Character Analysis Of The Darkness In Emma By Jane Austen

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Jane Austen begins the novel Emma by stating, “Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich, with a comfortable home and happy disposition, seemed to unite some of the best blessings of existence, and had lived nearly twenty-one years in the world with very little to distress or vex her” (1) immediately giving readers the impression that Emma is a young woman whom the readers should respect and grow to love throughout the novel. As we continue reading, however, we learn that while Emma has a respectable reputation and a circle of people who love her and want the best for her, she is extremely flawed. In the article, The Darkness in Emma, Anita Soloway states, “for Emma, beauty, cleverness, and wealth prove to be mixed blessings at best, for…show more content…
Emma is selfish, unable to see reality as it truly is, and is impulsive, yet, because of her respectable standing in the social class, people love her and want the best for her and think highly of her. While discussing Emma with Mr. Knightley, Mrs. Weston states, “With all dear Emma’s little faults, she is an excellent creature. Where shall we see a better daughter, or a kinder sister, or a truer friend? No, no; she has qualities which may be trusted; she will never lead any one really wrong; she will make no lasting blunder; where Emma errs once, she is in the right a hundred times” (25). While her opinion on Emma does recognize that she has faults and isn’t perfect, those flaws are basically overlooked. Mrs. Weston seems to believe that Emma is a blessing to everyone she encounters, and even when she creates an issue, it’s acceptable because it’s assumed she’ll do something great to compensate up for it. This definitely shows what Emma’s reputation is like, and how the people close to her view her. One of Emma’s main flaws is the fact that she is extremely impulsive with her actions, and she doesn’t stop to think about what she’s doing until the damage is already done. This happens multiple times throughout the novel, especially when Emma tries to play matchmaker. This is partially due to the fact that she is unable to see reality clearly, which is what happens during her attempt at bringing Harriet and Mr. Elton together.

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