Elizabeth Bennet is a gold diggerI had a look at some websites and a few say that Elizabeth was truly impressed by Pembery (Mr Darcy's estate) and that this is what triggered or foreshadowed her...

Elizabeth Bennet is a gold digger

I had a look at some websites and a few say that Elizabeth was truly impressed by Pembery (Mr Darcy's estate) and that this is what triggered or foreshadowed her love for him.

Maybe when she saw his estate she realized the vastness of his fortune.

 Is she that shallow that what attracted her to him was the wealth and privilege? Or do you think that this didn't really matter to her and that she loved him for his personality?

Basically I'm asking you: How far do you agree or disagree with the statement (Elizabeth is a gold digger), and why?

Your contributions to this topic will be greatly appreciated! :)

Asked on by hawra

8 Answers | Add Yours

lmetcalf's profile pic

lmetcalf | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted on

While I would agree that seeing the beauty of the estate certainly gave her something to think about in terms of his wealth, it is more about what she learns about Darcy's character as she talks to people who work for him and who have known him for many years that helps her to see Darcy in a more flattering light. She knew all along that Darcy was a very wealthy man, more wealthy than Bingley; more connected to the elite of society like Lady Catherine. If she was truly a gold digger she would have accepted his first marriage proposal and overlooked his previous proud behavior, or what she perceived to be rude and/or proud attitudes about himself and others.

wannam's profile pic

wannam | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted on

I would disagree with this statement.  I think if Elizabeth was purely out for monetary gain she would have agreed to marry Mr. Collins.  He was her first marriage offer and would certainly have provided plentiful monetary gain for her family.  Elizabeth had no way to know that she would have better opportunities later.  I also think if Elizabeth was simply after Mr. Darcy's money, she would have accepted him the first time he proposed rather than arguing with him.

I think Elizabeth began to change her feelings towards Mr. Darcy when she read his letter explaining several of the offenses she held against him.  I am sure that she was impressed by his estate, but it was probably more a marvel of what she had turned down than hoping to have it offered to her again.  Elizabeth shows herself to have much more character than simply seeking financial gain.

litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I could see why some would say this, but given what we know of Elizabeth, I disagree. In fact, I think his wealth would only make her more skeptical of him. She was a very independent and modern woman, and did not think like others of her time. They were mostly gold diggers, but she was not.
darcys-tango's profile pic

darcys-tango | (Level 2) eNoter

Posted on

Would a true gold-digger of any denomination have turned down an offer of marriage to an attractive and comparatively young man who was staggeringly rich and lauded in high society? I think not. Despite what she may have felt personally about him. Elizabeth stated quite early in the book she would only marry for love, and her comment to her sister Jane, about falling in love with Darcy after seeing Pemberley, was decidedly just light hearted mischief, again made plain when Jane urged her to be serious.

The whole theme of the story was based on Eliza'a (wrongly assumed) prejudice against his pride and how the truth of her acceptance of her own gullibility: "Till this moment I never knew myself", made her true feelings known, based not on any desire for riches, but an acceptance of love of Darcy's true character.  

huckleberry29's profile pic

huckleberry29 | Student | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted on

I totally disagree; she is definitely not a gold digger. Elizabeth knew Mr. darcy was rich from the first time she ever saw him and yet it took her till the near end of the book before she stopped completely hating him.

She realizes that she was wrong about him and how truly sincere and kind he actually is (ex: he loves his sister, he shows great hospitality to her aunt and uncle, he literally paid to protect the Bennet name after Lydia and Wickham run off, he corrected his mistake in separating Mr. Bingley and Jane and brings them back together). Once she realizes how wrong she was (and how purely awesome and romantic Mr. darcy really is), Elizabeth falls in love.

It's probably only part of the story that Elizabeth visits Pemberley so that she could run into Darcy again. Without that meeting, he couldn't have met Elizabeth's aunt and uncle and more importantly, he wouldn't have heard about the drama with Lydia which caused his greatest move of kindness and love towards Elizabeth: saving her family name.

wanderista's profile pic

wanderista | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 2) Valedictorian

Posted on

I do believe that some aspect to Elizabeth Bennet was of gold digging, but it wasn't her primary aim. I believe that she wanted to marry because society then was completely different to society today. People were pressured to marry, and I think you were dishonouring your family if you didn't. However, do consider that Bennet, if she were gold digging she would have gone for Mr Collins. But she didn't. There must have been some aspect of 'love' for Mr D'Arcy.

hawra's profile pic

hawra | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 3) eNoter

Posted on

I would disagree with this statement.  I think if Elizabeth was purely out for monetary gain she would have agreed to marry Mr. Collins.  He was her first marriage offer and would certainly have provided plentiful monetary gain for her family.  Elizabeth had no way to know that she would have better opportunities later.  I also think if Elizabeth was simply after Mr. Darcy's money, she would have accepted him the first time he proposed rather than arguing with him.

I think Elizabeth began to change her feelings towards Mr. Darcy when she read his letter explaining several of the offenses she held against him.  I am sure that she was impressed by his estate, but it was probably more a marvel of what she had turned down than hoping to have it offered to her again.  Elizabeth shows herself to have much more character than simply seeking financial gain.

wannam, maybe it was not purely for financial gain, but do you deny that Mr Darcy's wealth played a part in Elizabeth's decision?

Elizabeth knows that her father's estate was going to Mr Collins. Maybe that wasn't enough for her, she might have been ambitious and hoped that better offers would come?

In regards to Mr Darcy, there is the possibilty that she was so outraged by the way he scorned her in the first ball that she was giving him revenge by making him fall in love with her then rejecting him. Hurting his pride just like he hurt hers. Although, when she sees his magnificent wealth she changes her mind and decides that he is worth loving after all.

One thing we know is that Elizabeth is smart. She is good at studying characters. Through her observations and impressions of Darcy, she might have understood enough of his pride or personality to know that if she declined his first proposal it would make him want her more. In other words couldn't she have been playing "hard to get?"

Eager to read your follow-up response! :D

hawra's profile pic

hawra | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 3) eNoter

Posted on

I could see why some would say this, but given what we know of Elizabeth, I disagree. In fact, I think his wealth would only make her more skeptical of him. She was a very independent and modern woman, and did not think like others of her time. They were mostly gold diggers, but she was not.

What exactly do we know about her that makes us so confident that she wasn't really after Mr Darcy's money. What actions/quotes examples can you provide to support your opinion?

If the people around her were gold diggers, perhaps she was also influenced by that. Maybe that wasn't the only reason she accepted Darcy but don't you think that wealth must have been atleast a factor in that decision?

Looking forward to your response. :)

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