Understanding Marriage Partners in Middlemarch

In George Eliot's novel Middlemarch, a successful and happy marriage between two characters involves the willingness to work together on their relationship. Each character must present a broad perspective, which includes the ability to know and understand what the other is feeling. In the Finale, Eliot writes that marriage "is still the beginning of the home epic-the gradual conquest or irremediable loss of that complete union" (511). In other words, marriage is a shared endeavor whose goal is the unity of two separate people. In Eliot's Middlemarch, this slow progression is seen in the marriage of Mary Garth and Fred Vincy. Before marrying him, Mary compels Fred to choose a suitable career and develop as an individual person. A marriage of hostility, such as that of Rosamond Vincy and Tertius Lydgate, will develop if either partner refuses to communicate and work on their marriage. The couples who are still happily together at the novel's conclusion, such as Fred Vincy and Mary Garth and Will Ladislaw and Dorothea Brooke-Casaubon, have grown to know both themselves and their companions. Through the couples in Middlemarch, George Eliot illustrates that marriage is a journey that requires both work, and a...

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