pride and Prejudice are constantly affected by money even though characters such as Mr.. Bentley and Jane are in love. When Mr.. Bentley leaves Jane without a marriage proposal in the beginning of the novel, it is revealed later that it was because of the influence of Mr.. Dared, He congratulated himself on having lately saved a friend from the inconveniences of a most imprudent marriage I understand that there were some very strong objections against the lady”. (P 183) Elizabeth immediately thought that the reasons for Mr..
Darers actions where because of the Bonnet’s social standing, therefore letting money overrule common feelings such as compassion and concern. Which where the feeling that actually effected Mr.. Dared into influencing Mr.. Bentley to not propose to Jane, “l observed them most carefully and realized his attachment was far deeper than hers. ” (Pl 93) Therefore making his reasoning of a more personal bevel than just about money and social class. Another relationship that is heavily affected by money is Lydia and Hickman when she becomes his lover out of wedlock; and it is Mr..
Darers money that convinces Hickman to marry Lydia so the Bennett family is not disgraced, “His debts are to be paid, amounting, I believe to a considerably more than a thousand pounds, another thousand in addition to her own settled upon her, and his commission purchased”. (IPPP) Therefore showing the reader once again how important it is to have money and that money can sort out the majority problems, showing the typical linings that both men and women had at the time.
Throughout Pride and prejudice Elizabeth is projected to be a character of higher standards and does not wish to marry for money only for love, but once Elizabeth realizes she has fallen in love with Mr.. Dared she visits Pimpernel. This is once of the most descriptive parts of the novel, and it is also when you see a different side to Elizabeth and how much she would enjoy having money, “Elizabeth was delighted she felt that to be mistress of Pimpernel might be something’. (IPPP) In my opinion believe that Elizabeth at this point has realized her love for Mr..
Dared but upon seeing Pimpernel it has given her a further plus in marrying him apart from love. Austin criticizes social class and money throughout the novel, by challenging it with love, but in Pride and Prejudice Austin does not mention the lower class of people therefore still conforming to the time and giving people a place within her novel, this in my opinion makes me feel that Austin does believe that social classes should be broken down but only between middle class and the aristocrats.
I believe Austin wouldn’t have had Elizabeth marry someone of a poorer social standing then her family, even though she has en projected as someone who doesn’t care about money throughout the novel, therefore once again showing that even though Austin believes love to be of more importance than money, money still hold a higher value over love. The characters in pride and Prejudice that have less money are mostly projected to be immoral, impolite and unjustified compared to character of a higher social standing.
Mrs.. Bennett, Hickman, Lydia etc… Are projected to be uncivilized and rude. Believe Austin has made the characters this way to show that money has a large influence of the way you are brought up and the manners you inherit, even though Mr.. Dared is initially shown to be rude he is later explained and forgiven in a sense while the other characters of a lower social standing are never explained, therefore left to the reader for them to be shown as uncivilized characters.
Love and money have a constant battle throughout Pride and Prejudice to be shown what is of most importance. I think that Austin did want to show in the end of the novel that love holds more Importance when both Jane and Elizabeth marry someone that they love even though they are of a higher social standing, but in my opinion believe that his is shown money still has a argue influence over why they got married, because if Mr.. Dared had not paid Hickman to marry Lydia would both Dared and Bentley marry women who have came from a disgraced family.
Also if Elizabeth had not seen Pimpernel would she still be as adamant in marrying Mr.. Dared. Therefore I believe that as much as Austin wanted to try and break down the social barriers and show that money does not hold a higher importance than love, overall the novel in my opinion has still shown the importance of money but made the importance of love stand out in a era where money influenced why people got married.