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Pride and Prejudice essay - a comparison of Elizabeth and Lydia

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Introduction

Pride and Prejudice Coursework - Comparison of Elizabeth and Lydia Bennet Elizabeth Bennet is the second eldest of Mr. and Mrs. Bennet's five daughters. Lydia is the youngest. The only thing these two siblings seem to have in common is their family. The girls contrast starkly. Lydia Bennet has a rather childish and fun loving disposition. She comes across as a little lacking in intelligence and her own father even goes as far as to call her 'one of the silliest girls in the country.' As well as saying that she is 'silly and ignorant like other girls'. Elizabeth on the other hand is mature, kind, compassionate and rather more in her fathers favour than her younger sister. He seems particularly fond of his 'little Lizzy' and tells his wife that she 'has something more of quickness than her sisters'. Throughout the novel the girls opposing personalities are demonstrated. Lydia's flirtatious and frivolous ways are very apparent at the beginning of the novel through her behaviour towards the soldiers. Elizabeth's wisdom shines through at the first ball in the novel, when she overhears Mr Darcy describing her to Mr Bingley as 'tolerable; but not handsome enough to tempt me'. Elizabeth however takes this on the chin, and instead ridicules him by recounting the story to her friends and laughing at his rudeness and arrogance. ...read more.

Middle

She is only fifteen years of age and many people scorn her for socialising with men, attending balls and such like. Lady Catherine De Bourgh is a prime example of this and tells Elizabeth that it is 'very odd' Lydia being out at only fifteen years of age. Another far more scandalous way in which Lydia does not conform to the values of her society is her elopement with Wickham. She runs away with him to London without a single care for her family or the disgrace it might bring to their name. She believes all that he tells her unquestionably and is certainly very niaive. She is ignorant with regard to her family's feelings and her actions outrage her father and cause her mother to be 'taken ill immediately'. It places their home in 'such confusion' and forces Mr Darcy to pay out a substantial sum of money to the penniless Wickham. Lydia's behaviour was not the norm and Elizabeth tells how her 'conduct has been such as neither you, nor I, nor anybody can ever forget' which implies that the elopement has tarnished the Bennett name lastingly. At the time the novel was written, women were expected to become 'accomplished' in things such as art, music and reading. ...read more.

Conclusion

Her behaviour certainly was not approved of by the characters in the book as she acted without any consideration for others. She was self centred, reckless and stupid. However, I do not think that Lydia is a bad character that we are meant to strongly dislike, but on the contrary, we are meant to be entertained by her antics. She adds a touch of scandal to the story making it all the more interesting and in the end it is her carelessness in not thinking before she speaks that lead to Elizabeth and Mr Darcy finally uniting. The two sisters are very different indeed and are both portrayed to opposite extremes. Elizabeth's responsibility and great qualities are magnified by Lydia's outrageous behaviour at the other end of the scale. I think that without Lydia's character Elizabeth would not seem quite so exemplary, and without Elizabeth to live up to, Lydia would not seem such an immature and thoughtless character. I personally prefer Elizabeth and I think this is a feeling that most readers would share. I think she is an ideal role model who overcomes many obstacles to find truly deserved happiness in the story. Although I don't particularly dislike Lydia, I think that she is a silly and annoying character who lacks all the inspiring qualities possessed by her older sister, Elizabeth Bennet. 1652 words Claudia Poole, 10.1 Page 1 ...read more.

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