George Eliot | The Theme of Middlemarch


George Eliot | The Theme of Middlemarch


George Eliot | The Theme of Middlemarch

George Eliot | The Theme Middlemarch

George Eliot | The Theme of Middlemarch

George Eliot’s ‘Middlemarch’ is a social novel the principal theme of which is love, rivalry and marriage. Through this theme, the novelist has shown that misunderstanding and infidelity between husband and wife make conjugal life trouble-some and unhappy. There are as many as four marriages happened in this novel such as—the marriages of Dorothea and Casaubon, Celia and Sir James Chettam, Rosamond and Lydgate, and Mary Garth and Fred Vincy.  Besides this, there are other themes like greed for money, suffering and death, medical practice, and politics.  But all these themes are subordinate to the main theme.  Now let us illustrate all these themes one by one as below:

First, we can consider the marriage of Dorothea and Edward Casaubon. She is idealistic and is interested in the study of philosophical books. She performs charitable works among the poor. But she lacks practical wisdom. One night a dinner party was arranged by Mr. Brooke where a serious-minded, middle-aged clergyman by the name of Edward Casaubon attended the party. He appeared to be a great philosopher like Locke. He said that he has been working on world mythology. There he was attracted to Celia but she remained indifferent to him. On this ground, he turned his eyes to Dorothea and she, being fascinated by him fell in love with him and later on, they got married. After the marriage, Dorothea found that Casaubon was indifferent to her. On the other hand, Casaubon’s cousin by the name of Will Ladislaw became enamoured of her and at last the conjugal life of Dorothea and Casaubon deteriorated.

Secondly, we see that Celia, the sister of Dorothea is in love with a wealthy Baronet by the name of Sir James Chettam. Celia is beautiful and possesses a greater common sense than her sister Dorothea. She married Chettam and their married life seemed happy one.

Thirdly, we see the marriage of Mary Garth and Fred Vincy. Mary Garth was the daughter of Caleb Garth who later on became the manager of Joshua Rigg. On the other hand, Fred Vincy was the brother of Rosamond. He was habituated to gambling. Mary Garth married him on the condition that Vincy would give up his habit of gambling and he would not take the profession of a clergyman.

Fourthly, there is the marriage of Rosamond and Lydgate. Rosamond was the sister of Fred Vincy. On the other hand, Lydgate was a proficient doctor. Later on, they got married. Their marriage seemed to be unhappier as Rosamond become wayward and Will Ladislaw seemed to be interested in her. But later on, they became reconciled.

In addition to the above-discussed theme of love and marriage, there are the themes of sufferance and death, greed for money, medical competition and politics. In the novel, we see at least the death of three leading persons namely Casaubon, Featherstone and Raffles. Casaubon is struck dead by one heart stroke. While both Featherstone and Raffles suffered a long and lingering death.

We see the greed for money in the relatives of Featherstone. On the eve of Featherstone’s death hordes of his relatives gather together in his house like vultures. Casaubon’s death did not bring tears to anybody’s eyes except to the eyes of Dorothea which also dried up soon.

There is the theme of medical competition between Lydgate and other doctors of Middlemarch as we see that all other doctors are jealous of Lydgate’s popularity as a doctor.

The theme of politics comes a little late. Here Mr. Brooke stands as an aspirant of politics who is backed up by Ladislaw with his pen and speeches.

Thus the novelist George Eliot has brought about a number of minor themes in addition to the major themes of love, rivalry and marriage in the novel and thus through these themes, the novelist has depicted her society. 0 0 0 George Eliot | The Theme Middlemarch

George Eliot | The Theme of Middlemarch 

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N. B. This article entitled ‘George Eliot | The Theme of Middlemarch’ originally belongs to the book ‘World Novel Criticism‘ by Menonim Menonimus. George Eliot | The Theme Middlemarch, George Eliot | The Theme of Middlemarch

Books of Literary Criticism by M. Menonimus:

  1. World Short Story Criticism
  2. World Poetry Criticism
  3. World Drama Criticism
  4. World Novel Criticism
  5. World Essay Criticism
  6. Indian English Poetry Criticism
  7. Indian English Poets and Poetry Chief Features
  8. Emily Dickinson’s Poetry-A Thematic Study
  9. Walt Whitman’s Poetry-A Thematic Study
  10. Critical Essays on English Poetry
  11. Tawfiq al-Hakim’s Novel: Return of the Spirit-An Analytical Study
  12. Tawfiq al-Hakim’s Novel: ‘Yawmiyyat Naib Fil Arayaf’-An Analytical Study
  13. Analytical Studies of Some Arabic Short Stories
  14. A Brief History of Arabic Literature: Pre-Islamic Period

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I am Menonim Menonimus, a Philosopher & Writer.


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