Despite Jane Bennet and Charles Bennett being attracted to each other from their initial meeting, Mr. Bingley’s courtship of Jane encounters difficulties that must be worked through before they can get married throughout Pride and Prejudice. The courtship begins at a ball when
Mr. Bingley dances with Jane twice and paid special attention to her, telling Mr. Darcy “she is the most beautiful creature I ever beheld!” (Austen Chapter 3). Eventually this courtship comes to a sudden pause when Jane receives a letter from Mr. Bingley’s sister Caroline informing her that the Bingleys have left Netherfield with no intention of returning. The letter also hints that Mr. Bingley is interested in marrying Mr. Darcy’s sister Georgiana (Austen Chapter 21). Although Elizabeth explains to Jane that “Miss Bingley sees that her brother is in love with [Jane], and wants him to marry Miss Darcy,” Jane does not believe it and is saddened by the letter. Had Jane been interested in marrying Mr. Bingley out of convenience or for his wealth, she likely would have been disappointed, but not necessarily saddened by it. This passage reveals that while a courtship or marriage based solely on love has the potential to lead to “perfect happiness,” if external factors interfere, it could also be a noose if it leads to heartbreak.
Later in Pride and Prejudice, Jane writes to Elizabeth recounting her unsuccessful attempts to get in contact with the Bingleys while in London and Caroline Bingley’s standoffish behavior. Elizabeth eventually learns from Mr. Darcy’s cousin Colonel Fitzwilliam that Mr. Darcy has “saved a friend from the inconveniences of a most imprudent marriage” (Austen Chapter 33). Following his condescending marriage propos...
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...or financial stability like Celia Brooke did or Charlotte Lucas, Mary would have encouraged Farebrother’s courtship. Additionally, if Mary had been interested in marrying for love alone, she would have agreed to marry Fred earlier in the story and not forced him to gain some stability. The courtship between Fred and Mary acknowledges that although many people would love to marry someone that they are in love with, the realities of society and the limitations placed on women preventing them from being able to provide for themselves forces the characters to have to think about the financial implications of a marriage. Fred was willing to evolve for Mary, and Mary was willing to wait for Fred while he evolved. Because of this and Mary and Fred’s awareness of the importance of love and financial stability, they were able to achieve a “solid mutual happiness” (Eliot 832).
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