The errors of judgment, illustrated by Mr. Elton and Harriet, continue throughout the novel as Mr. Knightly spots the problems and Emma falls straight into them. Emma merrily pairs off her friends in her mind and is continually surprised when a match just doesn't happen.
Miss Woodhouse's persistence in matchmaking can be seen by the reader as an example of her need for a sense of power and control over others. Her reference to it "being the greatest amusement in the world" and saying to her father "I promise you to make none for myself...but I must, indeed, for other people", seems to show that Emma looks down on others - and feels that, being first in consequence in Highbury, she has some authority to direct their lives.
Emma appears very taken with Miss Smith, "who she had long felt an interest in, on account of her beauty" - and begins to plan Harriet's future before even meeting her properly.
This is an example of Emma's domineering personality. She realizes that Harriet is vulnerable in her position as an illegitimate child, and recognizes that this factor (coupled with Miss Smith's social status and dubious upbringing), deciding that the "humble, grateful little girl" "deserve[s] encouragement", and that "improving" Miss Smith "would be an interesting, and certainly a very kind undertaking; highly becoming [Emma's] own situation in life...". She de-personalizes her - "a Harriet Smith", "exactly the something which her home required" - almost makes her an object - there to serve Miss Woodlouse's needs. This considered however, Emma has rather contradicting and deluded views on Harriet Smith - calling her "A girl who wanted only a little more knowledge and elegance to be quite perfect".
It is obvious that Emma wants Miss Smith all to herself, and to...