Illustration of Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy with neutral expressions on their faces

Pride and Prejudice

by Jane Austen
Start Free Trial

How does Austen convey her tone about her criticism of marriage through Elizabeth? I understand that Pride and Prejudice expresses Austen's belief against marrying for economic and superficial reasons and that a happy marriage only occurs when it is based on love as is evident from Darcy's and Elizabeth's marriage, but what other other examples involving Elizabeth show that marriage should be based on love other than how Collins proposed to Charlotte 3 days after proposing to Elizabeth and the first sentence of the novel?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

It can also be argued that Austen also shows her disapproval about marriages for the wrong reasons through the way Lizzy observes her parents' marriage.  While we don't really know why they married in the first place, they are clearly ill suited to be together.  Mrs. Bennet is silly like her daughter Lydia and a bit "low class" both in her manners and in her upbringing.  Mr. Bennet is much more scholarly and prefers to be locked in his study with his books, avoiding all of Mrs. Bennet's machinations for her daughters whenever possible.  The two seem to care for each other in their own ways, but they are often disagreeable towards each other.

The end result of their ill suitedness for each other is Lydia's scandalous elopement.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team