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Frank epitomizes attractiveness in speech, manner, and
appearance. He goes out of his way to please everyone, and, while
the more perceptive characters question his seriousness, everyone
except Knightley is charmed enough to be willing to indulge him.
Frank is the character who most resembles Emma, a connection she
points out at the novel’s close when she states that “destiny …
connect[s] us with two characters so much superior to our own.”
Like Emma, Frank develops over the course of the novel by trading
a somewhat vain and superficial perspective on the world for the
seriousness brought on by the experience of genuine suffering and
love. He is a complex character because though we know we should
judge him harshly in moral terms, we cannot help but like him more
than he deserves to be liked.
Ace your assignments with our guide to Emma!