Love and Marriage in Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

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Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen, is a novel that describes the feelings that is shared between Elinor and Marianne. Jane Austen tells a story of the two older Dashwood sisters who go down from an upper class to a lower class of society. John who is the eldest brother of the Dashwood sisters had in power their fortune. The will of his dying father was to support the needs of his sisters, however, his wife Fanny did everything in her power to change his mind. All that she suggested around her husband, he had no doubt in accomplishing her wishes. The author connects the upper and lower classes in society to give the readers a valuable understanding that to achieve such status, one must make sacrifices. As the characters of the novel navigate through social status, Jane Austen uses the relationship between all characters to convey the differences between social inequalities.

The idea of wealth can mean different things to people. For some people, it is having a huge nice home to live in, multiple cars to drive around, and enough money to meet all their expenses. Some people are blessed with good wealth since birth and some are not. Others work hard to earn their living. People who are not as wealthy work two or more jobs to be able to maintain their expenses at home. However, when there is a wealthy person, they obtain more power than an average person will. “Grandeur has but little,” said Elinor, “but wealth has much to do with it.” “Elinor, for shame!” said Marianne; “money can only give happiness where there is nothing else to give it” (90).

In this quote, it is seen that wealth can mean more than two things. To some people, it is a certain amount of comfort and for others, there’s an amount that they can’t imagine themselves to live without. Marianne can’t imagine herself without living well as for Elinor, if you love and have faith everything should be fine. Materials come and go, however, the happiness that can be shared around family and friends won’t last forever. Fanny, who is already wealthy is selfish as she does not consider helping her sisters in law out. She utilizes her plan out carefully around her husband John to increase her wealth for her and her family. “I should be puzzled to spend a large fortune myself,” said Mrs. Dashwood, “if my children were all to be rich without my help” (91). In this quote, it is seen that Mrs. Dashwood views wealth in another perspective, nothing compared to Marianne’s views.

Marriage is one of the most spoken themes in the novel, in which marriage was more of a matter of money and power than the love that two partners should have. In our society today, women are free to marry the person they love. Marriages in the 19th century were more different than they are now. Women married men that had a high social status to receive good wealth and overcome financial difficulties. However, this does not only apply to women, as men can relate to this throughout the novel. Jane Austen presents the readers the journey of Willoughby as he struggles to achieve a high social status. Leaving aside his emotions and feelings for Marianne, Willoughby strives for the attention of Mrs. Grey who is wealthier than Marianne.

“To avoid a comparative poverty, which her affection and her society would have deprived of all its horrors, I have, by raising myself to affluence, lost everything that could make it a blessing” (299). In this passage, Willoughby confesses that he recognizes that he has made a mistake and that he takes responsibility of his actions. Willoughby preferred a fortune over his own happiness, now he can never be happy as Marianne has made her life with Colonel Brandon.

“Some mothers encourage the intimacy from motives of interest, for Edward Farrar’s was the eldest son of a rich man; and some might have repressed it from motives of prudence, for, except, a trifling sum, the whole of his fortune depended on the will of his mother. But, Mrs. Dashwood was alike uninfluenced by other consideration. It was enough for her that he appeared to be amiable, that he loved her daughter, and that Elinor returned the partiality”’ (17).

In this quote, it is seen that there’s two different views of marriage. One can be the view that describes marriage as an economic deal, while on the other side, it is said that all a person needs is love. Mrs. Dashwood, she prefers to see the happiness of Elinor and Marianne over any fortune. Marianne is often reminded of her past with Willoughby but hearing of him does not bring her down as she is now moving on and is able to hold on to her sadness. “I am thankful to find that I can look with so little pain on the spot” (321).

As Marianne moves forward, she prefers to not be reminded of her encounters with Willoughby as she is seen to be doing better without his presence. The love between two people can be separated with the arrogance of either side of the family, proving that social status is more important to them then their actual happiness. In the novel, it is seen that Edward ignores his family’s desires for a better social status. Instead, he just wants quiet happiness.


Cite this paper

Love and Marriage in Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen. (2021, Aug 12). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/love-and-marriage-in-sense-and-sensibility-by-jane-austen/



How is marriage presented in Sense and Sensibility?
In Sense and Sensibility, marriage is presented as a social institution that is designed to improve one's station in life. However, the novel also shows that marriage can be a source of happiness and love.
Is there romance in Sense and Sensibility?
Yes, there is romance in Sense and Sensibility. The romance is between Elinor and Edward, and Marianne and Colonel Brandon.
Who married in Sense and Sensibility?
Marianne Dashwood married Colonel Brandon and Elinor Dashwood married Edward Ferrars.
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