Middlemarch Essay

Middlemarch Essay

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Middlemarch, a Victorian novel written by George Elliot, depicts a realistic view of a conventional society in the eighteenth century. Middlemarch, the town in England where the setting of the novel takes place, embodies many provincial characters who are affected by the social world where they live and interact with each other. The novel focuses on many of the characters and their relationships as part of a whole in a human social web. Among the many characters, the main ones include: Dorothea Brooke, a beautiful, good, and caring young woman, but very naïve and idealistic; Edward Casaubon, a boring old scholar who marries Dorothea; Rosamond Vincy, a gorgeous young woman, but very egoistic and self-centered; Tertius Lydgate, a brilliant and handsome physician who marries Rosamond; Will Ladislaw, a passionate young artist who falls in love with Dorothea and later marries her after Mr. Casaubon’s death; Fred Vincy, a good-natured young man who is often in debt; and Mary Garth, a plain woman, but very kind and sensible. Elliot focuses heavily on the realities of marriage and the incompatibility between a couple based on idealistic notions about each other and marriage in general. Idealism leads to the failure of the marriages between Dorothea Brooke and Edward Casaubon and Tertius Lydgate and Rosamond Vincy. The downfall of these two unions stands in stark contrast with the marriage between Fred Vincy and Mary Garth. Fred and Mary do not have idealistic notions about each other and are realistic in their thinking and approach to marriage which is the reason for their success and mutual happiness. Dorothea’s second marriage is also a success because she does not base her thinking and happiness on ideal beliefs.
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...rd and the union between Tertius and Rosamond. The marriages between these couples are failures because they are blind to the faults of their spouses. It is only after marriage that these characters realize the mistakes that they made. The ideal visions are crushed by the depressing reality. They cannot continue to idealize when they learn and see the truth. The marriage between Fred and Mary and the marriage between Dorothea and Will are successful because they are free from the ideals that hide the truth and cause unhappiness. These couples did not hold high expectations for each other or for their marriages. They saw and accepted reality as it was and humbled themselves. The idealism in the novel only led to the downfall and unhappiness of the characters in their marriages. The successful marriages on the other hand were free from high expectations and ideals.

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