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George Knightley

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George Knightley is a main character in Jane Austen's Emma. He is the older brother of John Knightley, and knows the Woodhouse family of Hartfield very closely. He is a wealthy landowner, whose seat is Donwell Abbey, a mile away from the village of Highbury and Hartfield estate.

Character traitsEdit

A kind and compassionate person, Mr Knightley portrays good judgment, high moral character and maturity in contrast to Emma's adolescent personality. One incident which displays this is his disappointment when he sees Emma insult Miss Bates, a spinster of modest means. Mr. Knightley's later reprimand of Emma also demonstrates his affection and esteem for her as a friend. Another incident which shows his quality is his anger with Emma for persuading Harriet Smith to refuse Robert Martin's proposal of marriage, Martin being in Knightley's eyes an eminently suitable mate for Harriet.

In the course of the story, Emma falls briefly in love with a young, handsome man named Frank Churchill. Mr. Knightley's jealousy is implied, and he makes several negative remarks about Churchill. It is later revealed that Mr. Knightley was afraid that Frank has had a negative influence on Emma. Frank Churchill's guardian—his aunt—dies, and he is now free to publicize his engagement to Jane Fairfax, which had been kept secret to avoid his aunt's disapproval. Emma is shocked, but realizes she had never really had romantic sentiments towards Frank Churchill. Nevertheless, she worries that Harriet has feelings for Frank, but soon discovers that Harriet has become infatuated with Mr. Knightley.

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. Emma, Volume I, Chapter 1
  2. At end of book.

Notable portrayalsEdit

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