Choice Vs. Chance in "Pride and Prejudice"

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Joel Weinsheimer's article "Chance and the hierarchy of marriages in Pride and Prejudice" defines chance as "ignorance of causes and consequences" and supposes it to be the driving force behind the action and ending of the novel (405). Events such as Elizabeth and the Gardiner's change of plans to Derbyshire and Darcy's business that brings him to Pemberley are given great importance as chance happenings. I suppose too, that the relationships of Charlotte-Collins, Lydia-Wickham, Jane-Bingley, and even the nonexistent ones of Miss Bingley-Darcy, and Elizabeth-Wickham serve an important role in bringing together Darcy and Elizabeth by chance. But to believe that the action of the novel is dictated by chance seems foolhardy; it is a theory …show more content…
"But she had chosen it with her eyes open..." (Austen 233). Charlotte is realistic and without romantic illusions of marriage. The fact that one can catch a whiff of desperation on her is not accidental: she is approximately 27-28 years old, and in danger of becoming an old maid. Therefore it is perfectly logical that she wouldn't view love as a vital component in marriage and would much rather settle for a comfortable living. It is her deliberate choice of a comfortable home over love, acceptable character traits, and general attraction that cause her unhappiness. In submitting to the pressing claims of society Charlotte is capitulating to her own concerns of becoming a spinster. In no way in the novel is it presented as a chance event that Charlotte Lucas ends up with Mr. Collins, in fact it is mentioned that she schemed and chose deliberately to marry him. Nor can her choice be considered uninformed (and therefore chance) since we are given to understand that Charlotte is as intelligent and educated as Elizabeth. In short the narration leads one to think that she was well informed on her choice and was led by her desperation to be married.

"His affection for her soon sunk into indifference; her's lasted a little longer" (Austen 384). Lydia on the other hand, is ruled by her general attraction for Wickham, which overwhelms any thoughts of