December 13, 2015

Emma (1996)

One of my favorite novels by Jane Austen is, of course, Pride and Prejudice. I was always
captivated by the strong character of Elizabeth Bennet and, at a young age, I strived to be as brave as she was.

My sister bought a copy of Austen's Emma a few years ago, but I could never get around to finishing it from cover to cover. I knew that the general plot revolved around Emma Woodhouse, the protagonist, who took the initiative to be the match-maker in her small town.

Yesterday, I watched the 1996 adaption by Diarmaid Lawrence, and I fell in love with the character of Mr. Knightly. Even though I am an avid fan of Pride and Prejudice, I was never really into Mr. Darcy (the arrogant proprietor of Pemberley). Too pompous. Too blah.

But, Mr. Knightly, played by Mark Strong, is by-far my favorite male character in a Jane Austen novel. He holds etiquette and mannerism as requirements, for both himself and Emma. Yeah, he is borderline self-righteous, but he balances that out with an unexpected aire of humility and modesty.

Where are the Mr. Knightly's of the 21st century?

“There is one thing, Emma, which a man can always do if he chooses, and that is his duty; not by manoeuvring and finessing, but by vigour and resolution." 

- Mr. Knightley

“'Whom are you going to dance with?' asked Mr. Knightley.

She hesitated a moment and then replied, 'With you, if you will ask me.'

'Will you?' said he, offering his hand.

'Indeed I will. 

You have shown that you can dance, and you know we are not really so much brother and sister as to make it at all improper.'

'Brother and sister! No, indeed.'”

- Mr. Knightly + Ms. Woodhouse

"She was vexed beyond what could have been expressed—almost beyond what she could conceal. Never had she felt so agitated, so mortified, grieved, at any circumstance in her life. She was most forcibly struck. The truth of his representation there was no denying. She felt it at her heart. How could she have been so brutal, so cruel to Miss Bates! How could she have exposed herself to such ill opinion in any one she valued! And how suffer him to leave her without saying one word of gratitude, of concurrence, of common kindness!"

- Ms. Woodhouse

"Seldom, very seldom does complete truth belong to any human disclosure; seldom can it happen that something is not a little disguised, or a little mistaken; but where, as in this case, though the conduct is mistaken, the feelings are not, it may not be very material."

- Ms. Woodhouse

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