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Elizabeth Bennet is one of Jane Austen’s most memorable characters. Here are 10 reasons the author lists, why she is also very relatable to modern women.
I have always loved Jane Austen. Of all her books, Pride and Prejudice is the one I liked best. This book relates the common day to day life and concerns of the landed gentry in Regency England.
The character of Elizabeth Bennet makes her a personality which is uncommon with the times she lived in. Education for women was not something which was fashionable in those times. She is well read, opinionated, and loves a good argument.
Elizabeth is never offensive. She is witty with a touch of sweetness. Her confidence is something to aspire for. Even when she is criticized by Darcy (whom everyone was in awe of), she laughs it off, without viewing herself less. Her carefree attitude and animated conversation drew the attention of even Darcy, who cannot help being attracted to her.
Possessing the courage to marry for love and living life on her own terms, Elizabeth is comfortable with refusing Mr Collins’s marriage proposal. She stays firm in her decision, even going against her family, and is agreeable with the idea of being an old spinster aunt, playing with Jane’s children.
Elizabeth dares to be different in her idea of life. For her the character of a man matters more than his wealth. The way she supports Wickham, though misplaced, is admirable.
She values her family and friends. Her regard for Jane is evident in the way she runs to Bingley’s house on learning about Jane’s illness, with no regard for the distance or bad weather. Inspite of not agreeing with Charlotte’s life choices, Elizabeth respects her decisions and carries forward her friendship.
The way Elizabeth says no to Darcy’s proposal shows her strength of character. She rejects a man whom no girl of her time would have said no to. The character of Darcy in dealing with Bingley and his mistreatment of Wickham had confirmed her refusal. When Darcy insulted Elizabeth by referring to her low birth, she has the dignity of not stooping to his level and calmly dealing with the situation.
Elizabeth is not a person who can be intimidated. She has the guts to face bullies like Lady Catherine de Burgh, while still maintaining a dignified presence.
But even the best person can make mistakes. Elizabeth is mistaken about Darcy, and realizes her assessment of him was wrong. She is quick to accept her mistakes and rectify them.
Today we talk of empowered women who should not be afraid to take the first step. But Elizabeth Bennet is way ahead of all of us. On coming to know about the role of Darcy in Lydia’s marriage, she approaches him before he could make up his mind.
Physical fitness is also important to Elizabeth. Her habit of taking long walks and loving the sights of nature is mentioned in the novel.
Elizabeth Bennet is like a breath of fresh air, while reading regency novels. Her rebellious nature and never say die attitude makes me root for her.
Image source: a still from the movie Pride and Prejudice
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