Posted by Susan on July 05, 1997 at 21:27:38:
In reply to MS/JN posted by Beth on July 04, 1997 at 02:05:11
Strong's portrayal on the other hand is of a parental figure, the only one Emma really has. His is such a strong, independent character, uninfluenced by others that when he finally declares his love for Emma, you can finally see that strong character bending in love and in desperation. You finally see what it takes to break through that tough shell. Any woman who can create love in a man like that must feel her worth.
Beth, your "swayed" view is definitely shared by others. I agree with many of the points you made about JN's portrayal of Knightley, and for the same reasons, and I LOVE Mark Strong as Knightley. Your "such a strong, independent character" and "strong character bending in love and in desperation" statements are exactly how I see him (and I do love the subliminal messages, BTW!). I think MS gave a very accurate portrayal of a man used to being wholly in control of himself who, all of a sudden, is not--and is not immediately sure quite why. He explained this well in "The Making of Emma." And his vulnerability in the proposal scene is all the more touching as a contrast to his usual decided demeanor.
Two points for discussion:
Please expand on your "tough shell" statement. This is a new one for me.
I'm afraid I don't see Knightley as a parent or brother figure, even though I know that's a popular viewpoint. He arguably wields the only disciplinary or instructing influence Emma receives from a male, but I don't think you have to be a 'parent' or a 'brother' to play this role. A great deal of his influence, although Emma doesn't necessarily see it at the time it occurs, is through example. These are the things that have caused her to take almost for granted that he is the epitome of a gentleman.
I see Knightley simply as an older friend of the family who has taken an interest in Emma since childhood, just as he has taken an interest in all of those in and around Highbury, in varying degrees of intimacy. Of course, there IS a closer relationship to those at Hartfield due to the connection of his brother's marriage, but he watches over, and is concerned about, all of his neighbors to one degree or another. He is simply that sort of man. *SIGH*
There are several examples in JA's work of the brothers and sisters of those betrothed or married considering their intended's brothers and sisters to be their own as well. The one that immediately comes to mind is Marianne telling Elinor that she will welcome Edward as a brother. My point is that I believe this was a societal convention and not necessarily to be taken literally.
And yes, I'm sure Emma's opinion of herself must have risen immeasurably when she learned she had Knightley's love, not just as a dear friend, but as something much, much more. To be so worthy!