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Jane Austen wrote in a letter that she found Elizabeth Bennet to be 'as delightful a creature as ever appeared in print'. Is Elizabeth the 'perfect heroine'? Look at her character and its development throughout the novel to account for her appeal.

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Introduction

Elizabeth Bennet Essay Jane Austen wrote in a letter that she found Elizabeth Bennet to be 'as delightful a creature as ever appeared in print'. Is Elizabeth the 'perfect heroine'? Look at her character and its development throughout the novel to account for her appeal. Elizabeth is the second of Mr. and Mrs. Bennet's five daughters. She is her father's "favorite child" because she has 'something more of quickness than her sisters'. Despite this, in her mother's eyes 'she is not a bit better than the others...She is not half so handsome as Jane, nor so good humored as Lydia'. As the book is written mainly from Elizabeth's point of view, we know little of her physical appearance. Darcy's admiration of her fine eyes is a constant source of teasing for Caroline Bingley. "I am afraid... that this adventure has rather affected your admiration of her fine eyes". We are also told that 'she was a reputed beauty' in Hertfordshire and that Colonel Fitzwilliam admires Mrs. Collins' 'pretty young friend'. At the start of the book, Lizzy is described as having a 'lively, playful disposition, which delighted in anything ridiculous'. ...read more.

Middle

Darcy. When Wickham fails to attend the ball at Netherfield, Elizabeth immediately attributes this to "his being purposely omitted for Mr. Darcy's pleasure in the Bingley's invitation". On hearing a different reason for his absence, and at a suggestion from Denny; "It assured her that Darcy was not less answerable than if her first surmise had been just". It isn't until this ball scene that we see the full extent of Lizzy's prejudice against Darcy. She declares that "Attention, forbearence, patience with Darcy was injury to Wickham". In a conversation with Charlotte Lucas, Lizzy exclaims; "To find a man agreeable whom one is determined to hate!" This quote is very significant as it shows that no matter what Darcy did, Lizzy would be prejudiced against him. Evidently Lizzy's prejudice has overcome her common sense. This is a highly uncommon characteristic for an author to bestow on her heroine, for it shows very clearly that this is a real girl and by no means a model young lady as most heroines are. While dancing with Darcy at Netherfield, Lizzy ventures to say; "It is particularly incumbent on those who never change their opinion, to be sure of judging properly at first" ...read more.

Conclusion

I think it is this and that she is such a model for the feminists of today that makes her such a charmingly different romantic heroine. It is that she is so unlike the majority of romantic heroines that must be held accountable for her appeal. It is the fact that she isn't a perfect person, she is only the second prettiest in the Bennet family, which makes her so different from many of the stereotypical heroines, who are calm, passive, quiet, peaceful and vulnerable. She has survived time and, although set in the early eighteenth century, she gives you the feeling that as a person, Elizabeth Bennet would be just as at home in the year 2000. She is full of energy, witty, confident and independently minded, making her an ideal for modern femininity. "we have both reason to think my opinions not entirely unalterably". "that I had not been so weak and vain and nonsensical as I knew I had!". This again illustrates her hypocrisy as she had teased Mr. Darcy at the start of the book for having 'vanity and pride'; here she admitted that she herself had been vain This quote also illustrates her devotion to 'a most beloved sister', Jane ...read more.

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