Elizabeth Bennet Jane Austen’s time period was a period that was full of change for society, but the main issue she really focused on writing about was women’s social status, which was determined by whom she married. During this time period, a woman’s ideal man was someone who was wealthy, able to take care of them, and provide her with security. There was no such thing as marrying for love; this is what made Austen’s females differentiate from other women. Austen made most of her main female roles have strong-independent natures and they stood for women’s right to marry for love instead of status and wealth.
Elizabeth Bennet is a perfect example of such a woman. Her unique characteristics make her one of the most well-known and loved heroines in literature. Although her mother and sisters act quite silly and dumb, excluding Jane, Elizabeth is quite intelligent. Elizabeth’s intelligence is what makes her Mr. Bennet’s favorite, but in equal, this makes Elizabeth’s her mother’s least favorite. Mrs. Bennet ignores Elizabeth’s intelligence and states that she is no better than the rest of her sisters.
The reader is also shown that Elizabeth’s intelligence is displayed not only by her dialogue, but in her observation skills as well. She watches other’s behaviors to decipher their personalities. It is obvious that she enjoys doing it because she states, “intricate characters are the most amusing” (chap. 9). There is no doubt that Elizabeth is the most independent woman in this story, considering that she rejected two proposals that surely would have made her future secure after her father’s death. The first proposal was from Mr.
Collins, and although he was rather ridiculous, the Bennets’ estate was entitled to him next and marrying him would have saved all of them from being homeless. Despite knowing this, Elizabeth still refuses to marry him because she believes to only marry for love and it obvious that she does not love Mr. Collins. Such a feat shows the strength of her beliefs and character. Pride and Prejudice was originally going to be called First Impressions, although both titles represent the novel quite well. The main characters, Elizabeth and Darcy, are both guilty of giving the other sense-impressions.
Elizabeth is guilty of prejudice and Darcy is guilty of pride. Although reader’s usually focus on Darcy’s pride, Elizabeth has to deal with pride just as much. Elizabeth’s pride mainly consists of her rational thinking and belief that the decisions she makes are always wise. She is also takes pride in her ability to figure out others quickly and considers this to be her greatest trait. Although she is correct about most of the character’s personalities like Mr. Collins and Lady Catherine de Bourgh, she is mistaken about Wickham’s and Darcy’s character.
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