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    Emma Woodhouse 
Miss Emma Woodhouse is the heroine of the story. She's twenty and a lady of the landed gentry who is 'handsome, clever and rich'. She's very independent and empowered. She's the mistress of her house Hartfield and she's the woman of most consequence in Highbury despite not being married.
  • The Ace: She could have been the perfectly accomplished young lady had she been more diligent with her lessons; she's beautiful, intelligent, and talented. She has great taste in books and literature, but her fantasy keeps her from reading regularly (because reading is an activity that needs some steady hard work and focus). She is very talented in music, but doesn't perform or practise regularly. She draws and paints, but she's not a very committed artist. Still, in Highbury, there is almost no competition for her and everybody is in awe of her and everybody admires her a great deal.
    "She had always wanted to do every thing, and had made more progress both in drawing and music than many might have done with so little labour as she would ever submit to. She played and sang;—and drew in almost every style; but steadiness had always been wanting; and in nothing had she approached the degree of excellence which she would have been glad to command, and ought not to have failed of. She was not much deceived as to her own skill either as an artist or a musician, but she was not unwilling to have others deceived, or sorry to know her reputation for accomplishment often higher than it deserved."
  • Always Someone Better: Emma feels this way about Jane Fairfax. Emma is an accomplished young lady, but she could have achieved much more had she been more hard-working in her reading, painting or playing the piano and singing. Jane Fairfax knows she's destined to be a governess and that her living will depend on her skills, so she works harder and accordingly, her performance in music is extraordinary.
  • Break the Haughty: It turns out she's not the romance expert she thought she was.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: She is somewhat good at just about everything, such as music, drawing, painting, and embroidery, but never studied far enough along to truly be excellent at any of them, having lost interest.
  • Daddy's Girl: Mr Woodhouse absolutely adores her, and she returns his affection. She takes exemplary care of his physical health and is highly mindful of his emotional well-being, doing her best never to allow him to be worried or distressed. The quickest way to earn Emma's wrath is to be unkind to him and the fastest way to her good graces is to consider his comfort.
  • Driven by Envy: She is kind of envious of Jane Fairfax who is very beautiful and very accomplished. Emma's lot in life is infinitely happier, but she can't help but resent Jane, and not only because Jane is cold and reserved.
    "Why she did not like Jane Fairfax might be a difficult question to answer; Mr Knightley had once told her it was because she saw in her the really accomplished young woman, which she wanted to be thought herself; and though the accusation had been eagerly refuted at the time, there were moments of self-examination in which her conscience could not quite acquit her."
  • Gentleman Snarker: Lady Snarker. She's very intelligent and some of her comments are quite smart ass, but she's always the lady.
  • Green-Eyed Epiphany: When Harriet confesses she is in love with Mr Knightley, it instantly comes over Emma like a thunderclap that she is in love with him!
    "Why was it so much worse that Harriet should be in love with Mr Knightley, than with Frank Churchill? Why was the evil so dreadfully increased by Harriet’s having some hope of a return? It darted through her, with the speed of an arrow, that Mr Knightley must marry no one but herself!"
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Emma very much dislikes the idea that Mr Knightley might marry one day. At first people in Highbury ship him with Miss Fairfax, whom Emma does not particularly like, but she doesn't understand why she doesn't want him to marry. She thinks it is because of their small nephew, who is Mr Knightley's heir. When later Harriet Smith belives Mr Knightley loves her, Emma fully understands her feelings. Nobody marries Mr Knightley but her.
  • Happily Ever After: Ends up happily married to Mr Knightley in the end.
  • Hypocritical Humor: When the Coles plan a party, Emma mentally crafts her well-mannered refusal to the inevitable invitation—and then when they don't invite her she's outraged. (They do send the invite eventually, but hesitated precisely because they didn't want to offend her and because they needed to make accommodation for Mr Woodhouse. The concern for her father's health turns Emma's opinion quite around.)
  • Indifferent Beauty: Emma is loveliness itself and "the picture of health". She's easily one of the most handsome heroines in Jane Austen's verse, but she really doesn't care about it. She takes pride in being clever, intelligent and capable.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: When she believes that Mr Knightley may actually have fallen for Harriet, she's deeply depressed since it's caused her to realize that she's in love with him. But she comes to the conclusion that, if that's the person who will make him happy, she'll do her best to accept it.
  • The Matchmaker: Matchmaking is Emma's favourite hobby. She insists it's the most superior challenge of mind. She takes credit for bringing Miss Taylor and Mr Weston together. They turn out to be her only success.
  • Missing Mom: Mrs Woodhouse died when Emma was very little and she barely remembers her. Miss Taylor, her governess, substituted her mother emotionally.
  • Nice to the Waiter: It doesn't come up much, but she shows real affection for her servants. When Harriet goes to visit the Martins, for instance, Emma spends the time with a retired servant who lives nearby.
  • Oblivious to Love: Big time. She doesn't catch on to Mr Elton's feelings for her until it's too late, and then it takes her the second half of the book to realize that Mr Knightley is deeply in love with her.
  • Odd Friendship: With Harriet. They are neither social nor intellectual equals. Emma wants to educate Harriet, and amuses herself by trying to finding her a proper match. She genuinely likes her, though, and Harriet is more for her than just a project. Meanwhile, Harriet is awed that the highly regarded and very beautiful Miss Woodhouse takes an interest with her. Emma eventually realizes that, despite her affection for Harriet, the friendship has done neither of them any good and only made Harriet's life more complicated and difficult than it needed to be.
  • Rich Kid Turned Social Activist: Not a radical activist or reformist in any sense of the word, but Emma is a very rich young lady who is very compassionate to the poor. She visits the poor personally and assists them as best as she can. She brings them food and cash and gives them kind and helpful advice. However, she doesn't have romantic ideas about them and she doesn't overestimate the extent of the help she can offer.
  • Shipper on Deck: She takes credit for helping Mr Weston to court Miss Taylor, though how involved she actually was in the whole matter is unclear (the story opens on the Westons' wedding day). Later she's trying to set up Harriet with Mr Elton. This match doesn't end well. Later still, she passively supports Frank Churchill and Harriet, though by that time she has learned not to actively meddle.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Her supposed matchmaking skills. She thinks of herself as a superior matchmaker who sees into people's hearts. She believes she can manoeuvre everyone to their future spouse... while she in fact helped to form one successful match (Mr Weston and Miss Taylor). And those two would in all likelihood get married without her goodwill and help as well.
  • Spirited Young Lady: She's very vivacious, very lively and has an open temper. She loves walking, and she's a good musician and a talented painter. She openly talks about not wanting to get married because she's rich and therefore it would be silly to get married without love.
  • Spoiled Sweet: Emma Woodhouse is an Unbuilt Trope. She is a young woman of landed gentry in the position to behave like a Rich Bitch; she is spoiled by her doting father and her loving governess, but she also has a happy disposition, loves her family and friends, and treats servants and people of lower social standings really well. She is charitable to the poor, but doesn't have romantic ideas about them. Notably, she lacks the naivety and cheerfulness associated with the archetype. Quite realistically, she cannot be sweet to everyone: she doesn't like Jane Fairfax and really dislikes the insufferable Mrs Elton, but tries to be polite to them. She finds some of her neighbours tiresome, but treats them with compassion and respect. She rarely slips and is rude or unkind, but whenever that happens, she repents deeply.
  • Wealthy Philanthropist: Emma is a rich young lady and she is very compassionate to the poor. She visits them personally and assists them as best as she can. She also sends food and gifts to Mrs and Miss Bates, two ladies from a clergyman's family who fell into harder times.
  • What Beautiful Eyes!: Mrs Weston (Emma's former governess and close family friend) gushed about Emma's loveliness and especially her sparkling bright hazel eyes.

    George Knightley 
Mr Knightley is an old family friend of the Woodhouse family and Emma's brother-in-law. He's the owner of Donwell Abbey.
  • Brutal Honesty: He is plain-spoken and though courteous, does not restrain his opinions when something strikes him as wrong. Emma's romantic plotting, for instance.
  • Cool Uncle: His brother John's sons adore him.
  • Gentleman Snarker: He can be sarcastic and ironic, but he always stays a perfect gentleman, even to overbearing people like the Eltons. Instead, most of his sarcasm is reserved for people he's known long enough that they wouldn't take it badly, like Emma.
  • Green-Eyed Epiphany: He's always liked Emma, but he didn't realize how intense his feelings were until he saw her and Frank Churchill together.
  • Happily Ever After: Ends up happily married to Emma in the end.
  • The Jailbait Wait: While talking with Emma about how his criticism of her was really an excuse to pay attention to her and display his affection in a repressed society, he claims he was in love with her since she was thirteen (and he was in his late twenties). Whether he was joking or not is up to the reader, but if he was serious, it is more surprising that he waited until she was twenty-one to confess his feelings when Regency brides could be as young as fifteen.
  • Meaningful Name: Mr George Knightley. He's generous and attentive towards everyone around him. He sends the Bateses his last apples, minds Jane's health better than her secret fiancee does, and dances with Harriet after he witnesses her being publicly snubbed by Elton.
  • Nice to the Waiter: He's on good enough terms with his tenants that one of them asks his advice on marriage, and his household servants all have the utmost respect for him. (So much so that his steward and his cook are in a dispute over maximizing Knightley's profits versus his personal meals from the produce he grows.)
  • Only Sane Man: He behaves far more maturely and rationally than anyone else in Highbury; while there are other intelligent characters, like Emma, Mr Knightley is much more sensible.
  • Shipper on Deck: To a much lesser extent than Emma. He supports Robert Martin's courtship of Harriet, while Emma roots for Harriet/Elton, but he doesn't interpose beyond giving Robert Martin advice after being asked.
  • Tall, Dark, and Handsome: He's very attractive physically, described in great detail during the ball.

    Harriet Smith 
Miss Harriet Smith is a parlour boardernote  at Mrs Goddard's school in Highbury. She's an illegitimate daughter of somebody who has money, but nothing is known of her origin. Mrs Goddard brings her to Hartfield and Emma befriends her. Emma determines to find a proper husband for Harriet.
  • Brainless Beauty: Harriet is extremely pretty and becomes popular in Highbury once Emma takes her under her wing, but she's silly, not at all clever and unable to decide for herself about anything. Emma puts ideas in her head, and one of them is that she has a right to get married well because of her looks. She also fulfills the boy-crazy part of the trope because she falls in love very easily.
  • The Ditherer: Whether it's deciding whether or not to marry Robert Martin or whether to have her purchases sent to Hartfield or Mrs Goddard's. If Harriet is making a decision in Emma's presence, she simply doesn't make it until Emma speaks up herself and says what she approves of.
  • Dumb Blonde: Harriet is a very pretty, plump blonde, but she is not all that bright, at least compared with the very clever Emma.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: She's a blonde girl with a very soft heart. She's mild and affectionate, though a bit slow and not very clever or reasonable.
  • Happily Married: Emma tries to invoke the trope for Harriet by finding her a suitable husband. She ends up marrying her first crush, Robert Martin, and they in all probability do achieve the trope, since the match is based on mutual affection. His family genuinely like Harriet, too.
  • Heartwarming Orphan: Emma considers her story to be sympathetic and assumes that gentleman callers will as well, though Emma assumes there's far more going on in Harriet's backstory than there actually is.
  • Innocent Blue Eyes: She has big blue eyes, and she's a sweet and naive girl who is happy that Miss Woodhouse befriends her.
  • Kindhearted Simpleton: Harriet is called silly, unassuming, or a simpleton over the course of the novel. She's not a smart girl, but very kind, mild and meek. Emma believes her good heart makes up for the lack of intelligence and that she would make an ideal wife for a gentleman.
  • Odd Friendship: With Emma. Mr Knightley in particular thinks it will be no good for either, though he does eventually acknowledge that Emma has helped to improve Harriet in some ways.
  • Parental Abandonment: There's no knowledge about her background, leaving it open for guessing. Emma's theory is that she might be from a rich gentleman's family. To be fair, it's a good guess, since it's known that someone's been paying for her boarding school tuition. She does eventually find her biological father just before she marries. He's a businessman who has done well; pretty much Robert Martin's urban counterpart.
  • Smitten Teenage Girl: She has three infatuations in total. First is Robert Martin whom she eventually marries, second is Mr Elton, and third is Mr Knightley.
  • What Beautiful Eyes!: Her most striking feature, according to Emma. Harriet has soft blue eyes.

    Anne Weston 
Mrs Weston, formerly Miss Anne Taylor, is a former governess who was hired to take care of Emma and Isabella Woodhouse. She's a close family friend and something between a mother and a sister to Emma, and like another beloved daughter to Mr Woodhouse. She marries Mr Weston at the beginning of the book.
  • Babies Ever After: By the end of the book, she has given birth to her first child, Anna.
  • Cool Big Sis: Although she was supposedly a mother-figure, she was more like a friend and sister to Emma because they adored each other so much. This in turn resulted in Emma not really having a lot of parental discipline growing up.
  • Cool Teacher: Before she married Mr Weston, she was a caring and supportive governess to both Emma and Isabella.
  • Happily Married: Mr and Mrs Weston are very happy together. Everybody can see it, except for Mr Woodhouse, who wishes Miss Taylor had never gotten married and stayed at Hartfield with him and Emma.
  • Parental Substitute: She was like a mother to Emma and to Isabella before the latter got married. They all lucked out: Miss Taylor was lucky to be hired by such a loving family who treated her more like a friend and family member than an employee; the Woodhouses were lucky to find such a treasure of a woman who loved the girls like her own. She also becomes a devoted stepmother to adult Frank Churchill, who clearly adores her.
  • Private Tutor: She was hired to work as a governess to Isabella and Emma.
  • Second Love: She's Mr Weston's second wife. He's very satisfied with his lot in life, and he seems to dote upon her. His first wife is said to have been unreasonable and haughty.
  • Shipper on Deck: For a short while she supports Mr Knightley/Jane Fairfax. It doesn't even come close to actually happening.

    Mr Weston 
Mr Weston is an old native to Highbury and one of the principle inhabitants of the neighbourhood. He served as Captain in the Army and became rich through trade. He buys Randalls House. Widowed from a young age, and later marries Miss Taylor. Father to Frank Churchill who was adopted by his sister-in-law. Very friendly and sociable.
  • Happily Married: He is very happy with his second wife, Miss Taylor, now Mrs Weston. Mr Knightley observes that he has an easy temper and would be probably happy with anyone, but he's definitely lucky to have married a woman who is so sweet and intelligent.
  • Last-Name Basis: His first name is never mentioned in the narrative. Everyone calls him either Weston or Mr Weston. Or Sir.
  • Love You and Everybody: He's extremely friendly with everybody, almost inappropriately so for a gentleman. Emma finds out it's no great compliment to be considered his particular friend and favourite. His intelligence and proper gentlemanlike behaviour save him from being insufferable.
  • Nice Guy: Everybody is his favourite and he is a favourite with everybody. He's a happy man most of his time.
  • Parents as People: He had to give up his son to wealthier relatives, being unable to raise a child for most of his youth. While Mr Weston is exceedingly proud of Frank and talks about him at every opportunity, he wasn't able to give him much fatherly guidance.
  • Rags to Riches: He wasn't penniless, but his income as a militia officer wasn't equal to supporting a wife and child. After Mr. Weston joins his brother's business, he slowly builds up enough of a fortune to purchase the Randalls property and live like a gentleman.

    Philip Elton 
Mr Elton is a young clergyman who lives in the Highbury Vicarage. He's single and means to get married.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: Gives a rather unexpected one to Emma when they are alone in a carriage after the Christmas party. It starts as a simple Love Confession, but the Angst comes with Emma's firm refusal. The anguish he suffers is more social and economic than emotional, as Emma clearly sees his passion to be for her money and position rather than her person.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: A male example. At first everyone finds him very agreeable and he comes across as a very friendly, gentlemanly, if rather silly young man. Midway through, he's revealed to being a gold digging Jerkass and thoroughgoing snob who only affects good manners for people he considers important.
  • Fourth Date Marriage: After Emma rejects him, Mr Elton goes off to Bristol and marries Augusta Hawkins almost immediately.
  • Gold Digger: Male example. Mr Knightley saw that in him when he tells Emma that Elton eagerly talked about his sisters being intimate with wealthy ladies.
  • Henpecked Husband: He ends up marrying the rich but domineering Augusta Hawkins. He seems quite proud of her and even fond of her though.
  • Hopeless Suitor: To Emma. Special emphasis on hopeless. Mr Elton thought he had a chance with Miss Woodhouse, the first lady in the community, a wealthy heiress of thirty thousand pounds (considering the inflation, Emma's dowry is worthy of millions of pounds). She seemed encouraging because she wanted him to marry her friend Harriet, but Emma never imagined he could be so bold and she's deeply insulted by his advances.
    "Contrary to the usual course of things, Mr Elton’s wanting to pay his addresses to her had sunk him in her opinion. His professions and his proposals did him no service. She thought nothing of his attachment, and was insulted by his hopes. [...] But—that he should talk of encouragement, should consider her as aware of his views, accepting his attentions, meaning (in short), to marry him!—should suppose himself her equal in connexion or mind!—look down upon her friend, so well understanding the gradations of rank below him, and be so blind to what rose above, as to fancy himself shewing no presumption in addressing her!—It was most provoking."
  • Jerkass: After he realizes that he will not have Emma, he starts ignoring her, as far as he can ignore one of the the most important people in the neighbourhood. He openly snubs Harriet at the ball by refusing to dance with her and being triumphant about it.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: He's the local vicar, so he counts as a gentleman, but he's neither very rich nor very important. Despite this, he considers himself a worthy suitor of the richest and most prominent young woman in the neighborhood. Emma is frankly insulted by his proposal.

    Frank Churchill 
Mr Weston's son by his first marriage. After his mother's death, he was raised by his rich aunt and uncle, the Churchills, at their family estate Enscombe. He is 23, very handsome and considered an amiable young man, liked by almost everybody.
  • Chick Magnet: He's very handsome and he knows it. Emma likes him immediately, and the rather distant and cold Jane Fairfax falls for him really hard.
  • Easily Forgiven: Lampshaded by Knightley, who remarks on how eager everyone is to forgive his inattention to his father and stepmother, his flirtation with Emma, his careless manners, and his forcing Jane to keep a secret.
  • Gone Horribly Right: He has to keep his engagement to Jane Fairfax a secret to avoid upsetting his aunt because Jane is not wealthy, and he chooses to do so by convincing everyone he's in love with Emma. He also convinces Jane, and she nearly breaks the engagement as a result.
  • Handsome Lech: He's very attractive, playful and charming. But he's also irresponsible and plays double games with everybody.
  • Happily Adopted: Played With. He's not absolutely dissatisfied with his new family; he especially likes his uncle, and he certainly doesn't dislike being the heir of very nice fortune. However, his aunt is a difficult and whimsical woman who influences important decisions. He also dislikes their secluded upper-upper class lifestyle.
  • I Have to Go Iron My Dog: He rushes off to London to get a haircut, to the befuddlement of all. (Actually, he went there to secretly buy a piano for Jane.)
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He's not exactly a jerk, but he is a very fickle, self-absorbed, and thoughtless young man who entertains himself by toying with his secret fiancée's feelings and openly flirting with another woman in front of her supposedly so nobody will suspect his true inclinations. But when he realizes how much he's hurt her, he immediately repents, throws caution to the winds, and decides to run with the relationship come what may.
  • Ladykiller in Love: A Regency variation: we have no evidence that he's had any relationships prior to the story, but he's clearly an accomplished flirt and enjoys the company of beautiful ladies. He openly flirts with Emma whenever he's in Highbury. All the time he's madly, genuinely in love with Jane Fairfax.
  • Lonely Rich Kid: He's extremely eager to join Highbury society, as the Churchills live in a secluded estate and he hasn't had much chance for socializing with his peers.
  • Romantic False Lead: Has a bit of a strong flirtation with Emma when he first arrives on the scene. They seem to be destined to each other and Emma fancies herself to be in love with him for a time, but they don't end up together.
  • Secret Relationship: With Jane Fairfax. They're been secretly engaged for months before The Reveal.

    Jane Fairfax 
Miss Jane Fairfax is an orphan and Miss Bates' niece and Mrs Bates' granddaughter. She is beautiful, intelligent, polite, well-mannered and elegant. She is extraordinarily well-educated and talented at music (singing and playing the piano). Jane is the same age as Emma. Colonel Campbell, an army friend of Jane's deceased father, took care of Jane by bringing her up in their comfortable home and paying for her education. She has no independent fortune and is destined to become a governess.
  • Condescending Compassion: She is on the receiving end of it from Mrs Elton. Mrs Elton was charmed by Jane's beauty, her many accomplishments, her talent in music, her what she calls timidity and her life story of an orphaned girl who will likely have to become a governess. Mrs Elton feels superior and tries to help her, and because Jane is poor and of less consequence than her wanna-be-mentor, she often has to civilly accept the unwanted attention.
  • English Rose: She has a delicate, porcelain-like complexion and she's an elegant beauty. She's devoted to her family, both her aunt and grandmother, and also she's a dear daughter to her adoptive family, the Campbells.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Emma realizes that Jane had to be very jealous of her and that's why she refused her attempts to befriend her and help her when she became ill. Even though Jane knew that Frank was only flirting with Emma in order to fool other people into believing he preferred her to conceal their secret relationship, he played it rather too well and took it too far.
    "In Jane’s eyes she had been a rival; and well might any thing she could offer of assistance or regard be repulsed. An airing in the Hartfield carriage would have been the rack, and arrowroot from the Hartfield storeroom must have been poison."
  • Happily Adopted: Her parents both died when she was a little girl, and her father's friend Colonel Campbell wished to help her; over time, as she became his daughter's cherished playmate, she grew increasingly regarded as a member of the Campbell family. The narrator says she never knew anything but kindness from her guardians and they provided her with an excellent education. Jane herself always speaks very highly and affectionately of them.
  • Heartwarming Orphan: She's a beautiful young woman and an orphan who is a great favourite with everybody in Highbury. Mrs Elton in particular gushes about her and considers her story and situation "so calculated to affect one".
  • Ill Girl: She has shattered health, which is a family trait. However, she's also depressed and fatigued mentally, which contributes to her physical weakness. In the spirit of the trope, it only makes her more beautiful: she is more on the thin side and has pale skin. (Word of God says she died of tuberculosis. And tuberculosis has been known to influence beauty trends in the past.) Emma and other characters however note that she look her best when she's finally relieved and finally happy.
  • Orphan's Ordeal: She's an orphaned girl, but luckily, she has some loving family left: her mother's sister and mother love her deeply, and her father's friend and his wife took her as their own, and she knew nothing but kindness from them and received an excellent education from them.
  • Proper Lady: Almost too proper if you ask Emma. Jane is a long-suffering beauty brought up by a genteel family, and she's often self-sacrificing and silent. She's beautiful, intelligent, accomplished and gentle, and seems to be admired by everybody. Emma thinks she should be friendlier and livelier.
  • Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: She has dark hair and dark eyelashes, and her complexion is fair, smooth and delicate without being pale. Everyone, even Emma, regards her as an elegant and beautiful lady.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: After watching Frank flirting with Emma for so long that the "keep the engagement secret" excuse no longer seems plausible, Jane abruptly decides to take the job that Mrs. Elton has been pestering her about because it gets her out of her engagement and Highbury.
  • Secret Relationship: With Frank Churchill. They knew each other from London society, and then they were both spending some time in Weymouth, Jane with her family and friends. They belonged to the same social circle and quickly fell in love. However, Jane is too principled and the secrecy of their relationship distresses her a lot.
  • The Stoic: Jane is well-mannered and accomplished but terribly reserved on account of her secret engagement. She shows only a few flashes of heartfelt emotion, enthusing over the idea of a ball and then much later opening up somewhat to Emma about how she is tired in spirit. Both times, Emma finds her much more likeable. After the truth comes out, Jane's manner is noticeably more open and lively.
  • Unwanted Assistance: Her general attitude towards Mrs Elton, who tries to take her under her wing. One of the "helpful" things is trying to find her a position as a governess. Mrs Elton really forces it on poor Jane and cannot take a hint, nor does she take no for an answer.
  • What Beautiful Eyes!: Her deep grey eyes with dark eyelashes and dark eyebrows, described in great detail.

    Henry Woodhouse 
Mr Woodhouse is Emma and Isabella's father. An older rich gentleman who is very affectionate and not very bright.
  • Captain Oblivious: He's incapable of believing that other people feel or see the world differently than he does, so he just assumes that his own opinions are universal. His daughter sincerely loves him, but since she's about ten times as intelligent as he is, she has to resort to manipulating his worldview in order to do things like going to a neighbour's dinner party or get him to agree with her attending a ball.
  • Doting Parent: He absolutely adores Emma, not seeing a single fault in her. He also loves his eldest daughter Isabella and her five children, and is particularly proud that she named her eldest son (Henry) after him.
  • Hypochondria: It's heavily implied that a lot of people think he's a hypochondriac, but they tolerate it because he's such a Nice Guy and because the local apothecary a) legitimately calms his worries and is a great comfort for him, b) has a nice income from the Woodhouses. Austen herself noted that he dies two years after the end of the book, so at least some of his conditions were legitimate.
  • Nice Guy: Everyone agrees that he's rather annoying, with his nervousness and eccentricities, but he's so kind that he's very popular nonetheless.
  • Overprotective Dad: He's over-anxious about food, sleep, exercise, social gatherings, and pretty much everything else. Emma is quite skillful at masterminding how to arrange things for his comfort while at the same time satisfying her own wants.

    Miss Bates 
Miss Bates is a spinster and a middle-aged daughter of a former vicar of Highbury. She's very friendly and garrulous, grateful, happy and cheerful despite becoming poor, loving towards everyone, and very popular among people of Highbury. She takes care of her ageing mother. Her niece is Jane Fairfax, daughter of her late sister Jane.
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Her constant praise of Jane doesn't abate when Jane is actually there, going so far as to propose reading out one of her letters. Jane forestalls it by saying she can just tell everyone what she said herself.
  • The Caretaker: She takes care of her elderly mother, Mrs Bates.
  • Doting Parent: She's a Doting Aunt for her niece Jane. She never sees a fault in her; to be fair, Jane is a very good and extremely sweet girl. But the aunt's public adoration of the niece grates on Emma's nerves in the extreme, and possibly annoys other people as well.
  • Gossipy Hens: She always cheerfully talks about people of Highbury and trivial stuff that happens. It's harmless gossip, but it's mostly accurate, and more important than it initially appears to be. Many of the clues to the book's mysteries are concealed and revealed in the flow of her speeches.
  • Maiden Aunt: She never married, and there is not even a hint in the narration that she might have had a relationship. She takes care of her elderly mother, and her niece Jane Fairfax is her darling girl.
  • Motor Mouth: She chitchats constantly and according to Mr Woodhouse, she talks a little too fast.
  • Old Maid: She never married. Her ordeal is quite hard, because she comes from a respectable genteel family, but after her father's death the family lost their chief source of important income and they are poor.
  • Penny Among Diamonds: She used to be rich, but lost her money before the novel begins; it's said that her father was a vicar in Highbury, but since his death she and her mother have had to shift for themselves. Despite being poor, she is generally welcomed into higher social circles because people seem to appreciate her good nature and honesty. People also know that her background is genteel.
  • The Pollyanna: In spite of being poor, with no hope of improving her and her mother's fortunes, Miss Bates is invariably cheerful and kind and always expressing how lucky she and her mother are to live in Highbury with such wonderful, generous friends.
  • Walls of Text: Most of her dialogue. It is hilarious, jumping from one topic to another without a much as taking a breath. Emma is sometimes amused by it, but annoyed at times.

    John Knightley 
Mr John Knightey is a young lawyer residing in London. He's Mr Knightley's younger brother and Emma's brother-in-law. His wife Isabella is Emma's older sister.
  • Happily Married: With Isabella, Emma's older sister. They have five healthy children and he's a caring father and husband. He's sometimes too snarky with his less intelligent wife, who doesn't notice.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Not quite a jerk, but he is gruff and impatient at times and isn't as good at keeping his temper as his brother. He's often sarcastic, just like his older brother, though a bit less mature about it. Underneath it all, he loves his family dearly and has great respect for his father-in-law.
  • Obnoxious In-Laws: Not as much as some, but Emma finds his indulgence in sarcasm towards her father rather provoking and sometimes hard to forgive.

    Isabella Knightley 
Mrs Isabella Knightly is Emma's older sister and Mr John Knightley's wife. She's a very sweet woman, devoted wife and mother, affectionate sister and daughter. She's also very anxious, especially about health.
  • Cool Big Sis: She's basically a younger, female version of her illness-petrified father; Emma, though eight or so years younger, actually fills the role better as the caretaker in the family and mistress of their father's hosue. Hotwever, Emma seems to admire her for having married so well and so happily.
  • Daddy's Girl: Her father loves her dearly, though he's closer to Emma, who is his caretaker.
  • Doting Parent: Her five children are the joy of her life, and given her youth and the genuine affection of her marriage, there may well be more on the way.
  • Happily Married: A paragon of feminine happiness, to quote from the narrative. She adores her husband and lives for her five children.
  • Missing Mom: Her mother died when she was but a young girl. Luckily for Isabella and her sister, their governess was very motherly and caring.
  • Proper Lady: She's a sweet woman, beautiful, elegant, an affectionate mother, wife, sister and daughter, and a perfect hostess. She quite fulfills the role of "angel of the house" as she never disagrees with her husband.
  • Sarcasm-Blind: She dearly loves her husband and she's not terribly clever, so she doesn't seem to realize how sarcastic he often is and that his sarcasm is sometimes directed at her.

    Henry, John, Bella, George and Emma Knightley 
Henry, John, Isabella, George and Emma are children of Mr John Knightley and his wife Isabella, adored by their Aunt Emma, Grandpapa and Uncle Knightly alike. They are fairly close in age and the youngest is a baby.
  • Cheerful Children: They are very endearing. They love playing with their Uncle Knightley, they enjoy Aunt Emma's stories, and they delight their grandpapa.
  • Family Theme Naming: All five children are named after one of their immediate relatives. Henry is named for Mr Woodhouse, John is named for his father, Bella is named for her mother, George is named for Uncle Knightley, and Emma is of course named for Aunt Emma.
  • Massive Numbered Siblings: There are five little Knightleys, and the youngest is a baby, so there might be more of them coming.

    Augusta Elton 
Mrs Elton, formerly Miss Hawkins, is Mr Elton's new bride. She considers herself quite worldly and means to improve everyone's life in Highbury.
  • Condescending Compassion: Newly married to a local clergyman, she immediately fancies herself the best, most respectable woman of the neighbourhood, even among the long-settled families of country gentry. She is quite rich and a new bride, so people in Highbury respect her and tolerate her to a certain degree, but she is insufferable. She forces her friendship and tries to mentor especially Jane Fairfax, who is an accomplished young lady, and because she is poor and of less consequence, she can't escape Mrs Elton's condescending good will as well as other characters.
  • It's All About Me: In almost every conversation we see her having, she manages to turn the subject to herself in some way.
  • Jerkass: She doesn't seem to realize how mean she is to most people, and she's blind to the fact that she's less popular with the respectable families in Highbury society than she imagines. She's particularly nasty to Harriet Smith.
  • The Mentor: Subverted. She attempts to be a mentor for Jane Fairfax, but Jane doesn't reciprocate. She also fancies herself "Lady Patroness" of Highbury and thinks she could and should mentor even the most respectable residents.
  • Nouveau Riche: She is the orphaned younger daughter of a Bristol merchant, raised by her uncle who worked in law. (Emma thinks the uncle might be a "drudge" who couldn't rise far in his profession.) Mrs Elton therefore talks a lot about her sister Selina Suckling, who married an actual land-owning gentleman (though someone whose family only recently bought the estate), making herself come across as even more of a social-climber.
  • Meaningful Name: Augusta and her sister Selina both have Classical Greek and Latin names, which were trendy at the time. It contributes to the puffed-up impression she gives, as opposed to the good old-fashioned English names that everyone else has.
  • Rich Bitch: With her dowry of 10 thousands pounds, she's rich and a real catch. She keeps boasting about her wealthy brother-in-law, his mansion house, his gardens, his carriages, his servants, etc. However, she has almost no social tact as she's condescending to respectable ladies like Mrs Weston or Miss Fairfax. And she behaves appallingly to poor Miss Smith. She means to insult Emma, but she doesn't dare to openly snub Miss Woodhouse so Emma's close friend Harriet is a good proxy.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: She was one of the richest and most consequential people in her hometown and seems incapable of realizing that that doesn't hold true in Highbury.

    Robert Martin 
Robert Martin is a tenant at Abbey Mill Farm. He's a respectable, educated, well-spoken young farmer. He's friendly, diligent and well-to-do, and though not a gentleman, he is well esteemed by Mr Knightley.
  • First Guy Wins: Of the three men Harriet fancies through the course of the story, he was the first and he gets her in the end.
  • Happily Ever After: He eventually marries Harriet, with whom he was in love since the beginning of the book.
  • Interclass Friendship: With Mr Knightley who is the owner of Donwell Abbey. Mr Martin is described as a gentleman farmer and Mr Knightley appreciates having him as his tenant. Mr Martin trusts Mr Knightley and asks for his advice in romantic things. However, their friendship is rather uneven because of their different social status.
  • Nice Guy: He's very sweet to Harriet when she spends a few weeks with his family. His mother and sisters are all very fond of him, too.

    Mr Perry 
Mr Perry is an apothecary who acts like the community doctor in Highbury. Mr Woodhouse finds great comfort in his visits and medical advice.
  • Interclass Friendship: The local apothecary. He's on friendly terms with Mr Woodhouse and he's very good influence on the old gentleman.

    Mrs Bates 
Mrs Bates is the widow of a former vicar of Highbury. She's a very old lady who lives with her single daughter.
  • Impoverished Patrician: She used to be the respectable wife of a clergyman, but lost pretty much everything after the late Mr Bates died.
  • Widow Woman: She's an old widow of former clergyman of Highbury.


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