Jane Austen is known for her art of characterisation. In her 'Pride and Prejudice', we find many living characters. Among them Elizabeth Bennet is one. She is the heroine of the novel. In the novel she is the embodiment of prejudice. She is compared with Shakespeare's Beatrice. Saintsbury regards her as one of the five finest heroines of the 19th century English literature.
Elizabeth is one of the five daughters of Bennets. She is a clever, witty and lively character. She is very attractive and charming. She is very intelligent and she has the most fascinating features. Her eyes are very attractive. They attract the hero of the novel. She is full of humour. She is mentally sane and well disciplined spiritually and emotionally.
The title of the novel makes it clear that Elizabeth is an object lesson of prejudice. When Darcy rejects the proposal of dance and passes harsh comments, she feels shocked. She develops a prejudice against him. She rejects Darcy's proposal of marriage twice. It is because; she is a lady of self-respect. She does not like flattery. She never tries to flatter or please anyone. She attracts and impresses others by her neat and beautiful replies.
Elizabeth's prejudice against Darcy is temporary. In the beginning part of the novel she does not like Darcy because he has insulted her at the ball. For some time she shows her inclination towards Wickham. But soon she comes to know the reality of him. At last when Darcy stoops to conquer her, she accepts his love. Thus later on her prejudice becomes camphor.
Some critics are of the opinion that Elizabeth Bennet represents Jane Austen herself. To a great extent she appears like Jane's prototype. But some other critics say that Elizabeth is like Jane Austen but not Jane Austen completely. Thus she is not the copy of the writer, though there is some projection and identification there.
Thus Elizabeth is a live character. She is the centre of action. It is said that due to character of Elizabeth, this novel became very popular. If she is removed from the story, the story would be of no value.