A Common Scientific Theory Applied to Marriage
In Jane Austenâ€™s Pride and Prejudice â€œIt is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wifeâ€ (Austen 1). However, the truth is that the female characters are in fact, searching for a suitable husband that is wealthy and able to provide well for them. Throughout the novel Austen satirizes their vain attempts at catching the right subject for marriage so that they may gain stability rather then love. Austenâ€™s characterization of the Bennet girls, Mrs. Bennet, and the other female characters while they look for a husband displays a common rule for the animal kingdom- survival ...view middle of the document...
As she dreams about being mistress of Pemberly her initial feelings about prideful Mr. Darcy change to see him as an understanding, and kind man. However, it was not Darcy that initiated her change in attitude, it was his wealth that caused the sudden alteration. According to Josie Glausiusz, Lizzy Bennet is just following the belief of Charles Darwin, that the ultimate goal is to reproduce with someone that has the best ability to care for a mate.
Elizabeth Bennet, the heroine of Jane Austenâ€™s Pride and Prejudice possesses wit, intelligence, and courage. Her inheritance, however, is meager. So when she falls in love with the haughty but wealthy Mr. Darcy, a man with what evolutionary psychologists describe as [having] reproductively relevant resources- money, social prestige, and good genes- she is simply practicing the ingrained female art of hypergamy, or marrying up (Glausiusz 1).
Elizabeth importance in the novel is so that Austen may use her as an example of what a shallow institution marriage has become during this time period when woman depend on men for financial soundness. Rarely is Elizabethâ€™s love for Mr. Darcy portrayed to the reader, instead, Austen uses great detail to describe his wealth. Austen fails â€œto provide the reader with a better view of his mind and heartâ€¦she spent more time describing the contents of Darcyâ€™s house than in developing his characterâ€ (Goodman 2). Overall, Austenâ€™s negative ideology about marriage is conveyed by using Elizabethâ€™s eventual acceptance of Mr. Darcyâ€™s as the description of love blooming for wealth rather then genuine affection.
On the other hand, Charlotte Lucas and Mr. Collins relationship is a settlement by both parties involved for stability purposes. According to the theory of literary Darwinism the females â€œselect mates most likely to ensure the continuance of their genetic lineâ€ (MacIntyre 1). By Charlotte Lucas accepting Mr. Collins proposal of marriage she is settling on the side of finding love but she is obviously marrying to find stability in his money and genetic line. Charlotteâ€™s cheerful disposition in the correspondence between her and Elizabeth never once reveal any affectionate feelings for Mr. Collins rather Charlotte â€œseemed surrounded with comforts, and mentioned nothing which she could not praise. The house, furniture, neighbourhood, and roads, were all to her tasteâ€¦â€ (Austen 133). Despite, Charlotte recognizing that she receives Mr. Collins attention because of the lack of interest shown from the Bennet daughters â€œCharlotte, of course, marries Mr. Collins purely out of mercenary self-interest, denying any romantic feelings at allâ€ (Stasio and Duncan 3). Charlotte thinks of her future first rather than her own self-worth.
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