In Pride and Prejudice, to what extent does Elizabeth dismiss passion as a basis for marriage?

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Lori Steinbach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Elizabeth does not believe passion alone is a solid or appropriate foundation for marriage in Pride and Prejudice.  It's also true, though, that Elizabeth feels the same way about a dispassionate marriage of convenience or expediency--such as the one she was offered by Mr. Collins.

When Mr. Darcy offers his hand in marriage, or at leasts speaks first to Elizabeth of love, it is interesting to note those two emotions--dispassion and passion.  Though he is visibly agitated, the information is offered in a rather monotone way:

You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.

Elizabeth is stunned, of course, and their conversation goes on to grow rather animated and heated and...well...passionate.  Elizabeth effectively ends their discussion with this:

...I had not known you a monthbefore I felt you were the last man in the world whom I could ever be prevailed upon to marry.

Those are pretty passionate words.  So, while Elizabeth would not want to be in a marriage based solely on passion, it's clear, in the end, that she certainly does want passion to be part of the reason to marry.


ivana | Student

Elizabeth's attidute towards a marriage based on passion is most clearly seen when she makes a following comment :

How little of permanent happiness could belong to a couple who were only brought together because their passions were stronger than their virtue.


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Pride and Prejudice

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