Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice presents a new type of heroine. In her novel, she did not portray a traditional heroine like Jane Bennet. She imposed a new heroine, with new attributes, different to those related to the traditional heroine in the Victorian society.
A true woman should combine many attributes. In traditional love story, the heroine must be submissive, weak, extremely beautiful, and dependent. Austen inverted this traditional image of the heroine to come up with a new type of a realistic one.
Elizabeth Bennet is an original heroine and antithetical to the heroine of romance due to many reasons. Firstly, she is physically fit. This is evident when she walked for three miles on foot to help her sister. She did not care about the long distance she had to walk. Also, she did not care about the bad weather conditions. Secondly, this example provides another merit in her character which is her caring nature. She is very sensible. She felt responsible for her sister. When there is a need for help, she doesn't care about social manners or decorum. Thirdly, she is very rational and has a sense of reason and logic. She tried to educate her self through reading. Fourthly, she is a daring and challenging lady, who believed in certain principles. She is independent and strong minded. .
Elizabeth is not extremely beautiful, but her inner beauty compensates for her lack of physical beauty. She is not as pretty as Jane, but her character is very attractive and worthy of respect. In my opinion, the most important merit in her character is the fact that she is courageous and respectable. She was courageous enough to turn down an irresistible proposal to save her self respect and dignity. I believe that she was rational enough to see that there was no hope in having a happy marriage after that kind of an insulting and condescending proposal. She knew that the man "Darcy" had to be changed first to be worthy of her love and passion.