Study Guide

Mr. John Knightley in Emma

Mr. John Knightley

Mr. John Knightley is Mr. Knightley’s younger brother (we can tell because only the eldest son gets exclusive use of the Knightley last name). It’s a bit strange, we know, but that’s how nineteenth-century England rolls. He’s got all of the Knightley smarts, but somehow he missed the sociable gene. Mr. Knightley (that’s Mr. John’s brother, remember?) exudes confidence and grace; Mr. John Knightley makes sure that everyone knows how much he’d rather be at home.

Mr. John may seem like a bit of a jerk, but he’s actually just in love with his wife and kids. He can’t think of anything better than a quiet night at home with his family – and he just can’t understand why other people would want to waste time at silly things like dinner parties and balls. He’s not a mean person, just a family man. When other folks don’t seem stuck-up or idiotic, however, Mr. John Knightley can be surprisingly pleasant.

For a man who hates society, however, Mr. John Knightley’s got a great social radar. After all, he notices that Mr. Elton has eyes only for Emma far before Emma figures it out for herself. He also has a pretty clear sense that Emma is getting a really good deal when she marries Mr. Knightley. Luckily, Emma happens to agree.