In Pride and Prejudice, why does Charlotte agree to marry Mr. Collins?

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Charlotte, who is in her mid-to-late twenties, is already an "old maid" by the standards of her day. She points out that she is not as fair as many of her friends; in addition, she has not received other offers of marriage. If she stays with her parents, she will...

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Charlotte, who is in her mid-to-late twenties, is already an "old maid" by the standards of her day. She points out that she is not as fair as many of her friends; in addition, she has not received other offers of marriage. If she stays with her parents, she will be both an emotional burden and a financial strain. Charlotte is a practical woman. She recognizes Mr. Collins as a man who, while not without personality quirks, will provide her with a safe home and security. Charlotte considers the proposal to be the best deal she's going to get, and she acts on it.

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Here are Charlotte's own words on the subject:

"I am not romantic, you know. I never was. I ask only a comfortable home; and considering Mr. Collins's character, connections, and situation in life, I am convinced that my chance of happiness with him is as fair as most people can boast on entering the marriage state.''

Charlotte insists that she does not wish to marry for love, but only for security.  She intimated this earlier in the book when she advises Elizabeth about Jane:

"Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance. If the dispositions of the parties are ever so well known to each other, or ever so similar before-hand, it does not advance their felicity in the least. They always contrive to grow sufficiently unlike afterwards to have their share of vexation; and it is better to know as little as possible of the defects of the person with whom you are to pass your life.''

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Lizzy wonders the same thing, and her sister Jane answers her:

You do not make allowance enough for difference of situation and temper. Consider Mr. Collins's respectability, and Charlotte's steady, prudent character. Remember that she is one of a large family; that as to fortune, it is a most eligible match; and be ready to believe, for everybody's sake, that she may feel something like regard and esteem for our cousin.

In other words, Charlottle is not like Lizzy or Jane. She may think that Mr. Collins is a very good match for her and that she may even have some affection for him. Remember that since the Bennetts don't have any sons, Mr. Collins will inherit their house and land when Mr. Bennett dies.

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Charlotte agrees to marry Mr. Collins for security and to avoid remaining an "old maid."  Although her friend, Elizabeth, refused Mr. Collins' proposal, Charlotte decided to marry him when he asked her.

The times being what they were, it was difficult for a woman to remain unmarried.  She was dependent on her father, then on any brothers, to support her until she found a husband who would take over that duty.  Sounds pretty amazing from our 21st-century perspective, and yet, that's how it was.  Charlotte, fortunately, is patient enough to endure Mr. Collins' less than desirable personality traits, specifically the way he sucks up to Lady Catherine de Bourgh, and so feels that she made a very good match.

Check the link below for more information on all of the characters from this book.  Good luck!

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