Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Austen Dudes: Mr. Knightly

We have finally come to my absolute favorite Jane Austen hero.
(Mr. Knightly in Emma 1996)
There's a lot of talk at the end of Emma about who is the more lucky in various relationships, and I will always, always, always agree with Emma when she says that the good fortune's all on her end.
Someday - maybe - Emma may grow to deserve Mr. Knightly. He is sweet, sensible, caring, organized, kind, and witty. He is quite the gentleman; he has a fine sense of humor; he is one of the people vital to Mr. Woodhouse's well-being; he respects people's feelings and is sympathetic; he really wants to help Emma overcome her flaws and become the best person she can be. 
What more can you ask for?
Okay fine, he's also handsome and has a big house and a lot of money. And did I mention he's a really good dancer? But all that's just icing on the cake, really. 
Seriously, Mr. Knightly is just perfect. 

The fact that he did watch Emma grow up, and was almost a big brother to her, made me question their relationship the first time I read Emma, a few years ago, but now I realize that he's very much so a best friend and the only person that truly understands her - except for Mrs. Weston, maybe, but she, like everyone else, spoils Emma. He is the supreme voice of reason in Emma's life, the one and only person close to her who does NOT think her the definition of perfection. 
"Mr. Knightly, in fact, was one of the few people who could see faults in Emma Woodhouse, and the only one who ever told her of them..."
Emma needs Mr. Knightly for her psychological and emotional well-being. He keeps her on the right path.

In conclusion, my favorite quote from Emma:
"He [Mr. Knightly] had found her agitated and low. --Frank Churchill was a villain.-- He heard her declare that she had never loved him [Churchill]. Frank Churchill 's character was not desperate. --She was his own Emma, by hand and word, when they returned into the house; and if he could have thought of Frank Churchill then, he might have deemed him a very good sort of fellow."
I would also like to mention in passing that Frank Churchill, though truly "a very good sort of fellow," with the best of intentions, seemed not as grounded or sensible as Mr. Knightly. Frank Churchill was rather irrational sometimes, and in his marital situation, he clearly has all the good fortune. Emma was right when she said that she and Frank Churchill are alike in their destiny: "The destiny which bids fair to connect us with two characters so much superior to our own." Jane Fairfax is a marvelous, steady, and sensible young lady. She will clearly be the voice of reason in that household.


Here are previous Jane Austen dude posts:
Edmund Bertram from Mansfield Park
Charles Bingley from Pride and Prejudice
Henry Tilney from Northanger Abbey
Edward Ferrars (and some Colonel Brandon) from Sense and Sensibility
Fitzwilliam Darcy from Pride and Prejudice


  1. But yes, Mr. Knightly is perfect. :) He's such a wonderful, preciously adorable character. :)))))

    I'm curious as to whether you've watched the youtube show Emma Approved (a modern retelling of Emma of course) because the guy who plays Mr. Knightly is fantastically adorable. :)

    1. No I haven't! I heard it's by the same people who did the Lizzie Bennet Diaries (right?) and I've seen a good bunch of those, so I'd love to watch it sometime! (Umm.. Christmas Break, probably. Darn school...)
      If you say that Mr. Knightly is adorable, that makes me even more excited. :-)


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