Character Friday – Emma Woodhouse

Character Friday – Emma Woodhouse of Emma

I am starting a new tradition, (well, it could only new since this blog in and of itself is new ;-D). On every Friday, or at least on the ones I get around to it, I am going to examine a character from either a movie, book, or even someone from real life. I hope you enjoy.

This week, since I have watched the movie three times in the last two weeks, i think that it is only fitting that we discuss Emma Woodhouse, heroine of Jane Austen’s novel “Emma.” (Quite an fitting name.)


Gwyneth Paltrow as Emma

Romola Garai as Emma

Kate Beckinsale as Emma

However you slice her, Emma is a fascinating character. She is wealthy, so she doesn’t need to marry for status, she is witty and smart, (although she isn’t crazy about reading) and she loves to observe people, (something she is an utter failure at!) She thinks that she knows everything.

At the beginning of the story, she is quite immature. She gossips, meddles in others affairs, and is manipulative of her friend Harriet, whose station in life is below hers, almost ruining her life.

But as the story unfolds, things don’t go quite as she plans, in fact, she discovers that she is VERY wrong in her assumptions of people. She begins to come around, and we see her maturing.

Love is not fireworks for Emma, although she thinks that it is for everyone else. She does think that she is perhaps in love with the dashing Mr. Churchill who flirts with heart one point, but realizes that she isn’t. The only man who captured her heart is the one she knew all her life. Mr. Knightly is the only person willing point out Emma’s faults and rebuke her when she does something wrong. The recent BBC version shows this very well. Proverbs 27:6 “Wounds from a friend can be trusted,but an enemy multiplies kisses.”

By the time she realizes that she is in love with Mr. Knightly, the one who was always honest with her, her character has come a long way. Although she has not lost her perky personality, she is a totally different person and quite humble. Finally, Mr. Knightly is able to express his love for her. He had to wait until she was ready.

BTW, Mr. Knightly is is probably the best of Miss Austen’s male characters, he reminds me a lot of my Dad. 🙂 Someday I’ll investigate his character.

Jane Austen, thank you for this very good lesson in maturity and and humility.

What is your favorite thing about Emma Woodhouse and the way she develops?

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