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Pride and Prejudice: Character Analysis: Elizabeth Bennet

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Join now to read essay Pride and Prejudice: Character Analysis: Elizabeth Bennet

Ivy Mullins

ENG 3350

Dr. Manigault

2 October 2006

Pride and Prejudice: Character Analysis: Elizabeth Bennet

Jane Austen’s work Pride and Prejudice is one of the most quoted and re-created novels of all times. The explanation for the timeless popularity of her novels is still yet to be discovered, but it is evident that no matter the century or the audience, her words still seem to touch the hearts and minds of generations past and present. Pride and Prejudice is a novel from the romantic-comedy genre, and is Jane Austen’s most famous work of literature.

The story concentrates on ways of courtship and marriage among the elite in the 19th century; Pride and Prejudice centers in on the Bennet family, and their five unmarried daughters. Of the five daughters, Elizabeth (Lizzy) is the sister that the story is centered around. Elizabeth Bennet is a prejudice, quick-witted, and independent woman. In the following essay, there will be examples of specific aspects of Elizabeth’s personality according to the listed characteristics.

Furthermore, Elizabeth Bennet is the second-eldest of the four daughters. She is by far the most out-spoken and independent, and the favorite of her father because of her strong mind and wit. Elizabeth Bennet is prejudice. When Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy (her love interest) meet for the first time, it proves that first-impressions are somewhat lasting unless proven otherwise. The couple first meets at the Meryton Ball and the reader gets a foreshadowing of how their relationship will develop.

When Elizabeth first encounters Mr. Darcy he is refusing to dance with her at the request of Mr. Bingley, which he states: “She is tolerable; but not handsome enough to tempt me…” (Austen13). Elizabeth hears this and is convinced that Darcy is most disagreeable and someone that she has no other choice but to loath. Similarly, because of the information that Wickham has so graciously provided to Elizabeth, she allows her prejudice for Mr. Darcy to be further tainted. Mr. Wickham tells her in a conversation that Mr. Darcy and he grew up together, and that he is disliked by everyone in Hertfordshire.

He further states that Mr. Darcy’s father was his godfather and that he left him a large sum of money. But Mr. Darcy gave that inheritance to someone else because he did not like him. After this statement Elizabeth states that, “This [the information] is quite shocking! He deserves to be publicly disgraced” (78). Elizabeth further displays how her prejudice for Mr. Darcy is heightened by the information that she is already given in the following statement:

“I had not thought Mr. Darcy so bad as this-though I have never liked him,

I had not thought that thought so very ill of him- I had supposed him to be

despising his fellow-creatures in general, but did not suspect him of

descending to such malicious revenge, such injustice, such inhumanity

as this!” (78)

Wickham’s character establishes the crucial tension in the relationship between Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, which will only be settled as the characters prejudice fades toward the end of the novel. In addition here is another example of Elizabeth’s prejudice and dislike for Mr. Darcy after she has the information from Mr. Wickham. In this passage, Elizabeth is talking to Charlotte and she asks her about Mr. Darcy:

“Heaven forbid! That would be the greatest misfortune of all! To find a man agreeable whom one is determined to hate! Do not wish me such an evil.”( 88)

Before this statement Elizabeth has danced with Mr.Darcy, which is a great surprise to her because he is after all one of her least favorite people. Charlotte suggests to Elizabeth that she may in fact find Darcy agreeable; there-in is the reason for the response above. At this same ball at Netherfield, Elizabeth‘s prejudice is highlighted even further. Despite the fact that Mr. Darcy is actually quite amiable towards her and even requests her hand in a dance, she is still hardly civil towards him. She even throws in a line about Wickham to see what Mr. Darcy will say. He disregards her comment and justifies her impertinence, blaming Wickham for deceiving her, rather than her irrational judgment.

In addition to being prejudice Elizabeth Bennet is also quick-witted. No matter the situation the reader can always count on Elizabeth to say something intelligent and witty. An example of this would be when Elizabeth and Jane are discussing the ball, and Elizabeth is criticizing Jane’s idea that all people are inherently

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