Literary Essay: Pride And Prejudice A Novel By Jane Austen Two Victorian Friends Compared

1276 words - 5 pages

Throughout Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen describes different characters who act as foils to her main protagonist, Elizabeth Bennet. Charlotte Lucas is a good example. Her close friendship with Elizabeth allows us to monitor their interactions and recognise both similarities and contrasts between them.We are introduced to Elizabeth Bennet in the first chapter of Pride and Prejudice when her father describes her as having “something more of quickness than her sisters” (pg.7). This reveals her intelligence despite being only “one and twenty” (pg.162). Her intelligence is also revealed by the way she is able to hold her own when confronted by or interacting with the other characters in the book. We are given a similar notion of Charlotte Lucas, being described as “a(n)...intelligent woman” (pg.19). Although Elizabeth is younger than Charlotte, who is “about twenty-seven” (pg.19), we can immediately surmise that they are intellectually compatible and are not surprised to find Charlotte called “Elizabeth’s intimate friend” (pg.19).Although Elizabeth Bennet is often portrayed as socially unconventional, she never loses her soft femininity (www.collegeresearch.us). She is described by Darcy to be pretty and have fine eyes: “...the very great pleasure which a pair of fine eyes in the face of a pretty woman can bestow” (Pg.27). He also mentions that her figure is “light and pleasing” (Pg.24). After initially saying she is only tolerable to look at, Darcy later describes her as “one of the handsomest women of my acquaintance” (Pg.259). Colonel Fitzwilliam is said to be caught up by her prettiness (www.pemberley.com). Charlotte however is described as a rather plain girl and the men do not seem to show her much attention. This possibly contributes to her harsh view of men. Mrs. Bennet says of Charlotte and her sisters: “she is very plain” and “it is a pity they are not very handsome” (pg.44).Elizabeth has a “lively, playful disposition” (pg.14). This is evidenced by the way she makes fun of Mr. Darcy’s comment about her being only tolerably good looking. Austen writes: “she...delighted in any thing ridiculous” (pg.14). This playfulness can also be seen in the way she admits that she “love(s) a laugh” (pg.56). She often banters with the other characters and yet does not offend anyone – “there was such a mixture of sweetness and archness in her manner which made it difficult for her to affront anybody” (Pg.51). Throughout the novel, Elizabeth makes witty comments and is even described as vivacious by Mr. Collins (Pg.104). In fact it is her ease and articulate way of handling conversation that has made Darcy “bewitched” by her (pg.51). Although it is never mentioned directly, it would appear as if Charlotte is more reserved and serious than Elizabeth. She is never found joking, but rather giving...

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