Mr. Knightley: “A Sensible Man”

With the coming of the Holiday Season along with yesterday’s Thanksgiving feasting I have been a little distracted and have not been as diligent in my blogging. However, I have returned to my post (see what I did there) and have long last come to tell you all about Mr. Knightley, the Male Romantic Lead in Jane Austen’s Emma.

Mr. Knightley, a sensible man about seven or eight-and-thirty, was not only a very old and intimate friend of the family, but particularly connected with it, as the elder brother of Isabella’s (Emma’s sister) husband.  
Mr Knightley, 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; and though this was not particularly agreeable to Emma herself, she knew it would be so much less so to her father, that she would not have him really suspect suspect such a circumstance as her not being thought perfect by everybody.

As you may or may not recall, in a previous post I introduced you to Creeper Knightley and I gave you several reasons as to why I initially disliked him.

So now I will go through all of my original issues with Mr. Knightley, and address how my perspective on them has changed.

Issue One: Mr. Knightley is sixteen years older than Emma.

creeper knightly1

Mr. Knightley was nearly in his forties and Emma is barely in her twenties. That’s so much older! 15 year old me gives a big EWWWW!

Resolution One: Emma needed someone older than her. Though Emma is clever and can run a household, she is still pretty immature. I mean just look at all the dumb games she played to get Harriet and Mr. Elton together! She needs someone older to help her make better decisions.

Plus as every girl learns in Junior High and loves to emphasize: Girls mature faster than guys. So Mr. Knightley’s age plays to his advantage. In maturity years, he’s probably only six years older than her, tops.

And finally, to go all love is love on you. If they’re right for each other age shouldn’t matter. And sixteen years isn’t sixty years. It’s not like he’s a decrepit old man taking a child bride.

So in conclusion, Mr. Knightley’s age is not a disadvantage but rather an advantage.

Issue Two: He’s her sister’s brother-law which seems to make them related…so also..gross.

Resolution Two: They’re not related by blood. The sisters just happen to have the same taste. So it’s actually not weird. 15 year-old me was easily grossed out. Plus, it was the 1800s and marrying family didn’t carry the same social stigma as it does now. And again, they’re not actually related. Also in Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park, Fanny and Edmund are cousins, so really marrying your sister’s brother-in-law is not a problem.

Issue Three: He is constantly pointing out Emma’s flaws and lecturing her.

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This was always my biggest issue with Emma. He never gave her break. It was just one lecture after another.

Resolution Three: He was a close enough friend that he could talk to her about these things and it all stemmed from his not wanting her to get hurt or hurt others.

Emma’s father saw her as perfect. He was oblivious to her meddling. Knightley was the only one who noticed and he was a close family friend. If anyone could talk to her about it–and someone really needed to–Knightley was the only one who was in a position who really could.

He also knew that she deeply cared about her friends which was why she meddled. And he understood that if she hurt her friends through her meddling, she too would be deeply hurt knowing she caused this damage. He was trying to protect her.

And now here is a short list containing some of the reasons as to why I love Mr. Knightley:

  • Though a gentleman, he is a friend to the common man. So much so that Mr. Martin, a farmer, feels comfortable going to him for love advice.
  • He is willing to help others even when it makes him uncomfortable. When no one will dance with Harriet, he dances with her even though he does not enjoy dancing.
  • And finally, one of the reasons I now love Mr. Knightley, is because he says stuff like this: tumblr_mlm06saVSD1qk61bwo8_250

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