List of Characters
Emma Woodhouse—Protagonist of the novel; youngest daughter of Mr. Woodhouse and his deceased wife; sister of Isabella (Woodhouse) Knightley; mistress of Hartfield estate.
Mr. Woodhouse—Emma’s father; elderly, sedentary master of Hartfield.
Mrs. Weston (Miss Taylor)—Emma’s former governess, now friend; wife of Mr. Weston; mistress of Randalls country house.
Mr. Weston—(Captain Weston)—Retired militia; husband of Mrs. Weston; biological father of Frank Churchill; master of Randalls.
Mr. Knightley (George)—Gentleman farmer and magistrate; master of Donwell Abbey; neighbor and friend of Emma and Mr. Woodhouse.
Mr. Elton—Vicar of Highbury; young bachelor.
Harriet Smith—Illegitimate daughter of unknown persons; placed in Mrs. Goddard’s Boarding School in Highbury; befriended by Emma.
Mrs. and Miss Bates—Widow of former Vicar of Highbury and her spinster daughter; social friends of the Woodhouses; aunt and cousin of Jane Fairfax.
Jane Fairfax—Orphaned niece of Mrs. Bates; taken in by Colonel and Mrs. Campbell who undertook her education; secret fiancée of Frank Churchill.
Mr. and Mrs. Churchill—Aunt and uncle of Frank Weston Churchill whom they adopt; brother and sister-in-law to Miss Churchill, deceased first wife of Mr. Weston.
Frank (Weston) Churchill—Son of Mr. Weston and the deceased Miss Churchill; adopted by Mr. and Mrs. Churchill; brought up in fashionable London society; secret fiancé of Jane Fairfax.
Augusta (Hawkins) Elton—Social climbing wife of Mr. Elton; daughter of tradesman, eager to break into society at Highbury.
John and Isabella (Woodhouse) Knightley—Lawyer brother-in-law and sister of Emma Woodhouse; residing in Brunswick Square in London.
Robert Martin—Tenant of Abbey Mill farm, rented from Mr. (George) Knightley; fond of Harriet Smith.
Elizabeth Martin—Sister of Robert; resident of Abbey Mill; schoolfriend of Harriet.
Mr. and Mrs. Coles—Tradespeople of the village of Highbury, rising in fortune and rank to the upper middle class.
Mrs. Goddard—Mistress of a boarding school.
Mr. and Mrs. Cox—Lawyer family.
Characters Discussed (Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, Revised Third Edition)
Emma Woodhouse, the younger daughter of the wealthy owner of Hartfield and the most important young woman in the village of Highbury. Good-hearted, intelligent, but spoiled, she takes under her protection Harriet Smith, a seventeen-year-old girl of unknown parentage who is at school in the village. Given to matchmaking, Emma breaks up the love affair between Harriet and Robert Martin, a worthy farmer, because she thinks Harriet deserves better; Emma persuades her to fall in love with the vicar, Mr. Elton. To her dismay, Elton proposes to her rather than to Harriet and is indignant when she refuses him. Next, Emma becomes interested in Frank Churchill, an attractive young man who visits his father in Highbury, and thinks him in love with her; but it develops that he is secretly engaged to Jane Fairfax. Emma had never really cared for Churchill, but she thinks him a possible match for Harriet. She becomes really concerned when she discovers that Harriet’s new interest is in Mr. Knightley, an old friend of the Woodhouse family. She now realizes that Knightley is the man she has always loved, and she happily accepts his proposal. Harriet marries her old lover, Martin, and the matrimonial problems are solved.
George Knightley, a landowner of the neighborhood, sixteen years Emma’s senior, and an old family friend. Honorable, intelligent, and frank, he has always told Emma the truth about herself. When she thinks that he may marry someone else, she realizes that she has always loved him and...
(The entire section is 642 words.)