The vision of the ideal marital partner, for both Dorothea and Lydgate, is oddly chanced. Strangely, Dorothea seeks an intellectually dominant partner who will guide her to her higher purpose in life, while Lydgate seeks a submissive woman who will share in his struggles and assist him with achieving his ambitious goals. It appears to the reader that in many ways it seems like they were looking for each other—for the commonality in their both ideals is the desire for a partner with whom they can share their higher goals, however, both marry someone quite different from this vision. In the beginning chapters, Dorothea is described as looking for a union “that would deliver her from her girlish subjection to her own ignorance, and give her the freedom of voluntary submission to a guide who would take her along the greatest path” (27). Here, Dorothea’s sel...
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...ion. As each character begins to “emerge from that stupidity” (198) of delusion, they are given the opportunity to show to show their true moral standing through the way in which they deal with the realities—the realities with which they are confronted with after the illusions starts rubbing off. Dorothea morally elevates herself in the post-imaginative state, showing her ability to accept her duties. Whereas, Lydgate is less satisfying, forcing himself into a perpetual compromise in which her maintains some of his illusion while completely sacrificing his goals and himself to the consequences. Thus, this temptation to imagine in inescapable in the world of Middlemarch, and—as Eliot informs the reader—in the world at large: “We are all of us imaginative in some form or other, for images are the brood of desire,” in this inescapable “fellowship of illusion” (304).
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