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George Eliots Middlemarch is a novel embroidered by social relations, marriages, gender roles and a plain perspective on the Victorian society. Adopting a feminist perspective, Eliot aims at putting forth some matters of gender roles within the time

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George Eliot's Middlemarch George Eliot's Middlemarch is a novel embroidered by social relations, marriages, gender roles and a plain perspective on the Victorian society. Adopting a feminist perspective, Eliot aims at putting forth some matters of gender roles within the time and she successfully portrays the state of the society with her complex characters and marriages full of frustration and disappointment. At this stage it would be suitable to analyze the novel from a feminist point of view and to take a closer look at the characters and social relations revealed in the novel. Some of the major themes stated in the novel can be considered as disillusion, gender roles and frustrated love relations and marriages especially with the marriages of some major characters such as Dorothea, Casaubon, Lydgate and Rosamond. Through the details which Eliot uses to portray her characters it becomes possible to deeply analyze the themes mentioned above. Taking a closer look at the novel, it would be suitable to take a closer look at some major characters such as Dorothea. She draws the character of a young lady who is idealist and who stands against the patriarchal law of the Victorian society. She is hungry for knowledge and believes that she can do more in the world other than being just a simple and ordinary woman which the Victorian society asks her to be. As stated in Middlemarch: And how should Dorothy not marry? - a girl so handsome and with such prospects? Noting could hinder it but her love of extremes, and her insistence on regulating life according to notions which might cause a wary man to hesitate before he made her an offer, or even might lead her at last to reuse all offers. (7) The portrait of Dorothea draws a contrary Picture of the classical Victorian woman who is limited in receiving a proper education and whose major goal is to marry a rich gentleman. ...read more.


Her rebellious attitude makes Casaubon fell himself threatened, especially during his illness, and he starts to suffer due to his unhappy marriage. Lydgate is another male major character in the novel who also suffers due to an unhappy marriage full of self illusions. Lydgate, the doctor of the Vincy family, is an idealist and he has long years to come to get married in the first chapters of the novel. He is also a part of the Victorian Patriarchal society and wants a stereotypical woman who stands for an ornament rather than a partner in his life. Despite his desire for an ordinary woman and his marriage to Rosamond who at first fulfills his desire, towards the end of the novel he finds out that he would prefer a woman who could in fact be a partner to him. This links him to Dorothea, who at first he despised for being so rebellious and different from the rest of the women in his society. Despite being a part of the patriarchal society which bases its values on mostly materialist things, he seeks freedom and dislikes the aristocracy. Being an orphan he symbolizes the modern man of the age who doesn't make a living out of his family inheritance or his social status, but portrays the Picture of a character who climbs up the social ladder by himself. It is also possible to say that Lydgate represents developing science of the age, which has witnessed the industrial revolution, since he is a doctor. At the beginning of the novel he thinks he only flirts with Rosamond and thinks that this wouldn't force him for marriage. However as the novel continues, the reader comes across the incident of him having to marry Rosamond due to social pressure. As a result of his flirting to her, he is expected to be a "gentleman" and to marry the woman who he has given hope for commitment. ...read more.


At this stage it becomes possible to say that Eliot regards balance as a matter of great importance n human life and in relations. Pointing out that the unbalanced way of life is also related to the Victorian education for women at the time and the imposed nation about gender roles on them, Eliot concludes her novel by marrying Dorothea to will. Speaking in feminist terms, it can be possible to a y that Eliot chooses such as ending not only to point out the emotional needs of a woman which Dorothy finally fulfills in the end through marrying will, but she also wants to point out another resistance by Dorothy. Despite the character tries to stop herself from breaking the law of loyalty to her husband even after his death, she finally gives up even the inheritance and chooses to marry will. Her action can surely be considered as a resistance to the whole Victorian society which she lives in, as she breaks the law of her deceased husband. Jeanie Thomas, in her book titled Reading Middlemarch: Reclaiming the Middle Distance, states that, "Dorothea, unlike Mary, breaks with family and tradition when she marries Will Ladislaw. The choice to marry, however conventional, is the protest that it is within her power to make against the existing structure of things (62)". As the resistance of Dorothy continues all through the novel, Eliot manages to draw the Picture of a different kind of woman within the age of the Victorian society. Speaking in general terms, the novel Middlemarch can be considered as a criticism of the Victorian society from a feminist perspective and that it clearly and realistically puts forth the state of gender roles within the time. Eliot manages to draw the Picture of both perspectives when approaching to both men and women and concludes herself in indirectly saying that balance is one of the most crucial things in human life. In this sense Middlemarch can be considered as one of the most efficient sources to gain information about the Victorian society and about the state of women at the time. ...read more.

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