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The Character Of Elizabeth Bennet In Jane Austen'S Novel Pride And Prejudice

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The Character of Elizabeth Bennet in Jane Austen's novel Pride and Prejudice

The man plot of Austen's novel "Pride and Prejudice" revolves around Elizabeth (or Lizzy) Bennet, who belongs to a family of five sisters, and her relationship with eligible bachelor Mr Darcy. However, "Pride and Prejudice" is a very complex novel, with many different subplots going on. One of these is the relationship between Eliza's older sister Jane, and Bingley, Darcy's friend. There are many misunderstandings within their courtship, which have an important role in the plot. Elizabeth's father and mother play a part, as do her relations, friends and acquaintances. In the story, Elizabeth hates Darcy at first, thinking him proud, but overcomes her prejudice and comes round to loving him in the end, and the two marry, as do Jane and Bingley. Another marriage is between Lydia, Elizabeth's younger sister, and Wickham, a man who Elizabeth was initially interested in. However, his true character comes to light, and his and Lydia's marriage proves to be far from uneventful.

One reason why Elizabeth proves to be a very interesting character is her close friendship with her older sister Jane. The pair know each other very well, and they both feel a need to confide in one another due to the less that charming personality traits of the rest of their family. They are the only sensible ones if the household. Due to their constant contact, they are able to tell each other's moods with great ease, Elizabeth especially. When Jane returns from seeing Bingley "Elizabeth instantly read her feelings", so we know that they spend a lot of time in each other's company.

Elizabeth obviously cares deeply about Jane, because when the later becomes ill while at Netherfield, Darcy's home, Elizabeth takes it upon herself to walk three miles through the mud to visit her. This greatly surprises the Netherfield party, but Elizabeth appears unconcerned. She mostly stays by Jane's bedside during the visit, preferring her company to the superciliousness of Miss Bingley and Hurst. Jane becomes very fond of Mr Bingley, and she is quite upset when she hears of his departure. It is only Elizabeth that she confides in, and that tries to cheer her up. Her spirits rise for a short time, but when the letter arrives informing her that the Netherfield party intend to stay in London for the winter, she becomes downhearted once more. She attempt to conceal her emotions from Elizabeth, but to no avail

"Elizabeth looked at her sister with incredulous solicitude, but said nothing.

"You doubt me," cried Jane, slightly colouring"

Whilst visiting Lady Catherine de Bourgh, Elizabeth learns that Darcy discouraged Bingley from continuing his relationship with Jane, and this sets Elizabeth in a flurry of emotions. She feels a mixture of hatred for Darcy and anxiety and pity for her sister, "The agitation and tears which the subject occasioned...". When later, Darcy confesses his love for her, she holds no bars in expressing her opinion of his interference, "do you think consideration would tempt me to accept the man who has been the means of ruining, perhaps forever, the happiness of a beloved sister?" When Darcy explains his actions, Elizabeth can't bring herself to tell Jane about it, and so feels "anxiety on Jane's behalf". She "dared not relate" the information.

When she hears news of the family crisis (Lydia's elopement with Wickham) while visiting Pemberley, Darcy's residence, Elizabeth is desperate to return home, and the two have a tearful reunion, "she affectionately embraced her, whilst tears filled the eyes of both...". The conversations between the them greatly help to ease each other's fears over the elopement, and, as always, they are there for each other. When Bingley returns, Elizabeth is ecstatic for Jane, and when their engagement is announced "Elizabeth's congratulations were given with a sincerity, a warmth, a delight, which words could poorly express".

When Elizabeth herself becomes engaged to Darcy, Jane is the first person she tells. "My sole dependence was on you; I am sure nobody else will believe me if you do not". Jane is, of course, happy for Elizabeth, yet wonders on her change of opinion on Darcy. There follows a touching yet humorous scene in which Elizabeth and Darcy's relationship is discussed openly. Elizabeth and Jane share a very close friendship, and the way that Elizabeth gently teases Jane, and her huge affection for her sister makes Elizabeth seem fascinating and adds great value to the character.

Other than Elizabeth, Darcy is probably the most crucial character, and their changing relationship is another interesting aspect of the novel. When the pair first meets, they do not get on well. Elizabeth takes a particular disliking to him after his haughty dismissal of her when they both attended a ball at Netherfield. "She is tolerable; but not handsome enough to tempt me". He is considered in low regard by all who attended, "Everybody is disgusted by his pride". From this point on, she finds several more reasons to dislike him, including her belief that he treated Wickham badly, and that he successfully discouraged his friend Bingley from continuing his relationship with Jane. Darcy shocks her by proposing, and despite her flat refusal, "she could not be insensible to the compliment of such a man's affection". When Darcy offers an explanation and an apology for all his actions via a letter, it is initially rejected. However she later begins to feel guilty over her harsh treatment of him, and regrets her rashness. "She grew absolutely ashamed of herself. "How despicably I have acted! How humiliating is this discovery! Till this moment I never knew myself"".

She now feels nervous about seeing Darcy again, and only agrees to visit his estate when it is confirmed that he will not be there. While touring the house she is surprised to hear that the housekeeper

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