Riddle and word games represent the major theme of misperception, as their hidden meaning leaves much open for interpretation and misinterpretation. Just as Emma constantly reads romance between the lines of various social interactions, riddles and word games serve as disguised messages of romantic intentions. For those like Emma who possess an incomplete knowledge of others’ and their own hearts, however, these puzzles may contribute to, as opposed to clarifying, the confusion. For instance, Emma interprets Mr. Elton’s riddle of “courtship” as intended for Harriet, when it is in fact intended for Emma herself, and Mr. Elton mistakenly interprets Emma’s warm reception of it as encouragement.
Riddles and Word Games Quotes in Emma
The Emma quotes below all refer to the symbol of Riddles and Word Games. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:).
Chapter 41 Quotes
The word was blunder; and as Harriet exultingly proclaimed it, there was a blush on Jane's cheek which gave it a meaning not otherwise ostensible. Mr. Knightley connected it with the dream; but how it could all be, was beyond his comprehension. How the delicacy, the discretion of his favourite could have been so lain asleep! He feared there must be some decided involvement. Disingenuousness and double dealing seemed to meet him at every turn. These letters were but the vehicle for gallantry and trick. It was a child's play, chosen to conceal a deeper game on Frank Churchill's part.
Related Characters: Mr. George Knightley, Frank Churchill, Jane Fairfax, Harriet Smith
Related Symbols: Riddles and Word Games
Riddles and Word Games Symbol Timeline in Emma
The timeline below shows where the symbol Riddles and Word Games appears in Emma. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
...efforts to improve Harriet’s mind with reading make little headway, but the two enjoy collecting riddles in a book. Emma asks Mr. Elton to compose one for them, and Mr. Elton... (full context)
Mr. Weston presents a riddle in praise of Emma, and Mrs. Elton and Mr. Elton huffily excuse themselves from the... (full context)