What wonderfully diverse answers, as always. You're right, jnaj, I did work you too hard for a Friday. But I'm so glad I did. I love all the different opinions. Meredith, your point about Eliza bottling everything in and perhaps being too independent strikes a cord with me. Funnily enough, that's exactly what Caroline says to Elizabeth in The Other Mr Darcy, at a moment when the two of them bury the past behind them: "I thought you were too self-sufficient," she remarks.
As for Mr Bennet, as several of you indicated, he is quite a mixture of things. Though in many ways he doesn't seems to be the traditional patriarchal figure who rules the household with an iron fist, he enjoys his position of privilege in the household and makes the best of it in many ways. The opening scene where he pretends he will not go and visit Bingley is a typical example. He holds the upper hand, because they are all completely dependent on him paying Bingley a call, yet he pretends he doesn't understand this, toying with Mrs Bennet's feelings, when he intended to go all along.
Having cultivated an amused distance from his wife and children, he maintains it with almost everyone except Lizzy. In many ways, therefore, despite the fact that he is not an authoritarian parent, he is a typical father of the time, keeping aloof from his offspring and escaping into the library (as Lori points out) -- generally male territory in those days -- whenever anything threatens his peace. And he certainly does not go out of his way to do anything for his offspring. As Sarah-Wynne indicates, his refusal to take his five marriageble daughters to London simply because he doesn't like it shows how self-centered he is. It's an irony, therefore, that one of the consequenses of his refusal to go is that he is forced to ride to London in search of Lydia!
The flip side of it, as Serena says, is that all the girls (except perhaps Kitty) are quite outspoken and opinionated, because of the absence of anyone to put them down. Which is a very positive thing, obviously.
You all had very brilliant points about Elizabeth's resemblance to her father, particularly Milka and Cheli's comments about Mr Bennet's indifference to convention, which perhaps is one of his strongest contributions to Elizabeth's character. And of course, as most of you mentioned, Elizabeth shares with her father her intelligence as well as her quickness to judge others and derive amusement from their foibles. I won't repeat all your arguments, but I do recommend that people read through them, because they really provide some orginal insights into Elizabeth's relationship with her father.
Since it's a weekend, and we've had a complaint about working too hard, here's an easy question for today, but one you can have fun with, I hope.
Pride and Prejudice Question 10
"I can comprehend you going on charmingly, when you had once made a beginning; but what could set you off in the first place?" Elizabeth asks Darcy very coyly, once they've sorted everything out. But Darcy doesn't ask the question back. So here it is. When did Elizabeth fall in love with Mr Darcy?
Your answer can include any unconscious attraction, paying him more attention than she normally would, or any other signs of interest.