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Discuss the recurring theme of sympathy, forgiveness and compassion in The Mill on the Floss.

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?Oh, Tom, it?s very cruel,? sobbed Maggie. ?I?d forgive you, if you forget anything ? I wouldn?t mind what you did ? I?d forgive you and love you.? Discuss the recurring theme of sympathy, forgiveness and compassion in The Mill on the Floss. George Eliot, writing about 1830?s English society in her novel The Mill On The Floss, puts forth, to the reader the themes of forgiveness, compassion, and sympathy using literary techniques, in The Mill on the Floss; she does this through Maggie?s relationship with Philip, the Tulliver men?s nature and society. Firstly, Eliot presents the themes of sympathy, forgiveness and compassion through Maggie?s relationship with Philip by using narrative methods and language. Throughout the novel the author conveys Maggie?s relationship with Philip as having revolved around sympathy, as seen by her ?tenderness? for his ?deformity,? because she felt he was more ?fond? of her compared to ?strong? people. This shows the audience, how Maggie was compassionate and wanted to give love to people who did not receive much attention, which derives from her childhood where she did not receive much kindness, as seen by the phrase, ?you have always enjoyed punishing me?, when Maggie is being scolded by Tom for being friends with Philip. ...read more.


Furthermore, the author conveys the Tulliver men as lacking the ability to forgive, and having very little compassion and sympathy towards certain people, using action and dialogue. Mr. Tulliver is characterized by Eliot as unforgiving, as seen by the phrase ?I won?t forgive him? I wish evil may befall him?, when he is making Tom sign the Bible condemning Mr. Wakem. This shows the reader, that though Mr. Tulliver was at fault by going to ?law? he still held a grudge, which is further reinforced later in the book where he ?flogged [Wakem] fiercely?. The audience sees this merciless personality as eventually killing Mr. Tulliver, for has a heart attack due to his violent outburst, which could be the author conveying how the lack of forgiveness and holding a grudge was a dangerous and unhealthy trait. Contrastingly, Mr. Tulliver is portrayed as a very compassionate and sympathetic man when it came to his sister, Moss, for he refuses to let her family pay him back even in his time of need, as seen by the phrase ?burn the note?, that was a receipt for the debt the Moss? owed the Tullivers, showing the audience how he didn?t want to compromise his sisters family for his own. ...read more.


The judgment passed by St. Ogg?s community is very harsh after Maggie returns from running away. This is seen by the phrase ? no one would have spoken to her?. This shows the audience how society at the time were quick to pass judgment even without proper evidence. Additionally, the theme of sympathy is portrayed as well, but towards men, instead of women, which is conveyed by the narrator through the phrase ?Mr. Stephen Guest had not behaved well? but then young men were liable to those sudden infatuated attachments?; this shows the reader how men had an excuse to be impulsive but women, on the other hand, were looked down on for deviating from societies rules. This may be Eliot conveying how society judged women more for they were subordinates in the English 1830?s society. The theme of forgiveness and sympathy is largely portrayed at the end of the novel, for the audience see?s how the community reacts a person deviating from their norms. In conclusion, the themes of forgiveness, compassion, and sympathy are abundant in The Mill on The Floss, this is seen through the relationships of the characters and society. Eliot does this so that the audience can understand the issues during the 1830?s. ...read more.

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