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If there is one metaphor that serves to sum up the way people and society work in Middlemarch, it is a web. Just as Rosamond and Lydgate spin their own web and get caught in it, every character is bound in a huge web, and if one pulls one way or another, the web shifts, and someone is affected. Things and people are inextricable connected and an event, like Featherstone's funeral, can have a very palpable meaning to someone who has no involvement, like Dorothea. Middlemarch is a very carefully woven work of social commentary and human analysis, with many living, breathing characters who are as real as the historical time period they inhabit.