Emma Character Essay

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Characters in Emma are very realistic; they are round and dynamic in the sense that they have complicated interpersonal relationship and go through complex emotions and thoughts. Characters are not always believable because they are often too deeply attached to the Victorian manners, which makes them cover up their true emotions and thoughts with polite actions and flattery words.
One interesting point about the characters is the way they first appear in the novel. According to Language and Character in Jane Austen's Emma, the characters are introduced to the novel in a very systematic way: "first they appear in narrative passages, their mode of expression is than imitated in free indirect speech, after which they are introduced dramatically,
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Emma Woodhouse, the protagonist of the novel, continuously builds and breaks interpersonal relationship in Highbury, going through emotional changes and experiencing growth in mental maturity in doing so. There is no antagonist in the novel. Instead, there are minor characters, including George Knightley, Frank Churchill, Harriet Smith, Jane Fairfax, and the Eltons, who incessantly communicate with Emma. They act as foils to Emma and lead the plot toward the ending with all characters with best-suited spouses (Austen; Lemos). To describe major characters in detail, Emma Woodhouse is a 20-year old girl and is the youngest daughter of Mr. Woodhouse, the owner of Hartfield. She is beautiful, well-educated, but haughty. Her arrogant attitude is revealed in her thoughts about the Coles in chapter 25:
[The Coles] were of low origin, in trade, and only moderately genteel … but the last year or two had brought them a considerable increase of means—the house in town had yielded greater profits … The Coles were very respectable in their way, but they ought to be taught that it was not for them to arrange the terms on which the superior families would visit them. This lesson, she [Emma] very much feared, they would receive only from herself. (Austen
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