" /> Pride and Prejudice Marriage Quotes - 104 Important Quotes + Analysis

Pride and Prejudice Marriage Quotes

"Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance. If the dispositions of the parties are ever so well known to each other or ever so similar beforehand, it does not advance their felicity in the least. They always continue to grow sufficiently unlike afterwards to have their share of vexation; and it is better to know as little as possible of the defects of the person with whom you are to pass your life."
"You make me laugh, Charlotte; but it is not sound. You know it is not sound, and that you would never act in this way yourself."

– Jane Austen

Pride and Prejudice, Chapter 6. Charlotte Lucas and Elizabeth discuss the idea of Jane marrying Charles Bingley, and on the subject of marriage the two women disagree. As becomes apparent later when she weds, Charlotte has a pragmatic view of marriage, it is a business transaction to enable a woman have financial security and comfort and status. During this exchange with Elizabeth, she is dismissive of the idea of marriage being about love and intimacy and getting to know the other person. Happiness in marriage is a roll of the dice, she believes, and it’s better to know as little as possible about the other’s faults beforehand. Elizabeth disagrees and laughs off what Charlotte says, predicting that her friend would never act in this way herself. Later events prove Elizabeth wrong in this, an example of how poor Elizabeth’s judgment of other people is sometimes. Charlotte lack of response to Elizabeth’s comment is forecasting of the transactional and loveless marriage she will enter with Mr. Collins.

My reasons for marrying are, first, that I think it a right thing for every clergyman in easy circumstances (like myself) to set the example of matrimony in his parish; secondly, that I am convinced that it will add very greatly to my happiness; and thirdly – which perhaps I ought to have mentioned earlier, that it is the particular advice and recommendation of the very noble lady whom I have the honour of calling patroness…she said, "Mr. Collins, you must marry. A clergyman like you must marry. Choose properly, choose a gentlewoman for my sake; and for your own, let her be an active, useful sort of person, not brought up high, but able to make a small income go a good way"…But the fact is, that being, as I am, to inherit this estate after the death of your honoured father (who, however, may live many years longer), I could not satisfy myself without resolving to choose a wife from among his daughters, that the loss to them might be as little as possible, when the melancholy event takes place – which, however, as I have already said, may not be for several years. This has been my motive, my fair cousin, and I flatter myself it will not sink me in your esteem. And now nothing remains for me but to assure you in the most animated language of the violence of my affection.

– Jane Austen

Pride and Prejudice, Chapter 19. Mr. Collins’s lack of self-awareness is astonishing as he corners an obviously uninterested Elizabeth to propose. Setting out his reasons for wanting to marry her, there is not one mention of love and it is mostly about why it would be good for him. He believes that he should marry because it sets a good example for a clergyman, it will add to his happiness, and Lady Catherine de Bourgh has told him to marry a "useful sort of person…able to make a small income go a good way." For good measure he also mentions that since he is to inherit Mr. Bennet’s estate, he would like to minimize the family’s loss by marrying one of his daughters. Finally with great irony he laughably assures Elizabeth of his "violence of my affection" for her. Austen is mocking Mr. Collins here. She is using him as a satirical figure to comment on loveless marriages, where people wed for all kinds of ridiculous reasons other than love.