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Emma | Study Guide

Jane Austen

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Course Hero. "Emma Study Guide." July 28, 2016. Accessed May 30, 2023.


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Course Hero Literature Instructor Russell Jaffe explains the main characters in Jane Austen's novel Emma.

Emma | Characters

Character Description
Emma Woodhouse Miss Emma Woodhouse is a 21-year-old, single gentlewoman of means who overestimates her power to discern the hearts of others and has limited knowledge of her own heart. Read More
Mr. Knightley A gentleman in his late 30s, Mr. George Knightley lives on a nearby estate and has been a close family friend of the Woodhouses for many years. He has secretly loved Emma since she was 13 years old. Read More
Mr. Woodhouse Mr. Woodhouse is Emma's father. He is a hypochondriac who believes that people should stay indoors as much as possible and eat plain food in small quantities. Read More
Harriet Smith Miss Harriet Smith is a woman of uncertain origin who is the illegitimate child of some wealthy person. Read More
Mr. Elton Mr. Philip Elton, a handsome clergyman (vicar) in his 20s, is somewhat new to the village of Highbury. Although he has some property, he wishes to marry a woman of means. Read More
Frank Churchill Mr. Frank Churchill is the son of Mr. (Captain) Weston. When he was a child, he was adopted by his deceased mother's rich brother and his wife. Read More
Jane Fairfax Jane Fairfax is an orphan who was mentored and educated by Colonel and Mrs. Campbell. She is well educated and talented. She is an object of Emma's envy. Read More
Mrs. Weston Mrs. Weston (the former Miss Anne Taylor) became Emma's governess and companion after Emma lost her mother at age five.
Mr. Weston Mr. (Captain) Weston left the military and went into trade. While in the military, he met and married Miss Churchill, a Yorkshire woman from a great family. After they had a son, Weston's wife died, so he allowed the wealthy Churchills to raise his son, Frank, so that Frank could inherit their property.
Isabella Knightley Mrs. Isabella (Woodhouse) Knightley, Emma's older sister, is married to Mr. John Knightley.
Mr. John Knightley Mr. John Knightley is Emma's brother-in-law, Mr. George Knightley's younger brother, and a practicing lawyer.
Miss Bates Miss Bates is a poor spinster who lives with her mother and has financially come down in the world, although she is a gentlewoman like Emma.
Mrs. Bates Mrs. Bates is the mother of Miss Bates and the grandmother of Jane Fairfax. She is slightly deaf.
Mr. Robert Martin Mr. Robert Martin is a farmer who is in love with Harriet Smith. A yeoman farmer who rents his land, he is not considered to be a gentleman.
Miss Martin Miss Elizabeth Martin is one of Robert's sisters.
Mrs. Goddard Mrs. Goddard runs the ladies' boarding school and has Harriet Smith as a pupil and parlor boarder.
Mrs. Elton Mrs. Elton (the former Miss Augusta Hawkins), a social climber from Bath, is the wife of Mr. Elton. She brings money to the marriage, but she is overbearing and ill-mannered.
Colonel Campbell Colonel Campbell was a friend of Jane Fairfax's late father. He and his wife take Jane under their wing and educate her from the age of nine.
Mrs. Dixon Mrs. Dixon (the former Miss Campbell) is a good friend of Jane Fairfax.
Mr. Dixon Mr. Dixon is the Irishman whom the Campbells' daughter marries.
Mr. Cole Mr. Cole is a tradesman who has made a lot of money and is now aspiring to be gentry.
Mr. Perry Mr. Perry is an apothecary—the general medical practitioner—who looks after the health of people in the village of Highbury. Mr. Woodhouse sees Mr. Perry quite often.
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