Essay on Charlotte Lucas in the novel Pride and Prejudice
Charlotte Lucas is a sensible young woman. Throughout Jane Austen’s novel Pride and Prejudice, her behavior clearly demonstrates how levelheaded and wise she truly is. Though some readers believe Charlotte Lucas is insensible because she marries Mr. Collins, the audience should see her intelligence and responsibility shine through since she has a realistic outlook on her life, and she marries for comfort and security.
Charlotte Lucas’ rational outlook on her life is shown when she accepts a marriage proposal from Mr. Collins. Charlotte Lucas is twenty seven years old and is not the most handsome women. Due to this, she accepts Mr. Collins’ proposal even though she is not in love with him. She discloses to Lizzy that she “only ask a comfortable home” (87) and that she accepted his offer “solely from the pure and interested desire of an establishment” (85). Women during this time period rely on the men in their families to support them. Although Mr. Collins is a conceited, ridiculous and insensible clergyman who is more concerned with his patroness, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, than anything else, Charlotte agrees to marry him. Charlotte realizes that she is already a burden to her family and this is the best offer she will have for a life of security, thus showing how she is a sensible character.
Readers can also see how sensible Charlotte Lucas is when Elizabeth Bennet shows respect for both her and her opinions. The protagonist, Lizzy Bennet, is a excessively smart and a character who holds people to a high standard. When Elizabeth and Charlotte are talking about Jane Bennet and Mr. Bingley, Elizabeth comments that Jane is concealing her feelings very well and how it is benefiting her. Charlotte disagrees and remarks that “If a woman conceals her affection with the same skill from the object of it, she may lose the opportunity of fixing him” (13). During this time period, it is a woman’s job to show their suitors they are interested, but Jane’s countenance prevents others from seeing her admiration for Mr. Bingley. At the end of the novel, readers learn that Charlotte was indeed correct when Mr. Darcy states that he believed that even though Jane was friendly towards Mr. Bingley, “her heart was not likely to be easily touched” (134) and that she did not return his companion’s affection. This shows how intelligent Charlotte is and how she can predict and comprehend certain situations.
Charlotte Lucas marries Mr. Collins for security and though she is not in love she is happy. Despite the fact that many characters do not understand her decision and start to question her actions, Charlotte’s sensibility shines through when Elizabeth goes to visit her at her new home and sees how content Charlotte is with her new life. Charlotte Lucas is a character who readers should look to for realistic viewpoints and intelligent judgement in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.