During the Regency Period, almost everyone had the same views on marriage: it was a tool used to make your life better. Most would marry for either social or monetary gain, an idea that is found in Pride in Prejudice, but is challenged by Elizabeth, whose view of marriage is one of love. Mrs. Bennet’s idea of marriage is one of monetary gain. Each of these characters are based around their marriage views, and these marriage views influence the other parts of their character, which can be their personalities or their actions. In Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth’s marriage views influence her independence. Mrs. Bennet’s views on marriage make her shallow.
Elizabeth’s idea of marriage for love makes her strong willed and opinionated. In Elizabeth’s rejection of Darcy, she talks about her first impression of Darcy, and how his bad actions and manner made it impossible for her to marry him (Austen 241). Elizabeth’s rejection of Darcy shows how she is strong willed because she would not change her opinion on Darcy, even when he offers her marriage. She is opinionated because she holds on to her first impressions of Darcy, refuses to change her opinion of Darcy even after he apologizes. In her rejection of Mr. Collins, she also demonstrates how she is strong willed. When Collins threatens to get Mr. and Mrs. Bennet to force Elizabeth to marry him, Elizabeth still did not agree to marry him (Austen 137). She is strong willed because of how she refuses to bend to pressure from Mr. Collins and later her mother to marry him. She also shows how she is independent from others because of this. While she could have secured her future by marrying Mr. Collins, she decided not to because of her beliefs. In both of these examples, Elizabeth rejects men who could provide her financial security, showing how she able to be independent without them, and how she is able to stick to her beliefs. Elizabeth’s ideas of marriage for love make her strong willed and opinionated, and also make her more independent.
Mrs. Bennet is single-minded because of her views of marriage for wealth. When Elizabeth tells Mrs. Bennet that she is getting married to Darcy, she “can think of nothing else” (Austen 467). Her marriage views make her single-minded because she cannot think about all of the other benefits for Elizabeth getting married, and only thinks about the wealth she will have when she gets married. Another time when Mrs. Bennet shows how single-minded she is is when Mr. Bingley first moves in, and she is trying to get Mr. Bennet to talk to him (Austen 3). Mrs. Bennet’s insistence on Mr. Bennet meeting Mr Bingley in order to try to get one of her daughters married shows how that is the only thing she thinks about, since she does not even know why Mr. Bingley is moving into the neighborhood in the first place. Her single-mindedness shows how she is shallow because her mind is always concerned with one thing, which is getting her daughters married. Mrs. Bennet’s ideas of marriage for wealth make her single-minded, which ends up making her shallow.
In Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth’s independence is strengthened by her marriage views. Mrs. Bennet’s marriage views make her single-minded and shallow. Elizabeth’s strong will contributes to her independence, because her strong will makes it so she cannot be forced to do things she doesn’t agree with (like marrying Mr. Collins). Mrs. Bennet’s single-mindedness contributes to her shallowness because her mind cannot focus on more important things going on in her life than getting her daughters married. The characters’ personalities in Pride and Prejudice are influenced by their marriage views.