Contrast and compare the two marriage proposals made to Elizabeth Bennet in the novel: Mr Collins' proposal to Elizabeth and Darcy's proposal to Elizabeth
Jane Austen lived in a mercenary world and this is reflected in her novel. In "Pride and Prejudice" no secret is made of the need to marry for money. Jane Austen reflects different types of marriage in her novel. There is mercenary marriage, brought about solely for economic reasons. Such would have been the marriage between Mr Collins and Elizabeth. Mr Collins' proposal was fuelled by his own economic motives, desire to please the aristocratic Lady Catherine and by Mrs Bennet's economic fears that Elizabeth will inherit little money when her father dies: not real feelings or any aspect of love. Contrasting this is the ideal marriage. Marriages 'rationally founded,' based on, 'excellent understanding,' and, 'general similarity of feeling and taste,' (Chapter 55) Such is the marriage between Darcy and Elizabeth.
Although Elizabeth refused Darcy's first proposal, it was ultimately made because of true emotional feelings, respect and admiration for Elizabeth.
The main reason for Mr Collins' selection of a wife in Elizabeth is economic convenience. Her farther's house is entailed to him. By marrying Mr Collins, Elizabeth's family will not be left without a home. Many aspects of Mr Collins's proposal reflect his lack of feeling. The first being how the proposal comes about. He comes to Hertfordshire, 'with the design of selecting a wife,' and he ironically feels that his choosing one from Longbourn was, 'disinterested on his own part,' due to the estate being entailed to him. Any lady form Longbourn will suffice. Elizabeth was not even his first choice, but Jane was believed to be soon united with Mr Bingley. He admits to Elizabeth that the house is...