Women and Their Stereotypical Roles in George Eliot’s Middlemarch

George Eliot’s novel Middlemarch provides the reader with a valuable insight into the lives of different women in the first half of nineteenth century provincial England. The novel gives its readers a good idea of how people interact with and are formed by society, but it also offers a rather detailed study of some characters’ inherent qualities and their impact on interactions with other people and the formation of the protagonists’ role in life. In the focus of this paper are the four marriageable young women: Dorothea and Celia Brooke, Rosamond Vincy and Mary Garth. Although Dorothea is often in the centre of attention, Eliot provides her readers with enough information on all four women and an assessment of their characters and life styles can be made. Due to differences in character, ambitions, actions and of course different positions in society, the roles of these four women vary considerably. Additionally, in the course of the novel, various predicaments bring out traits of character that do not adhere to the outward picture of these women. I will try to incorporate both the characteristics of the women during more peaceful times as well as their characteristics in times of crises into the study of their character. All...

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