Could you explain Jane Austen’s own attitude toward love and marriage in Emma?
Suffice it to say that no character who marries for status or for financial gain is portrayed as having a happy marriage in Jane Austen's novels. The imprudence of marrying for security is shown many times as responsible for unhappy marriages where a couple tolerate each other, but grow more and more aware of their lack of love for one another.
The social stigma of marrying above or below one's social circle is a constant theme causing turmoil in her character's lives. Think how characters who marry above their circle are portrayed (are you led to like or dislike them?).
In Emma, I think that we are led to like characters who marry for love regardless of social rank, but be wary of characters who marry to gain rank. It would not be wise, in my opinion to assert that Jane Austen promotes marriage outside rank (Mr. Knightley reminds Emma of Harriet's lack of rank and warns that she ought not become too puffed up in her marital hopes. Since his reasoning is portrayed as clearer than Emma's, his would seem to be the opinion the author intends to emphasize as the norm.).
If you see examples clearly in opposition to this, cite them and stun your professor. :)
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