In Jane Austen’s time, certain things were expected of both men and women, and marriage was defiantly one of them. Marriage offered a lot of things for both sides of the story, from money to a nice, adequate home to raise a family in. In Austen’s time, the differences and gender roles between men and women were very distinct. This is clearly shown in Pride and Prejudice when Mr. Collins is outside running errands and what not and Mrs. Collins is inside all day, keeping the household under control. In the modern age, you can be successful without marrying a man or a woman, but things are more difficult than they would be. In the modern era, people think of marriage as something that symbolizes affection between two people. In Austen’s time, women saw marriage as an opportunity to move out and become property of their husband instead of their father. From time to time, the woman may not even be searching for a romantic relationship, but in search for a suitable home. They are given protection and financial support, and this is shown by Charlotte Lucas, now Mrs. Collins, when she states that she clearly is not marrying for romantic purposes, but for financial support and a tolerable home. “I am not romantic at all 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…” (Austen 87). Men from Austen’s time see marriage as a chance to increase your wealth and status, or to marry the most beautiful woman he has ever seen. Mr. Darcy clearly shows that he was not interested in Elizabeth at first because of her appearance. "She is tolerable; but not handsome enough to tempt me..." (Austen 7)
In order to be an eligible fiancé, the women must either be pretty, or as they used to call it, handsome (Austen 7). If a woman was not handsome enough for her suitor, she would need to have a good fortune. This is visible in the way that Austen presents Charlotte in the situation that she is in.
“Charlotte herself was tolerably composed. She had gained her point, and had time to consider of it. Her reflections were in general satisfactory…Without thinking highly either of men or matrimony, marriage had always been her object; it was the only provision for well-educated young women of small fortune, and however uncertain of giving happiness, must be their pleasantest preservative from want…and at the age of twenty-seven, without having ever been handsome, she felt all the good luck of it.” Women must be respectable, as well as the men, and if there not decent looking, the men will not want to marry them. Jane is an example of the requirements of being an eligible woman, as Mrs. Bennett clearly shows in her statement, “I was sure you could not be so beautiful for nothing.” (Austen 234). In contrast, to be a well-rounded husband, you must be able to provide for your wife with an acceptable, adequate home. It is preferred for the man to be wealthy. Some mothers, like Mrs. Bennett, want her daughters to marry a very wealthy and good-looking man. This is often ones first impression of her. “Oh! single, my dear, to be sure! A single man of large fortune; four or five thousand a year…you must know that I am thinking of his marrying one of them.” (Austen 1,2) you must carry yourself respectably so that others respect you as well, and so others know that you are not here to play games, but here to complete what is needed to be completed. Mr. and Miss Bingley have high expectations for not only themselves, but for everyone they spend time with. Miss Bingley and Mr. Darcy discuss this when Elizabeth walks to their home to check on Jane, and