In Pride and Prejudice, why is Mrs. Bennet so desperate to see her daughters married?

Expert Answers

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

The ultimate goal for a young woman in Victorian London and during Jane Austen 's time was to come out into society, meet a suitable gentleman to take care of her, provide her a home, and make her "somebody". Taking it from that perspective, that would have been the number...

Unlock
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

The ultimate goal for a young woman in Victorian London and during Jane Austen's time was to come out into society, meet a suitable gentleman to take care of her, provide her a home, and make her "somebody". Taking it from that perspective, that would have been the number one reason Mrs. Bennet needed to "marry them off"- Other than that, the women would be a hassle to society by becoming old maids, with no social position. More than merely marry off her daughters, she wanted to "marry them well", which means basically, to marry them to money and position. We have to keep in mind that her plans continued to backfire because she was a very annoying, obnoxious, loud witch of a woman, and the very people she tried to lure (the upper class) would turn their backs on her middle class self. Mrs. Bennet is also aware of her status as a middle class Victorian. This, although was not at all a poverty status, it did lack the "glitz and glamour" of the gentlemany and ceremonious society of the rich. Also, her upbringing was obviously non ceremonious as her mannerisms fail every canon of admiration and social acceptability- Surely, she wanted her daughters to need for nothing, and "move upwards" in society.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team