Character of Elizabeth Bennet

The second daughter in the Bennet family, and the most intelligent and quick-witted, Elizabeth is the protagonist of Jane Austen’s  Pride and Prejudice and one of the most well-known female characters in English literature. Her admirable qualities are numerous—she is lovely, clever, and, in a novel defined by dialogue, she converses as brilliantly as anyone. Her honesty, virtue, and lively wit enable her to rise above the nonsense and bad behavior that pervade her class-bound and often spiteful society. Nevertheless, her sharp tongue and tendency to make hasty judgments often lead her astray; Pride and Prejudice is essentially the story of how she (and her true love, Darcy) overcome all obstacles—including their own personal failings—to find romantic happiness.

Even in her blindest moments, Elizabeth Bennet is an unfailing attractive character. She is described as a beauty and has especially expressive eyes, but what everybody notices about her is her spirited wit and her good sense. Mainly because of that good sense, Elizabeth is her father's favorite child and her mother's least favorite. Her self-assurance comes from a keen critical mind and is expressed through her quick-witted dialogue.

Elizabeth's sparkling and teasing wit brings on Lady Catherine's disapproval and Darcy's admiration. She is always interesting to listen to and always ready to laugh at foolishness. Because of her exceptional powers of observation, Elizabeth's sense of the difference between the wise and foolish, for the most part, is very good.

She holds a very special place in her heart for her sister, Jane, and understands the weaknesses and limitations of the rest of her family members including Jane. This makes her a true supporter of her family, despite of their defect.

She obviously has her shortcomings. She is quick to judge and holds her prejudices against others for quite awhile.  Darcy makes a poor first impression, and Elizabeth takes a significant amount of time to come to a truer understanding and appreciation of him.  She believed in Wickham's lies because she wanted to believe them.  The lies seemed to fit her assumptions about Darcy.

Elizabeth’s prejudice stems from her pride when she is offended by Darcy’s refusal to dance with her and this lead her to be prejudiced with him. Her prejudice clouds her clear judgment and foresight and she believes the poor account of Darcy as related by Wickham and blinded by prejudice, she rejects his proposal. In the proposal scene, there is an ironic reversal. Both suffer from the faults of pride and prejudice, but they are also the necessary defects of desirable merits: self-respect and intelligence.

While her prejudices keep her from Darcy, it is her pride that ultimately unites her with him.  Elizabeth shows a significant moment of personal pride in her final show-down with Lady Catherine.  Elizabeth is not going to let someone of Lady Catherine's stature bully her into a decision.  She stands up for herself, her family and her position in society.  While she doesn't have a title, she is still proud of her own person, and this strength and pride proves to Darcy that Elizabeth does care for him and gives him the courage to try a second proposal.

Elizabeth must not only cope with a hopeless mother, a distant father, two badly behaved younger siblings, and several snobbish, antagonizing females, she must also overcome her own mistaken impressions of Darcy, which initially lead her to reject his proposals of marriage. Her charms are sufficient to keep him interested, fortunately; while she navigates familial and social turmoil. As she gradually comes to recognize the nobility of Darcy’s character, she realizes the error of her initial prejudice against him.

She is one of the most lovable female characters in the history of novel. In a society where marriage is basically the only option for women for attaining wealth and social standing, she opts for love in marriage, and finally gains it because of her charming personality, wit, and grace.

 

Last modified: Tuesday, 20 February 2018, 12:51 AM