She can’t marry up or down—she can only marry sideways. Collins, awful as he is, is actually her social equal.
He is stupid and horrible (or “neither sensible nor agreeable,” as Charlotte thinks), but, like Charlotte, he occupies the very lowest rung on the ladder of social respectability.
But it’s also true that Charlotte marries Collins she is sensible and intelligent.
It’s actually her sensibleness that gives her no choice but to do it.
The first instance of marriage seen in the novel is that between Mr and Mrs Bennet.
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However it is far from perfect, with the couple barely speaking to each other.
But I’ve also become more familiar with the importance, in life, of choice.
In a lot of ways, that’s what “Pride and Prejudice” is about: how we make choices.
I myself talked this way just now, when I said that Charlotte ends up marrying Collins “because she isn’t young, pretty, or rich,” despite the fact that she’s “a sensible, intelligent person.” But that’s actually to misstate, or reverse, Charlotte’s situation.
It’s certainly true that she isn’t young, pretty, or rich, and that those facts set the stage for her marriage.