Elizabeth Bennet: A Feminist Icon
Allow me to begin with a question that shall perhaps, entice you the most- How is it like to be the mistress of Pemberley? Well, if you wish to know my opinion so that you can discern my disposition to a certain degree, I think I shall always give you the liberty since I know how fond of judging people you are, and also because I cannot deny my favourite Elizabeth of this chance.
Ever since your marriage to Mr. Darcy I was never apprehensive of your share of happiness in this match. According to my estimation, to be the mistress of Pemberley has been the most delightful experience of your life. I believe you have almost fully rescued Darcy from being the victim of snobbish indifference again; bestowed Georgiana with the best possible guidance so that she successfully avoids the prejudices and patriarchal rules from governing her choice of a suitor and happiness in life and have undoubtedly proved yourself as the worthiest mistress Pemberley could have ever had. Surely, Darcy’s love for you has been like an unprecedented one and of course, in a remarkably positive sense.
Do you know Lizzy what makes you most endearing? Like a typical romantic heroine, you are not vulnerable or naïve about the worldly matters even though you are the heroine of what we call rags-to-riches love story with an ending that is most pleasing- the heroine getting married to the rich and handsome hero. Your satirical sense of humour, intelligence and wit make you even more enthralling besides your “fine eyes”. When you rejected Mr Collins’s extremely unpropitious proposal in quite an accosting manner, what I concluded is that there is no need of showing circumspection in a situation which you know will never lead to your happiness even though you belong to a society where marriage is only ardently desired for any lady and according to Mr Collins, “it is by no means certain that another offer of marriage may ever be made to you”. Alas! Poor Charlotte never understood that. Her perseverance in making a marriage with a schmuck like Mr Collins work is by every means applaudable.
When you rejected Mr Darcy’s first proposal and declared how strongly you detest him, even though you were under wrong impressions about the gentleman which convinced you to perceive him to be quintessentially cruel, I could not stop myself to praise you since you showed the courage to reject a proposal which by all means was magnificent and extravagant just because you thought such a vicious, arrogant and proud man is not worthy to have you. But fortunately, enough the truth unfurled itself and it was the only time I was happy to see you feeling genuinely sorry for your wrong judgement and for being a victim of “first impressions” which not always are correct. While Lady Catherine expected you to be pusillanimous in the face of her condescension, your outspokenness and sharpness of tongue was quite a blow for her which obviously she neither expected nor appreciated. Thank God you brazenly (according to Lady Catherine) rejected her order to never accept Darcy’s proposal and countered her obnoxious manners with such confidence and left her vexed. She wouldn’t have tried to besmirch your reputation in Darcy’s eyes if the circumstances after her meeting with you would have been otherwise and then probably God knows what could have compelled Darcy to express his love and admiration for you once again after your first refusal.
You taught me to never sacrifice joy and aspirations at the cost of what the society demands which we both know are often imbecile as far as a lady is concerned. You taught me that it is not necessary to be always correct in my judgement but what is important is that once I am aware of my mistakes, I must accept them and improve myself. Lizzy, you made me realize that there is no need of giving room to any kind of insolence, impertinence and snobbery no matter from whoever they come and that I can be virtuous and accomplished even if I possess some faults. Your faults make you genuine Lizzy and the same is true for everyone. Elizabeth Bennet, you made one thing vividly clear- not passivity and child-like manners of the conventional romantic heroine but liveliness of mind and critical intelligence can win one a rare gem like Fitzwilliam Darcy and promise a life where one will not be dominated by her male counterpart but be a partner to him and it is what marriage actually signifies- a lifelong partnership chaperoned with love, care, friendship and affection.