Love , courtship , and marriage are main themes in most of Austen's work.

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As in all of Austen’s novels, courtship and marriage play major roles in “Emma.” The entire novel is structured around various courtships and romantic connections, from Harriet and Robert Martin to Jane Fairfax and Frank Churchill to Emma and Mr. Knightley. All of the conflicts in the novel also revolve around this topic, particularly in terms of characters striving to find appropriate matches. In this way, Austen presents marriage as a fundamental aspect of society during the time period. While marriage promotes families and serves romantic purposes, it also upholds the class structure of the community by ensuring that individuals marry appropriately (such as Harriet and Robert Martin, who are in the same class). At the same time, Austen also uses marriage to highlight the social limitations faced by Emma and other characters: in their small village, marriage and courtship are the sole catalysts of excitement or conflict.