How does Jane Austen express in the novel her attitudes toward the courtship in her time? One who is fond of romantic stories must appreciate Pride and Prejudice, one who appreciates Pride and Prejudice must say highly about the love between Elizabeth and Darcy. However, there are four kinds of courtship in this novel which are represented by four couples of Jane & Bingley, Charlotte & Collins, and Lydia & Wickham and the couple that had mentioned before. Some of them are out the reasons of true love and mutual understanding of each other, while others are based on either physical appearance or economic background.
Pride and Prejudice not only tells us a romance but also mirrors the English society of eighteenth century. It was depicted in the opening chapter by Austen that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife. Without saying the virtues that the man should possess, Austen illustrated that the first and for most quality of marriage is a better economic condition. As the old saying goes that money matters, and it is not destitute examples of this phenomenon. The marriage between Charlotte and Collins is the best example of this kind.
With a fixed income and the shelter from Lady Catherine, Collins is the most ideal husband who can save Charlotte from her spinsterhood and guarantee the well being of her future. While Collins just be in want of a wife according to the request of Lady Catherine. Austen showed her disapprove of it through a sarcasm way: at first, Collins proposed to Elizabeth which he thought is a compensation to the Bennet family for he was going to inherit the estate of Mr. Bennet after his death.
Failed to this proposal, he turned to Charlotte whom he thought is more willing to accept his proposal. Apparently, Collins and Charlotte were not on the same ground toward marriage, thus led the obedience of Charlotte to Collins. As we always associate romance with the prelude of some misunderstandings. So begins with the courtship of Elizabeth and Darcy as well as Jane and Bingley. Without a comprehensive understanding of each other, Elizabeth thought Darcy was a snobbish and arrogant man, while Darcy thought Elizabeth was an ignorant, petty and low country girl.
As time went by, he was deeply attracted by her quick wit and unique personality, and gradually felt that she was different from the other girls around her. While Elizabeth made a better understanding of Darcy and was gratitude to what he had done for her sister Lydia. Finally, the stalemate between the couple was broken. Without question, Elizabeth and Darcy is the perfect match. Their love is based on the mutual understanding of each other. They spurned the social decree that people with a high social status is not supposed to marry the people with a low social status.
Thus, they could be equal in marriage, and led the happiness after their marriage. We also cherish the love between Jane and Bingley, although they were apt to be influenced by others, for they really love each other. I think the reason why this novel was cherished by so many readers through years of history even today was not only the interesting plot but also the story itself that has so many influence on us. It’s the dessert provided after lunch that gives us refreshment. People can find what they want but actually cannot get from it.