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By Graham Handley (auth.)

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Extra resources for Middlemarch by George Eliot

Sample text

Lydgate reveals his capacity for indiscretion in talking to Mr Mawmsey (it is one of his spots of commonness), for human nature being what it is people have come to rely upon mixtures or drugs, feeling that they must be getting something for their money. The tone throughout is satirical, ironic, with the various reactions of the medical men tending to throw discredit on Lydgate's integrity, a neatly turned moral point, since Lydgate in his profession acts throughout from the best motives. Lydgate, however, profits from 'fortune's testimonials', and receives 'that ignorant praise which misses every valid quality'.

Will, with passion and prophecy, thinks of Dorothea as 'shut up in that stone prison at Lowick'. Dorothea is unaware of his passion, intent still on finding out what her husband needs to do in order to bring about the completion of his work without any gaps. Will's response is in unequivocal language implying criticism of Casaubon 'living in a lumber-room and furbishing up broken-legged theories about Chus and Mizraim'. He counters Dorothea's anger by saying that he means to be independent in the future.

One fine sentence links Casaubon comprehensively with the main imagery sequences of the novel: With his taper stuck before him he forgot the absence of windows, and in bitter manuscript remarks on other men's notions about the solar deities, he had become indifferent to the sunlight. Dorothea longs for expressed affection which it is beyond Casaubon to give. Her 'ideas and resolves seemed like melting ice floating and lost in the warm flood of which they had been but another form'. ' The wife is unhappy, mindful of the evenings when Casaubon has been unable to 'surface' (George Eliot's word) into life.

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