The novel Pride and Prejudice, written by Jane Austen, contains a great deal of satire used to express Austen's attitude toward marriage in the 19th century. Austen uses satire to describe various types of marriages and the reasons behind them. She makes it clear that marriages are based upon many different factors. Austen satirically desribes how marriages can stem from economic reasons, sensual pleasures, and true love.
Marriage out of economic compulsion is evidenced by Charlotte's marriage to Collins. Charlotte's reasons for marriage have nothing to do with love or happiness at all. "Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance.it is better to know as little as possible of the defects of the person with whom you are to pass your life.” - Pg. 21. The reader can assume that happiness is not a priority for marriage to Charlotte, but later on, Charlotte's true motives for marriage are revealed after accepting Collins's marriage proposal: "I am not romantic, you know. I never was. I ask only a comfortable home; and considering Mr. Collins's character, connections, and situation in life, I am convinced that my chance of happiness with him is as fair as most people can boast on entering the marriage state” - Pg. 108. What makes this marriage satirical is that the actions leading up to the Charlotte's and Collins's engagement occur quite quickly. Right after Elizabeth's rejection of Mr.Col!.
lins's purposal, he immediately purposes to Charlotte. This celerity is evidence of Austen's attempt to tell the readers that some marriages have nothing to do with love or happiness and instead they deal with money only. .
There are other marriages that have nothing to do with love or happiness. As shown by Lydia and Wickham's engagement, some marriages are caused by the seeking of sensual pleasure. ". she (Elizabeth) was all surprise, all astonishment that Wickham should marry a girl whom it was impossible he cold marry for money.