Synopsis of George Eliot’s Middlemarch

Synopsis of George Eliot’s Middlemarch

About the writer

George Eliot was one of the most distinguished writers of fiction during the Victorian age. She was different from the typical Victorian novelists. She was an intellectual writer, more than the story she was interested in the analysis and diagnosis of the motives that impelled her characters to a particular action. She engaged in delving deep into the souls of her characters from an intellectual point of view. She was an extremely thoughtful, reflective, moral and philosophical type of novelist.


George Eliot set her novel in the rural and provincial life. Middlemarch is a study of provincial life and the scene is laid in the provincial town of Middlemarch in the first half of the 19th C. The story is concerned mainly with Dorothea Brooke, a lady of ardent religious views. She marries an elderly pedant Mr. Casaubon, possessed of an arch angelical manner. The marriage doesn’t prove to be happy and successful. Their marriage falls apart as Casaubon feels that his wife Dorothea is more attached to his cousin Will Ladislaw than to his own self. So, Casaubon makes a will wherein he states that if Dorothea marries Ladislaw after his death, she will not be entitled to any fortune belonging to him. In spite of the will of Casaubon, Dorothea and Ladislaw are brought together. Parallel with this plot runs the story of the unhappy marriage of Tertius Lydgate, an ambitious young doctor, animated by hopes of scientific discoveries and medical reform, with the beautiful Rosamond Vincy, whose materialism brings about the failure of his hopes.


The focus in the novel is clearly the middle class (middle marchers). The very title of the novel suggests the society is of vital importance. Frustration and disappointment are central to the novel. Lydgates view of life involves money which eventually ruins him. Rosamund wanted to be the partner in the accomplishment of a great work and marries Casaubon only to be disillusioned. She had created romance for herself and is forced to face reality. All great aspirations in Middlemarch become an illusory pursuit.

Disclaimer: I’m writing this post to help out students who are learning literature. During this quarantine period, I thought of sharing notes which were dictated by my professors in my literature class.

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