Posted by Laraine on July 17, 1997 at 09:57:10:
In reply to What was Emma's tone? posted by Nora on July 16, 1997 at 21:50:30
]...It must have been a large social crime, but I can't seem to understand the full value that such a comment would cause. Does anyone know?
I agree with Kathleen that Mr. Knightley is the best spokesperson for all the reasons that Emma has really done a bad thing.
My summation of it is that Emma has abused her power (to which Kathleen also alluded). Harriet especially, but others including Frank, can be influenced in their attitudes and behaviour by Emma. Her public riducule is needlessly hurtful, and it therefore abuses her power.
In essense, it's not very different than Emma persuading Harriet to refuse Robert Martin--Emma is abusing her influence over Harriet. Mr. Knightley also berates Emma early on for that behaviour towards Harriet, but in that case Emma doesn't admit the rightness of his criticism for a long time.
For me, what's really pivotal about the scene is not the specifics of what's said by anyone--Emma's made bigger mistakes and Mr. Knightley has taken her to task for it. What's pivotal is the fact that Emma realises her mistake without hiding in self-defense or self-deceit.