Your amiable young man is a very weak young man, if this be the first occasion of his carrying through a resolution to do right against the will of others. It ought to have been a habit with him by this time, of following his duty, instead of consulting expediency. I can allow for the fears of the child, but not of the man.

Mr. Knightley’s opinion of Frank Churchill is low. He believes that Frank has insulted his father and the people of Highbury by always coming up with excuses as to why he cannot arrange a time to visit, and he also believes that Frank is less beholden to his aunt’s whims than he pretends to be. Mr. Knightley speculates that Frank simply doesn’t want to visit his father, and this lack of respect for his family and his duties as a son exposes Frank’s immaturity, weakness, and childishness. As a man in his early to mid-twenties, Frank should be able to stand up to his aunt and do what is right and necessary, and yet he seems to falter in completing his responsibilities. Mr. Knightley doesn’t respect this.

There is a likeness in our destiny; the destiny which bids fair to connect us with two characters so much superior to our own.

Emma and Frank Churchill are very alike in their personalities. While both of them are, at heart, good-natured, sociable, intelligent, and positive, they also have similar faults: immaturity, carelessness, and manipulativeness. And, as Emma tells Frank Churchill, their destinies are also alike: they’ll both marry someone who could be considered “better” than them. Jane Fairfax is kind, soft-spoken, talented, and hard-working. Unlike Frank and Emma, she thinks before she speaks, and takes care to disguise any negative feelings she may have toward others. Mr. Knightley is caring, responsible, and ethical. He is honest and doesn’t use manipulation – like Frank and Emma – to get what he wants. Jane and Knightley represent the maturity that Frank and Emma have yet to grow into.

My behavior to Miss Woodhouse indicated, I believe, more than it ought. In order to assist a concealment so essential to me, I was led on to make more than an allowable use of the sort of intimacy into which we were immediately thrown.

While Frank can be careless of the feelings of others, his letter to Mrs. Weston at the end of the novel shows that he understands the magnitude of his mistakes and deserves forgiveness from those he has affected. His apologies are sincere. He realizes that he has unfairly used Emma as a part of his ploy to keep his engagement to Jane secret. He has pretended to have feelings for Emma in order to disguise his feelings for Jane, and he understands that if Emma had begun to return what seemed to be his sincere affections, she could have been incredibly hurt and disappointed when Frank revealed his engagement to Jane. He insists that he felt no affection of the sort from Emma and would not have continued with his flirtation had there been any sign of it, but all the same, his ruse was unfair and embarrassing for everyone involved. Frank’s letter is a promising sign that he is in the process of maturing into a better man.