According to Ugo Betti, “’Mad’ is a term we use to describe a man who is obsessed with one idea and nothing else.” Everyone is obsessed with something, and that one thing can control someone’s thoughts and actions; whether it’s a new song on the radio, the newest style of clothing, or their favorite celebrity. But being obsessed is never a good thing. It can and will be an enormous part of ones life, once they are obsessed. In Emma, Mr. Woodhouse, who is Emma’s father, is haunted, and influenced by his health-consciousness. His obsessive attitude towards health makes him less liked by others in society.
One person that looks down on Mr. Woodhouse because of it, is his son-in-law, Mr. John Knightley. During the Christmas party at the Weston’s house, Randalls, Mr. John Knightley went outside to check on the weather, and when he came back and informed those at the party that it was snowing and said that, “everybody must have seen the snow coming on. I (admire) your spirit; and I dare say we shall get home very well.
Another hour or two’s snow can hardly make the road impassable; and we are two carriages; if one is blown over in the bleak part of the common field there will be the other at hand,” (Jane Austen 108). John Knightley knows that Mr. Woodhouse is a valetudinarian, so he says this to scare him. He knows that he would be terrified, and knew he would react by freaking out, and saying, “’What is to be done, my dear Emma? What is to be done?” (Austen 109).
Mrs. Elton thinks that Mr. Woodhouse’s health “must be a great drawback” for Emma (Austen 236). Her as well as the rest of the society in Highbury always have to make special accommodations for him wherever he goes. When the Woodhouses travel to Mr. George Knightley’s home at Donwell Abbey, they had to make sure that there was “entertainment” for Mr. Woodhouse; such as “books of engravings, drawers of medals, cameos, corals, shells, and every other family collection.