In Jane Austen ‘s fresh Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth Bennet is portrayed as an opinionative, obstinate immature adult female. Her character defies the nineteenth century criterions of high society adult females, who felt the demand to conform to the beliefs of society. Austen promotes adult females being independent through Elizabeth as she ab initio rejects Darcy ‘s proposal, seeks her ain felicity, and stands up to Lady de Bourg.
While Elizabeth ‘s character is different than most adult females of her clip period, she is able to keep her decorousness in the presence of higher society. During the ball, where she is foremost introduced to Mr. Darcy, her manners are put to prove. His statement to Mr. Bingley sing Elizabeth “ She is tolerable ; but non fine-looking plenty to allure me ” manages to pique her, nevertheless she has such a playful and lively character she merely laughs it off as if she were stating a narrative. ( Austen pg.7 ) Austen shows the reader, through Elizabeth ‘s casual mode toward Mr. Darcy ‘s remark, that her felicity is non dependent on how others view her.
After Jane sends word she is ailing and must stay at Netherfield, Elizabeth feels she has no pick but to do the three stat mi walk from Longbourn to look into on her sister ‘s status. This is unheard of ; a proper lady would hold taken a passenger car or a Equus caballus, but ne’er walk such a distance entirely. This upsets Elizabeth ‘s female parent “ How can you be so silly, as to believe of such a thing, in all this soil! You will non be fit to be seen when you get at that place. ” ( Austen 21 )
Mrs. Bennet is really much the typical British lady. Her chief concern is how society positions her and her girls. She wants to guarantee her girls will be married off to high category work forces. Elizabeth ‘s lone concern is to be with her sister to assist with her recovery, non how she appears to others. “ I shall be really fit to see Jane, which is all I want ” ( Austen 21 ) Elizabeth proves her finding to take attention of her sister regardless of how others view her and her determination to walk entirely. Miss Bingley ‘s statement sing Elizabeth ‘s walk entirely in the soil further proves how her character differs from other adult females in society. “ It seems to me to demo an detestable kind of egotistic independency, a most state town indifference to decorum. ” ( Austen 24 )
During this clip period adult females were expected to get married and hold kids. The thought was that one time a adult female was married her hubby would take attention of her. It was non unusual for adult females to get married for stableness in stead of love or felicity. When a immature adult female ‘s household was approached by a gentleman to inquire for her manus in matrimony the household would usually accept on her behalf, sometimes irrespective of how the immature adult female felt.
Mr. Collins, the inheritor of Longbourn, approaches Elizabeth to inquire for her manus in matrimony. He feels it is clip for him to get married and feels Elizabeth should be honored to get married him. Elizabeth is mortified at the idea of get marrieding Mr. Collins, or anyone for that affair. She believes you should get married for love and felicity, non stableness or money. Elizabeth is non concerned with how her household will respond to her refusal of Mr. Collins proposal.
Her lone concern is for her well-being non how her household or society positions her. Womans without independent ideas and position would hold accepted the proposal and sacrificed their felicity for stableness. Austen shows this when Charlotte Lucas explains her ground for accepting the proposal of Mr. Collins. “ I ask merely a comfy place ; and sing Mr. Collin ‘s character, connexions and state of affairs in life, I am convinced that my opportunity of felicity with him is as just, as most people can tout on come ining the matrimony province. ” ( Austen 87 )
Womans of higher society were held with great esteem in society ; Lady Catherine de Bourg is one of these adult females. She possesses both wealth and societal standing, is chesty, overbearing and condescending. During a visit at Lady Catherine de Bourg ‘s estate, Elizabeth is put on the topographic point by Lady Catherine sing her upbringing and societal category. “ No governess! How is that possible? Five girls brought up at place without a governess! I ne’er heard of such a thing. ” ( Austen 112 ) Elizabeth will non be daunted by Lady Catherine or anyone for that affair. This is obvious in her response to Lady Catherine, “ Compared with some households, I believe we were ; but such of us as wished to larn, ne’er wanted the agencies ” ( Austen 112 ) . Elizabeth refuses to absorb to societies norms. She is an opinioned immature adult female whom will non let others to intimidate her or divide her from her beliefs.
Marriage outside societal category was frowned upon in 19th century England. If a immature adult female had the chance to get married a higher societal category her household would surely let this matrimony. It would besides be uncommon for a adult female in this clip period to decline such an offer. The adult females in this clip period would hold been overwhelmed with delectation to hold a gentleman of such connexions and effect as Mr. Darcy to near them for a matrimony proposal. This is non the instance with Elizabeth. She is non impressed with his societal category or his money like most adult females her age.
She was non in love with him ; she really has a strong disfavor for him and his character. “ In malice of her deeply-rooted disfavor, she could non be insensible to the compliment of such a adult male ‘s fondness ” ( Austen 129 )
Elizabeth ‘s refusal merely makes Mr. Darcy love her more. Mr. Darcy was accustom to adult females traveling out of their manner to affect him, the idea of a adult female declining his matrimony proposal was something he could non grok. “ Mr. Darcy, who was tilting against the mantle with his eyes fixed on her face, seemed to catch her words with no less bitterness than surprise. ” ( Austen 129 ) The refusal of Mr. Darcy ‘s proposal is farther cogent evidence of Elizabeth ‘s independency. She will non compromise her felicity or beliefs to get married a adult male she is non in love with.
Lady Catherine visits Elizabeth to interrogate her over her relationship with Mr. Darcy, inform her of the proposed matrimony between her girl and Mr. Darcy and to prohibit Elizabeth to come in into an battle with Mr. Darcy. Lady Catherine assumes Elizabeth is cognizant of her repute and that she should be intimidated by her. This is evident by her statement “ Miss Bennet, you ought to cognize, that I am non to be trifled with ” ( Austen 237 ) Elizabeth, nevertheless, non intimidated but respectful. She refuses to hold to Lady Catherine ‘s petition of ne’er come ining an battle with Mr. Darcy. This is made clear by her response to Lady Catherine, “ And I surely ne’er shall give it. I am non intimidated into anything so entirely unreasonable. ” ( Austen 240 ) Over clip she has grown to love Mr. Darcy Women in this clip period would hold coward down to Lady Catherine ‘s petition, but non Elizabeth. She will non let person else order her felicity.
The dirt over the matrimony between Lydia Bennet, Elizabeth ‘s sister, and Mr. Wickham would hold ruined Elizabeth ‘s household name. Regardless of how independent and free willed Elizabeth is, her household would non hold recovered from such a dirt. Mr. Darcy handles this state of affairs so her household name will stay honest, besides this will let him to get married Elizabeth. Mr. Darcy besides reunites Mr. Bingley and Jane. It is n’t until after these events occur that Elizabeth realizes she may hold misjudged Mr. Darcy and allowed her obstinacy to overcast her judgement of him. However, had Elizabeth non been so independent and have a head of her ain Mr. Darcy would hold ne’er been so bewitched by her. Elizabeth ne’er compromises her beliefs or holds back her ideas to pacify Mr. Darcy ; this is what he loves most about her. He makes this clear to Elizabeth during their conversation when she ask “ Now be sincere ; did you look up to me for impudence? ” his answer was “ For the animation of your head, I did. ”
( Austen 256 )
Throughout Pride and Prejudice Elizabeth proves legion times her independency by declining the matrimony proposal of Mr. Collins, standing her land with Lady Catherine every bit good as ab initio declining Mr. Darcy ‘s proposal. Elizabeth is an independent adult female throughout the fresh whom refuses to conform to society if it goes against her beliefs. Elizabeth will non let others to find her self-worth, irrespective of the societal effects. It is n’t until Mr. Darcy proves himself to her that she realizes she does love him and wants to get married him.