Essential Quotes by Character: Elizabeth Bennet
Essential Passage 1: Book 1, Chapter 3
“I would not be so fastidious as you are,” cried Bingley, “for a kingdom! Upon my honor, I never met with so many pleasant girls in my life as I have this evening; and there are several of them, you see, uncommonly pretty.”
“You are dancing with the only handsome girl in the room,” said Mr. Darcy, looking at the eldest Miss Benet.
“Oh, she is the most beautiful creature I ever beheld! But there is one of her sisters sitting down just behind you, who is very pretty, and I dare say very agreeable. Do let me ask my partner to introduce you!”
“Which do you mean?” and turning round he looked for a moment at Elizabeth, till, catching her eye, he withdrew his own, and coldly said, “She is tolerable, but not handsome enough to tempt me; and I am in no humor at present to give consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other men. You had better return to your partner and enjoy her smiles, for you are wasting your time with me.”
Mr. Bingley followed his advice. Mr. Darcy walked off; and Elizabeth remained, with no very cordial feelings toward him. She told the story, however, with great spirit among her friends; for she had a lively, playful disposition, which delighted in anything ridiculous.
At the ball at Meryton, the Bennet family meet Mr. Bingley as well as his friend and advisor, Mr. Darcy. Mr. Bingley is taken with Jane Bennet, dancing with her twice, a clear signal that she has gained his favor. Mr. Darcy, however, dances only with those whom he is already acquainted, which does not include any of the local people and especially not the Bennet girls. Standing near the two gentlemen, Elizabeth Bennet overhears their conversation. Bingley chides Darcy for being “fastidious” in his opinion of the ladies, but Darcy says that Bingley has already chosen for himself the only attractive girl in the room—Jane Bennet. Bingley suggests that Darcy ask Jane’s sister, Elizabeth, to dance, but Darcy refuses by saying that her modicum of beauty is not enough to tempt him. Elizabeth goes immediately to her sisters and friends, more amused than offended by Darcy’s prideful attitude and remarks.
Essential Passage 2: Book 1, Chapter 22
Charlotte did not stay much longer, and Elizabeth was then left to reflect on what she had heard. It was a long time before she became at all reconciled to the idea of so unsuitable a match. The strangeness of Mr. Collins' making two offers of marriage in three days was nothing in comparison of his being now accepted. She had always felt that Charlotte's opinion of matrimony was not exactly like her own; but she could not have supposed it possible that, when called into action, she would have sacrificed every better feeling to worldly advantage. Charlotte, the wife of Mr. Collins, was a most humiliating picture! And to the pang of a friend disgracing herself, and sunk in her esteem, was added the distressing conviction that it was impossible for that friend to be tolerably happy in the lot she had chosen.
Because the Bennets' Longbourne estate is "entailed" (i.e., legally inheritable only by male descendants), the girls will lose their home once their father dies. It is therefore imperative that they marry well. Mr. Collins, a rector, is the heir to the estate, even though his father and Mr. Bennet have long been in conflict. After his father’s death, Mr. Collins tries to make amends for the quarrel and comes to visit the Bennets (Mrs. Bennet suspects, however, that he has come just to “scout out” his future home). He proposes marriage to Elizabeth, who adamantly rejects such a union, finding Mr. Collins odious and obnoxious. Mrs. Bennet is upset because the marriage would allow the family to keep Longbourne, but Mr. Bennet approves of and supports Elizabeth’s decision. Mr. Collins then turns to a Longbourne neighbor, Charlotte Lucas , who is Elizabeth’s closest friend outside of the family. When Mr. Collins proposes, Charlotte...
(The entire section is 1,385 words.)