As they are presented in the novel, Charlotte Lucas and Mr. Collins seem well matched. To what extent do you agree with this statement?
In Jane Austen’s novel, Pride and Prejudice, Charlotte Lucas and Mr. Collins are somewhat portrayed as a very well matched couple for they were both in need of marriage, according to the Georgian Era’s society. They seem well-matched for many reasons, the main explanation being their progressing age.
Charlotte Lucas, the daughter of Sir William Lucas and neighbor of Elizabeth Bennet, is a very plain girl, with not much beauty and was still unmarried at the age of twenty-seven, something to be ashamed of in the class system and society of the Georgian Era. Being still unmarried and fairly unattractive, Charlotte has little prospect of being married in a society where the option of work is not open for women. In the community and social-rank that she is in, men don’t judge a woman by her character first, but by her looks and beauty.
Charlotte Lucas believes that happiness in marriage is only chance, and that in order to have a definite future, one must be secure of the marriage and that there will be enough time to fall in love afterwards. “When she is secure of him, there will be leisure for falling in love as much as she chooses.”(pg 16) In this particular quote, Charlotte Lucas expresses her concerns for Jane Bennet that she is not showing any attachment to Mr. Bingley, which may lead to him believing that she may not be interested in an engagement with him. Charlotte Lucas, along with most women of the era, believe that marriage gave you security, a future and a living. Due to the option of women working being closed, women were very dependent on their husbands and fathers, leaving women no choice but to marry. Matrimony was a necessity.
Mr. Collins is quite an odious character, causing him to be rather detestable. If he was full of romance and passion, he wouldn’t be such an eligible match for Charlotte as he is, when he has lack of passion. Mr. Collins is made to marry by Lady Catherine De Bourgh. He is very happy to change his decision on whom to marry without hesitation, as first he had set his eyes on the eldest of the Bennet sisters, Jane, and due to a possible engagement with Mr. Bingley, he transferred his desire to Elizabeth, whom he later proposed to and then refused. After this refusal he then shows and pursues his interest in Charlotte Lucas to whom he is then married to. This shows that Mr. Collins is only engaging in matrimony for the sake of it, as is Charlotte Lucas. Mr. Collins other objective in his marriage was to please Lady Catherine as he feels indebted to her for all she has provided him.
The marriage has allowed both Mr. Collins and Charlotte Lucas the achievement of a good match. Charlotte has been bestowed with the dignity of a match of good status and materialistic comfort. She has also been given independence as she is the mistress of her own house. Mr. Collins has pleased Lady Catherine De Bourgh, his major push for him to marry. Although this seems like a perfect match for matrimony, Charlotte has manipulated Mr. Collins in many ways, by making him believe that he is doing as he pleases.
She encourages Mr. Collins to spend as much time as possible outdoors as it is good for his health. She has also kept the front room for Mr. Collin’s use as it has the view of the path to Rosing’s Park, as he likes to see whether Lady Catherine is visiting or not. Charlotte Lucas has set up her home in such a way, that she spends as little time in the company of Mr. Collins as possible, and her method has been so effective that Mr. Collins is oblivious to Charlotte’s manipulations.
I believe that Charlotte Lucas and Mr. Collins are fairly well matched. I think that their needs are the same however their characters do not comprehend with each other, hence Charlottes set up of their home and her scheming to spend time away from him. This shows that his character is unbearable for Charlotte and feels the need to go to the extent of arranging their house in such a way.