“Pride and Prejudice” is a novel set in the early 19th century in England, a time when marrying for convenience was much more common than today. A marriage for convenience is a marriage not carried out due to love or relationship but solely personal gain and for the benefits of having a husband or wife, generally in those days women had a tendency to marry for marry, which was a serious problem in society. This is shown by a quote from page 120, which says “marriage had always been her object; it was the only honourable provision for well-educated young woman of small fortune, and however uncertain of giving happiness, must be their pleasantest preservative from want.” Austen uses the marriage of Mr Collins and Charlotte Lucas to interrogate the contemporary practice of marrying for convenience, in a number of different ways.
At the end of volume one, Collins is in search for a wife, due to orders from Lady Catherine de Bourgh, and he proposes to both Lizzie and Catherine. Austen focuses on Charlotte’s, almost desperate, desire to marry Collins, despite the fact that she was his second choice. For example on page 120, Austen is describing Collins’ proposal to Charlotte and shows the haste at which she accepts. She wrote, “In as a short time as Mr Collin’s long speeches would allow, everything was settled between them to the satisfaction of them both.” The fact that there is almost no sense of romance in the proposal suggests that Austen views marriages for conveniences as bland and pointless. As well as this, the quote “everything was settled between them to the satisfaction of them both”, shows how the marriage is not for the purpose of love but simply for their benefits. The use of the word “settled” suggests that Austen doesn’t view it as a marriage but simply a deal. This is later evident when Austen wrote “Miss Lucas, who accepted him solely from the pure and disinterested desire of an establishment.