Out of all of the powerful women that have been created in literature, Elizabeth Bennet is my favorite.
Jane Austen’s heroines all have a sort of ferocity to them, which is elevated in part because of the social circumstances that these women are faced with given the time period. For Lizzie and her sisters, the fate of their parents’ futures is in their hands because as women they aren’t allowed to inherit property, so it becomes their responsibility to marry someone with the means to house and care for the family when their father dies.
To me, Lizzie stands out from Austen’s other heroines because of how confident and independent she is. She is the epitome of a powerful woman, and she judges people strictly on their character as opposed to their status. She has her priorities in order and refuses to appease people just because they pressure her to bend in a certain direction.
Lizzie is the ultimate example of following your own intuition, and I think that this is important for women to see in literature, even if it was written so long ago. Here are six reasons why Lizzie is my role model and should be everyone else’s, too.
1. She isn’t afraid to speak her mind
Lizzie faces an overwhelming amount of opposition throughout the novel. Characters demean her because of her family’s situation, pressure her into marriage, discourage her from following her instinct, feed her lies, and attempt to manipulate her into settling for a life she doesn’t want.
Whenever she feels strongly about something, she states her opinion instead of sitting back quietly as she is encouraged to do.
The scenes where she speaks out – like when she rejects Mr. Collins’ proposal or confronts Darcy about meddling in her sister’s love life - are some of the best ones in the novel, too.
2. She recognizes when she’s at fault
Lizzie isn’t a flawless character. She can be judgmental at times, and she certainly knows how to hold a grudge.
However, once she realizes her mistakes, she doesn’t let pride get in the way of moving past them and admitting that she was wrong.
3. She lives life on her own terms
Faced with a society that prioritizes marriage for status rather than affection, Lizzie feels incredible pressure from many people in her life to settle and become a wife.
This doesn’t once drive her actions, and she continues to do what she is comfortable with instead of caving in.
4. She isn’t motivated by money
Lizzie ends up marrying the wealthiest man in the entire novel, but she rejects him the first time he proposes because she doesn’t feel the same way about him.
She isn’t willing to forfeit love for wealth, and she certainly is never willing to settle.
5. She prioritizes her loved ones
Lizzie stands up for Jane when Jane is heartbroken and confused, and she supports Charlotte even when she makes a choice that Lizzie doesn’t agree with.
The love and dedication between Lizzie and her closest friends says a lot about her character.
6. She’s witty and intelligent
Lizzie’s intelligence is most evident in her quick and clever comebacks throughout the novel. We all know how difficult it is to think on your feet, and Lizzie is quite impressive with her retorts.