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Pride and Prejudice

by Jane Austen

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Describe Elizabeth Bennet's character in Pride and Prejudice.

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Elizabeth Bennet's first distinctive quality is her self-pride. She is a woman well-aware that she does not come from the best of all families, accepts the fact that her sister Lydia is silly and lose, and admits to her own mother's obnoxious behavior. Yet, she keeps her head high and accepts the flaws of others the way she accepts her own.

She can also be described as courageous. This is part of her self-pride. She does not let anyone push her around, and she was very strong when she confronts Lady Catherine, Miss Bingley, and Mr. Darcy. She speaks her mind and says what she has to say.

This means that she is also outspoken.  However, she also encourages Darcy to speak just so she can have a meaningful conversation with him. It is her outspoken nature that both gets her in trouble and garners her praise, for when she speaks her mind, Darcy is able to understood her.

Lastly, Elizabeth is caring and loyal. She is caring because she is careful not to cause her father undue pain and in that way that she worries about the way her younger sister Lydia has caused to suffer. Elizabeth does her best at not complicating life for anyone. Finally, she is loyal because she places the happiness of Jane, her sister, even above her own. She thrives on Jane's success with Bingley and seems more interested in Jane's well-being more than her own chances at marriage.

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Describe how the heroine Elizabeth Bennet is characterized as a "good woman" in Austen's Pride and Prejudice.

I think the answer that herappleness provides is very complete in lots of ways and really helps us to identify some of the qualities of "goodness" in Elizabeth Bennet. However, clearly, any definition of "good" must define what "goodness" is. To me, "goodness" isn't just being nice to people who actually probably deserve censure and scorn. Actually, "goodness" implies two things that we see in Elizabeth's character: a determination to stand up for what you think is right and an ability to identify where you went wrong and to learn from that.

Consider how in Chapter 41 Lizzie, abiding by her idea of what is approved conduct in her society, outspokenly challenges her father and confronts him with certain realities about Lydia:

"Excuse me--for I must speak plainly. If you, my dear father, will not take the trouble of checking her exuberant spirits, and of teaching her that her present pursuits are not to be the business of her life, she will soon be beyond the reach of amendment. Her character will be fixed, and she will, at sixteen, be the most determined flirt that ever made herself and her family ridiculous."

Here we can see that Lizzie is good because her values cause her to challenge her father's judgement openly when it was not deemed proper for women to do such a thing.

Likewise, at the end of the story, we see her ability to reflect on her own prejudice and mistakes, and how she has learnt and grown from those errors:

"We will not quarrel for the greater share of blame annexed to that evening," said Elizabeth. "The conduct of neither, if strictly examined, will be irreproachable; but since then, we have both, I hope, improved in civility."

Note the willingness with which Elizabeth admits that she was at fault. She says she has been "heartily ashamed" of her behaviour, and her ability to honestly admit her mistakes and to show that she has been able to overcome her prejudice marks her as a truly "good" heroine.

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Describe how the heroine Elizabeth Bennet is characterized as a "good woman" in Austen's Pride and Prejudice.

The character of Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice is characterized as a good woman because she unites the qualities that make her a good friend, a loyal sister, and a person true to herself and to others.

Elizabeth Bennet is first and foremost devoted to her sister, Jane. She is her confidant, her supporter, and a kindred spirit. Whenever Jane feels sad, or alone, Elizabeth is willing to place her sister's happiness before her own. She also suffers when her sister suffers and defends her quite fiercely from Miss Bingley and Mr. Darcy.

Her loyalty is also evident with Mr. Wickham. When she was under the impression that he was a good man, she stood by him.  She also defended Wickham from Darcy until she learned about his real identity.

Most importantly, Elizabeth is definitely a good woman because she demonstrates that she has a lot of patience for her family. It is not easy being a Bennet: Mrs. Bennet, her mother, is a very obnoxious and loud woman who embarrassed Elizabeth with her behavior. Lydia, Elizabeth's sister, was boy-crazy and did nothing to hide it. Her behavior was not lady-like. Lydia also eloped with Mr. Wickham to the total humiliation of the rest of the family. All this would have made anyone lose their minds, yet, Elizabeth suffered in silence and tolerated all of this as best as she could.

In all, Elizabeth had to both defend and tolerate her family and herself. She did it with a lot of patience and with love above anything else.

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Describe the personality of Jane Bennet as developed by Jane Austen in her landmark novel Pride and Prejudice.

Jane is an effective foil for her sister Elizabeth, the novel's protagonist, because where Elizabeth is clever, intelligent, and often outspoken, Jane is submissive, eager to please, and in her father's eyes, too generous, and easily taken advantage of.  Jane, however, tends toward being the Bennet sisters' mother's favorite because she is, in the words of Bingley, "the most beautiful creature I ever beheld."  Mrs. Bennet feels most confident that of the four girls, Jane will be the one to most easily marry off in a "good connection" or "favorable match".  However, Jane's love life with not without its tribulations as Darcy, for a time, discourages Bingley from his amorous intentions with Jane, and we see Jane at her most passively helpless as she copes with the rejection.  She spends a great deal of time moping during the period when Bingley is otherwise engaged, and one is reminded of her comment early in the novel, when she told Bingley she wished she could read more because "there's always so much more to do".  She didn't actually seem to have that much more to do when she was without Bingley to keep her entertained, and it occurs to the reader that in addition to being a pleaser, Jane wasn't exactly an intellectual heavyweight. 

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Discuss Elizabeth's character in the opening chapters of Jane Austen's novel Pride and Prejudice. 

An important passage that helps the reader become cognisant of the character of Elizabeth comes just after the famous put down that Darcy says, unfortunately in her hearing, as to why he refuses to dance with her. Note how Elizabeth responds to being told that she is merely "tolerable":

Mr. Darcy walked off; and Elizabeth remained with no very cordial feelings towards him. She told the story however with great spirit among her friends; for she had a lively, playful disposition, that delighted in anything ridiculous.

Here the reader is introduced to two aspects of Elizabeth's character that prove to be crucial in the subsequent pages. Firstly, she is a character who is defined by her prejudice in the same way that Mr. Darcy is defined by his pride. Having heard Mr. Darcy's comment, her mind is made up about his character, and she dismisses him as a proud disagreable individual with no hope of redemption. It is interesting to note that Austen originally planned to call this novel First Impressions, and this title certainly captures the problem that Elizabeth has as she trusts far too much in first impressions, both in the way that she discounts the character of Darcy and trusts the character of Wickham.

Secondly, the quote also establishes the more playful side of Elizabeth in the way that she is able to laugh at Darcy's behaviour. This of course prepares the reader for the ease with which she mocks humorously those around her, both her mother and sisters, but also others such as Mr. Collins and Mr. Darcy. She is a character who is able to laugh at the faults she finds in those around her, even if she is blind to some of the faults that she herself has. These are two of the most important aspects of Lizzie's character as she is presented to the reader in the opening chapters.

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How could Mrs. Bennet's character be described in Pride and Prejudice?

In this masterful study of society, Austen seems to reserve much of her scorn for the character of Mrs. Bennet. Austen wastes no time in the first chapter in introducing her as:

...a woman of mean understanding, little information, and uncertain temper. When she was discontented she fancied herself nervous. The business of her life was to get her daughters married; its solace was visiting and news.

Thus Mrs. Bennet is presented as a woman who is obsessed with getting her daughters married. She is shown to be so focussed on this that the actual nature of the men in question appears to be forgotten, exemplified in her delight in Wickham as a son-in-law. Likewise she is shown to be a woman with little understanding of how to behave properly in society. Poor Elizabeth and Jane are constantly embarrassed by their mother's inappropriate comments in society and schemes to try and get them married off, such as when Mrs. Bennet insists that Jane goes to Netherfield on horseback because it "looks like rain" and therefore she will have to stay the night.

Mrs. Bennet is also shown to have a negative influence on Kitty and Lydia in particular, who are allowed to run around without discipline or moderation, acting as flirts and with little regard for others. As Lizzie says to her father when she appeals to him to not let Lydia go to Brighton with the militia, Lydia is in danger of being "beyond the reach of amendment" and "the most determined flirt."

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What describes Elizabeth's character in Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen?

Elizabeth does a fairly good job of describing her own character in Volume II, Chapter XIII (36) after having read Darcy's famous letter written after Elizabeth rejects his marriage proposal and told him exactly what she thinks of him: "You could not have made me the offer of your hand in any possible way that would have tempted me to accept it."

After reading Darcy's explanation of his actions and of Wickham's history, especially his rejection of the living (clergy position) reserved for him by Darcy Sr. and his infamous, scandalous behavior toward Miss Georgiana Darcy, Elizabeth makes a serious re-evaluation of her own character.

"How humiliating is this discovery! -- Yet, how just a humiliation! -- Had I been in love, I could not have been more wretchedly blind. But vanity, not love, has been my folly. -- Pleased with the preference of one, and offended by the neglect of the other, on the very beginning of our acquaintance, I have courted prepossession and ignorance, and driven reason away, where either were concerned. Till this moment, I never knew myself.'' (V. II, Ch XIII (36))

Elizabeth character is best described as young and thoughtless. She is not malicious, though she does do harm. Yet the harm is fairly mild, as harm goes, and can be repaired by thinking and doing better. She harms Charlotte by disparaging her choice to marry Collins. She harms Darcy by harboring a prideful dislike based on his behavior at the Meryton Assembly Ball. Elizabeth is proud, though she accuses Darcy of having pride.

Elizabeth is prejudiced. She was prejudiced toward Wickham for not reason than that he flattered her vanity. She was prejudiced against Darcy for no greater reason than that he was uncomfortable with dancing at a ball where all were strangers (while Bingley had such difficulty) and he slighted her beauty. She is, by her own confession, by her father's admission, and by what we observe of her in the text, given to laughing at people and herself a bit too much so that she misses some truly important moments for which earnestness would be more appropriate. 

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What are the admirable qualities of Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice?

Elizabeth (Lizzie) Bennet has many fine qualities, which are sometimes overshadowed temporarily by her less praiseworthy ones. In particular, Lizzie is a loyal sister, friend, and daughter. She is especially close to her sister Jane and puts Jane’s happiness above her own. Although she initially criticizes her friend Charlotte for accepting Mr. Collins, she soon appreciates her reasons for doing so, and their friendship becomes stronger than ever. Although Lizzie initially misunderstands both Mr. Darcy and Mr. Wickham, when her sister Lydia is in trouble, she does all she can to help her and revises her opinion of Darcy; she appreciates his devotion to his own sister as well. Lizzie frequently disagrees with her frivolous mother, but she strives to do what is best for the whole family; this often means that she and Jane take charge of the household while their mother is indisposed. She is especially close to her bookish, withdrawn father and, until love strikes, does not mind the prospect of living at home with him.

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How does one analyze the character Elizabeth Bennet in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice?

When writing a character analysis, what we are looking for is exactly what the character is like as a person. There are several things that can be examined in order to complete a character analysis. Below is a link to a larger list of the things to examine, but some of them are the character's ethics, motives, whether or not we think the character's actions are wise or unwise, and whether or not the character's actions create any effects. Since we are limited to space, we won't be able to discuss all of these details for Elizabeth in Pride and Prejudice, but below are a few ideas to get you started.

For one thing, we do know that Elizabeth is a very ethical character with a strong sense of morality. In fact, we see her as a critic of not only herself but of her parents as well. Elizabeth criticizes herself when, after reading Darcy's letter, she finally realizes just how wrong she has been in her judgements. She judged Wickham to be admirable and trustworthy, simply because he is friendly and conversational. While she judged Darcy to be prideful, arrogant, and conceited well before she met Wickham, she also let her wrongful trust in Wickham influence her opinion of Darcy, thereby judging Darcy to be the most despicable person she's ever met. However, Darcy's account of Wickham's actions help her to see things rightly. She knows that Darcy's account is trustworthy because the story involves his own sister, and he certainly wouldn't slander his sister just to put Wickham in a negative light. As Elizabeth phrases her self-revelation:

How despicably have I acted! ... I, who have prided myself on my discernment!--I, who have valued myself on my abilities! who have often disdained the generous candour of my sister, and gratified my vanity, in useless or blameable distrust ... Had I been in love, I could not have been more wretchedly blind. (Ch. 36)

Hence, we see from her self-judgement that Elizabeth is characterized as having a strong sense of what is right and wrong and as valuing moral behavior. She now sees that her pride, her judgements, and her vanity have definitely been immoral behavior.

We can also analyze Elizabeth's character from any effects she has created. For example, her chastisements of Darcy when he first proposes, though misguided, were actually beneficial for him. Darcy was absolutely repulsed and mortified by the idea that she viewed him as arrogant, conceited, selfish, and that his proposal was delivered in a less "gentleman-like manner" than what would be expected of him (Ch. 34). As a result, Darcy not only explains his behavior, but also makes every effort to act less arrogantly and prideful, even asking to be introduced to Elizabeth's working class relations, the Gardiners, and engaging in conversation with them while on his estate at Pemberley. He also later confesses just how much Elizabeth's chastisements "tortured" him, making him want to amend his ways (Ch. 58). In the end, Darcy proves himself to be the most moral and noble character in the book as evidenced by how he rescues Elizabeth's and her family's reputation by bribing Wickham into marrying Lydia. Hence, we see that another part of Elizabeth's characterization is that her own sense of ethics and morality also inspire other characters to improve their ethical and moral conduct.

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