Character study for "Pride and Prejudice"

Jane Austen's characters have lived through the ages very successfully. The prime reason for such a success is that although the class bias has become invisible the psychology and the effect still remain. The feeling of superiority and inferiority highlighted by Austen in Pride and Prejudice is very much valid even today. Austen's protagonist "Elizabeth Bennet" becomes the victim of prejudice because of her own pride.

Elizabeth Bennet is a wise, intelligent, emotional and level headed character who usually takes the broader perspective of life. However, her level headedness is challenged and to a large extent disturbed with Fitzwilliam Darcy's words of her being just tolerable. Darcy goes to an extent of saying, "she is not handsome enough to tempt me". His words act like a dagger for Elizabeth who is fully aware of her own intellect, intelligence and beauty. Elizabeth's eyes are described as highly expressive. Austen tries to highlight her heroine's sharp intellect, presence of mind and determined nature by describing her eyes as deeply expressive.

Her eyes are also shown as the most crucial factor that attracts the socially alert and aware Fitzwilliam Darcy's attention. Elizabeth has a talent of judging people. She almost incorrectly judges everyone including Charles Bingley, Caroline Bingley, Mrs.Hurst, Mr. Collins, and Lady Catherine De Bourgh. However, fails in judging George Wickham and Fitzwilliam Darcy due to congenial behaviour of the former and the restricted behaviour of the latter. Elizabeth tells Darcy during the second ball at Neitherfields that he surprises her every time by giving different accounts of his personality whenever they meet. However, she is not taken by surprise with the distant behaviour of George Wickham following his decision to marry Mary King.

Elizabeth is highly aware of the social status of Fitzwilliam Darcy therefore; his restricted behaviour is taken as social discrimination. On the other hand, George Wickham is financially inferior to the Bennets hence; his behaviour is seen through much sympathetic vision. Aunt Gardiner who comprehends and supports the protagonist asks her about the depth of her relationship with George Wickham. She mildly warns Elizabeth
that George Wickham is a man of less fortune and that everyone expects her to make right decisions. She is relieved to receive assurance from her favourite niece. From this incident Austen shows the inner reasons of Elizabeth's mistaken perceptions of the two diametrically opposite men.

Her mistaken perceptions start changing with the letter written by Fitzwilliam Darcy to her. However, there is initial reluctance and anger in accepting the point of view of the man who happens to ruin her most beloved sister's happiness. But her introspective, just and fair as well as realistic nature forces her to see the other side of the situation. This brings regret, guilt and strong emotions as well as affection towards the man she had disliked the most. By this, Austen shows that Elizabeth
is not just an adamant girl with strong opinions and sharp convictions but she is also the most emotional character who is ready to accept a different opinion even if it contradicts her own.

Helium Rank: 2/4

Author: Nikita Gharat ** Market Place Premier Writer


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