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Sunday, June 13, 2010

Defending My Man: Melissa on Knightley

Mr.  George Knightly in my opinion is the perfect Austen hero. I know many girls go squeeing over Mr. Darcy, but for me it’s always been Mr. Knightly. Many may see him as being uptight, strict, and emotionally uninvolved. To this I have to disagree. It’s true in comparison with Frank Churchill he may appear that way, but that is merely because he is not as outgoing as Frank is. As a genteel landowner and magistrate for the county Mr. Knightly can hardly afford to not be more subdued than Frank is. Mr. Knightly has a reputation to keep and he’s very aware of the fact that many young men and women look up to him.  That does not keep Mr. Knightly from being guided by feeling though. If you look closure at the surface you’d see that feeling often guides him as much as it guides Emma. The only difference is that as he states “I have the advantage of being sixteen years experience and by not being a pretty young woman and spoilt child”.   Thus, Mr. Knightly is more mature and has the advantage of knowing when to act upon his feelings. This mature nature also gives him the humility to state when he was wrong. As he does so when he admits his first impression of Harriet was wrong and that she was indeed an amiable girl. I understand that this mature nature is something that many Austen heroes does possess and does not make Mr. Knightly wholly unique.  It is merely part of an equation on why I love Mr. Knightly the best.
  The equation is complicated since it’s just something I know and feel. The reasons are perhaps small and very basic. In all honesty my feeling of love for Mr. Knightly could be equated to asking someone why they like their favorite food. The answer is usually very basic and often comes out that they merely like it the best. So do forgive me if the answer is not long because like Mr. Knightly’s confession to Emma that “perhaps if I loved him less I could talk about it more”.  
One of the reasons I love Mr. Knightly is his unfailing kindness. He does things without being asked and without expectations of a reward.  He lends out his carriage to Miss. Fairfax and Miss. Bates, dancing with Harriet, he gives the last of his apples, he does Mr. Woodlouse’s finances,  and he’s kind to every person he meets. And those are but few of the many acts of kindness he performs in the book. He also tends not to judge people too harshly and those he does usually has good reasons.
  Another reason is that he’s not made out to be perfect. He does have his fallings and he does get jealous.  It is quite apparent throughout the book that he was jealous of Frank Churchill. He’s not afraid to go out of his way to try to put him down a notch him as when he calls Frank’s writing feminine looking; Thus taking a dig at his masculinity. He’s also very outspoken which can be seen as an strength and falling.  It’s an strength to him because it shows he’s not afraid to speak his mind and he’s comfortable in his own skin to do so.  It’s a falling sometime because it can lead him into arguments that could have been readily avoided. 
If you take into account everything that Mr. Knightly is I find him to be the most ideal man out of all the Jane Austen hero’s.   It is true that he is not the most romantic, but great bouts of romance would seem odd to his character. He has always loved Emma, but loves in his own way. He only confesses when he’s ready and feels that pray haps he has a chance with her.  I would not expect him to write a great letter of love as Captain Wentworth did, nor sprout poetry as Willoughby does. His romance is expertly stated in his speech to Emma stating in chapter 49
“"I cannot make speeches, Emma:" he soon resumed; and in a tone of such sincere, decided, intelligible tenderness as was tolerably convincing.--"If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more. But you know what I am.--You hear nothing but truth from me.--I have blamed you, and lectured you, and you have borne it as no other woman in England would have borne it.-- Bear with the truths I would tell you now, dearest Emma, as well as you have borne with them. The manner, perhaps, may have as little to recommend them. God knows, I have been a very indifferent lover.-- But you understand me.--Yes, you see, you understand my feelings-- and will return them if you can. At present, I ask only to hear, once to hear your voice."
It was really with the speech that Mr. Knightly held my heart.

~ Melissa

[Want to defend your man? Send me your post at mbradenwf@gmail.com] 


  1. i completely agree. i much prefer mr. knightly to mr. darcy. and thanks for quoting him--one of my all-time favorite austen quote :)

  2. I must confess that the only Austen novel I've read is Emma, but Mr Knightley is one of my favourite heroes. I love the romance between him and Emma. I saw the BBC serialisation of the book last November, and reading your post now has reminded me again that I should re-read them. Definitely a good hero :-)

  3. Hi gapyeargirl123 ^^,
    The new BBC adaptation got me into reading the books as well. I had started a few months before, but it really made me pick up my speed. ^^ Mr. Knightly making girls janeites one female at a time. Take that Darcy! *\^o^/*

  4. I could not agree more. I'm finishing Emma now and I'm quite in love with Mr. Steadfast Knightley.


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