Mr Knightley Jane Austen...'mr Knightley Is The Arbiter Of Sense And Judgement.' Discuss With Reference To The First Eleven Chapters

1307 words - 6 pages

'Mr Knightley is the arbiter of sense and judgement.' Discuss with reference to the first eleven chapters.Mr Knightley, in direct contrast to Emma, is sensible to the ways of the world and thoughtful. Mr Knightley has all the good qualities that Emma lacks and he always voices his true opinions. Knightley displays many admirable virtues and he helps us to see the reality of a situation.Mr Knightley is Emma's brother-in-law and he is an old and established friend of the family. Mr Knightley serves as Emma's mentor and is the only person who criticizes Emma and helps the reader to locate her faults. We first see Knightley's sense in the first chapter. Mr Knightley is a regular visitor of the ...view middle of the document...

Mr Knightley warns Emma not to interfere in the affairs of others as it can bring nothing but trouble.In Chapter four there is a brief reference to Mr Knightley. Harriet has a friendship with a local farming family and Emma is trying to discourage her attachment to the son, Mr Robert Martin. Emma suggests that Mr Robert Martin would lower her social status. Emma uses Mr Knightley as a model of propriety and gentlemanly bearing:'Mr Knightley's air is so remarkably good, that it is not fair to compare Mr Martin with him. You might not see one in a hundred, with gentleman so plainly written as Mr Knightley.'This shows the esteem in which Emma holds Mr Knightley.In Chapter five Mr Knightley and Mrs Weston discuss the friendship between Emma and Harriet. Mr Knightley is concerned that such an intimate friendship may harm them, and will certainly bring nothing good:'I think they will neither of them do the other any good.'Mr Knightley is an incredibly rational man and he knows that Emma will never apply herself diligently to anything of the own improvement. He recalls a reading list she once drew up at fourteen which showed a great deal of accomplishment, but which was never sustained:' The list she drew up when only fourteen - I remember thinking it did her judgement so much credit, that I preserved it some time; and I dare say she may have made out a very good list now. But I have done with expecting any course of steady reading from Emma.'Mr Knightley's main source of concern seems to stem from the recognition that Harriet is inferior to Emma in sense and education and that this will not help to encourage these attributes in Emma. Mr Knightley shows he has a great regard for Emma and he saved the Emma's reading list because he was so impressed by its content. Mr Knightley shows that he admires Emma physically:'I love to look at her'His keen desire for Emma to improve herself and his honest appresial of her faults shows his good sense and his attachment to Emma.In Chapter six Emma decides to take up a long-discarded hobby of drawing. She decides that she will paint a portrait of Harriet and she is encouraged by Mr Elton. This chapter is full of irony and the reader benefits from the perspective created by authorial distance. We can immediately see that Mr Elton is in fact in love with Emma not Harriet. Emma prides herself on her judgment but she is completely mistaken when she believes that Mr Elton's...

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