What is the role of money in the life of the characters in Pride and Prejudice?

1 Answer

accessteacher's profile pic

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

Posted on

Money is shown to be an ubiquitous theme in this novel, especially in terms of how it impacts the actions and motives of the principal characters. The way in which the importance of money is stressed in the novel is indicated by the very open and matter-of-fact way in which the narrator supplies such information as incomes and repeatedly presents the character of Mr. Bennet trying to balance his books and provide for his wife and five daughters. In addition, the Bennet family's financial situation is openly addressed in a very practical fashion at the beginning of Chapter Seven:

Mr. Bennet's property consisted almost entirely in an estate of two thousand a year, which, unfortunately for his daughters, was entailed, in default of heirs-male, on a distant relation; and their mother's fortune, though ample for her situation in life, could but ill supply the deficiency of his. Her father had been an attorney in Meryton, and had left her four thousand pounds.

Money is not something that is ignored or put to one side. Given the brute economic realities of the Bennet family, we can gain new appreciation and understanding of Mrs. Bennet's hilarious and somewhat desperate desire to marry her daughters off to somebody that will be able to provide for both herself and for any remaining unmarried sisters in the event of Mr. Bennet's death. Money, in this world just as in our own, is shown to make the world go round.