| Quote #1
The real evils, indeed, of Emma's situation were the power of having rather too much her own way, and a disposition to think a little too well of herself. […] The danger, however, was at present so unperceived, that they did not by any means rank as misfortunes with her. (1.4)
Imagination can be a dangerous thing – especially when it allows an over-inflated ego to take control!
| Quote #2
How can Emma imagine she has any thing to learn herself, while Harriet is presenting such a delightful inferiority? (5.15)
Mr. Knightley’s argument is based upon an implicit understanding of the standards of Highbury. As long as no one better than Emma is immediately nearby, she’ll never feel the need to improve herself. Local (not universal) standards are valued.
| Quote #3
Vanity working on a weak head, produces every sort of mischief. Nothing so easy as for a young lady to raise her expectations too high. (8.47)
Mr. Knightley, the only true social critic of the novel, argues against Emma’s friendship with Harriet largely because it seems to be based upon a self-deception (on Emma’s part).