Pride and Prejudice

Elizabeth's Search For a Hero

In Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen creates her protagonist, Elizabeth Bennet, to be a strikingly unconventional female with respect to her time. Elizabeth tends to relate less to her female companions, and instead needs to define herself by her surrounding males. Therefore, her relationships with the men in the novel reflect her continual search for an ideal figure of social respectability. Elizabeth begins the novel feeling a close affinity to her father who is, in comparison, more civilized than her ignorant, materialistic mother. But when higher society, namely Mr. Darcy, enters her life, revealing the impropriety of her family and slighting her as well, Elizabeth is forced to look for a hero who is not only refined, but who will also redeem her dignity. She thinks she finds such a person in Wickham. Mr. Darcy, the most well-bred of all, only becomes Elizabeth's final hero when he exposes Wickham's deceit and ceases to patronize her and exposes his love and respect for her. Consequently, while propriety may seem to be the basis of Elizabeth's pursuit for a hero, the underlying determinant of her search is her own pride.

Mr. Bennet's role as Elizabeth's hero appears to stem from Elizabeth's desire to...

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