Elizabeth Bennet

Elizabeth Bennet

Name= Elizabeth Bennet
caption= Keira Knightley as Elizabeth Bennet
Fullname= Elizabeth Bennet
Gender= Female
Age= 20
Occupation= Daughter of a gentleman; later Chatelaine of Pemberley
PrimaryResidence= Longbourn in Hertfordshire, later Pemberley in Derbyshire
RomanticInterest= Fitzwilliam Darcy (later her husband); George Wickham; Colonel Fitzwilliam
Parents= Mr Bennet and Mrs Bennet (formerly Miss Gardiner)
Siblings= Jane Bennet (later Bingley)
Mary Bennet
Catherine (Kitty) Bennet
Lydia Bennet (later Wickham)|

Elizabeth Bennet (sometimes referred to as Eliza or Lizzy) is a fictional character and the main protagonist of Jane Austen's novel "Pride and Prejudice". The novel is centred on her attempts to find love and happiness within the the constraints and proprieties of her society, particularly concerning her relationship with the seemingly proud and cold Mr. Darcy. She is generally considered one of Austen's most popular and endearing heroines, and one of the most popular female characters in British literature. Elizabeth's age is twenty at the beginning of the novel."Pride and Prejudice". Chapter .]


Elizabeth is an intelligent young woman who is described as having 'a lively, playful disposition, which delighted in any thing ridiculous'. She often presents a playful good natured impertinence, that does not offend. Early in the novel she is depicted as being personally proud of her mental quickness and her acuity in judging the social behaviour and intentions of others. Her best friend is Charlotte Lucas but later she relies mostly on her sister, Jane. Jane is the prettiest of the five sisters, and has patience that Elizabeth marvels at.

Elizabeth is her father's favourite, and is described by him by having "something more of quickness than her sisters"; though she is often distressed and embarrassed by the behaviour of her mother and of her younger sisters. Elizabeth is described as being the child that her mother is "least fond" of -- especially after she refuses Mr. Collins' proposal of marriage. She is considered a local beauty and charming, with "fine eyes", which are the first feature Fitzwilliam Darcy is drawn to. He is later drawn more particularly to her mind and personality, and eventually considers her to be "one of the handsomest women" in his acquaintance. The novel primarily focuses on Elizabeth and her relationship with Mr. Darcy, a wealthy, proud man who snubs her at a public dance in her home village. Elizabeth's first impression then is to disdain Mr. Darcy; whereas her first impression of George Wickham is that he is charming and personable and there is a mutual attraction between them. Wickham leads Elizabeth and the neighborhood to believe he has been unfairly treated by Darcy, claiming that Darcy denied him a living as a clergyman that was his due. Elizabeth's dislike of Darcy is further fueled by his disrupting the courtship of her beloved sister Jane and Mr. Bingley, Darcy's friend. Elizabeth is persuaded that her prejudice against Darcy is well-founded, both on available evidence and upon her superior judgment of human character.

As a result, when Darcy (who has fallen in love with her) proposes marriage while reminding her of the gap in social status, she vehemently refuses him. When asked why, she sharply details her reasons for disliking him, and relates that the arrogant way he proposed to her prevented her from feeling the concern she would have felt had he behaved "in a more gentlemanlike manner".

Darcy writes a letter to Elizabeth to defend his wounded honour where he reveals the motives for his interference in Jane and Bingley's relationship; and he gives a full account of his lifelong dealings with Wickham. Elizabeth recollects inconsistencies in Wickham's story, and realizes that he is indeed a dishonourable character. She recognizes her own prejudice and realizes her errors in judgment. This she finds mortifying.

Elizabeth begins re-evaluating her opinions of Darcy, who, it seems, is also committed to some significant re-evaluation of his own actions and general behaviour towards others.Later in the story Elizabeth is invited by her aunt and uncle to go Derbyshire with them. While they are there, they convince Elizabeth to visit Darcy's estate of Pemberley. When they arrive, Elizabeth finds the mansion and gardens beautiful and impressive.

When Elizabeth and Darcy later meet unexpectedly there, she is astonished at his courtesy to her and her relatives. Later, she is introduced to Miss Darcy, Mr. Darcy's sister. Elizabeth is charmed by Georgiana's shy disposition, and they soon become friends.

When Elizabeth's youngest sister, Lydia, elopes with Wickham, Darcy intervenes and saves Lydia from disgrace.

Elizabeth realizes that her feelings for Darcy have come full circle. Soon after Elizabeth's sister Jane gets engaged to Mr. Bingley, Darcy proposes a second time and Elizabeth happily and readily accepts.


The enduring popularity of "Pride and Prejudice" has seen the novel frequently adapted for both television and the cinema. Among the actresses who have taken the role of Elizabeth Bennet are:
*Curigwen Lewis, in the first television adaptation of "Pride and Prejudice" in 1938.
*Greer Garson in a 1940 cinema adaptation
*Daphne Slater in a 1952 UK television adaptation.
*Jane Downs in a 1958 UK television version.
*Celia Bannerman in a 1967 film version produced to mark the 150th anniversary of the death of Jane Austen.
*Elizabeth Garvie in a 1980 BBC television adaptation.
*Jennifer Ehle in a 1995 BBC television adaptation, for which she received a BAFTA Award.
*Keira Knightley in a 2005 film adaptation, for which she was nominated for an Academy Award.

While not strict adaptations of the original text, other notable versions of Elizabeth Bennet (or characters directly based on her) in productions based on Austen's text include:
*Renée Zellweger portrayed Bridget Jones in the 2001 feature film "Bridget Jones' Diary", and its sequel, "". The original novel by Helen Fielding was very loosely inspired by "Pride and Prejudice" and follows a similar narrative; Bridget Jones occupies the same role in the story held by Elizabeth Bennet in the original. Jones, however, has none of Bennet's intellect, wit or dignity.
*Kam Heskin in a 2003 set in a contemporary Mormon university.
*Aishwarya Rai portrayed Lalita Bakshi (a character based upon Elizabeth) in the 2005 film "Bride and Prejudice", a Bollywood adaptation of "Pride and Prejudice".
*Gemma Arterton in "Lost in Austen", a four-part television series in which a girl from the 21st century is sent back into "Pride and Prejudice", swapping places with Elizabeth.


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