Essay About Love and Despair in Jane Austen's Emma



Imagine if you had to pick between your friend’s wishes and your own. How would you pick? This is the dilemma that Harriett Smith is faced with when she had to decide whether or not to pursue marriage with Mr. Elton, whom her friend, Emma Woodhouse, preferred. Emma should not have tried to matchmake Harriett and Mr Elton. There are three main reasons why this pair created problems. The match between Harriett and Mr. Elton brought about disadvantages to people in the match and others, trouble for Mr. Elton, and presented some issues with Emma’s matchmaking. 

The disadvantages each side and others faced definitely outweigh the advantages of this match. Harriett immediately became attached to Mr. Elton when Emma suggested the match. Emma easily manipulated Harriett. As Harriett’s friend, Emma made the suggestion and Harriet assumed her choice to be the best for her. As soon as they found out Mr Elton did not take interest in Harriett, she was upset and unsure why Emma had pressured her into caring for him. Mr Elton also faced challenges with Emma's match. Harriett has an unknown background, which troubled Mr Elton because he wants to marry someone with money, which Harriett does not seem to have. Not only did the match affect Harreitt and Mr Elton, who were the ones being paired, but if the match fails, it can also make problems for Emma. People have seen her match others before and it worked. However, if this one does not work, people might be less likely to trust Emma's judgment when it comes to matching. They would see her failure and not take any advice on marriage she might give them.

Mr. Elton is put in a disagreeable situation by Emma trying to put him and Harriett together. First of all, Mr. Elton is very picky. He has high standards for his wife. He wants to marry someone in a high class family and is hoping to get money out of the marriage. Harriett would not meet his criteria since she is assumed to be lower class. Harriett also would not be Mr. Elton’s choice for marriage because he does not even like her. Emma and Harriett thought that Mr. Elton was trying to show Harriett he liked her with the charade, but that was meant for Emma instead of Harriett. Mr. Elton likes Emma better than Harriett because she has more money. That shows that Mr. Elton is not an exceptional judge of people because he thinks they are only worth his admiration if they have money.

Not only did Emma’s match idea present problems for the two being paired, it also exposed issues with her matching. Emma did not really think about how Mr. Elton might feel about the match, she just assumed he would be pleased with it. Emma definitely should have let Mr. Elton decide whether he liked Harriett or not before forcing him into her match. Since he did not actually like Harriett, that made an uncomfortable situation for Mr. Elton because he has to act as though he did like her so her feelings are not hurt. Mr. Elton was also in an unfortunate place due to the fact that people would not think highly of him if he married Harriett. Culture expected that people marry equal or higher status, and Harriett was much lower status. Another reason why Emma’s actions were inappropriate is that putting the two together can end badly. Once Harriett figured out that Mr. Elton did not like her, they were not able to be friends because of the tension the match created. Emma’s pairing caused uneasiness and distress between the two.

All things considered, Mr. Elton and Harriett should not have been matched. It brought about problems and agitated feelings among many people in the story. Mr Elton was at the largest disadvantage due to the fact that he was matched with someone he did not love by someone he did. Over all these problems, Emma’s matchmaking career was the main issue behind this match. It was improper for her to put pressure on people to marry when they do not wish to.