Posted on

Elizabeth Bennet information from the Jane Austen Centre

Jennifer Ehle

Elizabeth Bennet

Jennifer EhleElizabeth Bennet, or Lizzy Bennet, or Eliza, is the main character of the Jane Austen novel Pride and Prejudice (1813). She is a witty young girl of twenty with dark eyes and hair. Elizabeth Bennet is the second of five sisters and resides in a small house called Longbourn outside the town of Meryton. Her closest companions are her eldest sister Jane Bennet and her friend Charlotte Lucas. ElizabethBennet is closest to her father, she is his favourite daughter and he tries to look out for her as best he can. Her other sisters are Mary, Lydia and Kitty. She has no fortune of her own and her welfare depends on the wealth of her marriage. Pride and Prejudice is the story of how Elizabeth Bennet meets and falls in love with Mr. Darcy, a wealthy man who could solve all her problems of fortune. Elizabeth loves to laugh at the folly of others and is a bright energetic girl. She also has in her character a tendency to judge others on first appearance. This is how she establishes Mr. Darcy as a proud, hateful man and what guides her in her trust of the charming and handsome militiaman, Mr. Wickham.
Elizabeth Bennet receives three a proposals of marriage in the course of the novel. The first is from her distant cousin Mr. Collins, who is to inherit her family’s estate. He is a very foolish, ridiculous man and she flatly refuses him. The second two are from Mr. Darcy who first applies for her hand in a way that asks for her favour while at the same time insulting her family and low social status. She refuses him too after pointing out the flaws in his offer of marriage. In this way Elizabeth Bennet is thought of as a modern girl. Women in the eighteenth century were not supposed to have opinions. They were supposed to be pleasant to look at and conduct pleasant conversations. Elizabeth Bennet is headstrong, lively, and never holds back to defend herself or her relations. This is the character of a modern heroine who stands up to injustice and fights for what she wants.
There have been five direct film adaptations of Pride and Prejudice. Elizabeth Bennet has been portrayed by Kiera Knightly, Jennifer Ehle, Greer Garson and Elizabeth Garvie. The modern takes of the story include a Bollywood version called Bride and Prejudice and Bridget Jones’s Diary where Renee Zellweger is the modern Lizzie Bennet.
Useful Sources:
2005 Adaptation of Pride and Prejudice
BBC version of Pride and Prejudice 1995

Want to read the full article?

Sign up for free Jane Austen Membership or if you are an existing user please login

Existing Users Log In
   
Sign up here to become a Jane Austen member
captcha
*Required field

Comments are closed.