What is the moral code that Jane Austen constructs in Emma?

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The moral code that is clearly the message of this witty yet thoughtful novel points to the dangers of trusting in our instincts and imagination rather than in the facts of the situation. What makes this novel so hilarious is the many mishaps suffered by both the eponymous heroine, Emma Woodhouse, but also by various other people, such as Mr. Knightley. Both of these central characters form a number of opinions that are based on nothing more than hearsay or their own idea, which prevent them from looking at the situation with objective, dispassionate judgement.

For example, Emma clearly misinterprets Mr. Elton's actions, even though Austen makes it very clear...

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