The intricate nexus of marriage, money and love in Jane Austen's society is unfolded through the development of plots and characters of her novel Pride and Prejudice. In the nineteenth century's rural England, marriage was a woman's chief aim, both financially and socially. Financially because of women's dependent position marriage was the "only honourable position", infinitely preferable to the dependence of precarious shabby-genteel spinsterhood. Money was, therefore, a very significant aspect of Austen's society, especially when marriage was concerned. "A single man of large fortune" was naturally considered as "a nice thing" for the unmarried girls. Partners were chosen for what might now seem unemotional reasons: fortune and connections, similar to, but preferably better than one's own. By representing a series of marriages, Austen in this novel unearths and elucidates different aspects of the role of marriage, money and love in her society.
Austen was a realist and painted her time as they were.
In this novel, love and money-based Darcy-Elizabeth marriage is the most successful one whereas the marriage of Elizabeth's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Bennet, is one of the faulty ones. Mr. Bennet married his wife being "captivated" and tempted by her "youth, beauty" and physical appearance. He forgot that the first appeal of a pretty face does not last long unless serenity of mind and sweetness of temper provide more enduring powers of attraction. Moreover, Mrs. Bennet inherited no property. So, form every point of view, this marriage is a failure. Mr. Bennet, therefore, always has to endure her "weak understanding", vulgarity to such and extreme degree that he has nothing to revel in except confining himself to his library all the day, and thus eluding the necessary rituals of family and society.
Charlotte's loveless matrimony for financial security with the pompous Collins is another interesting marriage.