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by Jane Austen

Emma Morality and Ethics Quotes

How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)

Quote #4

Yet he would speak. He owed it to her, to risk any thing that might be involved in an unwelcome interference, rather than her welfare; to encounter any thing, rather than the remembrance of neglect in such a cause. (41.30)

Knightley’s honor always trumps his better (or more selfish) instincts. It seems like he loves Emma by now, but he’s willing to risk her respect to tell her the truth.

Quote #5

She never stopt till she had gone through the whole; and though it was impossible not to feel that he had been wrong, yet he had been less wrong than she had supposed—and he had suffered, and was very sorry—[…] and she was so happy herself, that there was no being severe; and could he have entered the room, she must have shaken hands with him as heartily as ever. (51.1)

As Austen’s narrator takes us through Emma’s response to Frank’s letter, she’s also teaching us how to read – how to be sympathetic to characters we encounter.

Quote #6

[…] such extreme and perpetual cautiousness of word and manner, such a dread of giving a distinct idea about any body, is apt to suggest suspicions of there being something to conceal. (24.42)

Ironically, gossip is the fuel for most misunderstandings in this novel – and yet Emma recognizes the all-too-human propensity for gossip by pointing out how unnatural personal reserve seems in Highbury.

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