Who is your favorite female lead character? And why? (And yes, of course, you can name more than one . . . I always have trouble narrowing down these things to one name, why should I force you to?)
There is only one: Elizabeth (Lizzie) Bennet. She is feisty, funny, serious, sympathetic, won’t-be-downtrodden, thinks intelligently and feels passionately. She is also stubborn, prejudiced, arch and (temporarily) short-sighted. Her recognition of her failings, particularly of her prejudices, is heartwarming and her confrontation with Lady Catherine de Bourgh should inspire anyone faced with a bully disguised as a member of the great-and-good. But the chief thing about Lizzie is that she’s so human that men and women fall in love with her.
It’s no wonder that Mr Bennet says, when she turns down the obsequious Mr Collins’s offer for her hand in marriage (a marriage that would keep the Bennet house in the family):
‘Well, Lizzie, from this day henceforth it seems you must be a stranger to one of your parents.’ He looks at her while she nervously awaits his decision. He keeps her waiting … then he says: ‘Your mother will never see you again if you do not marry Mr. Collins … and I will never see you again if you do.’
Mr Bennet’s deep love for his favourite daughter, and my favourite female lead character, lights up this scene.