Jane Austen once wrote that Emma was a heroine 'who no one but myself will like'. However, Emma is probably the most popular Austen heroine along with Elizabeth Bennet. Why is that? She's a something of a snob, she manipulates Harriet, argues with Mr Knightley, and shares gossip about Jane Fairfax. Why then, to we like her so much?
One of the reasons is that she is not perfect. She is real. We all make mistakes just like Emma. We can be snobbish like Emma. Although I like Elinor, Emma is my favorite all time heroine because she has depth (I'm not saying that Elinor doesn't have depth), is witty, and sometimes reminds me of myself.
We can all relate to Emma. We roll our eyes when Emma is persuading Harriet to refuse Robert Martin, but we've probably done something as obvious and irritating as that. We can also relate to her good points - falling for Mr Knightley :), befriending Harriet (though she wasn't the best choice, Emma did mean well), and just being there for whoever needed her (as in comforting Miss Bates when Jane is going to be a governess).
Another reason, I believe, is the recent adaptions of Emma makes her more 'accesible' especially Romola Garai. We can relate more to Emma after seeing her 'brought to life' so to speak.
What do you think are some of the reasons Emma is so likeable (or if you detest her, why is she unlikeable)?