Love is the important theme in Austen's write.


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For the majority of the novel, Emma considers herself to be immune to romantic love. Although she considers the possibility of marriage to Frank Churchill, she acknowledges that she does not actually love him, as she is just as happy during his absence as she is during his presence. This ability to exist without love relates to the larger theme of marriage that permeates the narrative. Austen makes it clear that love is not a requirement for marriage and can actually be a detriment to the relationship (as with Mr. Weston’s first marriage). An individual must first consider social position, fortune, and other logical qualities when determining an appropriate match. However, because of Emma’s financial independence, these logical considerations are superfluous: she is in the unique position to be able to marry solely for love. Ironically, while Emma’s ultimate choice is made out of love, Mr. Knightley also combines all of the logical qualities of wealth, social status, and breeding that make a good husband. In the end, Austen also ensures that Harriet Smith and Jane Fairfax are able to marry for love, though their marriages also serve the important purpose of providing them with financial and social security.