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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A thematic study of the characterization of women in three novels by George Eliot Kirby, Elizabeth Anne 1975

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A THEMATIC STUDY OF THE CHARACTERIZATION OF WOMEN IN THREE NOVELS BY GEORGE ELIOT by ELIZABETH ANNE KIRBY B.A. , University of Winnipeg, 1972 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN THE REQUIREMENTS MASTER PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF FOR THE DEGREE OF OF ARTS i n the Department of English We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA A p r i l 1975 In presenting t h i s thesis i n p a r t i a l fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree that the Library s h a l l make i t freely available for reference and study, I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the Head of my Department or by his representatives. It i s understood that copying or publication of t h i s thesis for f i n a n c i a l gain s h a l l not be allowed without my written permission. Department of £^^7/X.£o^/l^ The University of B r i t i s h Columbia Vancouver, Canada V6T 1W5 Date / f a / /97S ABSTRACT A Thematic Study of the Characterization of Women in Three Novels by George Eliot emphasizes the development of her a b i l i t y to end her novels i n a genuine and consistent manner. This process.culminates i n her f i n a l novel through her extension of a sympathetic apprecia-t i o n of human error and psychological i l l u s i o n to a credible con-clusion which both convinces the reader and s a t i s f i e s the demands of plot. Her i n i t i a l use of a r t i f i c i a l endings, such as death and marriage, assures the reader that there w i l l be no extraneous exper-iences to consider at the close of each novel. In Daniel Deronda, however, George E l i o t depicts the future of her heroine as an unknown element i n which the only constant i s the process of maturation. This novel offers a detailed perspective on human development concluding with the concept of a future i n which new awareness w i l l be applied to unspecified events. Considering the i n t r i c a c i e s of the issues of human nature that George E l i o t deals with, such as in d i v i d u a l i l l u s i o n s , the effects of s o c i a l pressure, the inescapable consequences of past behavior, and the course of moral growth, the s i m p l i c i t y of her closed and happy endings i n the novels previous to Daniel Deronda are aesthetically and emotionally unsatisfying for the reader. This study accounts for the superiority of her f i n a l novel by virtue of i t s faithfulness to the condition of change implied throughout the development of plot and characterization. Chapters I and I I of.this thesis deal with Maggie T u l l i v e r ' s drowning i n The Mill on the Floss and Dorothea Brooke's f i n a l i i i marriage i n Mtddtemavah as examples of George E l i o t ' s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of completing her novels with a b r i e f and ungratifying account of the heroine a f t e r rendering a slow and f a i t h f u l description of her temperament, her emotional traumas and the consequent moral dilemmas established against the panoramic background of p r o v i n c i a l society. Chapter I I I , however, establishes Gwendolen Harleth's new and disturbing v i s i o n of r e a l i t y and the uncertainty of her future as a conclusion to Daniel Deronda. This open-ended structure g r a t i f i e s the reader's expectation by i t s consistency with the complexity of the heroine's psychological drama. i v CONTENTS INTRODUCTION CHAPTER I A Moral Dilemma: The Mill on the Floss CHAPTER I I The Importance of the Unhistoric Act: Middlemarch CHAPTER I I I The Redemptive Power of Suffering: Daniel Devonda FOOTNOTES BIBLIOGRAPHY LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS References to the novels are made i n the text and the following abbreviations are used f o r the t i t l e s : DD Daniel Deronda M Middlemaroh MF The Mill on the Floss v i 1 INTRODUCTION The souls by nature pitch'd too high By suffering plung'd too low;-'-The major heroines i n George E l i o t ' s f i c t i o n are variations on the same basic character. Maggie T u l l i v e r , Dorothea Brooke, and Gwendolen Harleth show varying degrees of passion, wistfulness, and caprice. The effects of t h e i r loves and the dilemmas related to these emotional experiences portray such characteristics. I t i s possible to trace George E l i o t ' s development as a writer through her treatment of moral growth i n these three heroines and reveal a clear improvement i n her a b i l i t y to characterize women. This trend toward refinement of female character i s most apparent i n The Mill on the Floss (1860), Middlemaroh (1871), and Daniel Deronda (1876). As George E l i o t presents the moral dilemmas of Maggie T u l l i v e r , Dorothea Brooke, and Gwendolen Harleth, her perspective on the human condition becomes progressively more r e a l i s t i c . Character-i z a t i o n i s perfected by increased exposure of the psychological drama that creates an emotionally mature adult. Maturity s i g n i f i e s each heroine's development of insight into her own small world i n r e l a t i o n to the larger universe. P a r a l l e l and consequent to this pattern i s a decreased tendency for George E l i o t to rely upon the convenient denouement of plot and on i d e a l i z a t i o n of character. In the endings of these novels, George E l i o t proceeds from the u n r e a l i s t i c and abrupt drowning of Maggie T u l l i v e r to the f a i r y t a l e second marriage of Dorothea Brooke to the unresolved dilemma of Gwendolen Harleth. Each heroine i s released i n some manner through death, but only i n The Mill on the Floss does she 2 meet this experience herself. Whereas death frees Maggie from the burden of her hopeless state, however, i t frees Dorothea to remarry, and Gwendolen to begin l i f e anew as an unfettered woman. Maggie Tulliver's drowning serves abruptly and unconvincingly to eradicate the problems of plot development. Maggie, i s trapped by her passions and her lack of opportunity to nurture them, but her rapid death i n the flood solves the problem too quickly for the reader's emotional adjustment. Dorothea Brooke's union with W i l l Ladislaw, on the other hand, gives purpose to her l i f e by offering her a tangible future to which she can devote her energies and ideals. Casaubon's convenient death frees Dorothea to demonstrate her maturity by marrying more compatibly, but only after she volunt a r i l y abandons her inheritance. Thus, she negates the c o d i c i l of Casaubon's w i l l which i n turn eliminates any hesitation about l o y a l t i e s to her f i r s t commitment.-This new relationship releases Dorothea from the wealth that has sheltered her, and appeases her heretofore s t i f l e d aspiration and s e l f - s a c r i f i c i a l w i l l . Anticipated by Maggie T u l l i v e r , and fore-shadowing Gwendolen Harleth, Dorothea Brooke has been trapped by pr o v i n c i a l values that lead to a woman's self-delusion and unworldly mental preoccupations for such women, but marriage with Ladislaw terminates the fru s t r a t i o n of lim i t e d choices inherent i n such a sit u a t i o n . Dorothea's l i f e i s thus " f i l l e d with a beneficent a c t i v i t y which she had not the doubtful pains of discovering and 2 , A marking out for herself'."'; " 610;,."" As Mrs. Moss so aptly claims i n The Mill on the Floss, " I t ' s a deal easier to do what pleases one's husband, than to be puzzling what else one should do" (MF, 147). 3 By contrast, Gwendolen Harleth's shattering, but credible f i n a l e leaves her to resolve her own dilemma on the strength of her new awareness of r e a l i t y and the humility she has gained by the example of Deronda's unselfishness and the memory of his friend-ship. In an early essay, George E l i o t suggests that the necessary elements of f i c t i o n are "genuine observation, humour, and passion." The l a t t e r two c r i t e r i a abound i n a l l her novels i n varying degrees, but the capacity to perceive the basis of human psychology i s nowhere more apparent than i n her description of Gwendolen Harleth's maturing process. George E l i o t proceeds i n her f i c t i o n from the tendency to analyse i n The Mill on the Floss, to a combination of narration and omniscient analysis i n Middlemaroh, to the a b i l i t y to move e f f o r t l e s s l y from one to the other i n Daniel Deronda. These three novels concern themselves with heroines who have i n common the a b i l i t y to grow through experience and the depth to achieve wisdom by suffering. Each heroine's love relationship exposes her evasion of the truth i n matters of love and the sub-sequent growth of awareness as r e a l i t y i s forced upon her. The search for a vocation, common to Maggie, Dorothea, and Gwendolen, includes a naive concept that there i s a single path to happiness. Maggie believes the way l i e s i n renunciation, Dorothea i n knowledge, and Gwendolen i n will-power. Enlightenment involves acquiring the knowledge that no single idea answers for eternal happiness. Circumstance i s as important as character i n forming the direction followed by George E l i o t ' s heroines; s o c i a l conventions combine with i n t e r n a l pressures to produce the f i n a l outcome. Circumstance determines that Maggie begin as an "ugly duckling," 4 Dorotheaas a wealthy orphan, and Gwendolen as a spoiled beauty. Like George E l i o t , each woman i s orphaned by at least one parent. Each heroine can thus be responsible for her destiny only insofar as she i s aware o f a a l l the p o s s i b i l i t i e s of her p a r t i c u l a r existence and knows herself deeply enough to be a useful guide i n her own future. Enlightenment i s offered to each through the learning that comes with increased interaction with society, especially i n the form of the one man who voices George E l i o t ' s opinion. P h i l i p Wakem provides t h i s voice of wisdom for Maggie T u l l i v e r , W i l l Ladislaw for Dorothea Brooke, and Daniel Deronda for Gwendolen Harleth. George E l i o t describes the moment of disillusionment that i n i t i a t e s the enlightenment and psychological development i n each of her heroines i n a l e t t e r written i n 1848, long before the conception of her novels: Alas for the fate of poor mortals which condemns, them to wake up some fine morning and f i n d a l l the poetry i n which t h e i r world was bathed only the evening before, u t t e r l y gone! . . . This i s the state of p r o s t r a t i o n — the self-abnegation through which the soul must go, and to which perhaps i t must again and again return • • • • Thus, each heroine must r i s e to a new day which brings with i t renewed hardships and sorrows. The manner i n which she has deluded herself and theway she finds release from her i l l u s o r y r e a l i t y form the basis of each heroine's development. Gwendolen Harleth r e s i s t s the i n s t i n c t i v e knowledge of morality and goodness by marriage to Grandcourt, and, i n so doing, begins a long and painful struggle with her conscience. The solution George E l i o t offers i n Daniel Deronda i s far from the Victorian ending of The Mill on the Floss where the b e a u t i f u l heroine i s f i n a l l y appreciated i n death. Middlemarch, where the heroine i s ultimately betrothed to a worldly and knowledgeable counterpart, also represents the conventional Victorian n o v e l . B u t Gwendolen Harleth's story leads to quite another kind of s a t i s f a c t i o n . Her f i n a l condition anticipates Henry James' characterization of Isabel Archer. In Daniel Deronda and The Portrait of a Lady, each heroine must learn to l i v e with past mistakes and hope to make the uncertain l i f e to come better by increased awareness. The difference between them i s that Isabel Archer continues to be bound by the same e v i l i n terms of her marriage, whereas Gwendolen Harleth's l i f e i s freed from a l l bonds except her conscience. Conscience may be a d i f f i c u l t companion to accommodate, but Daniel Deronda, l i k e The Portrait of a Lady, offers s a t i s f a c t i o n i n terms of faithfulness to the human condition of loneliness and the negation of f i n a l answers as a solution to an unknown future. 6 CHAPTER I . A Moral Dilemma: The Mill on the Floss Maggie T u l l i v e r i s the victim of repeated moral dilemmas stimulated by her intensely passionate nature and the p r o v i n c i a l society that w i l l not allow her passion to be channelled into healthy forms of a c t i v i t y . She becomes increasingly entangled i n the strands of a web composed of her deep moral conscience, her longing to love and be loved, her desire to l i v e up to the extent of her i n t e l l e c t u a l energies, and the lack of opportunity to bring any of these characteristics to healthy f r u i t i o n . A l l of her passions challenge the claustrophobic environment that surrounds her, but the counter-challenge of s t a t i c society clutters her l i f e with insurmountable frustrations. As George E l i o t suggests i n Middlemaroh., " i t always remains true that i f we had been greater, circumstance would have been less strong against us""(M, 428). Circumstance proves too strong for Maggie Tu l l i v e r ' s character to f i n d viable s o i l i n which to grow. Thus, the plot i s structured i n such a way that the reader can f i n d cathartic r e l i e f only through the heroine's death. The Mill on the Floss opens and closes with the narrator's distant perspective on the Floss and a gradual narrowing of focus. to "the l i t t l e g i r l . . . at the edge of the water" (MF, 3), and "that b r i c k grave" (MF, 496) which ultimately holds her. The ri v e r becomes a metaphor and vehicle for her development, dilemma, and destruction. Water as a metaphor suggests images which emphasize and c l a r i f y emotion and the importance of the r i v e r metaphor i n 7 The Mill on the Floss cannot be over-emphasized i n a discussion of Maggie T u l l i v e r ' s peculiar characterization. The r i v e r metaphor often, but not exclusively, conveys Maggie's feeling for Stephen Guest—the eager passion that drives Maggie forward to a moral c r i s i s and the heavy conscience that brings her back to face her accusers. The chapter which deals with Maggie's actual rendezvous with Stephen bears the caption "Borne Along by the Tide" (MF, 4 3 3 ) . The r i v e r actually carries Stephen and Maggie physically to bypass Luckreth, t h e i r i n i t i a l destination and Maggie i s "borne along by the t i d e " of her emotions before she becomes conscious of the effect that her behavior w i l l have on those who depend on her l o y a l t i e s . U n t i l subliminal consciousness becomes an awareness from which she cannot hide, however, Maggie allows the r i v e r to provide a realm of vague fantasy: Behind a l l the delicious visions of these l a s t hours, which had flowed over her l i k e a soft stream and made her en t i r e l y passive, there was the dim consciousness that the condition was a transient one, and that the morrow must bring back the old l i f e of st r u g g l e — t h a t there were thoughts which would presently avenge them-selves for t h i s o blivion. But now nothing was d i s t i n c t to her: she was being l u l l e d to sleep with that soft stream s t i l l flowing over her, with those delicious visions melting and fading l i k e the wondrous a e r i a l land of the west. (MF, 4 4 5 - 4 6 ) F i n a l l y , i n the morning l i g h t , r e a l i t y proves too strong for fantasy. The f u l l knowledge of her deed comes with the sight of Stephen sleeping at dawn and Maggie experiences a "wave of anguish" wi.th the •knowledge that! they* must part (MF, 4 4 7 ) " . This experience foreshadows the "quiet resolved endurance and e f f o r t " that ultimately replace the enticing existence of an "easy f l o a t i n g stream of 8 joy" (MF, 455). P h i l i p Wakem compares Maggie to "a t a l l Hamadryad" (MF, 308). This wood nymph, who i s fated to l i v e and die with the tree she inhabits, p a r a l l e l s Maggie T u l l i v e r who i s fated to l i v e and die by the r i v e r she has known a l l her l i f e . The intensity of Maggie's f i r s t meaningful•separation from P h i l i p i s also developed i n terms of the r i v e r . They experience "one of those dangerous moments when speech i s at once sincere and deceptive—when f e e l i n g , r i s i n g high above i t s average depth, leaves flood-marks which are never reached again" (MF, 318). This metaphor not only anticipates the fate of t h e i r relationship, but.also conveys the human tendency to f i n d more precious those occasions that may never occur again. In a more obvious endeavor to express Maggie Tu l l i v e r ' s fate, George E l i o t uses the r i v e r to accentuate the unknown and abundant events that, coupled with character, determine her ultimate doom: Maggie's destiny, then, i s at present hidden and,we must wait for i t to reveal i t s e l f l i k e the course of an unmapped r i v e r : we only know that the r i v e r i s f u l l and rapid, and that for a l l rivers there i s the same f i n a l home. (MF, 380). This passage alludes to "Maggie T u l l i v e r ' s v u l n e r a b i l i t y to the common fate of a l l men and to the manner of her death. But more s i g n i f i c a n t , i n terms of her characterization, are the unconvention aspects of her nature that make her an outsider. Maggie wishes that "her mind could flow into the easy, babbling current" of s o c i a l gatherings, but, d i f f e r i n g as she does from the ladies of St. Ogg's, Maggie's passionate nature makes this "flow" impossible (MF, 411). 9 In her confusion and abandonment, the memory of Dr. Kenns ' compassion creates a direction for Maggie. This incident anticipates a s i m i l a r effect on Gwendolen Harleth by Daniel Deronda when she realizes the future help she w i l l gain through the remembrance of his guidance. George E l i o t allows us to see Maggie T u l l i v e r as the v i c t i m of a shipwreck i n a clever twist which foreshadows by metaphor the fate from which Dr. Kenn cannot save Ker: She f e l t a c h i l d l i k e i n s t i n c t i v e r e l i e f from the sense of uneasiness i n this exertion, when she saw i t was Dr. Kenn's face, that was looking at her; that p l a i n , middle-aged face, with a grave, penetrating kindness i n i t , seeming to t e l l of a human being who had reached a firm, safe strand, but was looking with help f u l pity towards the strugglers s t i l l tossed by the waves, had an effect on Maggie at th i s moment which was afterwards remembered by her as i f i t had been a promise. (MF, 412) This imagery of the shipwreck foreshadows Daniel Deronda's v i s i o n of Gwendolen Harleth as a "vessel i n p e r i l of wreck . . . by the inescapable storm',"1 (from which he must attempt to guide her to safety Maggie T u l l i v e r ! s relationship with Dr. Kenrii exposes the moral themes that George E l i o t wished to convey i n The Mill on the FlossJ The power-of s o c i a l opinion i s stronger than any l o g i c , no matter how sound: Even with his twenty years' experience as a parish p r i e s t , he was aghast at the obstinate continuance of imputations against her i n the face of evidence . . . . i n attempting to open the ears of women to reason, and their consciences to j u s t i c e , on behalf of Maggie T u l l i v e r , he suddenly found himself as powerless as he was aware he would have been i f he had attempted to influence the shape of bonnets. (MFf 479) I r o n i c a l l y , i t i s , of course, the conscience that these s o c i a l gossipers fancy they may j u s t l y voice t h e i r opinions on. Thus, George E l i o t articulates the negative power of s o l i d t r a d i t i o n i n the face of a r e a l i t y which opposes i t . This i s the "moral s t u p i d i t y " 10 to which she refers so often i n her attempts to expose the i l l o g i c a l resistance of society to anything apart from the norm. The concepts of childhood influence and the tension between inner and outer stresses which determine Maggie Tul l i v e r ' s character and, consequently, her reactions and dilemmas are summed up when George E l i o t uses the r i v e r metaphor to describe the powers that affect behavior. Maggie's attempts to follow her true nature culminate i n her return to her basic person: There were things i n her stronger than vanity—passion, and affection, and long deep memories of early d i s c i p l i n e and e f f o r t , of early claims on her love and p i t y ; and the stream of vanity was soon swept along and mingled imperceptibly with that wider current which was at i t s highest force to-day, under the double urgency of the events and inward impulses brought by the l a s t week. (MF, 413) Even the m i l l that runs by the power of the Ripple, a tributary of the Floss, bears a kinship to Maggie T u l l i v e r ' s emotional nature. The churning perpetuated inside the m i l l describes the turmoil within Maggie, a power which motivates the fervor of emotions in.favor of both her brother Tom and her lover Stephen. Hence, the "resolute din, the unresting motion of the great stones, giving her a dim delicious awe as at the presence of an uncontrollable force," an impetus "for ever pouring, pouring," describes the magnitude of Maggie's most inward l i f e - f o r c e and causes her to " f e e l that the m i l l was a l i t t l e world apart from her outside everyday l i f e " (MF, 23). The intensity of her inner i i f e and the r e s t r i c t i o n s placed upon i t s expression by opportunity and environ-ment are the forces that mould Maggie's character, and, consequently, her destiny. George E l i o t ' s philosophy suggests that Maggie's 11 f r u s t r a t i o n i s a natural outcome of the difference between her s t e r i l e external l i f e and her romantic inner world, for "the tragedy of our l i v e s i s not created e n t i r e l y within" (MF, 379) . The f i n a l r e a l i t y i s a combination of the world we experience and the extent to which we are able to cope. I t i s because of " t h i s contrast between the outward and the inward, that painful c o l l i s i o n s " occur (MF, 221). George E l i o t c a l l s Maggie's world a " t r i p l e world of Reality, Books, and Waking Dreams" which suggests a g i r l who i s "strangely old for her years i n everything except i n her want of that prudence and self-command" (MF, 259). This implies a creature of passionate extremes and anticipates the characterization of Gwendolen Harleth whose caprice i s the catalyst for her tragic suffering. Tom i s as right about Maggie's petulance as are Cel i a and Mr. Brooke about Dorothea i n Middtemavch. When Tom condemns Maggie's friend-ship with P h i l i p , the i n f l e x i b l e brother mingles astute insight with narrow convention: "'You're always i n extremes—you have no judgement and self-command; and yet you think you know best and w i l l not submit to be guided" 1 (MF, 370). I t i s ch a r a c t e r i s t i c of a l l George E l i o t ' s heroines discussed i n this study that they think they know best u n t i l l i f e teaches them t h e i r own f a l l i b i l i t i e s . There i s a strange juxtaposition between Tom's awareness of his s i s t e r ' s petulance and his blindness to her strength of character. I t i s true that Maggie i s a g i r l of i r r a t i o n a l extremes, but i t i s also true that she i s one who sees the need of independence i n spite of her time and environment. This combination of q u a l i t i e s describes the characters of both Dorothea Brooke and Gwendolen 12 Harleth and contributes largely to t h e i r moral dilemmas. Since George E l i o t equates passion and imagination i n her f i c t i o n , Tom, although given credit for seeing truths, i s tempered by h i s i n a b i l i t y to see any incident i n r e l a t i o n to feeling. When Tom scolds Maggie for her fluctuation between "perverse s e l f - d e n i a l " and the i n a b i l i t y to " r e s i s t a thing thattyou know to be wrong" (MF, 371), the author interrupts to explain his lack of sympathy on the basis of a narrow v i s i o n : "There was a t e r r i b l e cutting truth i n Tom's words—that hard rind of truth which i s discerned by unimaginative, unsympathetic minds" (MF, 371). But' George E l i o t ' s demand that we not only tolerate, but attempt to understand our fellow man i s conveyed i n her philosophic approach to Tom's greater educational opportunities and his unfair invectives against Maggie: Tom, l i k e every one of us, was imprisoned within the l i m i t s of his own nature, and his education had simply glided over him, leaving a s l i g h t deposit of po l i s h : i f you are inc l i n e d to be severe on his severity, remember that the re s p o n s i b i l i t y of tolerance l i e s with those who have the wider v i s i o n . (MF, 474) Maggie T u l l i v e r proves to be a perfect example of this r e s p o n s i b i l i t y and i t s i r o n i c lack of reward, i n that she uses her broader v i s i o n to forgive her harshest accuser and thus defines the wide l i m i t s of her nature. The Mill on the Floss begins with a view of the sea and the r i v e r as they meet i n an "impetuous embrace," to which Maggie's b r i e f infatuation with Stephen Guest and her f i n a l reunion with Tom form human counterparts (MF, 2). There i s no Ogg to offer Maggie the blessedness of a response to the needs of the heart, and the 13 p l o t r e v o l v e s u p o n t h e f a c t t h a t s h e m u s t a t t e m p t t o f e r r y h e r s e l f t o s a f e t y . U l t i m a t e l y , s h e t a k e s i t u p o n h e r own s h o u l d e r s t o assume t h e r o l e o f t h e l e g e n d a r y o a r s m a n who a n s w e r s t o t h e n e e d s o f a n o t h e r w i t h o u t j u d g m e n t o r c o n t e m p l a t i o n . She s i m p l y r e s p o n d s t o T o m ' s n e e d o f h e r i n t h e f l o o d a n d , t h e r e f o r e , t o t h e p r e c e d e n t e s t a b l i s h e d i n h e r c h i l d h o o d . T h i s b a s i c e m o t i o n a l r e a c t i o n t o c a l a m i t y i s f o r e s h a d o w e d b y h e r r e a c t i o n t o T o m ' s w o u n d e d f o o t , t h e r e s u l t o f h i s e s c a p a d e w i t h t h e b o r r o w e d s w o r d . The f a c t t h a t Tom d i d n o t d i e f r o m h i s w o u n d s t i m u l a t e s a j o y i n M a g g i e ' s " h i g h l y - s t r u n g , h u n g r y n a t u r e " ( M F , 3 6 3 ) t h a t " s e e m e d as i f a l l h a p p i n e s s l a y i n h i s b e i n g a l i v e " ( M F , 1 7 0 ) . The a f f e c t i o n e x c h a n g e d b e t w e e n f a t h e r a n d d a u g h t e r i s m o r e e q u a l l y b a l a n c e d , b u t i t i s o f t h e same n a t u r e as t h a t o f b r o t h e r a n d s i s t e r i n t h a t i t s f o u n d a t i o n r e s t s i n M a g g i e ' s f o r m a t i v e y e a r s . When t h e e x t e n t o f h e r f a t h e r ' s i m m o b i l i z i n g s t r o k e i s r e v e a l e d t o M a g g i e , s h e e x p e r i e n c e s a b a s i c . a n d u n s o p h i s t i c a t e d k n o w l e d g e o f h e r . a f f e c t i o n s : I t w a s vr. . o n e o f t h o s e s u p r e m e moments i n l i f e when a l l we h a v e h o p e d o r d e l i g h t e d i n , a l l we c a n d r e a d o r e n d u r e , f a l l s away f r o m o u r r e g a r d as i n s i g n i f i c a n t — i s l o s t , l i k e a t r i v i a l m e m o r y , i n t h a t s i m p l e p r i m i t i v e l o v e w h i c h k n i t s us t o t h e b e i n g s who h a v e b e e n n e a r e s t t o u s , i n t h e i r t i m e s o f h e l p l e s s n e s s o r o f a n g u i s h . ( M F , 186) So i t i s i n a l l o f M a g g i e ' s g r e a t m o m e n t s — t h e e x p e r i e n c e o f l o v e s h e h a s k n o w n i n c h i l d h o o d s u p e r c e d e s and o b l i t e r a t e s a l l a c q u a i n t -a n c e s , e x p e r i e n c e s a n d a s p i r a t i o n s a c q u i r e d s i n c e t h a t t i m e . The s t o r y e n d s w i t h t h a t " s i m p l e p r i m i t i v e l o v e " o f Tom a n d M a g g i e " i n a n e m b r a c e n e v e r t o b e p a r t e d . " The h e r o i n e , i n w o m a n h o o d , r e s p o n d s t o h e r c h i l d h o o d c o n d i t i o n i n g a n d t h e u n i t y o f t h e w a t e r i m a g e r y 14 i s sustained as the r i v e r propels "the brother and s i s t e r for whom youth and sorrow had begun together" to t h e i r happy tragedy (MF, 180). Early i n the plot Maggie T u l l i v e r i r o n i c a l l y foreshadows the essence of her own tragedy. As a c h i l d she explains the meaning of a witch's t r i a l pictured i n Defoe's The History of the Devil: " I t ' s a dreadful picture, i s n ' t i t ? But I can't help looking at i t . That old woman i n the water's a w i t c h — they've put her i n t t o f i n d out whether she's a witch or no, and i f she swims she's a witch, and i f she's drowned—and k i l l e d you know—she's innocent, and not a witch, but only a poor s i l l y old woman. But what good would i t do her then, you know, when she was drowned? Only, I suppose, she'd go to heaven and God would make i t up to her." (MF, 12) Maggie's strange fascination for this choice of one negative p o s s i b i l i t y weighed against another suggests the dramatic irony of which George E l i o t became a master by the time she created Gwendolen Harleth's character. True to the tra g i c i d e a l , young Maggie sees i n the woman's dilemma that she i s damned either way. Maggie finds solace, however, i n the concept of a heavenly reward, which, i r o n i c a l l y , George E l i o t ' s agnostic philosophy w i l l deny to her heroine. Like the drowned woman, Maggie's ultimate triumph over society's unjust condemnation l i e s i n her undeserved death. One realizes how sk e p t i c a l l y George E l i o t views the religious devotion of p r o v i n c i a l society when she equates i t to t r a d i t i o n . For the major populace of St. Ogg's relig i o u s duty i s performed because custom has regulated i t s Sunday behavior, rather than because s p i r i t u a l i n s p i r a t i o n deems i t so. George E l i o t sees t h e i r b e l i e f s as being of the pagan sort»that determine t h e i r moral standards, and, "though held with strong tenacity, seem to have no standard beyond hereditary custom" (MF, 255). Her ultimate cynicism 15 creeps through i n the description of the Dodson s i s t e r s ' use of the bible as a press i n which to ensure the correct drying of t u l i p s . For George E l i o t , however, a sense of duty and purpose can result from religious traditions i f they are approached with s i n c e r i t y and i n t e l l i g e n c e . This view w i l l l a t e r be discussed i n r e l a t i o n to Daniel Deronda. George E l i o t denies Maggie T u l l i v e r the balms of both an escape into the blessing of a f t e r l i f e and the common tendency to blame others for her mishaps. In fact, there i s an intense drive for s e l f - d e n i a l i n Maggie when she allows Tom to treat her with undeserved disdain and even when she denies herself the sensual s a t i s f a c t i o n of Stephen. But there i s also a ra d i c a l voice of log i c speaking to Maggie which separates her from the mediocrity and creates a part of her character that i s a n t i t h e t i c a l to Tom's conventional r a t i o n a l i t y . She learns as a c h i l d the fal l a c y of excusing her behavior by reference to others: "Maggie hated blame: she had been blamed a l l her l i f e , and nothing had come of i t but e v i l tempers" (MF, 192). I r o n i c a l l y , the one person to whom Maggie does not extend this r a t i o n a l generosity i s to herself. Just as Tom's tendency to blame others outlines Maggie's nobler nature, his i n f l e x i b l e outlook, devoid of v i s i o n , defines Maggie's philosophical leanings. This i n f l e x i b i l i t y on Tom's part appears as a strength i n terms of i t s directness: A character at unity with i t s e l f — t h a t performs what i t intends, subdues every counteracting impulse, and has no visions beyond the d i s t i n c t l y p o s s i b l e — i s strong by i t s very negations. (MF, 293) In l a t e r years, when Tom condemns Maggie and P h i l i p for t h e i r 16 secret meetings and insults Philip on the basis of his deformity, Maggie confronts him with the injustice of his rigid viewpoint. She faces the harsh reality of Tom's deficiencies, a reality so long softened by her affection: "You have not even a vision of feelings by the side of which your shining virtues are mere darkness!" (MF, 328). In supporting Philip, Maggie exposes her new awareness of Tom's fallacies. But the power of her desire to be loved by her brother forever outweighs.s' the knowledge of his undeserving nature. This imbalance in Tom's favor is a virtue for which Maggie is consistently punished. Structurally, The Mill on the Floss prepares the reader for Maggie's decision to risk her l i f e for her brother and the nature of her death by the number of times that Maggie and Tom return to one another and the references to a watery death that accompany the rise of her dilemma. In spite of these numerous indications, however, the author does not establish a sufficient emotional basis for the reader, in that the speed of the denouement seems inappropriate. Plot coincidence, in the sense of a conveniently-timed death for the heroine, just as she settles into a l i f e of soul-sacrificing loneliness, leaves the reader emotionally unsatisfied with the result of her moral dilemma. Stephen, the superficial cause of Maggie's f i n a l c r i s i s , is not introduced until the last quarter of the novel. Although we are adequately informed of Maggie's character as a g i r l , we no sooner become involved in the concept of Maggie as a woman, than she is swept away by the flood. One closes the book with a sense of having been deprived of the knowledge of Maggie in the framework of a woman's existence. We 17 must wait fo r Middlemarch to explore this concept. Although the reader i s not prepared f o r Maggie T u l l i v e r ' s death i n the emotional sense, the drowning i s , paradoxically, foreshadowed i n a series of prophesies. These prophetic scenes begin with the frettings of Mrs. T u l l i v e r , who complains that "wandering 'up an' down by the water, l i k e a w i l d thing: s h e ' l l tumble i n some day" (MF, 7). A dream experienced by P h i l i p wherein "he fancied Maggie s l i p p i n g down a glistening, green, slimy channel of a w a t e r f a l l , " while, "he was looking on helpless" suggests not only his thwarted attempt to shi e l d her from great suffering, but his i n a b i l i t y to save her from her f i n a l watery grave (MF, 404).. Maggie's own dream, of course, supports a death by drowning when i t indicates Tom's demise i n t h i s manner and her own i n c l i n a t i o n toward him. This use of dreams i n George E l i o t ' s f i c t i o n appears again i n Daniel Deronda when Grandcourt's death mask haunts Gwendolen Harleth's diseased conscience as she fear-f u l l y acknowledges her desire to be r i d of.him. Close attention to the structure of the book supports Maggie's return to Tom. The Mill on the Floss i s divided into seven parts i n which Maggie and Tom are always brought together after temporary psychological and physical separations. George E l i o t alternates between sending the brother and s i s t e r on th e i r own separate ways and bringing them together again, each time with added knowledge and sorrow. They grow further away from the Garden of Eden experienced i n childhood and closer to the knowledge of sorrow acquired with maturity. Thus, Maggie with her dynamic emotions confined by a s t a t i c society, grows progressively closer to a dilemma that cannot be al l e v i a t e d other than by death. 18 In Book One, "Boy and G i r l , " George E l i o t states h:er philosophy on childhood and conveys the determining power of this time of l i f e i n r e l a t i o n to the future. Change, no matter how great, cannot erase the impact of the f i r s t impressionable years: " L i f e did change for Tom and Maggie; and yet they were not wrong i n believing that the thoughts and loves of these f i r s t years would always make part of t h e i r l i v e s " (MF, 35). In Book Two, George E l i o t deals with the f i r s t meaningful and time-consuming separation between the brother and s i s t e r . In "School-Time" they are separated by the convention of formal male education as preferable to female learning, regardless of aptitude or i n c l i n a t i o n . But th e i r father's misfortune and subsequent i l l n e s s bring them together again i n an awareness now tinged with worldly care. George E l i o t expresses this sentiment i n the metaphorical language of Eden: They had gone forth together into t h e i r new l i f e of sorrow, and they would never more see the sunshine un-dimmed by remembered cares. They had entered the thorny wilderness, and the golden gates of t h e i r childhood had for ever closed behind them. (MF, 180) "The Downfall" of Book Three exposes the psychological b a r r i e r between Maggie and Tom. The brother's penchant for revengeful j u s t i c e s t r i k e s a harsh note i n Maggie's forgiving and sorrowful heart. When Mr. T u l l i v e r commands Tom's promise of vengeance on the Wakem family, Maggie's larger soul separates her from her family's narrow views. Tom's promise i s motivated by a personal grievance based on pride and material welfare. Maggie objects to this pact, solemnized by the fact that i t i s written i n t h e i r family Bible. In this time of c r i s i s , her noble nature stands out against 19 the family and anticipates the months of loneliness she w i l l experience. Book Four separates Maggie t o t a l l y from her brother and the entire Dodson and T u l l i v e r mode of existence. Maggie enters "The Valley of Humiliation," a s e l f - i n f l i c t e d penance, while the rest of her family suffers from the humiliation of s o c i a l degradation and f i n a n c i a l disaster. But "Wheat and Tares" brings the two children together again i n a r e c o n c i l i a t i o n that foreshadows the story's end. P h i l i p speaks for Maggie when he says of himself; " I think of too many things—sow a l l sorts of seeds, and get no great harvest from any one of them" (MF, 308-09). This i s Maggie's weed of sorrow, the complexity of her yearnings that remain unful-f i l l e d by virtue of her passionate nature and the surroundings i n which i t must try to bear f r u i t . In her father's death,, as i n a l l the major dilemmas of her l i f e , she returns to her beginning and clings to Tom for meaning: "'Tom, forgive mme—let us always love each other,' and they clung and wept together" (MF, 340). Maggie and Stephen's infatuation i s "The Great Temptation" of Book Six to which they p a r t i a l l y succumb, confirming Tom's suspicions of Maggie's lack of wiiLlpewe'rhahdstrustworthiness . Although Tom w i l l reject her, Maggie i r o n i c a l l y thinks i n positive terms of her family on her return to St. Ogg's: Home—where her mother and brother w e r e — P h i l i p — L u c y — the scene of her very cares and t r i a l s — w a s the haven towards which her mind tended—the sanctuary where sacred r e l i c s lay—where she would be rescued from more f a l l i n g . (MF, 455) Maggie does not rea l i z e the extent to which she has severed herself from home by her s o c i a l l y questionable behavior and her own 20 defeated morale. It i s apparent, then, that Maggie T u l l i v e r i s fated by the nature of her p r i o r i t i e s i n love and the narrowness of her environment to return to her family i n spite of her certain unhappiness there. Not only does George E l i o t suggest t h i s by reference to the importance of childhood and the i n a b i l i t y of Maggie's superior q u a l i t i e s to ensure her a f u l f i l l i n g commitment elsewhere, but by s t r u c t u r a l l y bringing Maggie back to the nest each time she strays. I t i s not surprising, i n view of the structure of t h i s novel, that Maggie's dream comes true i n the sense that she finds the essence of her childhood with Tom recaptured i n t h e i r drowning. Thus, she grasps again "the clue to l i f e . . . which once i n the f a r - o f f years of her young need had clutched so strongly" (MF, 447). She renounces her own l i f e i n favor of a momentary rec o n c i l i a t i o n with her meaningful past. So i t i s i n the Seventh and l a s t Book, "The F i n a l Rescue." Tom and Maggie are buried under an epitaph that alludes to the irony i n her f u t i l e attempt to regain the l o s t days of innocence. Their tomb i s inscribed with 8 David's lament for Saul and Jonathan who fought throughout l i f e , 8 but died together. Like Maggie and Tom " i n t h e i r death they were not divided" (MF, 496). Regardless of George E l i o t ' s i n a b i l i t y , at the time of w r i t i n g The Mill on the Floss,- to deal with the question of endurance i n terms of the heroine's unhappy future, the novel excels i n i t s characterization of the heroine as a c h i l d . The memory of childhood remained v i t a l and pleasant to the author throughout her l i f e and i s reflected most poignantly i n the character of Maggie T u l l i v e r . 21 Nine years after the publication of The Mill on the Floss, George E l i o t expressed her feelings i n a poem e n t i t l e d "Brother and Si s t e r , " and this t i t l e i s used as the heading to the fourth chapter of Book Six of the novel: But were another childhood-world my share, I would be born a l i t t l e s i s t e r there.9 The author dips into her own past l i f e with her brother Isaac to construct the most successful part of the novel, the early intimacy of Tom and Maggie and the disintegration of their bond. The nature of this f i c t i o n a l relationship closely p a r a l l e l s the c h i l d -hood joy George E l i o t shared with her brother Isaac—"Those hours were seed to a l l my after good"—and his rejection of her affection when she moved against conventional form to l i v e with George Lewes.''"' The gradual estrangement of. the impetuous.Maggie T u l l i v e r and her i n f l e x i b l e brother gains dramatic momentum i n the evolution from the freedom of childhood innocence to the r e s t r i c t i o n s of adult bias. This estrangement i s a dilemma which Maggie strives to mend u n t i l her f i n a l moment of success i n t h e i r mutual death clasp. George E l i o t describes the imagined i n f i n i t y of childhood days in,the expeditions of Tom and Maggie: They trotted along and sat down together with no thought that l i f e would ever change much for them; they would only get bigger and not go to school, and i t would always be l i k e the holidays; they would always l i v e together and be fond of each other. (MF, 34) But l i f e changes when they leave the garden of t h e i r childhood for the "thorny wilderness" of adult society (MF, 180). They return only once before t h e i r deaths to the Lethe-like atmosphere of t h e i r e a r l i e r existence when t h e i r father i s taken i l l . 22 Defending themselves against the outrage of calamity, "the two o children forgot everything else i n the sense that they had one father and one sorrow" (MF, 192). Experiences increase and the means of coping with them begin to establish response patterns which define character. Thus, Tom's sanctimonious view of himself secures him the peace of mind that i n a l l things he would have behaved as he had done, while Maggie's impetuous nature destines her to be "always wishing she had done something different" (MF, 46). These characteristics allow Tom to act while Maggie i s s t i l l deep i n contemplation. George E l i o t proposes that the thinker suffers f a r more than the man of action: While Maggie's l i f e - s t r u g g l e s had l a i n almost en t i r e l y within her own soul, one shadowy army fighting another, and the s l a i n shadows forever r i s i n g agin, Tom was engaged i n a dustier, n o i s i e r warfare, grappling with more substantial obstacles, and gaining more de f i n i t e conquests. (MF, 291) When Maggie does act, she acts impulsively and i s condemned to suffer for i t . I t i s , therefore, far easier for Tom to know h i s duty and act upon i t . His perspective on l i f e and experiences therein prompt him to a severe judgment of Maggie, especially when she returns from her i l l - f a t e d rendezvous with Stephen. Tom cannot see the i n j u s t i c e of his standpoint because he refuses to acknowledge the part that Maggie's peculiar emotional make-up plays i n deter-mining her fate. There i s only a s u p e r f i c i a l truth i n Tom's i r o n i c argument that "Jhave had feelings to struggle with; but I conquered them. I have had a harder l i f e than you have had; but I have found my comfort i n doing my duty" (MF, 460). I r o n i c a l l y , i t i s not within Tom's scope of understanding to r e a l i z e that Maggie's l i f e i s i n fact harder by v i r t u e of her emotional depth.;. Thus, her feelings 23 create a far greater struggle than Tom could possibly imagine. Maggie, with her wider perspective on the r e a l i t y around her, i s unable to define her duty with the same instant response as her brother. Tom's r i g i d i t y and his receptiveness to s o c i a l doctrines enable him to determine his duty e a s i l y , while Maggie's philosophical mind convinces her that conventions provide no r e a l i t y on which to base her feelings. George E l i o t establishes the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c strength of emotional impulse early i n her heroine to express Maggie's l i a b i l i t y to be exposed to dilemma. When Maggie T u l l i v e r cuts off her h a i r , she does so not only to avenge her i n f l i c t o r s , but also to punish herself. Subsequently, she feels more self-conscious than ever about her ungainly appearance. She i s condemned to a perceptive f l e x i b i l i t y of nature that does not allow the adamant, s e l f -righteous hindsight of her brother: Maggie rushed to her deeds with passionate impulse, and then saw not only the i r consequences, but what would have happened i f they had not been done, with a l l the d e t a i l and exaggerated circumstance of an active imagination. (MF, 58) She does mature, however, from the instant response to the con-templated acceptance of her l o t . This development i s apparent i n her attempt to convince Stephen that they must renounce thei r affection for one another: "'I see one thing quite c l e a r l y — t h a t I must not, cannot seek my own happiness by 'sacrificing others. Love i s natural; but surely p i t y and faithfulness and memory are natural too" 1 (MF, 426).- Maggie,.then, must have a l l her emotions s a t i s f i e d i n order to be at peace with herself. Her love cannot survive i f i t ; must do so i n the company of g u i l t . 24 Maggie T u l l i v e r , therefore, no longer feels motivated by impulse, but inc l i n e s toward r a t i o n a l duty based on recognition of true feeling. She d i f f e r s from Tom i n that her duty i s toward her heart-f e l t longings rather than toward conventional form. Maggie, i n spite of her a f f a i r with Stephen, rejects his proposal of a future together. As with her impetuous behavior i n the past, she regrets that she did not contemplate the consequences before committing the deed: ' " I f I could wake back again into the time before yesterday, I would choose to be true to my calmer affections, and l i v e without the joy of love'" (MF, 452). This remorse i s a si g n i f i c a n t anticipation of the mental state into which Gwendolen Harleth w i l l be driven by her passionate impetuosity. The motivation, which i s the desire for love i n The Mill on the. Floss, becomes the greed for power i n Daniel Deronda, but Gwendolen, too, has the "impulse . . . to say what she afterwards wished to r e t r a c t " (JSP, 493). There i s a strange paradox i n Maggie T u l l i v e r ' s renunciation of Stephen Guest's b e l i e f that the emotions they experience are the best possible. Maggie has always been the one to follow her feelings and contemplate them l a t e r . In fact, i t was Tom's tendency to take advantage of this characteristic i n t h e i r childhood that made him look so ignoble and insensitive next to his spontaneous and loving s i s t e r . But now, when Maggie has found someone w i l l i n g to ride the crest of her emotions, she i r o n i c a l l y renounces the opportunity. The chance to experience infatuation i s turned down i n favor of a duty to past commitments. This indicates Maggie's process of maturity as she sees her fantasy change to a r e a l i t y and denies the r i s k to her moral conscience that i s involved. As Maggie 25 grows from plainness to beauty, she realizes that "faithfulness and constancy mean something else besides doing what i s easiest and pleasantest to ourselves" (MF, 451). Her new wisdom shines through i n this rejection of the s u p e r f i c i a l extreme i n response to a deeper value. This change shows that Maggie T u l l i v e r i s f i n a l l y growing to know her own nature and understand the direction she must choose i f she wishes to find peace, of mind. She knows that a s e l f i s h love would deny the very essence of her nobler s e l f : "She might as w e l l hope to enjoy walking by maiming her feet, as hope to enjoy an existence i n which she set out by maiming the f a i t h and sympathy that were the best organs i n her soul" (MF, 435). I t i s i n her f i n a l moment that Maggie T u l l i v e r realizes that to do what i s natural i s to return to those she loved f i r s t and, therefore, best. As the flood r i s e s , and a life-and-death struggle ensues, the author t e l l s us that i n t h i s type of si t u a t i o n "the a r t i f i c i a l vesture of our l i f e i s gone, and we are a l l one with each other i n primitive mortal needs." Maggie feels only "'"an undefined sense of reconcilement with her brother," but fhajs most closely f u l f i l l s her need to do what i s right according to her basic feelings: Vaguely, Maggie f e l t t h i s — i n the strong resurgent love towards her brother that swept away a l l the l a t e r impressions of hard, cruel offence and misunderstanding, and l e f t only the deep, underlying, unshakable memories of early union. (MF, 492) Maggie T u l l i v e r ' s ultimate return to St. Ogg's is.motivated both by a gravitation toward the known and by the maturity of acceptance. I t had not occurred to her, as i t had to Stephen, that she would suffer s o c i a l rejection for her b r i e f excursion. In 26 her decision to return, "love and deep pi t y and remorseful anguish l e f t no room for that" (MF, 455). I r o n i c a l l y , when Stephen suggests that Maggie sees "nothing as i t r e a l l y i s , " the truth of Maggie's loneliness and rejection i s that she often i s the only one who can see past the a r t i f i c e of convention (MF, 454). Awareness that she must face the scorn of town gossip does not change her direction. This knowledge simply increases her manifold sufferings. She refuses to escape her condemnation and the r e a l i t y of her mistake by rushing off "with that impatience of p a i n f u l emotion which makes one of the differences between youth and maiden, man and woman" (MF, 241). E s s e n t i a l l y , Maggie T u l l i v e r seals off any alternate paths to a renewed l i f e by her own expectations. She i s l e f t with two choices—death or dea t h - i n - l i f e . Hence, her drowning i s the only solution: L i f e stretched out before her as one act of penitence, and a l l she craved, as she dwelt on her future l o t , was something to guarantee her from more f a l l i n g . . . (MF, 467). Maggie has no hope for the peace she craves except i n death. She has repeatedly expressed a fear of her remaining days being those of the "lonely wanderer" (MF, 471). Therefore, when George E l i o t l i m i t s Maggie's alternatives and leaves her i n a society that offers "no home, no help f o r the erring," one cannot but foresee death as Maggie's only escape from the certainty of the loss of s p i r i t . (MF, 487). Once the "Golden Gates are passed," s t a t i c intolerance replaces Tom's youthful pride, and unrelenting asceticism camouflages Maggie's unstable emotions (MF, 174). Maggie T u l l i v e r believes that extreme renunciation of a l l pleasure w i l l be the key to a more peaceful 27 existence. This i s a c h a r a c t e r i s t i c developed to a lesser extent i n Dorothea Brooke. Maggie i s slow to discover what P h i l i p Wakem attempts to teach her—suppression does not mean cure. The problem of finding a place for her.deep emotions i n the shallow and unsympathetic society around her simply remains a firm yearning beneath an a r t i f i c i a l facade. Asceticism i s Maggie's second stage of development, following her childhood, and i t leads her d i r e c t l y into another dilemma by the fact that she does not own up to the r e a l i t y of her emotional needs. The philosophic tenderness which enables Maggie T u l l i v e r to see past her brother's prejudices against P h i l i p and to r e a l i z e that her friend "couldn't choose his father," separates Maggie from the p r o v i n c i a l society of which Tom i s such an upstanding member (MF, 166). In fact, her manner of conceiving r e a l i t y separates her from s o c i a l acceptance almost e n t i r e l y . This philosophic f l e x i b i l i t y grates too severely on the patterned l i v e s of her associates, especially the Dodsons whose "pride lay i n the utter f r u s t r a t i o n of a l l desire to tax them with a breach of t r a d i t i o n a l duty or propriety" (MF, 257). Maggie taxes them by the very manner, of her existence which requires too great an expanse of understanding and sympathy to meet with a positive response. Once again Maggie i s an outsider, condemned to face the dilemmas of her. girlhood, as of her childhood, alone,tbut with greater consciousness of the fr u s t r a t i n g loneliness involved. The security- of childhood innocence and expectation i s perhaps the most precious and v i t a l state. This i s the known comfort toward which George E l i o t directs Maggie T u l l i v e r when she has reached an impasse. Once Maggie'.s subconscious forces i t s e l f upon 28 her i n the form of a dream during her boat ride with Stephen, her focus of consciousness turns steadily i n the direction of her brother, the center of her childhood paradise, and away from her s u i t o r . E s s e n t i a l l y , George E l i o t has Maggie T u l l i v e r return to the peculiar solace of her yesteryears because of the author's Wordsworthian philosophy that "there i s no sense of ease l i k e theeease we f e l t i n those scenes where we were born" (MF, 142). Maggie's fear, as the family loses i t s material possessions, that the "end of our l i v e s w i l l have nothing i n i t l i k e the beginning", takes an i r o n i c twist i n that i t foreshadows her alienation from Tom, but adds pathos to their momentary and f i n a l reunion (MF, 225). Maggie T u l l i v e r attains a sense of the scene i n which she was born i n her brother's poignant cry of "Magsie!" (MF, 494). The Wordsworthian element i n George E l i o t ' s philosophy appears when she describes childhood as not only the time of greatest a f f i n i t y for earthly beauties, but also as providing the impetus for future awareness and appreciation of nature. George E l i o t suggests that an essence remains i n our adult years that enables us to enjoy once again the pleasures of those things brought to l i g h t as a c h i l d : We could never have loved the earth so w e l l i f we had had no childhood i n i t — i f i t were not the earth where the same flowers come up again every spring that we used to gather with our tiny fingers as we sat l i s p i n g to ourselves on the grass—the same hips and haws on the autumn hedgerows—the same red-breasts that we used to c a l l 'God's birds' because they did no harm to the pre-cious crops. What novelty i s w.orth that sweet monotony where everything i s known, and loved because i t i s known? (MF, 35) This philosophy emphasizes the importance of Maggie T u l l i v e r ' s 29 e a r l y years and t h e i r s i g n i f i c a n c e f o r a l l her decisions as an adult. The time during which a c h i l d delights i n the misconception that h i s world comprises an e n t i r e perspective on the universe stimulates an.element of t r u s t and subsequent love. It i s important to the understanding of Gwendolen Harleth's character that " t h i s blessed persistence i n which a f f e c t i o n can take root had been wanting i n Gwendolen's l i f e . " George E l i o t believed that "some spot of a native land" where one could "get the love of tender kinship f o r the face of the earth as a sweet habit of the blood" was necessary f o r the future development of emotions (DP, 50). Childhood i s s i g n i f i c a n t f o r Maggie i n that i t i s her only period of happiness and i t i s equally s i g n i f i c a n t for Gwendolen i n that her deficiency leaves her unable to love. The a b i l i t y to love with abandonment, however, i s often l o s t with the " g i f t of sorrow," that.greater knowledge of human nature, an awareness toward which the adult mind gravitates and for which i t ultimately s a c r i f i c e s so much. The time of simple values forms a foundation f o r b e l i e f i n the importance and largeness of those b a s i c beauties that sustain creative a b i l i t i e s and allow the ± imagination to flow f r e e l y . It serves as a touchstone f o r Maggie T u l l i v e r during the cares of adulthood: These f a m i l i a r flowers, these we11-remembered b i r d -notes , t h i s sky with i t s f i t f u l brightness, these furrowed and grassy f i e l d s , with a s o r t of personality given to i t by the capricious hedgerows—such things as these are the mother tongue of our imagination, the language that i s laden with a l l the subtle i n e x t r i c a b l e associations the f l e e t i n g hours of our childhood l e f t behind them. Our delight i n the sunshine on the deep-bladed grass today might be no more than the f a i n t perception of wearied souls, i f i t were not for the sunshine and the 30 grass i n the far-off years, which s t i l l l i v e i n us i and transform our perception into love. (MF, 35) It i s to t h i s touchstone that Maggie refers when she explains her love for Tom to P h i l i p . Potency of feeling depends upon i t s chronology, whoever receives Maggie Tu l l i v e r ' s love f i r s t , receives her, greatest love throughout l i f e , because the years of her c h i l d -hood are the most important i n terms of la s t i n g impressions. Unfortunately for the heroine's sense of s e l f , the recipient i s a brother whose understanding of-her passionate nature and of her need for the reciprocation: of her love i s small indeed. Maggie t e l l s P h i l i p that "the f i r s t thing I ever remember i n my l i f e i s standing with Tom by.the side.of the Floss, while he held my hand: everything before that i s dark to me" (MF, 290). Tom maintains the position of p r i o r i t y i n Maggie's affection by the simple fact that he was her f i r s t companion, and, therefore, the i n i t i a l object of her love. Maggie T u l l i v e r uses the same pattern to describe her affection for P h i l i p to Lucy. Here again chronology plays the most important role to determine precedence: '""[Philip] loved me f i r s t . No one else could be quite what he i s to me. But I can't divide myself from my brother for my l i f e " " (MF, 415). The basis of Maggie Tu l l i v e r ' s affection for P h i l i p Wakem resembles Mary Garth's for Fred Vincy i n Middlemarch. The man who loves f i r s t i s not to be forgotten i n the added attention of other lovers i n l a t e r years. Maggie explains this sentiment to Stephen i n an attempt to convey her reasons for being unable to reciprocate and submit to his love: "There are memories, and affections, and longing after perfect goodness, that have such a strong hold on me; 31 they would never q u i t me for long; they would come and be pain to me—repentance" (MF, 452). This i s the lesson that Gwendolen Harleth learns.only a f t e r considerable s u f f e r i n g . Rejection of former t i e s for Maggie T u l l i v e r would make the punishment greater than the reward. Thus Maggie's nature places her i n an i r o n i c dilemma. She cannot return to the joys of childhood because she i s no longer innocent of Tom's f a l l i b l e nature and the c h i l d i s h exuberance needed to sustain her i s therefore l a c k i n g . But, paradoxically, she cannot move forward to a new love because the buried days of innocence remain large i n her present r e a l i t y and there i s no one great enough inhher adult l i f e to overcome the power of past happiness. Thus, George E l i o t i r o n i c a l l y develops a heroine who longs f o r "perfect goodness" and places her i n an environment where t h i s longing can neither be changed nor f u l f i l l e d . Before Maggie's melodramatic i n f a t u a t i o n with Stephen Guest, The Mill on the Floss conveys that element of r e a l i t y f o r which George E l i o t i s noted when she draws l a r g e l y from her own l i f e as a source of i n s p i r a t i o n . This i s the most autobiographical of George E l i o t ' s novels, but a l l of her f i c t i o n a l characters whose emotionsi-make-uppparallel the author's are more credible than those i n s p i r e d by pure i n t e l l e c t or h i s t o r y , such as Romola, F e l i x Holt, and Daniel Deronda. When the author separates her w r i t i n g from her own experience, e i t h e r immediate or v i c a r i o u s , i n order to write an h i s t o r i c a l novel or one which serves the purpose of reform, she cannot sustain the reader's i n t e r e s t . This i s not to deny, of course, the vast i n t e l l e c t and expanse of research George E l i o t devoted to 32 a l l her w r i t i n g i n order to convey the experience of her own l i f e within a larger perspective, but her talent l i e s i n the expression of human nature as she sees and feels i t , rather than simply an idealized version of a better world. George E l i o t believes that development of character necessitates l i v i n g without, "opium." There should, i n other words, be no escapes i n terms of fantasy, blame, or self-delusion. One must face one's deeds d i r e c t l y and be acutely aware i n each action of the motivation and of the effect on others. A l e t t e r written by the author i n 1860 proposes that "the 'highest c a l l i n g and election' i s to do without opium, and l i v e through our pain with a conscious, clear-eyed 11 endurance." This doctrine forms a basis for the l i f e of each heroine discussed i n this study. A basic cause for the misdirected l i v e s of Maggie T u l l i v e r , Dorothea Brooke, and Gwendolen Harleth i s that each suffers from her own blindness. Maggie t r i e s to escape through fantasy and asceticism u n t i l she.meets Stephen Guest. Dorothea's short-sightedness, so often referred to i n Middlemarch, refers to both her eyesight and to her manner of warping r e a l i t y to f i t into her various schemes u n t i l she learns from her mistakes. Gwendolen suffers from an i n f l a t e d idea of her own importance, an awareness of which i s the very consciousness Deronda leads her to. Maturity, then rests i n that state where there are no escapes from the real issues and each segment of l i f e i s faced i n the f u l l knowledge of i t s causes and consequences. George E l i o t makes clear that each heroine must outlive the addiction to whatever opium feeds her ego i n a personal world too conveniently small to answer to the problems of an adult 33 r e a l i t y . One of Maggie Tu l l i v e r ' s c r u c i a l flaws i n the process of adapting to human relationships i s that her emotions do not allow her to face r e a l i t y with a "clear-eyed endurance" u n t i l after the firm establishment of her tragic dilemma. Literature feeds her romantic nature with notions of tenderness and love between family and friends. Hence, Maggie's love for books i s linked with her need for fantasy. Contrasted to her world of l i t e r a t u r e i s a real world i n which "people behaved the best to those they did not pretend to love, and that did not belong to them," a contrast beyond Maggie's understanding (MF, 221). For one so in c l i n e d toward sympathy and u t t e r l y responsive to affection, the world outside her books i s one of darkness. Literature serves to nourish Maggie's "passionate longings for a l l that was beautiful and glad" and th i s escape through reading sustains her endeavor to " l i n k together the wonderful impressions of this mysterious l i f e , and give her soul a sense of home i n i t " — a home she eventually seeks even to the neglect of her self-respect and physical safety (MF, 221). Maggie's i n i t i a l escape i s to "fancy i t was a l l different" by '/refashioning her l i t t l e world into just what she would l i k e i t to be" (MF, 42). Her most frequent fantasy, as an awkward and rejected c h i l d , i s to simulate Lucy: Maggie always looked at Lucy with delight. She was fond of fancying a world where the people never got any larger than children of t h e i r own age, and she made the queen of i t j u s t l i k e Lucy, with a l i t t l e crown on her head and a l i t t l e sceptre i n her hand . . . only the queen was Maggie herself i n Lucy's form. (MF, 54) This wish gains dramatic irony with the development of the plot as 34 Maggie usurps Lucy's position i n Stephen's heart. But Maggie early i n t u i t s the power of her petulant nature over Lucy's trusting and passive character. It i s this knowledge that accounts for the strenuous g u i l t toward her friend i n l a t e r years. As a c h i l d , the fr u s t r a t i o n of not being acceptable to her family and being momentarily eclipsed i n the eyes of Tom causes her to i n f l i c t an injury on Lucy.by pushing her.into.the mud; otherwise, "she could never be cross with pretty l i t t l e Lucy, any more than she could be cruel to a l i t t l e white mouse" (MF, 91). Lucy i s simply the vi c t i m of circumstance i n the "passions at war i n Maggie" that could f i n d no appropriate object on which to vent themselves (MF, 93). The difference between Maggie Tu l l i v e r ' s worlds of fantasy and r e a l i t y appear i n the paradox of her behavior. This g i r l , whose thoughts George E l i o t describes as "the oddest mixture of clear-eyed acumen and b l i n d dreams" (MF, 103), responds to her mother's disapproval of her behavior and appearance by cutting off her locks and appearing '.'like a small Medusa with her snakes cropped" (MF, 90). Thes g i r l with the spell-binding eyes hopes to make her c r u c i f i e r s sorry, but she also desires to punish herself for not f u l f i l l i n g the conventional standards her mother could sanction. It i s enough that her feminine graces are lacking, but Maggie i s completely thwarted when her behavior i s c r i t i c i z e d as w e l l : "She didn't want to look p r e t t y — t h a t was out of the question—she only wanted people to think her a clever l i t t l e g i r l , and not find f a u l t with her" (MF, 57). But this i s not to be. The same i n s e n s i t i v i t y that allows her brother to vent his impression that with her shorn locks she looks l i k e the v i l l a g e i d i o t , and moves her mother to beg 35 her b l a t a n t l y not to "look so ugly," w i l l permit society to treat her as a m i s f i t and an outcast (MF, 78). Such i s the way with those unfortunate victims of p r o v i n c i a l society that do not conform to the opinions of th e i r neighbors. The philosophy that George E l i o t uses to describe Lydgate i n Middlemaroh also describes Maggie i n St. Ogg's: For surely a l l must admit that a man may be puffed and belauded, envied, r i d i c u l e d counted upon as a t o o l and f a l l e n i n love with . . . and yet remain v i r t u a l l y unknown—known merely as a cluster of signs for his neighbours' false suppositions. (M, 105) Maggie Tul l i v e r ' s deep thoughtfulness renders her unable to pattern her behavior after the conventions of .her time and environment. This keeps her from maintaining a position of respect and acceptance even after belligerent awkwardness has grown into statuesque beauty. The entirety of Maggie's t r a g i c flaw i n the eyes of her contemporaries i s suggested early i n the plot by her disgust with the tedious pastime of patchwork. Her perspective, independent of a society that assumes women.prefer gossip to reading, enables her to see the f u t i l i t y i n "tearing things to pieces to sew 'em together again" (MF, 8). This c h a r a c t e r i s t i c free thinking w i l l enable her to see the f a l l a c y i n Tom's enmity for P h i l i p and the error i n Stephen's petulant persuasion. Maggie knows that she and Stephen cannot forget t h e i r previous commitments i n favor of present pleasures because her moral conscience has had much practise as.a c h i l d i n the attempt to erase lesser deeds of a mischievous nature. Maggie Tu l l i v e r ' s lack of conventionality w i l l separate her not only from the company of men, but also from the c i r c l e of female society. Loneliness becomes the companion of honesty: 36 Poor Maggie! She was so unused to society that she' could take nothing as a matter of course, and had never i n her l i f e spoken from the l i p s merely, so that she must necessarily appear absurd to more experienced ladies, from the excessive feeling she was apt to throw into very t r i v i a l incidents. (MF, 356) George E l i o t i r o n i c a l l y suggests that affectation i s a t r a i t to be valued i f one wishes to succeed i n the society of p r o v i n c i a l England. George E l i o t explains Maggie Tu l l i v e r ' s attraction to the immature emotions of the s e l f i s h and shallow Stephen Guest i n terms of the impression he makes on a woman who craves adoration. Stephen's selfishness glazes every plea to Maggie when she renounces t h e i r relationship. And his shallowness i s made evident i n rela t i o n to Lucy when George E l i o t philosophizes on the characteristic of certain men to hide t h e i r secret t i t i l l a t i o n s from their betrothed ones and to b e l i t t l e the objects of t h e i r infatuations. Stephen, unlike Maggie, i s too conventional to seek companionship (apart from a b r i e f distraction) outside that which would f i t peacefully into his own conceit and the mores of St. Ogg's society. He f u l l y intends to f u l f i l society's expectations of him: Generally, Stephen admitted, he was not fond of women who had any p e c u l i a r i t y of character—but here the pe c u l i a r i t y seemed r e a l l y of a superior kind; and provided one i s not obliged to marry such women, why, they certainly make a variety i n s o c i a l intercourse. (MF, 360) The irony of Stephen's pompous assertions evolves as Maggie produces a greater "variety" i n his l i f e than he i s able to handle. Maggie T u l l i v e r , however, i s taken i n by the charm of Stephen's "graceful manner" and the fact that he i s stronger than she i s i n ways that neither Tom nor P h i l i p i s ; ' She i s superior to Tom i n her gentle loving nature and superior to P h i l i p i n sheer physical 37 advantage. Stephen, therefore, brings a new pleasure to Maggie when he offers a masculine protectiveness unknown to a g i r l who has become accustomed to feeling her awkward largeness, especially when i t i s stressed by the presence of her p e t i t e - cousin: There i s something strangely winning to most women i n that offer of the firm arm: the help i s not wanted physically at the moment, but the sense of hel p — t h e presence of strength that i s outside them and yet theirs—meets a continual want of the imagination. (MF, 385) And Maggie's imagination i s always w i l l i n g to charge.her world with stimulation. Maggie T u l l i v e r , l i k e George E l i o t , allows her emotions to exhaust her. Thus, when Stephen commands^her, there are moments when Maggie obeys because "there was an unspeakable charm i n being t o l d what to do, and having everything decided for her" (MF, 443). George E l i o t has adequately prepared the reader, through Maggie T u l l i v e r ' s love for Tom, that her greatest need i s to love and be loved i n spite of the deficiencies i n depth or i n t e l l e c t on the part of the loved one. The author's clearest exposition of Maggie's ceaseless yearning for a f u l l e r existence suggests a vul n e r a b i l i t y to which she juxtaposes the entrance of Stephen into the heroine's l i f e : She found joyless days of d i s t a s t e f u l occupation harder and harder—she found the image of the intense and varied l i f e she yearned f o r , and despaired of, becoming more and more importunate. The sound of the opening door roused her . . . . (MF, 353) The opening door brings Stephen into Maggie's r e a l i t y . I t i s hardly surprising that this debonair male whom she comes to know through the magic of music, a chara c t e r i s t i c accompaniment of love i n George 38 E l i o t ' s f i c t i o n , ultimately leaves the Garden of Eden that he thinks he securely enjoys with Lucy, to s l i t h e r into the heart of Maggie and stimulate her expulsion from society. Maggie T u l l i v e r i s also suffering from the loss of P h i l i p ' s friendship as a result of her brother's ban on t h e i r secret meetings: "She f e l t lonely, cut off from P h i l i p — t h e only person who had ever seemed to love her devotedly, as she had always longed to be loved" (MF, 361). There i s a void within Maggie, a.void once f i l l e d by her childhood relationship with Tom and l a t e r by her youthful friendship with P h i l i p . Appropriate to the dramatic development of her a f f a i r with Stephen, this void i s a t , i t s greatest depth upon his entrance. But a major problem arises when George E l i o t f a i l s to convey a sense of the relationship between Stephen and Maggie. When Stephen asks, "Have you forgotten what i t was to be together?" i t i s hard to r e c a l l when Maggie did f e e l something substantial (MF, 488). The development of t h e i r relationship does not allow the reader to share a s o l i d sense of t h e i r emotions. George E l i o t seems unable to convey other than a vague sense of t h e i r sexual attraction and the power of this force to override greater duty for the moment. Iron-i c a l l y , vagueness to George E l i o t was one of the cardinal a r t i s t i c f a i l u r e s , but t h i s i n a b i l i t y or unwillingness to bring sensual passion into a clear focus i s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of a l l the relationships 12 developed i n her novels. Maggie's capacity for sensual delight i s clearest i n her pleasure at the ffragrance of the roses: " ' I am quite wicked with r o s e s — I l i k e to gather them and smell them t i l l they have no scent l e f t ' " (MF, 418). Portrayed i n Maggie Tul l i v e r ' s 39 words are both the extremist and sensual q u a l i t i e s of her nature. This combination amidst the conventional/behavior of her neighbors assures an i r r e c o n c i l a b l e difference. Maggie Tul l i v e r ' s escape into fantasy and her desire for knowledge are strong needs, but they are superseded by and connected to the desire to commit her emotions to an object of love. When Tom i s angry with Maggie over the death of his rabbits, she does not understand why he cannot forgive and love her as she would him. She makes a passionate resolution to starve herself while hiding behind the tub i n order to make Tom sorry and to punish herself for displeasing him. Her resolve lasts only minutes, however, because "the need of being loved, the strongest need i n poor Maggie's nature, began to wrestle with her pride, and soon threw i t " (MF, 31). This combination of pride and the longing for love i n her excessively passionate temperament stimulates one moral dilemma after another i n her l i f e u n t i l , f i n a l l y , love conquers pride and she i s swept into her brother's arms. The strength of t h i s need for love w i l l expose i t s e l f i n various forms throughout her development, always to the detriment of Maggie's f i n a l happiness. She never masters the desire to be accepted by her k i n and i t rules her l i f e as i t determines her death. The persuasive power of love i s the greatest force of motivation fo r a l l George E l i o t ' s heroines. I t creates a s p i r i t of purpose and renewed f a i t h i n l i f e for Maggie T u l l i v e r , Dorothea Brooke and Gwendolen Harleth. For Maggie, however, the rejuvenation i s always destroyed by forces beyond her control, usually the nature of the person she loves or the fact that her family t i e s preclude 40 her affection for others. This "wonderful subduer, this need of love—as peremptory as that other hunger by which Nature forces us to submit to the yoke, and change the face of the world" i s one that George E l i o t knew wel l from her own l i f e experience (MF, 32). For Maggie, this "yoke" of love results i n fr u s t r a t i o n , confusion, and f i n a l l y , death. Maggie Tul l i v e r ' s lack of passion for P h i l i p i s determined by his physical deformity and the fact that p i t y and passion cannot dwell i n the same breast. This concept i s referred to again i n Middlemavoh when Ladislaw feels r e l i e f i n the knowledge that Dorothea Brooke's tenderness for Casaubon i s inspired by p i t y . P h i l i p ' s deformity enhances Maggie's all-too-ready sympathies, and the mutual s e n s i t i v i t y they share s a t i s f i e s a yearning for honest communication. She p i t i e s his deformity while she appreciates his character; p i t y makes her invulnerable to passion, and apprecia-t i o n stimulates her moral growth. This mutual sympathy creates a friendship from "metal that w i l l mix," but only insofar as the pettiness of t h e i r environment w i l l allow (MF, 174). They share an awareness of the deficiency that keeps each from attaining his dream and a desire to be l i f t e d , as P h i l i p says, "above the dead l e v e l of p r o v i n c i a l existence"(MF, 309). P h i l i p Wakem brings Maggie Tu l l i v e r ' s character into clearer perspective. Early i n their friendship he i s aware that her eyes depict a temperament " f u l l of unsatisfied i n t e l l i g e n c e , and unsatisfied, beseeching affection" (MF, 167). In The Mill on the Floss , George E l i o t exposes the s e n s i t i v i t y of each character by his a b i l i t y to appreciate the peculiar beauty of Maggie's eyes. 41 They are praised by her father and Stephen and even Bob Jakin, who t e l l s his mother of the g i r l who had "such uncommon eyes, they looked somehow as they made him feel nohow" (MF, 227). Her eyes clearly represent the nature of her beauty i n the depth of passion reflected there. Maggie's eyes affect everyone who t r u l y cares for her, but P h i l i p sees those q u a l i t i e s George E l i o t has carefully made known to the reader. P h i l i p Wakem's profound knowledge and acceptance of Maggie allow her to drop her restraining facade of d i s c i p l i n e . This sharing, without the misunderstanding Maggie encounters with Tom, leads to a trust that becomes a strength. Maggie's willpower increases i n P h i l i p ' s presence because the power of his s i n c e r i t y allows the goodness of her nature to free i t s e l f with confidence: "She had always additional strength of resistance when P h i l i p was present, just as we can restrain our speech better i n a spot that we f e e l to be hallowed" (MF, 437). Thus, P h i l i p ' s wisdom becomes another touchstone for Maggie. P h i l i p makes Maggie aware of the deficiencies i n her penchant for the ascetic. He attempts to convince-her that " i t i s not right to s a c r i f i c e everything to other people's unreasonable feelings." He condemns her behavior as that of a fanatic who deludes herself that numbness compensates for unhappiness: Your are shutting yourself up i n a narrow self-delusive fanaticism, which i s only away of escaping pain by starving into dullness a l l the highest powers of your nature . . . you are not resigned: you are only trying to stupefy yourself." (MF,\ 309) But Maggie T u l l i v e r i s too isolated by inexperience' to understand 42 the truth of P h i l i p ' s objective perspective on her manner of coping with emotional dilemmas. The "highest powers" of her character are the ones to which Maggie refers when she explains to Stephen why she must renounce him Jin favor of a nobler duty. Like Ladislaw, P h i l i p sees the fulfilment of happiness as a v i r t u e . He knows that Maggie "can never carry on this s e l f - t o r t u r e " (MF, 311). Maggie's outburst of emotion toward Stephen i s foreshadowed i n P h i l i p ' s warning. He recognizes the danger i n her passiveness. Rather than calm Maggie's traumatic, inner world, this passivity w i l l simply suppress her passions u n t i l they can no longer be contained within. P h i l i p persuades Maggie that "there i s no such escape possible except by perverting or mutilating one's nature" (MF, 390). The w a l l Maggie T u l l i v e r has erected against chaos only serves to hold back her flood of emotions u n t i l some chance incident, such as her infatuation with Stephen, destroys her defenses. Maggie's i n a b i l i t y to take courage and to develop her emotional outlets according to time and opportunity simply create an accumulation of fee l i n g that overpowers her i n a moment of confusion. P h i l i p warns Maggie of the f a l l a c y i n her method: It i s mere cowardice to seek safety i n negations. No character becomes strong i n that way. You w i l l be thrown into the world some day, and then every ra t i o n a l s a t i s -faction of your nature that you deny now, w i l l assault you l i k e a savage appetite." (MF, 311) His warning goes unheeded, however, and he prophesies Maggie's abandonment of her theories i n a moment of rapture. She has not yet reached that l e v e l of development that w i l l enable her to see that suppression of emotions i s simply a delay i n reaction. 43 Maggie T u l l i v e r i s certainly aware, however, of the strength of her passions and the consequent complexity of her nature. She l i m i t s herself to a s i m p l i s t i c s t y l e of l i f e because she believes that without arbitrary r e s t r i c t i o n s , her existence w i l l once again become embroiled i n trauma. I r o n i c a l l y , she does not re a l i z e that the pastoral days of childhood that she attempts to restore by this simple l i f e cannot be reached by attempting to bring l i f e ' s experiences to a s t a n d s t i l l . Even the clandestine meetings with P h i l i p i n the Red Deeps prove to be a r i f t i n her r i g i d attempts to reach an emotional plateau. And, as the name of the meeting place indicates, i t s mention soon brings a blush of fear i n the company of her family: She was losing the s i m p l i c i t y and clearness of her l i f e by admitting a ground of concealment, and that, by forsaking the simple rule of renunciation, she was throwing herself under the seductive guidance of i l l i m i t a b l e wants. (MF, 307) Maggie knows unconsciously that her monomaniacal l i f e of denial i s a mere a r t i f i c e which protects her from acknowledging r e a l i t y . This subliminal l e v e l of awareness appears i n Maggie's choice of expressions. She refers to her yearnings as selfishness because she feels i t would be ignoble to recognize that her desires are beyond her family, a product of her greater emotional depth and acute s e n s i t i v i t y . When these longings for fulfilment surface they expose her fru s t r a t i o n and g u i l t . Maggie's defense of asceticism unwittingly betrays her error: I t has made me re s t l e s s : i t has made me think a great deal about the world; and I have impatient thoughts a g a i n — I get weary of my home—and then i t cuts me to the heart afterwards, that I should ever have f e l t weary of my father and mother. I think what you c a l l being 4 4 benumbed was b e t t e r — b e t t e r f o r me—for then my s e l f i s h desires were benumbed. (MF, 316) Maggie's use of the word "benumbed" emphasizes the fact that her asceticism i s simply an opiate for the pain of facing r e a l i t y . Her future development, l i k e that of each of George E l i o t ' s heroines, depends on her a b i l i t y to do without the aid of psychological es capes. P h i l i p Wakem unintentionally becomes Maggie Tul l i v e r ' s "guardian angel" (MF, 291), a prelude to the guidance W i l l Ladislaw offers Dorothea Brooke and the advice Daniel Deronda, the "severe angel," gives Gwendolen Harleth (DP, 839). These three counsellors assist each proteg"ee to acknowledge the personal ego involved i n her actions and the negative aspects of her ideals and aspirations. P h i l i p reminds Maggie, i n his endeavor to enlighten her, of the potential displayed i n her exuberant youth: Your- were so f u l l of l i f e when you were a c h i l d : I thought you would be a b r i l l i a n t woman—all wit and bright imagination. And i t flashes out of your face s t i l l , u n t i l you draw that v e i l of d u l l quiescence over i t . (MF, 311) But there i s no place i n Maggie's claustrophobic environment for her v i t a l i t y to f l o u r i s h and this deficiency on the part of society establishes a mood of inevitable tragedy i n the novel. The clash of her passionate energy and a s t a t i c society creates a note of f a t a l i t y which unifies the story. The primary causes of Maggie's all-consuming program of s e l f -denial, as a response to her i n a b i l i t y to appropriately u t i l i z e her i n t e l l e c t u a l and emotional energies, are the harsh r e a l i t i e s of her early l i f e . This dilemma i s expressed again i n Middlemarch 45 when, for Dorothea Brooke, "the world, I t seemed was turning ugly and hat e f u l , and there was no place for her trustfulness" (M, 460). Maggie T u l l i v e r ' s reactions are based on her i n i t i a l lack of feminine beauty, her family's narrow perspective that categorizes her as undesirable, and the abundant s e n s i t i v i t y and superior in t e l l i g e n c e that cause her to suffer f o r being a woman. Asceticism, based on the readings of Thomas a^Kempis, i s the "opium" that succeeds her childhood fantasies. The T u l l i v e r tragedy, and the consequent loneliness of l i v i n g with a family that i s pre-occupied with i t s despair, creates a martyr i n Maggie. She feels a sense of g u i l t even i n the pleasure of her walks i n the lush f e r t i l i t y of the Red Deeps. This renunciation i n the face of luxury and the psychological need for deprivation anticipates Dorothea Brooke, who questions herself about the joy of horseback r i d i n g . Ultimately, i n Maggie T u l l i v e r ' s development, her mother's rejec t i o n , her father's tragedy and Tom's pre-occupation with the family's f i n a n c i a l problems create a loneliness that makes her vulnerabiee to Stephen. The desire to l i v e a f u l l e r and more meaningful l i f e anticipates Dorothea Brooke and Gwendolen Harleth. Dorothea turns to Casaubon as a vehicle by which to rea l i z e her dream of acquiring greater knowledge. Gwendolen turns to Grandcourt as a means to free herself from the yoke of poverty. Maggie turns to Thomas a1Kempis to calm her longing for companionship. Each woman considers her idea to be the sole key to happiness. As Dorothea looks to knowledge and Gwendolen looks to money, Maggie looks to religious asceticism for peace of mind: 4 6 Then her brain would be busy with w i l d romance of a f l i g h t from home i n search of something less sordid and dreary: she would go to some great man—Sir Walter Scott, perhaps—and t e l l him how wretched and how clever she was, and he would surely do something for her. (MF, 270) The great man to whom she goes i s Thomas a^  Kempis andhhis doctrine of denial. Maggie T u l l i v e r ' s early tendency toward martyrdom i r o n i c a l l y foreshadows her ultimate s a c r i f i c e of Stephen i n response to the r e a l i t i e s , rather than imagined conjectures. U n t i l , t h i s time, her ascetic behavior i s simply another form of egoism—a desire for a prestigious place i n l i f e ' s drama. The nature of th i s aspiration anticipates Gwendolen Harleth's desire to be the central actress on the world's stage. But George E l i o t proposes i n Middtemarch, the extent to which the individual's desires are in the nature of self-seeking does not render them insincere, "for the egoism which enters into our theories does not affect t h e i r s i n c e r i t y , rather, the more our egoism i s s a t i s f i e d , the more robust our b e l i e f " (M, 382). Martyrdom i s easy, then, especially for the d i s c i p l i n e d extremist, compared with the endeavor to face an ingloriousrreali.ty: That i s the path we a l l l i k e when we set out on our abandonment of egoism—the path of martyrdom and endurance, where the palm—branches grow, rather than the steep highway of tolerance, just allowance and self-blame, where there are no leafy honors to be gathered and worn. (MF, 275) Maggie's conversations convey a sense of the extreme to which she carries her martyrdom. When P h i l i p attempts to open her mind to the narrowness of a view that excludes art and knowledge, she defends herself on the ground that she must enjoy nothing "because I should 47 want too much. I must w a i t — t h i s l i f e w i l l not l a s t long" (MF, 289). I r o n i c a l l y , she i s correct i n her dramatic pronouncement. Asceticism does, however, add.a s u p e r f i c i a l peacefulness to Maggie T u l l i v e r and this shows i n her countenance: "That new inward l i f e of hers, notwithstanding some volcanic upheavings of imprisoned passions, yet shone out of her face with a tender soft l i g h t that mingled i t s e l f as added loveliness . . . ." (MF, 276). But t h i s i s tinged with a "sense of uneasiness i n looking at h e r — a sense of opposing elements, of which a fierce c o l l i s i o n i s imminent" (MF, 282). Under the calm exterior l i e s the same f i e r y g i r l that beat her wooden f e t i s h i n the a t t i c as a c h i l d . She i s simply learning to hide her inner turmoil by confiningeherself~to certain moral teachings which consume her energy i n sheer willpower. Thomas a^Kempis teaches that "blessed are those ears which hearken not unto the voice which soundeth outwardly, but unto the Truth, which teacheth inwardly" (MF, 272). This, i r o n i c a l l y , i s the very voice to which Maggie l i s t e n s i n her most c r u c i a l moment. Active denial replaces theory when Stephen Guest replaces Thomas a'Kempis. But, as George E l i o t believed that. reward was to be found only i n human fellowship, Maggie isddenied once again. The voices of the Dodson clan unabashedly offer the opinion that to be a female of merit i n St. Ogg's society, one must be equipped with the conventional graces. Maggie i s compared to a f r i s k y dog i n order to convey the notion of her unkempt h a i r and unguarded emotion. Neither, of course, i s appropriate i n a society that bases i t s values of femininity on a standard for which Lucy, p e t i t e , passive, and f a i r , i s the epitome. Maggie reacts to early 4 8 d i s c i p l i n e by "shaking the water from her black locks as she ran, l i k e a Skye t e r r i e r escaped form his bath" (MF, 22). The dog metaphor emphasizes Maggie's protective impulses and her desire to offer obedient and f a i t h f u l devotion: There were few sounds that roused Maggie when&she was dreaming over her book, but Tom's name served as w e l l as the s h r i l l e s t whistle: i n an instant she was on the watch, with gleaming eyes, l i k e a Skye t e r r i e r suspecting mischief, or at a l l events determined to f l y at anyone who threatened i t towards Tom. (MF, 11) Mrs. T u l l i v e r denies r e s p o n s i b i l i t y for Maggie's temperamental behavior and equates her with one f i t for Bedlam: "That niver run i ' my family, thank God, no more nor a brown skin as makes her look l i k e a mulatter. I don't l i k e to f l y i n the face of Providence, but i t seems hard as I should have but one g e l l , an' her so comicaii" (MF, 8) George E l i o t demurs against Mrs. Tu l l i v e r ' s harsh invective i n her philosophical outlook toward the mother's own peculiar idea of beauty. The author suggests ananalogy between the "milk and mild-ness" of the accepted form and the children of Raphael's early Madonnas: I have often wondered whether those early Madonnas of Raphael; with the i r blond faces and somewhat stupid expression, kept t h e i r p l a c i d i t y undisturbed when t h e i r strong-limbed boys got a l i t t l e too old to do without clothing. I think they must have been given to feeble remonstrance, getting more and more peevish as i t became more and more in e f f e c t u a l . (MF, 9 ) Condemnations of vacuous and s e l f i s h beauty and of the harsh l o t allocated to women denied these s u p e r f i c i a l assets frequent George E l i o t ' s novels. A dialogue, with i r o n i c overtones, i s exchanged between Maggie and P h i l i p when she expresses her contempt for and annoyance with the l i t e r a r y convention of the blond heroine: 49 "I foresaw that that light-complexioned g i r l would wiiu"' away a l l the love from Corinne and make her miserable. I'm determined to read no more books where the blond-haired women carry away a l l the happiness." (MF, 314) An i r o n i c twist occurs when Maggie, the dark-complexioned woman, triumphs i n Stephen's heart over the f a i r darling of St. Ogg's. society. In terms of happiness, however, the plots have a p a r a l l e l out come s. The experiences of Maggie T u l l i v e r ' s youth and Mary Garth's employment r e f l e c t George E l i o t ' s opinion of s o c i a l discrimination against plainness, whereas Rosamond Vincy and Gwendolen Harleth exhibit prime support for the favors bestowed on beauty. The author conveys her bias by beautifying Maggie, rewarding Mary, scorning Rosamond and deepening Gwendolen, as each; i n her turn, contradicts the prejudices of society. The dull-colored dresses and simple hairdoes of Maggie and Dorothea serve to enhance t h e i r s p i r i t u a l beauty. Lucy's exclamation to Maggie, " I can't think what witchery i t i s i n you, Maggie, that makes you look best i n shabby clothes" (MF, 351), anticipates George E l i o t ' s introduction of Dorothea as a g i r l who "had that kind of beauty which seems to be thrown.into r e l i e f by poor dress" (M, 5). These passages scorn s u p e r f i c i a l adornment, an art at which Rosamond and Gwendolen are masters. Tom Tu l l i v e r ' s common good looks are compared to Maggie's pecu l i a r l y unrefined features which "Nature seemed to have moulded and coloured with a most decided intention" (MF, 27). Maggie exposes the f a l l a c y of society's preconceived notions when she, who "looked twice as dark as usual when she was by the side of Lucy," unwittingly wields the power of the femme fabate over 50 her helpless friend (MF, 54). Like Rosamond Vincy, Maggie T u l l i v e r exposes George E l i o t ' s philosophy that appearance;does not always r e f l e c t the character housed within: But that same Nature has the deep cunning which hides i t s e l f under the appearance of openness, so that simple people think they can see through her quite w e l l , and a l l the while she i s secretly preparing a refutation of t h e i r confident prophesies. (MF, 27) When Maggie's beauty begins to establish i t s e l f , Mr. T u l l i v e r expresses his sorrow that "she i s n ' t made o' commoner s t u f f — s h e ' l l be thrown away, I doubt: t h e r e ' l l be nobody to marry her as i s f i t for her" (MF, 276). Although he refers to t h e i r poverty and position, his unwitting truth indicates that Maggie, because of her superior q u a l i t i e s , i s unfit for St. Ogg's. The heroine feels too deeply and has too great a power of i n t e l l e c t to succumb to the conventions of p r o v i n c i a l society. The lack of opportunities for p l a i n women i n society i s further aggravated by a preference for male employment. The dilemma George E l i o t faced i n her pre-Lewes days, as she attempted to f i n d room for her a b i l i t i e s i n a male-oriented environment, i s reflected i n Maggie's denial of i n t e l l e c t u a l nourishment and Tom's useless formal education. As children, Tom establishes the precedent of power born with maleness: "I've got a great deal more money than you, because I'm a boy. I always have half-sovereigns and sovereigns for my Christmas box because I s h a l l be a man, and you w i l l only have f i v e s h i l l i n g pieces, because you're only a g i r l . " (MF, 29) Maggie's i n t e l l i g e n c e i s considered a detriment, rather than an advantage, and the notion that women should not be too clever does much to make i t s e l f a truth. I t causes Mr. T u l l i v e r a good deal of 51 confusion i n his mixture of pride and shame regarding his daughter's i n t e l l e c t : '!She understands what one's t a l k i n g about so as never was. And you should hear her r e a d — s t r a i g h t o f f , as i f she knowed i t a l l before-hand. And allays at her book! But i t ' s b a d — i t ' s bad . . . a woman's no business wi' being so clever; i t ' l l turn to trouble, I doubt . . . s h e ' l l read the books and understand 'em better nor half the folks as are growed up." (MF, 12) Even while recognizing Maggie's a b i l i t i e s , her father makes clear that there i s no place for a woman i n the world of extended education and crafty business. Maggie Tu l l i v e r ' s determination to be independent leaves her only one means of s u r v i v a l , to acquire a teaching s i t u a t i o n i n a school or to become a governess. George E l i o t implies that this role i s not necessarily a s a t i s f y i n g one. Maggie t e l l s P h i l i p that she wishes to make herself "a world outside" of the one devoted to loving, "as men do" (MF, 390). She feels that affection w i l l not bring her happiness. Even Tom's love for Maggie i s of the condescending and domineering variety i n that "he was very fond of his s i s t e r , and meant always to take care of her, make her his housekeeper, and punish her when she did wrong" (MF, 33-34). Convention, however, precludes Maggie's fulfilment through a career. In spite of this d i f f i c u l t y , she renounces any occasion to rest upon the support of others. 11,11 must get my own bread,"" i s her response to the charity of duty-bound-, but unsympathetic relatives on her return to St. Ogg's (MF, 475). Maggie would have pr o f i t e d f a r more than her brother, had convention been d i f f e r e n t , frompthe expense of time and money devoted to his learning. She turns to reading to all a y the loneliness of 52 empty hours without Tom and to s a t i s f y her . .'" i n t e l l e c t u a l c u r i o s i t y : And so the poor c h i l d , with her soul's hunger and her i l l u s i o n s of s e l f - f l a t t e r y , began to nibble at this thick-rinded f r u i t of the tree of knowledge . . . For a week or two she went on resolutely enough, though with an occasional sinking of heart, as i f she had set out towards the Promised Land alone, and found i t a t h i r s t y , track-l e s s , uncertain journey. (MF, 269) Whereas Tom i s expected to attend school, Maggie i s denied the need for i n t e l l e c t u a l guidance and encouragement. Mr. T u l l i v e r indicates the general concensus of the men when he " f e l t very much as i f the a i r had been cleared of obtrusive f l i e s now the women were out of the room" (MF, 67). But i n his antagonism, T u l l i v e r i s f o i l e d by his own cautious plans. His carefully conceived stratagem to marry Mrs. T u l l i v e r "''cause she was a b i t weak, l i k e ; for I wasn't a-goin' to be t o l d the rights o'things by my own fi r e s i d e " " mis carries when heredity allows her a role i n t h e i r offspring (MF, 14): "It seems a b i t of a pit y . . . the lad should take after the mother's side instead o'the l i t t l e wench. That's the worst on't wi'the crossing o' breeds: you can never j u s t l y c a l k i l a t e what'11 come on't." (MF, 7) Tu l l i v e r , however, recognizes Maggie's potential even while he deplores i t . This redeeming quality shines through i n his generosity toward his s i s t e r and his passionate love for his daughter. Like Tom, he can only show his affections by condescension and g l i b l y admits that he would "'never want to quarrel with any woman i f she kept her place""(MF, 66). Wakem supports Tu l l i v e r ' s viewpoint when he and P h i l i p discuss the boy's love for Maggie. P h i l i p defends his affection on the basis that the family quarrel has no bearing on Maggie's honor or her worth 53 as an in d i v i d u a l . But Wakem reveals the conventional outlook when he argues that'"we don't ask what a woman does—we ask whom she belongs to'" (MF, 403). To the nineteenth century man, a woman i s simply a decoration to be shuffled about according to whim, whether i t be from the husband, the brother, or the father. The basic s i m i l a r i t y between Maggie and Mr. T u l l i v e r stimulates the father's intense sympathy for his daughter. They are a l i k e i n that t h e i r passions exceed t h e i r powers of d i s c i p l i n e . Tulliver's e r r a t i c vehemence i s revealed when he beats Wakem; s i m i l a r l y , Maggie beats her Fetish. But there i s an important difference which w i l l direct Maggie's path away from her father's. She i s of a f l e x i b l e and forgiving nature which means to punish i t s e l f , as wel l as the object of i t s fury, but her anger soon dissipates i n the chaos of accompanying emotions. Both father and daughter react against f r u s t r a t i o n , but Maggie's , feactiondisf devoideof ui.that element of vengeance that i s so clearly a part of Tu l l i v e r ' s character. She i s swept into forgiveness by the dat-harsis of her emotional outbursts, "sobbing a l l the while with a passion that expelled every other form of consciousness—even the memory of the grievance that had caused i t " (MF, 22-23). The extravagance of her emotions i s quelled by a s e l f - d e n i a l to which she devotes herself with equally i r r a t i o n a l zest. The war between the quieting powers of awareness and the activating power of impetuosity impel Maggie T u l l i v e r to act i n extremes. She i s calmed by a knowledge of her own tenuous position i n r e l a t i o n to those she loves, but at the same time excited by 54 emotions that crave a response. This dichotomy prevents her from acquiring the calm she desires, "for poor l i t t l e Maggie had at once the timidity of an active imagination, and the daring that comes from overmastering impulse" (MF, 98). The breadth to which Maggie must extend her self-denial in order to govern her behavior, reveals the extent of turmoil erupting beneath the surface. Ego as a motivating force is central to each heroine. In Middlemaroh George Elio t defines the ego as the inner light which determines that a l l paths lead toward the self as the center of existence in the viewer's narrow perspective: Your pier-glass or extensive surface of polished steel made to be rubbed by a housemaid, w i l l be minutely and multitudinously scratched in a l l directions; but place now against i t a lighted candle as a centre of illumination, and lo! the scratches w i l l seem to arrange themselves in a fine series of concentric circles round that l i t t l e sun. It i s demonstrable that the scratches are going everywhere impartially, and i t is only your candle which produces the flattering i l l u s i o n of a concentric arrange-ment, i t s light f a l l i n g with an exclusive optical selection. (M, 194-95) Thus, the egoist determines that she shall be the central actress on the world's stage. Even in Maggie Tulliver's humbleness, ego is apparent as an impetus to action. Like Dorothea Brooke's self-denial, Maggie's asceticism is a type of "opium" to feed her troubled ego. Renunciation is colored by pride and Maggie "often lost the s p i r i t of humility by being excessive.in the outward act" (MF, 275). George El i o t applies this motive of ego support to the self-denial Mrs. Glegg undergoes when circumstances move against her wishes: "People who seem to enjoy their i l l temper have a way of keeping i t in fine condition by i n f l i c t i n g privations on themselves" (MF, 114). 55 And Maggie T u l l i v e r ' s privations are tinged with the Dodson flavor of self-righteousness. We f i r s t notice Maggie's ego when she runs off to j o i n the gypsies. She believes they "would gladly receive her, and pay her much respect on account of her superior knowledge" (MF, 96). Ego, i n Maggie, i s bound up with an awareness that she has an admirable i n t e l l e c t . This i s one aspect of her character for which she has gained praise. She couples this a b i l i t y with the former "Lucy fantasy" and hints to the gypsies that she would be "a very good queen, and kind to everybody" (MF, 101). In her own society, Maggie i s a vi c t i m of the same malady from which George E l i o t suffered. In the author's journal, as a comment on the hindrance to her w r i t i n g e f f o r t s , she describes the ""indolence and despondency that comes from too egoi s t i c a dread 13 of failure.'"' This suggests the type of fear that also hinders Gwendolen Harleth. Ego rules many characters i n George E l i o t ' s f i c t i o n a l world, even such staunch t r a d i t i o n a l i s t s as the Dodsons: A conspicuous quantity i n the Dodson character was i t s genuineness: i t s vices and virtues al i k e were phases of proud, honest egoism, which had a hearty d i s l i k e to what-ever made against i t s own credit and interest and would be frankly hard of speech to inconvenient 'kin ' , but would never forsake or ignore them—would not l e t them want bread, but only require them to eat i t with b i t t e r herbs. (MF, 257) But this desire to maintain the ego by maintaining a proper facade,. i s the very force which motivates Mrs. Glegg i n The Mill on the Floss, l i k e Mrs. Bulstrode i n Middlemavoh, to stand by her kind when the world i s casting stones. The power of convention turns i n Maggie's favor when her mother and Mrs. Glegg stand behind her as an act of duty. Tradition, however, becomes a negative force when Maggie i s seen as the f a l l e n woman to those who have never experienced passion. 5 6 Society categorizes her morals and offers no shelter for the unconventional i n i t s blanket opinion. P h i l i p Wakem alone recognizes the power of ego as a detrimental motivating force. Hence, when he feels a sense of jealousy after observing Stephen and Maggie together, he determines not to "trust himself to see her, t i l l he had assured himself that he could act from pure anxiety for her, and not from e g o i s t i c i r r i t a t i o n " (MF, 438). As P h i l i p does not feed Maggie's pride and as his view of th e i r relationship i s r e a l i s t i c he creates a quality of sacredness i n her feeling: The fact that i n him the appeal was more strongly to her p i t y and womanly devotedness than to her vanity or other ego i s t i c e x c i t a b i l i t y of her nature, seemed to make a sort of sacred place . . . . (MF, 388) Ph i l i p ' s control of his ego enables him to appreciate Maggie even while her encounter with Stephen implies a rejection of his own love. He exposes his f a i t h and insight when he writes to Maggie to exonerate her upon her return to St. Ogg's: " I believe then, as I believe now, that the strong attraction which drew you together proceeded only from one side of your characters, and belonged to that p a r t i a l , divided action of our nature which makes h a l f the tragedy of the human l o t . " (MF, 477) P h i l i p Wakem expresses George E l i o t ' s wisdom i n r e l a t i o n to the complexity of human nature and her compassion for human error i n view of this complexity. The author's sympathy i s e x p l i c i t l y shown i n her awareness of the fact that one error, no matter how great, does not define an entire character. This concept i s further emphasized i n Middle-march by the characters of Lydgate and Bulstrode. As the "unifying p r i n c i p l e " of The Mill on the Floss and i t s 5.7 "centre of consciousness," Maggie T u l l i v e r represents the idea of 14 misdirected energy. This concept w i l l be extended, though i n different terms, i n the characters of Dorothea Brooke and Gwendolen Harleth.. There i s no room for the ideals and aspirations of a zealous young woman i n a male-dominated society ruled by mediocre goals. The plot does not allow Maggie T u l l i v e r to outgrow and overcome these re s t r i c t i o n s . Dorothea Brooke, however, converts to accommodate her energies to the duties of a happy marriage. But one can perhaps hope that Gwendolen Harleth, equipped with a knowledge of her own deficiences, w i l l learn to surpass the stab-i l i z i n g s o c i a l force of mediocrity. Gwendolen learns to accept herself; Dorothea learns to adapt herself; but "poor Maggie," as George E l i o t so often c a l l s her, i s given neither the capacity to cope nor the time to grow. Maggie T u l l i v e r remains a v i c t i m of her own w i s t f u l yearning and the sensual strength that sustain her moral dilemmas and cause P h i l i p to wonder why her "dark eyes remind him of the stories about princesses being turned into animals" (MF, 167). 5 8 CHAPTER II The Importance of the Unhistoric Act: Middlemaroh Central to the characterization of women i n George E l i o t ' s f i c t i o n i s her b e l i e f that the everyday deeds of the common man are c r u c i a l to the destiny of mankind i n general, The author does not wish to concern herself with the momentous occasions of the universally heroic figure, or to make l i f e appear more glorious than r e a l i t y suggests, Rather, her goal i s "the f a i t h f u l representing of the commonplace things:" It i s for t h i s rare; precious quality of truthfulness that I delight i n many Dutch paintings, which l o f t y -minded people despise, I find a source of delicious sympathy i n these f a i t h f u l pictures of a monotonous homely existence, which has been the fate of so many more among my fellow-mortals than a l i f e of pomp or of absolute indigence, of tragic suffering or of wo r l d - s t i r r i n g actions.15 The unrecorded behavior of the forgotten i n d i v i d u a l , therefore, plays an important role i n the destinies of those whose l i v e s are touched upon. The death of Molly Cass i n Silas Marner c l e a r l y expresses the author's theme of the power of the unhistoric act and i t s effect on a l l the seemingly unconcerned members of society: The unwept death which, to the general l o t , seemed as t r i v i a l as the summer-shed le a f , was charged with the force of destiny to certain l i v e s . . . shaping their joys and sorrows even to the end,16 Each character suffers according to his own s e n s i b i l i t i e s and some, l i k e Rosamond Vincy i n Middlemaroh, suffer very l i t t l e due to their obtuse natures which serve as J>uffers.between selfishness and compassion, The s o c i a l impact of indivi d u a l suffering and happiness i s the essence of Dorothea Brooke's story, the heroine of Middlemaroh, George E l i o t ' s b e l i e f that "each indi v i d u a l must find the better part of 5 9 happiness i n helping another" i s the foundation of Dorothea Brooke's search for a meaningful e x i s t e n c e , ^ The commonplace nature of tragedy does not lessen i t s pain or i t s importance for those involved either d i r e c t l y or vi c a r i o u s l y , As suggested by.U, C. Knoepflmacher, George E l i o t "adapts her tragic v i s i o n to the acceptance of the rhythm of ordinary l i f e : " " ^ That element of tragedy which l i e s i n the very fact of frequency, has not yet wrought i t s e l f into the coarse emotion of mankind; and perhaps our frames could hardly bear much of i t , If we had a keen v i s i o n and feel i n g of a l l ordinary human l i f e , i t would be l i k e hearing the grass grow and the squirrel's heart beat, and we should die of that roar which l i e s on the other side of silence, As i t i s , the quickest of us walk about well wadded with stupidity. (M, 144) Dorothea Brooke's gradual emergence from t h i s " s t u p i d i t y , " which dims her v i s i o n and misdirects her feelings, forms her development, The basis of th i s chapter, then, w i l l be to discuss the evolution of Dorothea Brooke's character i n order to convey the dilemma of an i d e a l i s t i c and ambitious woman i n the nineteenth century. There are many indications that Dorothea Brooke i s simply an extension of Maggie T u l l i v e r with emphasis placed on different aspects of character and opportunity i n order to portray yet another view of the woman confined to the mediocrity of "the unreformed p r o v i n c i a l mind" (M, 449). Mediocrity i s suggested i n the t i t l e which implies a convention i n which people c l i n g to the'middle-of-the-road 1 and refuse to venture toward unknown or unaccepted pathways. Often this i s done by habit under the delusion of morality or individualism. While wistfulness i s a quality of Maggie Tulliver's. temperament that i s almost obscured by her passionate nature, i t i s a most.: specif i c aspect of Dorothea Brooke's character. Her passion, unlike Maggie's, 6 0 i s subdued by a genteel upbringing, Dorothea i s a study of all-pervasive w i s t f u l n e s s — t h e g i r l who yearns for a crusade to which she can attach herself and procure a meaningful existence apart from the paths commonly followed by her contemporaries, Passion i s not lacking, however, i n this ardent heroine, The author assures us that i f Dorothea "ever attained perfect meekness,.it would not be for lack of inward f i r e " (M, 10). Like Maggie T u l l i v e r ' s choices, Dorothea Brooke's decisions i n l i f e are limited as to a career by her sex and i n marital options by the s o c i a l hierarchy, Both heroines are confined by customs which ignore i n t e l l e c t u a l c a p a b i l i t i e s . In 1869 George E l i o t wrote that "a more thorough education w i l l tend to do away with the odious vulgarity of our notions about functions and employment,"-^ The cause and effect of these vulgar notions are primary concerns i n the three novels discussed i n this study. The s t a t i c mentality that composed the author's' own struggle for i n t e l l e c t u a l recognition displays i t s e l f behind the various facades of the three major heroines. Unfortunately, even those more learned and worldly than the average Middlemarch c i t i z e n have thei r biases against female opinion, Lydgate appreciates Dorothea as a "good creature," but one who tends to be "a l i t t l e too earnest." She does, i n fact, form her own thoughts with serious intent and Lydgate, unused to t h i s quality i n women, finds i t annoying: " I t i s troublesome to talk to such women. They are always wanting reasons, yet they are too ignorant to understand the merits of any question, and usually f a l l back on their moral sense to s e t t l e things after t h e i r own taste," (M, 69) I r o n i c a l l y , t h i s "earnest creature" i s to be the only f a i t h f u l friend Lydgate has when reason i s demanded to overcome s o c i a l bias against 61 the doctor. Dorothea's unconventional "moral bias" prompts her to answer painful gossip with the response that she "never called anything by the same name that a l l the people about me did" (M, 392), Women of Dorothea Brooke's generation' are "too ignorant" simply because such biases as those i n Lydgate's mind preclude educational opportunities, When Dorothea attempts to a l t e r t h i s condition for herself, she i s accused of not looking "at things from a proper feminine angle" (M, 70), Lydgate, the author of these thoughts, finds someone to.marry who has been trained as the paradigm of femininity. Rosamond- Vincy has been educated i n a narrow sphere of affectation and ostentatious adornment, Mrs. Lemon's school has taught i t s favorite student to be unable to view l i f e beyond the "scent of rose-leaves" (M, 216), Cultivated idleness requires that form rather than content be the mark of success or f a i l u r e i n any given deed. This "pattern-card of finishing-school" i s the prime circumstance of Lydgate's f a i l u r e (M, 468), Marriage, with " i t s demand for s e l f -suppression and tolerance" requires a f l e x i b i l i t y foreign to the develop-ment of Rosamond Vincy's character (M, 552), Thus, Lydgate marries "care, not help," and his awareness of th i s mistake and the f a i l u r e s subsequent to i t evoke pathos by comparison to his dreams (M, 554), This flaw i n Lydgate's character allows him to regard s u p e r f i c i a l manners as preferable to breadth of i n t e l l e c t and depth of emotion i n a woman and forces his r e a l i t y to change d r a s t i c a l l y from the one intended, Rosamond Vincy i s a f o i l to Dorothea Brooke, While Dorothea marries to serve her suffering fellowmen, Rosamond marries to avoid vulgar humanity. There is . i r o n y i n Rosamond's choice of a doctor whose 62 profession defines him as a man available to the e l i t e and vulgar a l i k e . But she w i l l change even this aspect of Lydgate's career as she directs him toward the assurance of her own creature comforts, Whereas Dorothea eventually considers her f i n a n c i a l assets, a burden, Rosamond marries to ensure herself of f i n a n c i a l security, Whereas Dorothea considers Casaubon's imagined wisdom as the promise of future enlighten-ment for herself, Rosamond considers only Lydgate's professional standing per se, i n the l i g h t of established security: In Rosamond's romance i t was not necessary to imagine much about the inward l i f e of the hero, or of his serious business i n the world: of course, he had a profession and was clever, as wel l as s u f f i c i e n t l y handsome; but the piquant fact about Lydgate was his good b i r t h , which distinguished him from a l l Middlemarch admirers, and presented marriage as a prospect of r i s i n g i n rank and getting a l i t t l e nearer to that c e l e s t i a l condition on earth i n which she would have nothing to do with vulgar people, and perhaps at la s t associate with r e l a t i v e s quite equal to the county people who looked down on Middlemarchers. (M, 123) Soul does not concern Rosamond, She dwells on "good b i r t h " and i t s advantages. I r o n i c a l l y , her awe of Lydgate's r e l a t i v e s leads to both the miscarriage of her c h i l d and the .lessening of her husband's respect and t r u s t . Both Dorothea Brooke and Rosamond Vincy are b e a u t i f u l , but the l a t t e r lacks the heroine's inner n o b i l i t y , Rosamond's beauty l i e s i n those outward gestures that, added to her petite and s u p e r f i c i a l flawlessness, compose a g i r l who i s more interesting to look at than to know. Strength i s found only i n Rosamond's stubborn attachment to appearances, a strength based on weakness of character. She does not grow with experience, but simply clings more self-righteously to her o r i g i n a l s e l f i s h demands. In an early essay, George E l i o t disputes 6 3 the masculine viewpoint that women who are capable of intelligent opinions are a hindrance to their mates by "always pulling in one way when.her husband wants to go in another." She describes Rosamond when she expresses the view that "surely, so.far as obstinacy i s concerned, your unreasoning animal is the most unmanageable of creatures,"' Dorothea Brooke's growing sensitivity toward the needs of others and their inner battles, even in opposition to herself, is the very factor that ultimately gives her heroic stature in the small community of the novel. It is through Dorothea that even Rosamond experiences her one occasion qf generosity, The latter escapes Ladislaw's wrath by swallowing the pride of vanity for a brief moment and, this g i r l who "liked to excite jealousy," confesses that Ladislaw's attraction is not directed toward herself (M, 199), Admittedly there is considerable protective selfishness involved in Rosamond's confession; nevertheless, this simple admission of error is more than she w i l l ever afford Lydgate, Mary Garth contrasts with Dorothea Brooke by the former's lack of illusions and the latter's unfeasible notions, Mary most closely resembles the author's concept of an ideal women. Like George Eliot's characteristic as a writer, Mary's "reigning virtue" is her "honesty and truth-telling fairness," In contrast with Rosamond who "acted her own character, and so well, that she did not know i t to be precisely her own" (M, 87), or Dorothea whose unrealistic viewpoint makes her "alive to anything that gave her an opportunity for active sympathy" whether i t is worthy or not (M, 151), Mary "neither tried to create illusions, nor indulged in them for her own behoof" (M, 84), The marked beauty of Rosamond and Dorothea contrasts with Mary's commonness, a face one could see on "the crowded street tomorrow" CM, 298), Mary must then be known to be loved and this suggests a 6 4 much lower p o s s i b i l i t y of disillusionment on the part of her admirer, Had Mary faltered under i l l u s i o n s similar to those of either Dorothea or Rosamond, a regeneration of Fred Vincy's character would never have occurred, Maggie T u l l i v e r , Dorothea Brooke and Gwendolyn Harleth have i n common with the strong-minded Mary Garth her "severe notions of what people should be" (M, 421), But her notions are not crippled by the i l l u s i o n s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of the former three, Dorothea Brooke's e l i t i s t b i r t h r i g h t precludes close association with other than the landed gentry and th i s severely l i m i t s her romantic a f f i l i a t i o n s . The accompanying wealth also r e s t r i c t s her a c t i v i t i e s i n terms of the menial chores that occupy many women. For Dorothea "the yearning to give r e l i e f " preoccupied her focus "and made her own ease tasteless" (M, 557), Conditioned by wealth and a limited s o c i a l experience, and feeling strongly the need for responsible a c t i v i t i e s , Dorothea i s p a r t i c u l a r l y vulnerable to the dry and pompous Reverend Casaubon: The intensity of her rel i g i o u s d i s p o s i t i o n , the coercion i t exercised over her l i f e , was but one aspect of a nature altogether ardent, theoretic, and i n t e l l e c t u a l l y consequent: and with such a nature, struggling in'the bands of narrow teaching, hemmed i n by a s o c i a l l i f e which seemed nothing but a labyrinth of petty courses, a walled-in maze of small paths that led no whither, the outcome was sure to s t r i k e others as at once exaggeration and inconsistency. (M, 21) An awareness of far-reaching p o s s i b i l i t i e s and a knowledge of l i f e outside the meager sphere of one's own confines i s essential to ind i v i d u a l decisions i n George E l i o t ' s f i c t i o n . Each major,character must learn the inevitable flaw i n hasty decisions based on a narrow personal dogma, Those whom we i n i t i a l l y choose to ignore are often as b e n e f i c i a l l y effective i n l a t e r years as those to whom we attach 65 ourselves are harmful: Any one watching keenly the stealthy convergence of human l o t s , sees a slow preparation of effects from one l i f e on another, which t e l l s l i k e a calculated irony on the indifference or the frozen stare with which we look at our unintroduced neighbour. Destiny stands by sarcastic with our dramatis personae folded i n her hand, (M, 70) The i r o n i c a l truth of George E l i o t ' s aside i s expressed i n the r e l a t i o n -ships of Lydgate with Dorothea Brooke and Gwendolen Harleth with Daniel Deronda, Destiny overrides Lydgate's intention to ignore Dorothea and anticipates Gwendolen's plan "to notice Deronda as l i t t l e as possible" (DP, 375), "Near-sighted" i s a si g n i f i c a n t physical description of Porothea Brooke which metaphorically describes her general insight, Her own admission that " I am rather short-sighted" w i l l become an attribute of mental as well as physical character (M, 22), The paradox of Porothea's early l i f e i s that she marries to devote her energies to the betterment of those less fortunate than herself> a f i . d r f e M s ^ a r i ^ a g e ^ r . i i o n i ' c a l l y - , . becomes, as Ladislaw remarks, "the most horrible of v i r g i n s a c r i f i c e s " (M, 264). Porothea speaks a greater truth to Chettam than she i s aware when anger prompts her to contradict his f l a t t e r y regarding the powers of her discrimination; she suggests that "the right conclusion i s there a l l the same, though I am unable to see i t " (M, 23), The major "process and unfolding" of Dorothea's character i s her eventual a b i l i t y to "see" and guide herself toward the "right conclusion," Lack of insight allows Dorothea Brooke to see i n Casaubon those characteristics which are part of her dream rather than aspects of his person: "Dorothea by t h i s time had looked deep into the ungauged reservoir of Mr. Casaubon's mind, seeing reflected there i n vague 66 labyrinthine extension every quality she herself brought" (M, 17), The relevance of Dorothea's error i s anticipated i n Adam Bede's concept of Hetty Sorrel and foreshadows Gwendolen Harleth's misconception of Daniel Deronda's affection. Suffering i s the inevitable consequence of the application of a personal need to the conception of another's character i n order to furnish one's own desires rather than recognize and accept the r e a l i t y at hand, Dorothea Brooke's nature i s not a shallow or s e l f i s h one, however, and she often exaggerates the positive q u a l i t i e s i n those around her. She suggests t h i s characteristic i n her comment to Lydgate that "people are almost always better than their neighbours think they are" (M, 537), For George E l i o t , these misconceptions are the inevitable result of an ardent, but naive generosity: "To love because you f a l s e l y imagine goodness . . . belongs to the fi n e s t natures."^ This sentiment quoted from a l e t t e r written by George E l i o t shortly before the publication ,of Middleman?eh, applies to the adoration i n which Dorothea's misconception w i l l hold Casaubon's a b i l i t i e s . While the heroine mourns the f r u s t r a t i n g confinement of her pr o v i n c i a l existence, her l i f e has, i n f a c t , an extensive meaning i n terms of the destiny of others. Dorothea's goodness, generosity and devotion benefit others enormously except where they are blinded by their own fears and pettiness: The effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive:, for the growing good of the world i s partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so i l l with you and me as they might have been, i s half owing to the number who l i v e d f a i t h f u l l y a hidden l i f e , and rest i n unvisited tombs. (M, 613) The "unhistoric acts" of Dorothea Brooke's "hidden l i f e " w i l l often 67 be countered by the negative reactions of p r o v i n c i a l mentality and personal i n s e c u r i t i e s , But for those able to appreciate kindness, her deeds increase both the recipient's mental and physical ease, U. C. Knoepflmacher suggests that the " i n t r i c a t e form" of Middlemarch enables the author to expose the c o n f l i c t i n g impulses char a c t e r i s t i c of human nature: "By balancing reason and yearning, she could expose human vanity while at the same time sustaining the power of great i l l u s i o n s , " 2 2 This concept may be easily followed i n the development of Bulstrode and Lydgate, as well as Dorothea, George E l i o t allows us to see behind the heroine's egoistic ideals and yet r e a l i z e t h e i r n o b i l i t y and the intense motivation incurred by her ardent and moral decisiveness. Each relationship i n Middlemarch. serves to define character by contrast and p a r a l l e l . Even those who never meet are substantiated for the reader by th e i r f i c t i o n a l counterparts i n the i n t r i c a t e delineation of Middlemarch society, Dorothea and Mrs. Bulstrode, although two seemingly different types, maintain the same s e l f l e s s devotion and symbolic gestures, They define one another by p a r a l l e l characteristics i n th e i r "unreproaching fellowship" for undeserving husbands i n the face of grief and both women express their determination by dress (M, 549). Rosamond emphasizes the n o b i l i t y of these acts by her relationship with Lydgate, : She i s the "foresaking which s t i l l s i t s at the same board and l i e s on the same couch with the foresaken soul, withering i t the more by unloving proximity" (M, 550), Dorothea's i d e a l i s t i c v i s i o n of l i f e exposes Celia's comfortable perch and Rosamond's narrow viewpoint: 68 [Dorothea] f e l t the largeness of the world and the manifold wakings of men to labour and endurance. She was a part of that involuntary, p a l p i t a t i n g l i f e , and could neither look out on i t from her luxurious shelter as a mere spectator, nor hide her eyes i n s e l f i s h complaining,. (M, 578) Closely connected to this technique of delineation by comparison, i s the idea that individuals relate to and affect one another i n the same manner as each strand of a web relates to and affects the whole, The metaphor of the web expresses the effect and continuity of each act, either i n thought or deed, by each participant, on himself or others, i n any.given environment. . George E l i o t concentrates t h i s universal theme on the confines of Middlemarch society: I at least have so much to do i n unravelling certain human l o t s , and seeing how they were woven and interwoven, that a l l the l i g h t I can command must be concentrated on t h i s p articular web, and not dispersed over that tempting range of relevancies called the universe, (M, 105) The web i s used most e f f e c t i v e l y i n the novel to expose the slow, but steady process of environmental pressure on psychological develop-ment. Emotions such as love, suspicion and jealousy, which f i n a l l y culminate i n effective deeds, are prompted by the gradual effect of environment and character i n c o l l i s i o n , These combinations are "constantly at their weaving work" to determine the outcome of each l i f e (M, 307). Such i s the case i n romantic i n c l i n a t i o n s which are often the threads of preconceived notions that weave an i l l u s i v e picture of the loved one rather than attending to r e a l i t y : "The web i t s e l f i s made of spontaneous b e l i e f s and indefinable joys, yearnings of one l i f e toward another, visions of completeness, i n d e f i n i t e t r u s t " (M, 253), Deeds, therefore, not only affect others, but they turn inward to create habits of behavior and thought patterns which i n turn combine with new circumstances to determine the future:? 69 We please our fancy with ideal webs Of innovation,- but our l i f e meanwhile Is in the loom, where busy passion plies The shuttle to and fro, and gives our deeds The accustomed pattern, (DP, 278) This chapter heading from Daniel Deronda suggests that fantasies and habits are often the motivations which propel individuals when they imagine they are determining their own futures by an independent mental effort. Experience tempers Porothea Brooke's fantasies u n t i l she is able to acknowledge in her own behavior and goals that a single l i f e i s the function of character as applied to opportunity within the limited sphere afforded to each individual, Early in her l i f e , Mr, Brooke attempted to modify the i d e a l i s t i c notions of his niece with the simple truth that " l i f e isn't cast in a mold-—not cut out by rule and lin e " (M, 30), But the "rule and line" define Dorothea's rig i d notions and she does not realize the need to modify them, Reality w i l l be forced upon her by a series of disappointments unt i l she realizes and admits to Ladislaw that notions, in fact, do not shape the future: "Sorrow comes in so many ways. Two years ago I had no notion of t h a t — I mean of the unexpected "way in which trouble comes, and ties our hands, and makes us silent when we long < to speak. I used to despise women a l i t t l e for not shaping their lives more, and doing better things," (M, 397) Dorothea learns the power of outer forces over inner longings and the effect i s a humbling one and anticipates the humiliation of Gwendolen Harleth. Experiences, therefore, bring increased compassion and understanding with them. If, as George Eliot suggests, "in a l l failures, the beginning is certainly the half of the whole," Dorothea Brooke must suffer enormously before a mature insight replaces blind idealism (M, 222). 70 The mellowing of her haughty contempt for any misconceptions of her notions i s shown by her response to Celia's s i m p l i s t i c conversation,' Gentle wisdom speaks i n contrast to the former Dorothea when, after suffering, she repl i e s to Celia's enquiries about her relationship with Ladislaw that "You would have to f e e l with. me,.else you would never know" (M, 602), In a chapter of Middlemarch that discusses the concept of destiny as a result of the combination of character and environment, George E l i o t alludes to the combined effect of ind i v i d u a l r e s p o n s i b i l i t y and s o c i a l influence i n i t s caption: 1st Gent, Our deeds are fetters that we forge ourselves, 2nd Gent, Ay, t r u l y : but I think i t i s the worid That brings the iro n , (M, 25) Dorothea Brooke forges her own trap with Casaubon, but this mistake i s the unhappy result of a world that has no place for high ideals and intense dreams, especially i f they are instigated by a woman's-mind. Tradition and human weakness, therefore, determine the heroine's future as much as her theoretical aims and i d e a l i s t i c goals, The journey on which each i n d i v i d u a l sets out often has l i t t l e resemblance to the path he eventually follows: Each of those Shining Ones has to walk on earth among neighbours who perhaps thought much more of his gait and his garments than of anything which was to give him a t i t l e of everlasting fame: each of them had his l i t t l e l o c a l personal history sprinkled with small temptations and sordid cares,- which made the retarding f r i c t i o n of his course towards f i n a l companionship with the immortals, (M, 109) The steady climb to maturity, then, i s often slowed by barriers toward which one has unwittingly directed oneself. Although the author's philosophical aside refers d i r e c t l y to Lydgate, i t may also 71 be applied .to each of the heroine's, Middlemavch conveys the idea that i t i s the universal destiny of mankind i n general to be r e s t r i c t e d by the very nature of human weaknesses i n response to environmental pressure, Each man i s burdened a l i k e by the destiny he p a r t i a l l y determines for himself, Lydgate i s similar to Dorothea i n that he i n i t i a l l y plans "to do good work for Middlemarch, and great work for the world','" but he must acquire considerable self-knowledge through f a i l u r e and sorrow before his goals are shattered and his future determined (M, 110), This paper deals with George E l i o t ' s sense of the need for a r e a l i s t i c balance between an awareness of pur own habits and our own limi t a t i o n s which determine the extent to which our deeds w i l l be effective. She conveys her theme of the vast importance attached to the seemingly small, but effectual deed by tracing Dorothea Brooke's development, Dorothea matures from a romantic dreamer i n search of a universal cause to the tempered woman with feasible goals, She grows, through disillusionment, to r e a l i z e her l i m i t a t i o n s . The promise of a better l i f e i s based on serving those with whom she can d a i l y concern herself. Dorothea's v i s i t to Lydgate's home i n the midst of their troubles i s j ust such service. The future l i v e s of Lydgate, Rosamond and Ladislaw are enormously effected by Dorothea's simple, but courageous, gesture: It i s given to us sometimes even i n our everyday l i f e to witness the saving influence of a noble nature, the divine efficacy of rescue that may l i e i n a self-subduing act of fellowship. (M, 588) L i f e i t s e l f i s the great teacher and Dorothea Brooke's experiences remain narrow while she unwittingly confines her "best soul i n prison" 72 by marriage to a pedantic bookworm whose uninvolved l i f e has created a limited awareness of his fellowman and a narrow perspective on his work (M, 313), This severely hinders.the development, of his compassion and s t i f l e s the communication which would ensure relevance and meaning for his labors, Casaubon's mechanical book work may be compared to Silas Marner's hoarding of.gold, It i s a dehumanized.state of existence which functions by r e f l e x rather than i n s p i r a t i o n — a process which knows no further goal than labor for i t s own sake, But Dorothea sees th i s marriage-as a voyage to enlightenment and the enlargement of a purpose compatible with her grandiose schemes: 'There would be nothing t r i v i a l about our l i v e s . Everyday-things with use would mean the greatest things. I t would be l i k e marrying Pascal. I should learn to see the truth by the same l i g h t as great men have seen i t by," (M, 21) Through Dorothea's disillusionment i n marriage and the l i g h t of awareness that dawns, as a result of a f f i l i a t i o n with Ladislaw, she learns of her misplaced hopes and finds peace.in lesser dreams of higher quality, higher because they are more r e a l i s t i c . Hence, her new goals are attainable and functional i n a world that i s darkened by the human pettiness, insecurity and greed that are not part of our heroine's i n i t i a l awareness: Here and there a cygnet i s reared uneasily among the ducklings i n the brown pond, and never finds the l i v i n g stream i n fellowship with i t s own oary-footed kind. Here and there i s born a St. Theresa, foundress of nothing, whose loving heart-beats and. sobs after an unattained goodness tremble off and are dispersed among hindrances, instead of centering on some long-recognisable deed, (M, 4) Dorothea does not, therefore, find happiness as a g i r l within her immediate confines. She must allow Ladislaw, the outsider, to permanently lure her away from the stalemate of l i f e at Lowick Manor i n order that she may find new meaning i n possible service. 73 Dorothea Brooke's development i s traced through her dreams of a l i f e akin to sainthood, a marriage designed to increase her knowledge and activate her dreams, the exposure of her naivete, and her growth to a new awareness. The web of l i e s that Dorothea encountered i n her f i r s t marriage which consisted of theory for theory's sake and labor i n order to evade r e a l i t y i s exchanged for a second marriage based on mutual passion and compatibility. Casaubon, whoniMrs, Cadwallader refers to as "a dried bladder for dried peas to r a t t l e in," i s thus replaced by the youthful Ladislaw (M, 43), Few fears are hidden i n this new marriage and a clear knowledge of each other's weaknesses establishes a si t u a t i o n where the chance of disappointments i s r a d i c a l l y decreased. Like Maggie T u l l i v e r i n her relationship with P h i l i p Wakem, Dorothea Brooke defies her family i n order to be with Ladislaw, the one man who recognizes her weaknesses as w e l l as her n o b i l i t y . And recognition leads to acceptance. . The Prelude to Middlemaveh establishes Dorothea's character and b r i e f l y traces her growth by comparing her to St, Theresa, This h i s t o r i c a l saint seeks martyrdom i n a world she knows nothing about with an energy inspired by c h i l d i s h concepts and undaunted by the wisdom acquired with disappointment: Theresa's passionate, i d e a l nature demanded an epic l i f e : what were many-volumed romances of chivalry and the s o c i a l conquests of a b r i l l i a n t g i r l to her? Her flame quickly burned up that l i g h t f u e l ; and, fed from within, soared after some i l l i m i t a b l e s a t i s f a c t i o n , some object which would never j u s t i f y weariness, which would reconcile s e l f -despair with the rapturous consciousness of l i f e beyond s e l f . (M, 3) This description,.of course, foreshadows the innocent exuberance that inspires the heroine of Middlemarch, The author immediately establishes 74 the fact that although Dorothea Brooke i s considered to be i n t e l l i g e n t , her common sense as a g i r l i s not abundant. Dorothea "was usually spoken of as being remarkably clever, but with the addition that her si s t e r Celia had more common-sense" (M, 5). Dorothea Brooke's.opportunities for education, l i k e Maggie T u l l i v e r ' s , are limited by the.conventional.attitude toward a woman's role i n society, Hence we are introduced to the heroine as a young and beautiful g i r l , of s l i g h t l y less than twenty years, who has been educated "on plans at once narrow and promiscuous" (M,.6), This r e s t r i c t i o n , coupled with her penchant for extremes, establishes the ease with which she w i l l funnel her romantic intentions, Dorothea aims for one basic form of a c t i v i t y to which she can devote herself to the o b l i v i o n of a l l e l s e — a relationship with Casaubon and the schemes which pervade that*devotion. Dorothea Brooke i s impressed by those she considers more learned than herself and by the consequent opportunity t h i s affords her by association. I t i s , therefore, f i t t i n g to the development of her character that she should become enraptured with Casaubon and assume that he would be a means by which she could avoid the mediocrity of l i f e i n p r o v i n c i a l England: "Dorothea, with a l l her eagerness' to know the truths of l i f e , retained very c h i l d l i k e ideas about marriage" (M, 7). The heroine wishes to marry only for the betterment of herself i n terms of her opportunity "to help someone who did great works, so that his burthen might be l i g h t e r " (M, 266), In turn he would help her to grow knowledgeable and enhance the means by which she can serve a useful existence, I r o n i c a l l y , Dorothea increases "his burthen" and Casaubon imprisons her by his own deficiencies, 75 In George E l i o t ' s f i c t i o n a l world the populace of a pro v i n c i a l environment scorns the young woman who thinks too deeply and questions established conventions. Appropriate partners i n terms of age, career and f i n a n c i a l position are deemed desirable. When Dorothea chooses a second husband closer to her own age, she i s then c r i t i c i z e d for her haste and Ladislaw's poverty. As George E l i o t i r o n i c a l l y reminds the reader, "Nobody would have said anything i f she had married a young fellow because he was r i c h " (M, 599), The male partner i s esteemed to be the power behind a relationship and anything done to support or hinder this notion i s lauded or condemned accordingly, As Squire Cass suggests i n Silas Morner, "A woman has no c a l l for [a w i l l of her own], i f she's got a proper 23 man for her husband." Dorothea attempts to assert her w i l l by marrying a man who she feels w i l l open the channels to greater learning. In doing so, she must reject S i r James Chettarn, who i s approved by society as an admirable suitor. Unlike her s i s t e r , C e l i a , Dorothea chooses to marry for reasons that are not included i n the concepts of the general populace. Consequently, no one but the victim herself i s shocked at the f a i l u r e of her marriage: Women were expected to have weak opinions; but the great safeguard of society and of domestic l i f e was, that opinions were not acted on. Sane people did what their neighbours did, so that i f any lunatics were at large, one might know and avoid them. (M, 7) According to t h i s b i t i n g description of the p r o v i n c i a l standard, Dorothea, l i k e Maggie of Sti Ogg's, does not measure up to the Middlemarch norm. These antagonistic contentions on the part of society w i l l have t h e i r effect on Dorothea Brooke, as they do on both Maggie T u l l i v e r and Gwendolen Harleth, "for there i s no creature whose 76 inward being i s so strong that i t i s not greatly determined by what l i e s outside i t " (M, 612), Dorothea Brooke has not married for self--satisfaction and personal comfort, so i t i s not surprising to her neighbors that she finds herself greatly d i s s a t i s f i e d and discomforted, The expectations of s o c i a l gossip are ultimately f u l f i l l e d more completely than those exchanging i t ever become aware: Perhaps no person then l i v i n g — c e r t a i n l y none i n the neighborhood of Tipton—would have had a sympathetic understanding for the dreams of a g i r l whose notions about marriage took their colour e n t i r e l y from an exalted enthusiasm about the ends of l i f e , an enthusiasm which was l i t c h i e f l y by i t s own f i r e , and included neither the niceties of the trousseau, the pattern of plate, nor even the honours and sweet joys of the blooming matron, (M, 20) The l i v e s of Maggie, Dorothea and Gwendolen show that popularity and i n d i v i d u a l i t y are not often concomitant, especially i n a woman, Dorothea's eagerness to involve herself with Casaubon displays i t s e l f long before she has even encountered him, just as Rosamond's insistence that she would "not marry any Middlemarch young man" (M, 73) because "a stranger was absolutely necessary to [her] s o c i a l romance" (M, 88) prepares for the entrance of Lydgate, Casaubon f i l l s the void i n Dorothea's search and becomes the demi-god of knowledge: Her mind was theoretic, and yearned by i t s nature after some l o f t y conception of the world which might frankly include the parish of Tipton and her own rule of conduct there; she was enamoured of intensity and greatness, and rash i n embracing whatever seemed to her to have those aspects; l i k e l y to seek martyrdom, to make retractions and then to incur martyrdom after a l l i n a quarter where she had not sought i t , (M, 6) The "quarter where she had not sought i t " i r o n i c a l l y foreshadows her marriage with Casaubon, a relationship which she rashly supposes w i l l give her idealism a path to a c t u a l i t y , Instead she finds herself i n 77 the position of a woman who must martyr herself i n sympathy toward the pathetic man whose "smile l i k e pale wintry sunshine" symbolizes his deficient emotions (M, 19), I r o n i c a l l y Dorothea Brooke learns more than, either she or her husband intended. Her wisdom, rather than academic knowledge, i s greatly increased by her disillusionment. The g i r l who t e l l s her uncle that "we have no right to come forward and urge wider change for good, u n t i l we have t r i e d to a l t e r the e v i l s which l i e under our own hands," intends her comment for Mr. Brooke's tenants, but her words apply to herself and "the e v i l s " with which she must contend are those of a mistaken marriage (M, 285). Dorothea, i n fact,.does not s a t i s f y either her own goals or those of her husband, As she increases her awareness of Casaubon,.she learns of the p o s s i b i l i t y of mistaken intentions and unwitting misrepresentations. Suffering i n the form of g u i l t i s incurred upon both those who disappoint and those who are disappointed. As Casaubon becomes aware of Dorothea Brooke's growing sense of his i n a b i l i t y to j u s t i f y his work, his acute s e n s i t i v i t y to f a i l u r e manifests i t s e l f i n a sudden terror which renders his wife even more useless to him than she had feared: This cruel outward accuser was there i n the shape of a wife—nay, of a young bride, who, instead of observing his abundant pen-scratches and amplitude of paper with the u n c r i t i c a l awe of an elegant-minded canary b i r d , seemed to present herself as a spy watching everything with a malign power of inference, (M, 149) Dorothea, i n other words, plays on Casaubon's conscience which i s beset by the f u t i l i t y of his work. Where Dorothea has judged Casaubon too highly, he judges her too severely, These judgments speak for 78 themselves to define the personalities involved. Failure i s ultimately-put into clear perspective for both Dorothea and Casaubon, She unwittingly forces her husband to look at his wasted l i f e and, at the same time, she must acknowledge her own misrepresentation of his character. I r o n i c a l l y , Casaubon- has married to f u l f i l l needs which do not encourage a questioning mind on the part of his spouse, He intends to exploit her "ardent s e l f - s a c r i f i c i n g a f f e c t i o n " for purposes akin to those of a personal secretary (M, 37), Dorothea has married i n order "to l i v e continually i n the l i g h t of a mind she could reverence" and protect herself from the routine monotony of Middlemarch society (M, 32), This l a t t e r aim anticipates Gwendolen Harleth's reason for marrying Grandcourt, The truth of Dorothea and Casaubon's incompatibility i s i n i t i a l l y hidden by the heroine's penchant for seeing whatever i s necessary to maintain her notions: "Dorothea's f a i t h supplied a l l that Mr. Casaubon's words seem to leave unsaid: what believer sees a disturbing omission or i n f e l i c i t y ? " (M, 37), In contrast with Dorothea's generosity,.Casaubon wonders i f his betrothed lacks certain feminine attributes which might account for the lack of masculine passion on Ms part: " I t has once or twice crossed his mind that possibly there was some deficiency i n Dorothea to account for the moderation of his abandonment" (M, 47). Like Herbert Spencer excusing himself for his lack of involvement with George E l i o t , Casaubon looks for the cause of his impotence everywhere but i n himself. Dorothea, true to her modest nature, does nothing to contradict t h i s viewpoint. Rosamond Vincy i s a f o i l to Dorothea in that she, l i k e Casaubon, wonders at the deficiencies i n her mate and i s cruel enough to imply "that she had been deluded with a false 79 v i s i o n of happiness i n marrying him" (M, 483). The "narrow swamp" that Lydgate believes he must "pass i n a long journey" becomes the marriage i t s e l f (M, 479). Both these relationships expose George E l i o t ' s b e l i e f that one indiv i d u a l cannot achieve healthy spontaneity and depth of companionship i f the other i s not capable of f l e x i b i l i t y and growth i n compassion and s e n s i b i l i t y , Dorothea and Casaubon gradually s t i f l e each other with the quiet resentment that results from thei r a n t i t h e t i c a l schemes, The s t a t i c nature of their relationship f i n a l l y obliterates Dorothea's tendency to f i l l up " a l l the blanks with ummanifested perfections, interpreting him as she interpreted the works of Providence, and accounting for seeming discords by her.own deafness to the higher harmonies" (M, 55). Insight into Casaubon's nature gives his wife renewed f a i t h i n her own worth. She clea r l y does not wish to s a c r i f i c e herself to anything less than a better l i f e than the one she knew previous to her marriage, Dorothea Brooke, l i k e Maggie T u l l i v e r and Gwendolen Harleth, shows signs of egoism early i n the novel. Her intention to renounce the sensual delight of horseback r i d i n g and' shun the temptation to feed vanity by adorning herself with her mother's jewels supports Celia's astute observation that Dorothea " l i k e s giving up" (M, 13), When the accused objects that this would mean "self-indulgence, not se l f - m o r t i f i c a t i o n " she speaks an i r o n i c truth, Dorothea's s e l f -conception i s deformed by her near-sighted manner of viewing h e r s e l f i n r e l a t i o n to l i f e , A desire to give up the conventional pleasures motivates her rejection of youth and exuberance i n Si r James Chettam for age"and supposed wisdom i n Casaubon, Similar to Rosamond Vincy 8 0 i n her fa l l a c i o u s choice of Lydgate as food for her narrow appetite, Dorothea Brooke chooses the man she compares to Locke because she superimposes her desires onto his person. Not only i s Casaubon reported to be learned, he i s concerned with a great r e l i g i o u s endeavor and Dorothea desires a "husband who i s a sort of father, and could teach you even Hebrew, i f you wished i t " (M, 8), In other words, Casaubon appears a most promising mate to a g i r l with strong r e l i g i o u s feelings and great i n t e l l e c t u a l aspirations. The author compares Dorothea and Celia to Don Quixote and Sancho. Dorothea sees according to her dreams and, by contrast to Ce l i a , one i s made aware of both the beauty and the foolishness of their- conceptions: "[Celia] had an indirect mode of making her negative wisdom t e l l upon Dorothea, and c a l l i n g her down from her rhapsodic mood by reminding her that people were staring, not l i s t e n i n g , " (M, 24). Dorothea misconstrues r e a l i t y :as she adorns Casaubon with a l l the embellishment of her near-sighted generosity: Signs are small measurable things, but interpretations are i l l i m i t a b l e , and i n g i r l s of sweet, ardent nature, every sign i s apt to conjure up wonder, hope, b e l i e f , vast as a sky, and coloured by a diffused thimbleful of matter i n the shape of knowledge, (M, 18) Dorothea uses every "sign" available to enhance Casaubon's s t e r i l e nature with the worthiness of a sage. When he admits that he feeds "too much on inward sources" and " l i v e s too much with the dead," she i s only able to conceive of ways to save his eyestrain by her own services (M, 13). His warnings go unheeded even when he t e l l s her that his interests l i e with the "dwellings of ancient Egyptians" rather than the cottages she wishes to plan for the community (M, 24), Dorothea i s bl i n d to the obvious fact that they are diametrically 81 opposed i n that she wishes to devote herself to future generations, while he interests himself i n probing the long lost past, While Dorothea perceives a great soul i n Casaubon's face, as Don Quixote would have done, Celia sees only two whites moles with unsightly hairs on them i n the manner.of Sancho, When Celia notes that Casaubon communicates very l i t t l e , Dorothea considers there i s a lack of outside s t i m u l i to which he can respond,. She fashions "a modern Augustine who united the glories of doctor and saint" (M, 18), C e l i a , with her usual even temper and simple manner, continually attempts to bring Dorothea to a more reasonable viewpoint: "'You always see what nobody else sees; i t i s impossible to s a t i s f y you; yet you never see what i s quite p l a i n " ' (M, 27), But Dorothea i s adamant. She has found a corner to which she can attach her Theresa-l i k e energies i n the course of imagined goodness and she refuses to see other than that which a saint would desire, As Dorothea Brooke's environment does not offer opportunities for her to f u l f i l l her theories, she imagines an opportunity through marriage. Any j a r r i n g of these notions with hints that she may be misleading herself i s attended by haughty scorn: [Celia] had reflected that Dodo would perhaps not make a husband happy who had not her way of looking at things; and s t i f l e d i n the depths of her heart was the feeling that her s i s t e r was too r e l i g i o u s for family comfort. Notions and scruples were l i k e s p i l t needles, making one af r a i d of treading, or s i t t i n g down, or even eating, (M, 15) Dorothea does not i n fact make her husband happy and, as a consequence, she makes herself unhappy as w e l l . The discomfort Dorothea causes i s , i r o n i c a l l y , due.to the lack of understanding she affords the very fellowmen she dreams of aiding. She pricks th e i r consciences with . a supercilious attitude toward the common ambitions to which most 82 people aspire. • E s s e n t i a l l y , Dorothea must learn the lesson that George E l i o t shares with the reader through the former's characteri-z a t i o n — t h e beauty and importance of the simple r e a l i t y before us i n the process of our daily l i v e s , The author expresses her love of s i m p l i c i t y i n her f i r s t novel, Adam Bede: There are few prophets i n the world; few sublimely beautiful women; few heroes. I can't afford to give a l l my love and reverence to such r a r i t i e s : I want a great deal of those feelings for my everyday fellow-men, especially for the few i n the foreground of the great multitude . . . , Neither are picturesque.lazzaroni or romantic criminals half so frequent as your common labourer, who gets his: own. bread and eats i t vulgarly but creditably with his own pocket knife.25 Dorothea has yet to learn the variety of human natures or the value of t h i s variety. Like Casaubon's f i l i n g system, she has her mental notes " i n pigeon holes p a r t l y , " where she maintains her r i g i d notions (M, 14). There i s no simple way for her to acquire the necessary wisdom to expand her outlook: Certainly those determining acts of her l i f e were not id e a l l y b e a u t i f u l . They were the mixed resu l t of young and noble impulse struggling amidst the conditions of an imperfect s o c i a l state, i n which great feelings w i l l often take the aspect of error, and great f a i t h the aspect of i l l u s i o n . (M, 612) Dorothea Brooke's tendency to "young and noble impulse" takes on the form of a strong w i l l . Wanting her own way i n l i f e describes both Dorothea Brooke and Gwendolen Harleth, Their differences l i e i n the fact that the former i s a gentle and i d e a l i s t i c woman while the l a t t e r i s an aggressive and spoiled one. The i n c l i n a t i o n to martyrdom i s , therefore, lacking i n the heroine of Daniel Deronda, Gwendolen's self-seeking motives and w i l f u l manner appear more closely aligned to the self-indulgence which Dorothea denies. 8 3 In many ways Dorothea Brooke foreshadows the modern woman, as do Maggie T u l l i v e r and Gwendolen Harleth, Although the heroine of M-iddlemaroh i s not successful i n completely l i b e r a t i n g herself and a second marriage follows close upon the f i r s t , she w i l l come to th i s l a t t e r act by a certain independence. I n i t i a l l y she dreams of improving her own mind rather than simply performing as a helpmate i n her husband's climb to success: "She had not reached that point of renunciation at which she would have been s a t i s f i e d with having a wise husband: she wished, poor c h i l d , to be wise herself" (M, 47), Naturally, Dorothea i s disappointed by the lack of independent and meaningful involvement required of her as mistress of Lowick Manor: She f e l t some disappointment, of which she was yet ashamed, that there was nothing for her to do i n Lowick; and i n the next few minutes her mind had glanced over the p o s s i b i l i t y , which she would have preferred, of finding that her home would be i n a parish which had a larger share of the world's misery, so that she might have had more active duties i n i t , (M, 57) Dorothea Brooke, l i k e Maggie T u l l i v e r , simply needs a feasible goal on which to focus her energies, A wife with ample wealth and few demands upon her time.is not called upon to make her mark by s e l f -s a c r i f i c e and the vast consumption of useful knowledge, and i s , therefore, unsuited to be a latter-day St..Theresa, I r o n i c a l l y , the luxury of ease i s the very sit u a t i o n she thought to avoid by marriage to Casaubon, Thus, disillusionment asserts i t s e l f i n Dorothea as "the clear heights where she expected to walk i n f u l l communion , . . become d i f f i c u l t to see even i n her imagination." The expanse toward which she gravitates turns out to be an enclosure where she has even less than before because she i s denied the youthful hopefulness of freedom by marriage. Hence, "the delicious repose of the soul" that 84 she dreamed of i s "shaken into uneasy effort and alarmed with dim presentiment" (M, 202), Dorothea suffers from both the lack of simple emotional exchanges and "the gentlewoman's oppressive l i b e r t y " of having the luxury to guarantee boredom (M, 202): Excessive rumination and self-questioning i s perhaps a morbid habit inevitable to a mind of much moral s e n s i b i l i t y when shut out from i t s due share of outward a c t i v i t y and of p r a c t i c a l claims on i t s a f f e c t i o n s — i n e v i t a b l e to a noble-hearted, c h i l d l e s s woman, when her l o t i s narrow,26 Dorothea Brooke's disillusionment begins within the f i r s t weeks of her marriage. Unwittingly burdened by a l l her dreams of what marriage w i l l bring her, she grows progressively more discontent, A sense of vague f u t i l i t y and loneliness begins to replace the v i t a l i t y incurred by cherished hopes of f u l f i l l m e n t . I n i t i a l l y she looks to herself for the deficiency: Dorothea had no d i s t i n c t l y shapen grievance that she could state even to herself; and i n the midst of her confused thought and passion, the mental act that was struggling forth into clearness was a self-accusing cry that her feeling of desolation was. the f a u l t of her own s p i r i t u a l poverty. (M, 143) I t i s i n the revelation of Dorothea Brooke's mistake i n seeking a l i f e - g i v i n g purpose i n Casaubon's f u t i l e labors that George E l i o t explores her heroine's intense psychological development. Dorothea's reasons for marrying Casaubon are established by her self-conditioning and by the external pressures of society. Her goals w i l l now be defined by the combination of her i n t e l l i g e n c e , the long hours she.. spends without i n s p i r a t i o n , and the yearning to begin the. "new duties" she had anticipated with adult l i f e , A fresh pattern of awareness begins to form i t s e l f on her honeymoon i n Rome.which sets the stage 85 for unrequited longings: The gigantic broken revelations of that Imperial and Papal c i t y thrust abruptly on the notions of a g i r l who had been brought up i n English and Swiss Puritanism, fed on meagre Protestant h i s t o r i e s and on art c h i e f l y of the hand-screen sort; a g i r l whose ardent nature turned a l l her small allowance of knowledge into p r i n c i p l e s , fusing her actions into their mould, and whose quick emotions gave the most abstract things the. quality of a pleasure or a pain; a g i r l who had l a t e l y become a wife, and from the enthusiastic acceptance of untried duty found herself plunged i n tumultuous preoccupation with her personal l o t . (M, 143) The "quick emotions" c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of Dorothea and responsible for many of the dilemmas of "her personal l o t " p a r a l l e l the rashness basic to both Gwendolen and Maggie's behavior,p^-iLsfh.s, Dorothea Brooke suffers from the very fear George E l i o t expressed i n 1841, thirty-one years before the publication of Middlemarah: "How t e r r i b l e i t must be to f i n d one's s e l f t i e d to a being whose lim i t a t i o n s you see, and must know were such as to prevent your ever being understood!"^ Marriage has closed the door of retreat and her choices are limited to those within a relationship composed of hidden and c o n f l i c t i n g notions i n which "she was as b l i n d to his inward troubles as he to hers" (M, 148). Dorothea has, as Ladislaw suggests, been "buried a l i v e " by her own consuming notions. Dorothea's mental state i s i n "an i n t e r v a l when the very force of her nature heightened i t s confusion" (M, 144). This unsuspicious g i r l who must now concentrate on the present rather than glory i n fantasies of tomorrow, wonders at the "for l o r n weariness" before her (M, 146) : Having once embarked on your marital voyage, i t i s impossible hot to be aware that you make no way and that the sea i s not within s i g h t — t h a t , i n f a c t , you are in an enclosed basin. (M, 145) 86 The metaphor of stagnant water which describes the state of Dorothea's marriage with Casaubon contrasts with her e a r l i e r images. In her i n i t i a l infatuation with the idea of marrying Casaubon Dorothea compares his feelings and experiences with her own as a "lake compared with my l i t t l e pool!" (M, 18). The author extends the water metaphor to reveal Casaubon's deficiencies whichj i n sharp contrast to.Dorothea's generosity, he secretly blames on her: He determined to abandon himself to the stream of fe e l i n g , and perhaps was surprised to find what an exceedingly shallow r i l l i t was. As i n droughty regions baptism by immersion could only be performed symbolically, so Mr. Casaubon found that sprinkling was the utmost approach to a plunge which his stream could afford him; and he concluded that the poets had much exaggerated the force of masculine passion. (M, 46) Dorothea must wait to find the poetry of l i f e with Ladislaw. She must f i r s t outgrow the narrow-viewed and erroneous penchant for placing Casaubon above his station i n l i f e . This husband who "had become indi f f e r e n t to sunlight" (M, 147) may then be replaced by a lover who seems to "shake out l i g h t " (M_, 155) when he tosses his head. Thus, the reader i s not surprised that "the large vistas and wide fresh a i r which she had dreamed of finding i n her husband's mind were replaced by anterooms and winding passages which seemed to lead nowhere" (M, 145). The dim labyrinths, by which George E l i o t often describes Casaubon and his work, connect to Ladislaw's reference to Dorothea as a vulnerable woman who "has been brought up i n some of those horrible notions that choose the sweetest women to devour— l i k e Minotaurs" (M, 163), Suspicion, and pride assume precedence i n Casaubon's nature and an impenetrable barrier gradually enforces the distance'between 87 husband and wife. Guilt prompts Casaubon to turn inward when the insurmountable problem of Dorothea's passionate nature i s put before him: A l l through his l i f e Casaubon had been trying not to admit even to himself the inward sores of self-doubt and jealousy, And on the most delicate of a l l personal subjects, the habit of proud reticence told doubly, (M, 277) Thus, Dorothea's gestures of affection are met with a s t i f f politeness that indicates Casaubon's opinion of these "manifestations as rather crude and s t a r t l i n g " (M, 147): It i s i n these acts ca l l e d t r i v i a l i t i e s that the seeds of joy are for ever wasted, u n t i l men and women look round with haggard faces at the devastation their own waste has made, and say, the earth bears no harvest of sweetness— c a l l i n g t h e i r denial knowledge, (My 312) Dorothea proves a constant contrast to the norm i n her insistence that each of these- " t r i v i a l i t i e s " be cared for with a maximum of devotion. In her attention t o . d e t a i l and her refusal to l i v e by affectations, she moves gradually away from her preconceived notions about Casaubon and toward the r e a l i t y of making l i f e less painful for those who are able to benefit by her small, but important comforts. I t i s i n her "unhistoric acts" that Dorothea Brooke plants her "seeds of j o y " for others and consequently reaps a meaningful l i f e for herself. The dawn of Dorothea's'disillusionment marks the beginning of her i n a b i l i t y to f i l l the void l e f t by Casaubon's lack of passion. His words are no longer supplemented by her dreams as were the l i n e s of his marriage.proposal. Anger and repulsion begin to display themselves where anticipation and fascination had reigned: She was humiliated to find herself a mere vict i m of f e e l i n g , as i f she could know nothing except through that medium: 8 8 a l l her strength was scattered i n f i t s of a g i t a t i o n , of struggle, of despondency, and then again i n visions of more complete renunciation, transforming a l l hard conditions into duty, (M, 147) Duty i s the form behind which she hides the unrelenting f r u s t r a t i o n of i d l e days and s t i f l e d emotions, Thus, Dorothea restrains the opinions she formerly voiced to. Celia and l i v e s i n the s u p e r f i c i a l harmony and underlying antagonism of her "perpetual struggle of energy with fear" (M, 285),, She survives i n the r e s t r i c t i v e quarters of Lowick Manor by. s t i f l i n g a l l . f e e l i n g , This transfer of g i r l i s h jubilance to suppressed.politeness i s paralleled i n Maggie T u l l i v e r ' s relationship with her brother Tom and anticipates the marriage of Gwendolen Harleth to Grandcourt,. The change that results from a suppression of the w i l l and a lack.of mutual understanding i s translated into the facade of harmony in. . which two individuals i n close proximity conduct themselves " i n every respect l i k e members of a highly c i v i l i z e d society:" We learn to r e s t r a i n ourselves as we get older, We keep apart when we have quarrelled, express ourselves i n w e l l -bred phrases, and i n t h i s way.preserve a d i g n i f i e d . a l i e n a t i o n , showing much firmness on one side, and swallowing much grief on the other. (MF, 33) "Dignified a l i e n a t i o n " defines the marital course followed by Dorothea and Casaubon. Loneliness, for both, i s the consequence, Perhaps th i s loneliness i s even greater for Casaubon because of his suspicious' nature; as George E l i o t suggests, "what i s more lonely than d i s t r u s t ? " (M, 322). Dorothea Brooke's f r u s t r a t i o n causes her to react with a. passivity similar to that of.Thomas Hardy's Tess, The heroine responds to Ladislaw's complaint about her "dreadful imprisonment" with the defeated 89 e n e r g y o f a g i r l who e x p r e s s e s " n o l o n g i n g s , " She t u r n s h e r d r e a m s f o r a c t i v e g o o d n e s s i n t o a t h e o l o g y o f b e n e f i c e n t t h o u g h t s : " B y d e s i r i n g w h a t i s p e r f e c t l y g o o d , e v e n when we d o n ' t q u i t e know w h a t i t i s a n d c a n n o t do w h a t we w o u l d , we a r e p a r t o f t h e d i v i n e p o w e r a g a i n s t e v i l — w i d e n i n g , t h e s k i r t s o f l i g h t a n d m a k i n g t h e s t r u g g l e w i t h d a r k n e s s n a r r o w e r , " CM, 287) D o r o t h e a p u t s l i f e a s i d e b e c a u s e s h e c a n n o t c h a n g e i t , D e f e a t i s m d r a i n s t h e s p i r i t o f e f f o r t , L a d i s l a w ' s a t t r a c t i o n f o r h e r a n d h i s s u b s e q u e n t b e s t o w a l o f a t t e n t i o n w i l l b e s l o w t o c o n v e y t h e w i s d o m t h a t i t i s n o t n e c e s s a r y t o s u b m i t when s u b m i s s i o n i s d i s t a s t e f u l , C o n t r a r y t o D o r o t h e a ' s t h e o r y , L a d i s l a w ' s t h e o l o g y i s " t o l o v e w h a t i s g o o d a n d b e a u t i f u l when I s e e i t " (M, 2 8 7 ) , T h i s r e f e r e n c e t o t h a t w h i c h i s w o r t h y o f a p p r e c i a t i o n , a p p l i e s t o D o r o t h e a a s w e l l , A s D o r o t h e a B r o o k e s l i p s u n c o n s c i o u s l y " i n t o t h e r e m o t e n e s s o f p u r e p i t y a n d l o y a l t y t o w a r d h e r h u s b a n d , " L a d i s l a w ' s c l a i m o n h e r s u b c o n s c i o u s i n c r e a s e s : " T h e m e r e c h a n c e o f s e e i n g W i l l o c c a s i o n a l l y was l i k e a l u n e t t e o p e n e d i n t h e w a l l o f h e r p r i s o n , g i v i n g h e r a g l i m p s e o f t h e s u n n y a i r " (M, 2 6 5 ) , L a d i s l a w i s d e s c r i b e d i n t h e f i g u r a t i v e l a n g u a g e o f l i g h t . J u x t a p o s e d t o t h i s i s C a s a u b o n ' s a f f i l i a t i o n w i t h d a r k n e s s . T h e s e m e t a p h o r s e x p r e s s a n i m a g e r y w h i c h s u p p o r t s D o r o t h e a B r o o k e ' s d e v e l o p m e n t a s s h e e v o l v e s f r o m s h a d e s o f n a i v e c o n f u s i o n t o t h e b r i g h t n e s s o f a n e n l i g h t e n e d r e a l i t y , T r u e t o t h e d e v e l o p m e n t o f h e r u n s e l f i s h n a t u r e , D o r o t h e a r e a l i z e s t h a t C a s a u b o n i s t h e more s e v e r e l y t r a p p e d o f t h e t w o : She was n o l o n g e r s t r u g g l i n g a g a i n s t t h e p e r c e p t i o n o f f a c t s b u t a d j u s t i n g h e r s e l f t o t h e i r c l e a r e s t p e r c e p t i o n ; a n d now when s h e l o o k e d s t e a d i l y a t h e r h u s b a n d ' s f a i l u r e , s t i l l more a t h i s p o s s i b l e c o n s c i o u s n e s s o f f a i l u r e , s h e seemed t o b e l o o k i n g a l o n g t h e o n e t r a c k w h e r e d u t y became t e n d e r n e s s , CM, 2 6 7 ) 9 0 Dorothea Brooke's insight broadens with her penetration of Casaubon's fears. Her dream to grow knowledgeable i n his companionship changes to a desire to bring comfort by a f f i l i a t i o n . The meaningless nature of his task grows more obvious with.the loss of health and time, Dorothea's knowledge of his f a i l u r e and the pressure of his i l l n e s s increase both Casaubon's pettiness and his wife's generosity, Pettiness breeds i t s e l f on Casaubon's imagined suspicions about Dorothea's judgment of him and Ladislaw's intentions towards his wife i f he... . should die. Generosity shows i t s e l f i n Dorothea's s o l i c i t o u s a n t i c i p a -tions of her husband's every need. When Dorothea's strength'is "no longer a l l converted into resolute submission," she can turn her thoughts back to a clearer perspective of her past and forward to an outgoing response to the community of Middlemarch (M, 391). The incident which stimulates her psychological freedom from Casaubon's "dead hand" i s "the imbittering discovery that i n her past union there had lurked the hidden alienation of secrecy and suspicion"—the discovery that Casaubon had suspected Ladislaw of ambitious and devious thoughts i n r e l a t i o n to herself. Not only have her dreams of marriage been shattered by experience, but the extent of the alienation involved was more severe than she had ever supposed: The l i v i n g , suffering man was no longer before her to awaken her p i t y : there remained only the retrospect of painful subjection to a husband whose thoughts had been lower than she had believed, whose exorbitant claims for himself had even blinded his scrupulous care for his own character, and made him defeat his own pride by shocking men of ordinary honour, (M, 362) In contrast with Casaubon's petty nature which prevented'him from experiencing pleasure and his i n a b i l i t y to see the foolishness i n h is own t r i t e thoughts with regard to Dorothea, "Ladislaw's sense of the ludicrous l i t up his features very agreeably: i t was the pure enjoyment of comicality, and had no mixture of sneering and s e l f -exaltation" (M, 59), With the decease and dishonor of Casaubon, Ladislaw assumes a larger role i n Dorothea's mental a c t i v i t y , She experiences "a sudden strange yearning of heart towards W i l l Ladislaw" (M, 360). But her mind i s innocent of Ladislaw's love by the modest nature of her character: She did not know then that i t was Love who had come , , , , She only f e l t that there was something irrevocably amiss and l o s t i n her l o t , and her thoughts about the future were the more readily shapen into resolve, Ardent souls, ready to construct their coming l i v e s are apt to commit themselves to the fulfilment of th e i r own visi o n s , (M, 399) Dorothea's v i s i o n does not include an exchange of love with Ladislaw, Therefore, she unwittingly refuses to see the r e a l i t y taking shape before her. I r o n i c a l l y , i t i s Casaubon, i n the c o d i c i l of his w i l l , who suggests to Dorothea the idea of Ladislaw as a potential lover. It has been apparent since George E l i o t ' s introduction of Ladislaw i n terms of his a r t , youth, and beauty that she determines his worldly nature a f i t t i n g one for Dorothea's e d i f i c a t i o n . Anticipated by P h i l i p Wakem and foreshadowing Daniel Deronda, W i l l Ladislaw becomes the novel's voice of wisdom,' Ladislaw's argument to Dorothea i s strongly reminiscent of P h i l i p ' s admonition of Maggie i n the Red Deeps—a stand against pointless s e l f - s a c r i f i c e , Ladislaw also points to Daniel 28 Deronda's attempt to incur "forward-looking "thoughts" i n Gwendolen Harleth's despair. When Dorothea admits her i n a b i l i t y to enjoy anything that "most people are shut out from", Ladislaw argues that "the best piety i s 92 to enjoy:" I c a l l that the fanaticism of sympathy , , , , I f you carried i t out you ought to.be miserable i n your own goodness, and turn e v i l that you.might have enjoyment over others , . . , And enjoyment radiates , , , , I suspect that you have some false b e l i e f i n the virtues of misery, and want to make your l i f e a martyrdom, (M, 163) Martyrdom as an end i n i t s e l f has been dealt with i n the chapter on Maggie T u l l i v e r , George E l i o t j however, combines wisdom and romance i n Ladislaw so that Dorothea, has a more extensive psychological development and future, opportunity incorporated i n this relationship than Maggie could possibly have with P h i l i p , Dorothea begins to undergo a metamorphosis. New knowledge creates a new perspective which i n turn allows her consciousness to adapt a new form, Petulance has been subdued by experience and wisdom gains precedence with retrospective contemplation: "Her world was i n a state of convulsive change; the only thing she could say d i s t i n c t l y to herself was that she must wait and think anew" (M, 359-60), Aware of the struggle which preceded her appreciation of l i f e ' s b i t t e r r e a l i t i e s and her own misrepresentations, Dorothea turns inward. As Ladislaw's unselfish and expansive feelings for Dorothea contrast with Casaubon's frightened and s t a t i c responses to her presence, the former provides a new perspective appropriate to her desire to rejuvenate her l i f e . The cousins emphasize each other's emotions by t h e i r differences, especially i n r e l a t i o n to the heroine: Ourr good depends on the quality and breadth of our emotion; and to W i l l , a creature who cared l i t t l e for what are cal l e d the s o l i d things of l i f e and greatly for i t s subtler influences, to have within him such a feeling as he had towards Dorothea, was l i k e the inheritance of a fortune, (M, 344) 93 Contrary to Ladislaw, Casaubon i s bl i n d to the nuances of Dorothea's inner nature and incapable of experiencing the innocence of joy i n another's beauty. With Casaubon's death, Dorothea conjures up new means of dealing with old notions. Although her experiences have matured.her considerably, she responds f l i p p a n t l y to Celia's question of a second marriage: r"It i s no more to me than if-you talked of women going fox-hunting: whether i t i s admirable i n them or not, I s h a l l not follow thenr" (M, 400). I r o n i c a l l y , Dorothea not only remarries but does so i n far less than the conventional time normally a l l o t t e d to mourning. George E l i o t ' s philosophical aside about wisdom suggests that Dorothea, i n her disillusionment with Casaubon and her subliminal romantic a f f i l i a t i o n with Ladislaw, w i l l reach the awareness of a second chance—the hope byond each disappointment: We are told that the oldest inhabitants i n Peru do not cease to be agitated by the earthquakes, but they probably see beyond each shock, and r e f l e c t that there are plenty more to come.•(M, 399) Dorothea Brooke anticipates Gwendolen Harleth i n that she w i l l learn to see beyond the f i r s t shock of disillusionment as an eventual part of her maturing process. Her thoughts find a new and worthy goal i n the form of her relationship with Ladislaw—a new goal before which she can tremble i n delight and anticipation. I t i s , therefore, not George E l i o t ' s idea of maturity for one to reach the state of bored acceptance and hard,will characterized by Grandcourt i n Daniel Deronda. But i t i s necessary for the further s t a b i l i t y of one's emotions, especially to an i n d i v i d u a l as sensitive as Dorothea, that one learn to modify today's experience with yesterday's knowledge. The model of mature wisdom and innocent exuberance i s portrayed i n the character of Caleb Garth, I r o n i c a l l y , the struggle depicted i n his l i f e contains none of the boredom and disillusionment i n Dorothea's. The l i f e of a working.class,man offers. Caleb.the opportunity to apply.his moral.bent to.the r e a l i t i e s of his work, and his family: "To do a good day's work and to do i t w e l l . , was the chief part of his own happiness" (M, 407),' The difference between the sex and wealth of Garth and Dorothea offers the former a s i g n i f i c a n t advantage by which to replace theories worth useful a c t i v i t y . George E l i o t has drawn i n her heroine a woman whose basic emotional need i s to f e e l s i g n i f i c a n t by her usefulness to others and placed her i n the e l i t i s t class of p r o v i n c i a l England where her s e l f - s a c r i f i c i a l w i l l cannot ea s i l y be fed, Dorothea has no alternative but to turn again to the thought of a communal development for peasants, once discussed with both Chettam and Casaubon i n the glorious days of enthusiastic naivete. S i g n i f i c a n t l y , the author informs us that Ladislaw was "given to ramble about among the poor people" (M, 339). Dorothea's new dream i s "to take a great deal of land, and drain i t , and make a l i t t l e colony, where everybody should work, and a l l the work should be done w e l l , " More important, perhaps, i s her plan to "know every one of the people and be their f r i e n d " (M, 401), This indicates both her loneliness and the tedium of her luxurious l i f e which prompts her to t e l l Ladislaw that he i s the "happier of us two . . . to have nothing" (M, 397), Ladislaw's appropriateness as Dorothea's lover i s established by his a b i l i t y to appreciate her as a separate ind i v i d u a l rather than an entity to sustain his own ego. Freedom, i s the natural 95 consequence of th i s unselfish devotion—food for Dorothea's starved affections and l i b e r t y from the forced suppression of Casaubon's meagre sentiments which had been of a condescending order: I t i s another or rather a f u l l e r sort of companionship that poor Dorothea was hungering f o r , and the hunger had grown from the perpetual.effort demanded by her married l i f e . She was always trying to.be what her husband wished, and never, able to repose on his delight i n what she was. The thing.that she l i k e d , that she spontaneously cared to have, seemed to be always excluded, from her l i f e ; for i f i t was only granted and not shared by her husband i t might as well have been denied, (M, 348) Ladislaw, i n contrast, has the capacity to love Dorothea for what she is rather than what she can do for him. She i s , therefore, freed to be herself rather than strapped to the ordeal of attempting to make herself suitable,in a sit u a t i o n which precludes the p o s s i b i l i t y of success by the basic natures of the people involved. George E l i o t establishes Ladislaw as Dorothea's salvation i n the plot of Middlemarch. Marriage, however, does not t o t a l l y redeem the heroine. By h a s t i l y marrying Dorothea to Ladislaw, George E l i o t shows no indication that Dorothea's development enables her to grow and mature as an unattached ind i v i d u a l . • Gwendolen Harleth i s the only heroine who approaches t h i s stage of the t r u l y independent woman. The fact that Dorothea and Ladislaw share many of the same characteristics prepares the reader for their marriage, He matches, for example, her forthright character and spontaneity: " I t was Wil l ' s nature that the f i r s t spark i t threw out was a direct answer of the question and challenge of the consequences" (M, 445). Their natures find a kinship i n the mutual desire to avoid anything dishonor-able no matter how profitable or easily excused. Ladislaw i s separated i n t h i s respect from both Bulstrode and Lydgate. His a b i l i t y to remain 96 clear, even from temptation, proves i t s e l f i n the lure of Bulstrode's bribery. And again a p a r a l l e l i s seen i n Dorothea and Ladislaw's mutually unpretentious regard for t h e i r material welfares. Ladislaw's unselfish thoughts are devoid of ambition i n terms of Dorothea's inheritance and he i s rewarded by the wealth of Dorothea's love: He knew nothing of Dorothea's private fortune, and being l i t t l e used to r e f l e c t on such matters, took i t for granted that according to Mr. Casaubon's arrangement marriage to him, W i l l Ladislaw, would mean that she. consented to be penniless. That was not what he could wish for even i n his secret heart, or even i f she had been ready to meet such hard contrast for his sake. (M, 458) These s i m i l a r i t i e s point to the compatibility of Dorothea and Ladislaw and foreshadow t h e i r a b i l i t y to'enhance each other's growth and self-knowledge. The psychological atmosphere to which Dorothea Brooke was confined explodes into renewed hopefulness as hesitant and suppressed emotions are exchanged and expressed i n t h e i r " f i r s t sense of loving and being loved:" I t was as i f some hard icy pressure had melted, and her consciousness had room to expand: her past was come back, to her with larger interpretation. (M, 465) Thus, joy brings the confidence to r e f l e c t with a broad inner v i s i o n . Dorothea i s able to see clearly that which has previously been shaded by ego i s t i c dreams and subsequent fear. The expanse of Dorothea Brooke's new understanding i n i t i a t e s a breadth of hopefulness where depression had previously confined her. Confinement i s primary to George E l i o t ' s development of her heroine's characteristics and i t has a wide range of connotations related to 97 psychological, physical and s p i r i t u a l suppression, Maggie's confinement to St. Ogg's mediocrity i n The Mill on the Floss expands i n Middlemaroh to Dorothea Brooke's physical and psychological confinement i n marriage with Casaubon and, f i n a l l y , i n Daniel Deronda confinement exposes the fear which pervades.Gwendolen when her space, i s not,defined by the comfort of walls and people, Those i n Middlemarch society who disagree with Dorothea's choice of Ladislaw as the object of her desire to give "wifely help" to a husband i n "the thick of a struggle" are chastised by.the author, George E l i o t reminds her reader that.although onlookers are quick to disapprove they are not so rapid to find an alternative: Many who knew her, thought i t a pit y that so substantive and rare a creature should have been absorbed into the l i f e of another, and be only known i n a certain c i r c l e as a wife and mother. But no one stated exactly what else that was i n her power she ought rather to have done . . . . (M, 611) Sarcasm defines the verbal irony of t h i s f i n a l statement written on behalf of the female l e f t to her own devices i n a pr o v i n c i a l society. The community severely condemns any attempt to widen a woman's horizon. Marriage i s a plot device appropriate to Dorothea Brooke's loving nature, but i n Daniel Deronda George E l i o t leaves the heroine's future an open question. Dorothea, for whom "no l i f e would have been possibly . , . which was not f i f l e d with emotion," has found a po s i t i v e , i f l i m i t e d , channel i n which the stream of her emotions can flow freely (M, 610). She thus finds what Maggie sought i n v a i n — a responsive object to worship. Dorothea f u l f i l l s the expectations established i n the Prelude—she establishes a compromise between the l i f e she o r i g i n a l l y 98 aspired to and the l i f e that conditions permit: With dim l i g h t s and tangled circumstance they t r i e d to shape their thought and deed i n noble agreement; but after a l l , to common eyes t h e i r struggles seemed mere inconsistency and formlessness; for these later-born Theresas were helped by no coherent social, f a i t h and order which could perform the function of knowledge for the ardently w i l l i n g soul. (M, 3) With l i t t l e guidance Dorothea has acquired through suffering the insight denied i n her f i r s t infatuation. If "every l i m i t i s a beginning as well as an ending" a's < George E l i o t suggests i n her Finale, then the l i m i t s imposed by the c o n f l i c t of Dorothea Brooke's ardent nature and society's stringent barriers begins her l i f e anew i n the role of wife and mother, (M, 607). Her freedom seems a greater one to both Dorothea and the reader by the t r a v a i l of her journey with Casaubon: "Some set out, l i k e Crusaders of old, with a glorious equipment of hope and enthusiasm and get broken by the way . . . " (M, 608), Dorothea does not become hopelessly broken i n the sense that Lydgate does, but then George E l i o t removes the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y of Dorothea's i n i t i a l error through death and offers her a second chance. - Lydgate, after h i s mistaken infatuation with Laura, i s unable to use his past mistake to his own future advantage. Dorothea's psychological growth i s enormous and, although she devotes her in t e l l i g e n c e and energy to the assistance of another rather than centering on herself, (as Gwendolen w i l l be l e f t to do), she at least chooses a partner with whom she can continue to grow. Dorothea enters her second marriage with a r e a l i s t i c view of her mate, rather than the i l l u s i o n s foisted upon Casaubon.. The process of human change i s complex and slow, but i n Middlemarch George E l i o t has successfully portrayed the essence of human development, i t s motivations, and i t s .restrictions." The people-of Middlemarch society 99 change according to a complex interweaving of character with character and character with environment. The outcome often veers far from the o r i g i n a l goal of the dreamer as expressed i n each of the heroine's destinies: "Nothing i n the world more subtle than the process of their gradual change" ' (M, 107), Through outer influences and the subsequent inner changes, Dorothea no.longer sees s t r i c t l y by her idealism, and seems f i n a l l y to understand Celia's. suggestion that her elder s i s t e r "always wanted things that wouldn't be." The "strange-coloured lamps by which Dodo habitually saw" are tempered with a re f l e c t i v e knowledge gained i n despair (M, 600), This redemptive power of suffering i s . a major theme i n George E l i o t ' s f i c t i o n and w i l l be the focus of the next chapter on the development of Gwendolen Harleth. The strength of love and i t s b e n e f i c i a l healing power have much to do with t h i s redemption and Dorothea gains through Ladislaw the love denied to Maggie: A human being i n t h i s aged nation of ours i s a very wonderful whole, the slow creation of long interchanging influences; and the charm i s a result of two such wholes, the one loving and the one loved,. (M, 300) Dorothea Brooke, then, has been saved from l i f e with Casaubon by his death and from loneliness and widowhood by Ladislaw. Her place i n society i s established i n the conventional and meaningful existence of a.wife and a mother. Marriage provides Dorothea with a focal point for her emotional energies and an opportunity, through Ladislaw's career, to assist i n p o l i t i c a l reform. Without t h i s second marriage, her tragic mistake i n marrying Casaubon would have l e f t the reader -to hope for an a l t r u i s t i c death for' Dorothea, similar to that of Maggie T u l l i v e r . The heroine of Middlemaroh would have been l e f t 100 within the bounds of pr o v i n c i a l society to apply Ladislaw's lessons regarding the f u t i l i t y of submission and the false ideals of youth, This points to Gwendolen Harleth whose future i s more optimistic by vi r t u e of her aggressive nature which one may assume w i l l reassert i t s e l f i n a more positive manner with the return of her health, porothea Brooke's penchant for viewing mankind as better than i t i s often stimulates the growth of the best soul i n the object of her generosity. In this generosity l i e s "one of the great powers of her womanhood," Dorothea looks with p i t y , rather than suspicion or condescension at the mistakes of her neighbors, Hence, she gives cause for renewed hope and the b e l i e f i n a s e l f that i s a consequence of this hope: There are natures i n which, i f they love us, we are conscious of having a sort of baptism and consecration: they bind us over to rectitude and purity by their b e l i e f about us; and our sins become that worst kind of sacrilege which tears down the i n v i s i b l e a l t a r of trust. (M, 565) Fa i t h , then, often motivates the behavior b e f i t t i n g i t . In t h i s context, Dorothea Brooke's "unhistoric acts" are of the nature that f e r t i l i z e high ideals and motivate men to deeds which make their pasts and futures more acceptable and promising. The ind i v i d u a l deed acted out by man according to his greatest potential takes on a universal significance i n the l i g h t of i t s far-reaching p o s s i b i l i t i e s , The development of Dorothea Brooke's character has shown the d i f f u s i v e effect of ind i v i d u a l behavior. Deeds, l i k e the ripples from apassing ship, stretch far from thei r source and disturb, for better or worse, any object that may be touched along the way, In Dorothea's case, this effect i s one of moral goodness: The presence of a noble nature, generous i n i t s wishes, ardent i n i t s charity, changes the l i g h t s for us: we 101 begin to see things again i n their larger, quieter masses, and to believe that we too can be judged i n the wholeness of our character. (M, 558) For each person that Dorothea reassures, there are others affected by the recipient's turn of mind. So, i r o n i c a l l y , Dorothea succeeds more t r u l y than she real i z e s i n her i n i t i a l s a i n t l y goal to give e f f e c t i v e l y of her energy on.behalf of her fellowman. L i f e i s given purpose and unity by "her usual tendency to over-estimate the good i n others" (M, 585). Dorothea Brooke's "unhistoric acts" s i g n i f y the w e l l -being and hopefulness of a l l those who are fortunate enough to come within the sphere of her fellowship, George E l i o t raises the question In Daniel Deronda as to the importance of g i r l s and "th e i r b l i n d v i s i o n s " i n the "midst of that mighty drama" of l i f e . The answer i s suggested by the characterization of her heroines. The exchange and sustenance of loving fellowship that these women offer i s purpose enough: . They are the Yea and Nay of that good for which men are enduring and f i g h t i n g , In these delicate vessels i s borne onward through the ages the treasure of human affection. (DP, 160) At the end of each novel discussed i n th i s study, the message of George E l i o t ' s philosophical aside i s conveyed. Maggie T u l l i v e r was, Dorothea Brooke i s and Gwendolen Harleth w i l l be just such.a vessel for the growth and transmission of tender devotion "and i n this way l i f t the average of earthly joy,"29 102 CHAPTER I I I The Redemptive Power of Suffering: Daniel Deronda Passion, wistfulness and caprice are the distinguishing major characteristics that define the three ardent heroines discussed i n this thesis. As Chapter I notes, Maggie T u l l i v e r ' s most prevalent t r a i t i s the passion that motivates her actions and directs her fate. In Chapter I I , wistfulness s u p e r f i c i a l l y softens Dorothea Brooke's passionate search f o r a better l i f e and m o l l i f i e s her capricious impatience with those who do not comprehend her ideals and creates a genteel nature conducive to her kindness and generosity. Gwendolen Harleth, the spoiled and egocentric heroine.of Daniel Deronda, i s characterized by haughty petulance, r u l e r of her thoughts, speech and action. Caprice i s so much a part of Gwendolen Harleth's nature that even she senses the need to be free from the r i s k this imposes upon her decisions. The danger i n this deficiency of d i s c i p l i n e i s a r t i c u l a t e d i n her attempt to take the preliminaries of betrothal seriously when she "would w i l l i n g l y have had weights hung on her own caprice" (DD, 176). Gwendolen's growth includes an increase i n her consciousness of "the r i s k s that lay within h e r s e l f " as a result of her chara c t e r i s t i c tendency to whimsically r e s i s t the wishes of family and friends, simply because they are products of other minds than her own (DD, 179). The reader i s introduced to Gwendolen Harleth as a gambler. In George E l i o t ' s opinion, gamblers were "stupid monomaniacs" 30 toward whom the author f e l t a strong antipathy. The moral 103 rejection of gamblers i s anticipated i n Middlemardh through Lydgate who i s "watching [gambling] as i f i t had been a disease" (M, 489). In a l e t t e r to her publisher, *. .John Blackwood, at the time of writ i n g Middlemardh, George E l i o t described her experiences i n the gaming h a l l : The saddest thing to be witnessed i s the play of a young lady, who i s only twenty-six, and i s completely i n the grasp of this money making demon. I t made me cry to see her young fresh face among the hags and b r u t a l l y stupid men around her.31 In view of George E l i o t ' s b e l i e f , Gwendolen's introduction as a gambler suggests her need for redemption and her long struggle to attain i t . Deronda, l i k e the author, stands dis d a i n f u l l y apart as he watches this scene of " d u l l , gas poisoned absorption," u n t i l such time as he can serve as Gwendolen's redeemer (DP, 37). The introduction of Daniel Deronda establishes a drama i n which the self-centered heroine gambles both at the roulette tables and with her future happiness. Gwendolen Harleth places her f i n a n c i a l stakes at the gambling table with a flippancy that fore-shadows the manner i n which she w i l l hazard her moral conscience i n a marriage for future security. Both ris k s result i n a loss. The concept of gambling i s basic to both the heroine's character and to the theme of the novel. Chance requires a certain disregard of res p o n s i b i l i t y for one's past and future. This disregard requires a nature that thinks of i t s e l f as an a l l -important entity upon which the gods are smiling: How could [Gwendolen] believe i n sorrow? I f i t attacked her, she f e l t the force to crush i t , to defy i t , or to run away from i t , as she had done already. Anything seemed more possible than that she could go on bearing miseries, great or small. (DP, 47) 104 Thus, Gwendolen Harleth's. nature Is one that r e l i e s on supremacy of the w i l l , an i r o n i c a l b e l i e f i n the l i g h t of her marriage to Grandcourt. The disregard for her deceased father's jewels establishes, early i n the novel, the heroine's characteristic self-seeking concern. However, this egoism i s tinged with a v u l n e r a b i l i t y which shows i t s e l f i n Gwendolen's s u s c e p t i b i l i t y to Deronda's observation of her at the gaming table, a v u l n e r a b i l i t y which i s to be both the key to her undoing and her redemption: I t belonged to the nature of t h e i r relationship that she should be t r u t h f u l , for h is power over her had begun in the rai s i n g of a self-discontent which could be s a t i s f i e d only by genuine change. (DP, 737) Gwendolen Harleth grows to realize the detriments of gambling and how she has used this as a means, at the cost of other people's happiness, to procure her own s a t i s f a c t i o n . She admits that she has "'thrust out o t h e r s — I have made my gain out of t h e i r l o s s — t r i e d to make i t — t r i e d ' " ' (PP, 506). This reference to the s p e c i f i c occasion of Gwendolen's betrayal of Lydia Glasher and her children unites the motif of gambling with the theme. Grief and remorse as the rewards of gambling convey the moral philosophy i n George E l i o t ' s ethic. Paniel Peronda's i n i t i a l impression of Gwendolen Harleth which leads "him to redeem Gwendolen's necklace for her" and stimulates a "fascination of her womanhood" anticipates his role as a type of patron-saint (PP, 370). Deronda speaks for the author when he relates his feelings to Gwendolen i n regard to a preoccupation with gambling: 105 " I t i s a besotting kind of taste, l i k e l y to turn into a disease. And, besides, there i s something revolting to me i n raking a heap of money together, and i n t e r n a l l y chuckling over i t , when others are feeling the loss of i t . " (DD, 383) Gambling, then, feeds from the s e l f i s h aspect of a man's nature and by so doing finds a route into the self-centered character of Gwendolen Harleth. She defends her pastime as a r e l i e f from boredom, but Deronda again speaks for George E l i o t when he says that'"'what we c a l l the dullness of things i s often a disease i n ourselves'" (DD, 464). u n t i l the root of this disease i s cured, Gwendolen w i l l continue to f i n d her r e a l i t y a boring one. Contemplation and remorse i n her marriage create a new awareness i n which Gwendolen acknowledges that l i f e " w a s l a l l a part of that new gambling i n which losing was not simply a..minus but a t e r r i b l e plus that had never entered.into her .reckoning" (DD, 659). Thus the opening scene of the novel establishes the basis of her means of advance toward despair. The cycle of Gwendolen's loss and gain of the family jewels anticipates her rejection and acceptance of Grandcourt's diamonds. Although Gwendolen rejects her husband's g i f t with "enraged resistance" she i s forced to wear the diamonds, just as she has been forced to renew the ownership of her father's jewels. Each incident marks the defeat of a capricious response to a sit u a t i o n i n which the flippant aspect of Gwendolen's nature has motivated the c r i s i s . The theme of gambling i s emphasized by the motif of the theatre. Theatrics pervade Daniel Deronda and are accentuated by the minor roles of the youthful Mirah Lapodith and the aging Alcharisa. The 106 unusual character of Deronda's mother has been anticipated i n "Armgart," a poem George E l i o t wrote i n 1870 to discuss the concept of marriage versus a stage career and the effects of each on a 32 woman's future. Alcharisa, i n turn, anticipates Gwendolen's future l i f e i n the sense of mellowing her dogma with age and experience. The mother t e l l s her son that ""what I have been tr y i n g to do for f i f t e e n years i s to have some understanding of those who d i f f e r from myself'" (DP, 692). This r e f l e c t s Deronda's present mental state and Gwendolen's future one. The aging singer speaks for the author's own l i f e and the three heroines central to this thesis when she laments the bondage of a woman endowed with in t e l l i g e n c e and r e s t r i c t e d i n society by virtue of her sex: "jYou can never imagine what i t i s to have a man's force of genius i n you, and yet to suffer the slavery of being a g i r l " 1 (DD, 694). The implication i s , of course, the one most keenly suffered by Maggie T u l l i v e r — a s t i f l i n g of female advancement without regard for i n t e l l e c t . As Dorothea Brooke discovers with Casaubon, Alcharisa knows that'"when a woman's w i l l i s as strong as the man's who wants to govern her, hal f her strength must be i n concealment1" (DD, 695) . Gwendolen must also bear this pressure of concealment i n spite of Grandcourt's superior strength of w i l l . The figurative language of the theatre expresses Gwendolen's affectations i n her shallow reaction to daily l i f e . Her role as Hermione i n the pantomime (Ch. 6) suggests a love for a r t i f i c e . When Herr Klesmer dispels Gwendolen's i l l u s i o n s of talent, he does so through the metaphor of the theatre: " ' I must clear your mind of these notions, which have no more resemblance to r e a l i t y than a 107 a pantomime'" (DP, 301). Mirah Lapodith's distaste for the "very-hard and unloving" praise of the theatre i s a f o i l to Gwendolen Harleth's i l l u s i o n s about the l i f e of an entertainer (DP, 253). As Gwendolen grows i n conscious awareness, her self-concept as the central actress i n the great universal drama i s transformed into a r e a l i z a t i o n of the minor part she r e a l l y plays. These rep e t i t i v e images and metaphors of the theatre support a theme of i l l u s i o n and r e a l i t y that i s basic to the novel. Gwendolen's nature as "the spoiled c h i l d " prompts her to view any personal set-backs as due to the circumstantial hindrance of an environment that cannot expand to encompass her a b i l i t i e s . In terms of p r o v i n c i a l society, Gwendolen i s right. But, paradoxically, her pompous viewpoint maintains the narrowness of her mental perspective: Her i d e a l was to be daring i n speech and reckless in; braving dangers, both moral and physical; and though her practice f e l l far behind her i d e a l , this shortcoming seemed to be due to the pettiness of circumstances, the narrow theatre which l i f e offers to a g i r l of twenty, who cannot conceive herself as anything else than a lady, or as i n any position which would lack the tribute of respect. (PP, 94) As Peronda w i l l suggest to Gwendolen, she must turn her v i s i o n out-ward upon the world i n order to find a release from the idea that she "tcan a l t e r n o t h i n g — i t i s no use," 1 the concept that maintains her boredom and despair once her wilfulness has been subdued (PD, 672): " L i f e would be worth more to you: some r e a l knowledge would give you an interest i n the world beyond the small drama of personal desires. I t i s the curse of yo-ur l i f e . . . that a l l passion i s spent i n that narrow round, for want of ideas and sympathy to make a larger home for i t . " (PP, 507) 108 The education of Gwendolen's emotions and i n t e l l e c t i s the task George E l i o t assigns to Deronda. The fact that Gwendolen Harleth avoids her r e s p o n s i b i l i t y towards her fellowman i s c r u c i a l to every major issue that leads to her misconceptions and maladjustment. The unnecessary cruelty she i n f l i c t s on Rex Gascoigne, the interest she excites i n Henleigh Grandcourt, the anger she arouses i n Herr Klesmer and, of course, the i n i t i a l awakening of Daniel Deronda's protective and rather disdainful i n t e r e s t , are aspects of her l i f e which result from a flamboyant disregard for others. Gwendolen Harleth i s ruled i n her entire existence, up to her marriage with Grandcourt, by the flippant selfishness of.her nature. After marriage, Gwendolen Harleth considers her despair to be the major tragedy. Thus, whether i n happiness or despair, her delusions of self-importance are those of a s e l f i s h opportunist. It w i l l take more than one calamity to subdue a self-image of epic proportions. In a l e t t e r to a friends written i n 1854, George E l i o t , i n describing herself, unwittingly outlines the plot of Gwendolen's character development i n Daniel Deronda, long before the novel was conceived i n the author's conscious mind: When we are young we think our troubles a mighty business— that the world i s spread out expressly as a stage for the p a r t i c u l a r drama of our l i v e s , and that we have a right to rant and foam at the mouth i f we are crossed . . . . But we begin at l a s t to understand that these things are important only to our own consciousness, which i s but as a globule of dew on a rose-leaf, that at mid-day there w i l l be no trace of.^3 Gwendolen Harleth w i l l suffer much before the "mighty business" of her personal drama i s subdued by a proper perspective. 109 In her narrow scope of v i s i o n , Gwendolen Harleth assumes that she i s the pi v o t a l point of the small universe of her knowledge. Any discomforts she encounters are blamed on the thoughtlessness of others. Her misfortunes, f i n a n c i a l or romantic, are estimated as a purposeful neglect by her fellowman to s u f f i c i e n t l y consider her well-being: "Her troubles had i n her opinion a l l been caused by other people's disagreeable or wicked conduct" (DP, 317). This disregard for her own moral re s p o n s i b i l i t y establishes the flaw that w i l l lead to Gwendolen's grief and disillusionment. It i s emphasized i n her response to her mother's news that t h e i r property has been l o s t . Gwendolen shows no comprehension of the s i m i l a r i t y between the gamble involved i n r e a l estate and the one that she has enjoyed at the gaming tables. She charges that "'everything has gone against" 1 her and that ""people have come near . . . only to b l i g h t me"" (DD, 274). The use of "everything" , suggests the egoism which motivates her concept and prepares for the struggle that w i l l ensue before Gwendolen can admit that " ' i t i s because I was always wicked that I am miserable now""(DD, 825). This path from egocentric consciousness to an appreciation of the universal pligh t of man i s the basis of Gwendolen Harleth's moral struggle. The transformation within the heroine of Daniel Deronda i s not a rapid or simple one. George E l i o t carefully traces Gwendolen's mental development i n a l l i t s pomposity, confusion and misdirected notions to convey a r e a l i s t i c development of her character from a spoiled and s e l f i s h g i r l to a woman with an awareness apart from her own w i l f u l existence. The ultimate r e a l i z a t i o n that her w i l l 110 does not determine her future or gain the respect of her peers, transforms her exuberance into misery: Poor Gwendolen was conscious of an uneasy, transforming p r o c e s s — a l l the old nature shaken to i t s depths, i t s hopes spoiled, i t s pleasures perturbed, but s t i l l showing wholeness and strength i n the w i l l to reassert i t s e l f . After every new shock of humiliation she t r i e d to adjust herself and seize her old supports . . . that would make her in d i f f e r e n t to her miseries. (DP, 477) The new experience of unhappiness i n f i l t r a t e s Gwendolen's being to create a certain compassion for those outside the sphere of her own personal welfare. Thus suffering and awareness combine to form a new v i s i o n that w i l l eventually be suffused with sympathy and understanding: "For pain must enter into i t s g l o r i f i e d l i f e of memory before i t can turn into compassion" (}f, 571) . Daniel Deronda closes at the moment when Gwendolen Harleth's potential for selflessness begins to show signs of becoming a r e a l i t y . She i s not only conscious of the larger l i f e i n which she plays a meaningful, but minor role, but she accepts this as her future. The motif of harvest that pervades the novel relates to the theme of reaping what one has sown. We cannot escape our pasts according to George E l i o t ' s moral philosophy, expressed i n a chapter heading of Middlemarch: Our deeds s t i l l t r a v e l with us from afar And what we have been makes us what we are. (M, 515) Thus, the g i r l who thinks only of herself must suffer alone. And the seed of suffering planted i n Gwendolen by Deronda becomes the f r u i t of redemption as we see i n the f i n a l Book, appropriately e n t i t l e d " F r u i t and Seed." In Gwendolen's f i r s t romantic encounter, Rex Gascoigne's b e l i e f i n her goodness anticipates i t s f i n a l flowering. The author I l l philosophizes on the d i f f i c u l t route encountered by the seed of goodness on i t s precarious journey to the l i g h t : Goodness i s large, often a prospective word, l i k e harvest, which at one stage when we talk of i t l i e s a l l underground, with an indeterminate future: i s the germ prospering i n the darkness? The seed of remorse brings forth the f r u i t of redemption. Gwendolen develops her potential for moral growth through the help of Deronda. The goodness that has been submerged under the heroine's caprice and confusion finds i t s way to f r u i t i o n through Deronda's enlight-enment: "'She had a root of conscience i n her, and.the process of purgatory had begun for her on the green earth: she knew she had been wrong.A- (DP, 733) As Peronda suggests, Gwendolen " w i l l f i n d {her] l i f e growing l i k e a plant," once she has learned.to face her mistakes and look out-side of herself (DD, 839). This process of wearing the yoke of her own wrong-doing destroys "the spoiled c h i l d " forever and brings to l i f e the blossom of maturity. Gwendolen Harleth must learn something of the philosophy expressed i n Dorothea Brooke's concept of. existence—^"AWhatddo"we l i v e f o r , i f i t i s not to make l i f e less d i f f i c u l t for other?'" (M, 537). The l i t t l e "unhistoric acts" of Dorothea Brooke's l i f e are the very ones Deronda.suggests for Gwendolen when he advises her to use her misery as a learning process s.o as to ""be among the best of women, such as make others glad that they were born';" (PP, 840). This concept sharply contrasts Gwendolen's cry of anguish over the despairing void i n her affections: " ' I s h a l l never love anybody. I can't love people. I hate them"1 (PP, 115). Deronda, 112 with a s o c i a l conscience s i m i l a r to that of Dorothea Brooke's, establishes a precedent for Gwendolen to follow i n his value judgments and the fact that "to make a l i t t l e difference for the better was what he was not contented to l i v e without . . ." (DP, 413). But i n i t i a l l y i t i s Grandcourt who appears to break through Gwendolen's cold -.caprice. Her own narrow perspective f a i l s to recognize that the unemotional demeanor that makes Grandcourt appear less " r i d i c u l o u s " than other men, i s , i n fact, a moral vacuum rather than a superior strength of character. Gwendolen Harleth learns throughythe compassion afforded her by Peronda, but he i s also the "severe angel" who issues knowledge-able platitudes of moral wisdom (DP, 839). Peronda's honest advice that Gwendolen abandon her s e l f i s h ignorance subdues her resistance and causes her self-assertion to subside: "Look on other l i v e s besides your own. See what their troubles are, and how they are borne. Try to care about something i n t h i s vast world besides the g r a t i f i c a t i o n of small s e l f i s h desires. Try to care for what i s best i n thought and action—something that i s good apart from the accidents of your own l o t . " (PP, 501-02) Their relationship p a r a l l e l s those of P h i l i p Wakem to Maggie T u l l i v e r and W i l l Ladislaw to Porothea Brooke i n that Peronda assists Gwendolen to widen her horizon from i t s personal perspective. It may appear on s u p e r f i c i a l reading that Gwendolen Harleth represents an extension of Hetty Sorrel or Rosamond Vincy, who, l i k e Gwendolen, i s referred to as a "sylph," rather than a r e f l e c t i o n of Maggie T u l l i v e r and Porothea Brooke., However, where Gwendolen i s simply spoiled, but capable of growth, Hetty and Rosamond have natures too completely shallow to be redeemed. These self-centered women are incapable of learning through their sufferings and are 113 consequently unwilling to accept any r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s f or the sorrows that b e f a l l them. In contrast, Maggie T u l l i v e r ' s character, shrouded by her youth and inexperience, displays a p o t e n t i a l for maturity i n her capacity to recognize the f a l l a c y of Stephen Guest's romantic pleas*, and her own r e s p o n s i b i l i t y to others. The subsequent emotional growth has l i t t l e chance to augment a new dimension of character by the structure of the p l o t and the consequent b r e v i t y of her l i f e . Dorothea Brooke's naivete allows her idealism to f l o u r i s h beyond c r e d i b i l i t y and her i l l u s i o n s to survive i n the midst of bbvious . r e f u t a t i o n . But Dorothea's capacity to grow to new l e v e l s of awareness implies a depth that shows i t s e l f i n r e l a t i o n to her understanding of Casaubon's s u f f e r i n g . This depth of character, t y p i c a l of George E l i o t ' s major heroines, i s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of Gwendolen Harleth. It i s , i n f a c t , the reason for her v u l n e r a b i l i t y , her growth of conscience and her subsequent a b i l i t y to be redeemed by experience. But many psycho-l o g i c a l delusions must be unravelled before Gwendolen's concept of r e a l i t y can a t t a i n a l e v e l of understanding that i s conducive to growth. Disillusionment confuses Gwendolen's notions of personal importance and leaves her suffused with g u i l t . Through Deronda she i s faced with a new v i s i o n that forces her to see that her own well-being i s not the source of nourishment or defeat of the universe. Deronda transports Gwendolen i n t o a d i f f e r e n t r e a l i t y where she sees her own role as s i g n i f i c a n t only i n s o f a r as she makes h e r s e l f f e l t . His advice to her i n r e l a t i o n to Grandcourt's money, bequeathed upon h i s death, may be applied, i n essence, to a l l of Gwendolen's 114 future actions. Deronda suggests that she l e t her "remorse t e l l only on the use that you w i l l make of your monetary independence" (DP, 838). Importance, then, i s a matter of earning one's entrance into the consciousness of other persons. The i n i t i a l shock to Gwendolen Harleth's system by the revelation of her fo o l i s h sense of importance i s l i k e that of a displaced person whose position i n l i f e has been usurped by new conditions. This idea i s discussed i n Silas Marnev: Even people whose l i v e s have been made various by learning, sometimes find i t hard to keep a fast hold on the i r habitual views of l i f e . . . where thei r mother earth shows another lap, and human l i f e has other forms than those on which t h e i r souls have been nourished.. This reference to S i l a s Earner's physical removal from Lantern Yard and his s p i r i t u a l decline, may also be applied to Gwendolen's psychological departure from the accustomed self-centered world and the psychological defeat that accompanies this change. Just as t h i s transposition marks a new beginning for S i l a s , i t i s the alterat i o n that s h i f t s Gwendolen into another and larger r e a l i t y . U n t i l Peronda focuses Gwendolen's awareness on a heritage and future that has no reference to her existence, Gwendolen's concept of the universe i s one of which she i s center. Even her i n i t i a l suffering i s suffused with self-importance as when she demands that Peronda t e l l her what to do. There i s an assumption evident i n this request that indicates her b e l i e f that his conscious-ness i s i n hev present moment rather than his own. But once the force of r e a l i t y has shattered Gwendolen's i l l u s i o n , she reacts i n the opposite direction by being overcome with a sense of t o t a l insignificance. 115 Gwendolen Harleth's conception of her own insignificance has the effect of contracting her being i n her own mind's eye. The author has anticipated Gwendolen's insecurity i n the heroine's reaction to the absence of people .from whom she can gain admiration and the opportunity to reject t h e i r advances: Solitude i n any wide scene impressed her with an undefined feeling of immeasurable existence aloof from her, i n the midst of which she was helplessly incapable of asserting herself. (DD, 95) This i n a b i l i t y to react on her own terms, apart from other people, suggests a shallowness of character and an absence of self-knowledge i n Gwendolen's nature. She must act i n resistance to, and, less often, i n agreement with something outside of her own essence. Her d i s t i n c t i o n , therefore, i s gauged by her importance to "other people, which she f o o l i s h l y assumes to be immeasurable. As a result of her disillusionment, the central actress shrinks to a^minute background character with no s i g n i f i c a n t role i n the world's drama: "The world seemed getting larger round poor Gwendolen, and she more s o l i t a r y and helpless i n the midst" (DD, 875). Gwendolen Harleth i s brought to terms with her own r e a l i t y as Deronda's future plans unfold to the exclusion of herself. Thus, "the larger destinies of mankind . . . enter l i k e an earthquake" into her consciousness (DP, 875). That George E l i o t believed t h i s reaction to the experience of shock to be a normal step i n the process of maturation i s evidenced by a l e t t e r she wrote i n 1848,. as a young woman: I f e e l a sort of madness growing upon me—just the opposite of the delirium which makes people fancy that t h e i r bodies are f i l l i n g the room. I t seems to me as i f I were shrinking into that mathematical abstraction, a point .£5 116 Gwendolen's newly acquired v i s i o n affords no reference to her existence except insofar as she wishes to extend her interests i n a new direction. As t h i s knowledge enlightens her imagination, the new and larger r e a l i t y precludes an immature exaggeration of her own importance. Egoism i s demolished to the point that Gwendolen i s able to regret the imposition of her grief on Deronda's conscious-ness: " I only thought of myself and I made you grieve. I t hurts me now to think of your gri e f . You must not grieve any more for me. I t i s b e t t e r — i t s h a l l be better with me because I have known you." (DP, 882) George E l i o t describes the theme of redemption through suffering when Deronda explains to Gwendolen the greater dimensions acquired by persons who have gained awareness through the i r painful experiences: "Those who would be comparatively uninteresting before-hand may become worthier of sympathy when they do some-thing that awakens i n them a keen remorse. Lives are enlarged i n different ways. I daresay some would never get t h e i r eyes opened i f i t were not for a violent shock from the consequences of t h e i r own actions. And when they are suffering i n that way one must care for them more than for the comfortably s e l f - s a t i s f i e d . " (DD, 494) Deronda not only anticipates Gwendolen's redemption i n these words, but also the role he w i l l play as her a l t r u i s t i c benefactor. He suggests that she renew her l i f e by concentrating on others u n t i l self-respect and appersonal goal develop as a re s u l t . She proves hersetl'f worthy of his sympathetic concern by her f i n a l congratualtory wish for his happiness and her sorrow in.having ladened him with the burden of her grief and expectations. The c r e d i b i l i t y of Gwendolen Harleth's characterization i s increased by the complex nature of her redemption. The heroine's suffering does not readily surface with the onset of disillusionment. 117 Psychologically, Gwendolen hides behind her fears and g u i l t u n t i l disaster and hysteria break open the doors to conscious suffering. Subsequently, her purpose i n l i f e i s transferred from self-indulgence to a small, but promising universal concern. Confusion and anguish create a more human, and, therefore, more interesting woman i n the.person of Gwendolen, the wife and widow, rather than Gwendolen, the coquette: Mrs. Grandcourt was handsomer than Gwendolen Harleth: her grace and expression were informed by a greater variety of inward experience, giving new play to the f a c i a l muscles, new attitudes i n movement arid repose; her whole person and a i r had a nameless something which often makes a woman more interesting after marriage than before, less confident that a l l things are according to her opinion, and yet with less of deer-like shyness— more f u l l y a human being. CDD, 741) Gwendolen Harleth, l i k e Dorothea Brooke, grows wiser.through the sufferings incurred by a tr a g i c marriage—a marriage brought on by the bride's false reasoning. Pain withers Gwendolen's pomposity u n t i l she reaches a depth that expresses i t s e l f on her countenance. This change from "the spoiled c h i l d " to the thoughtful woman i s the essence of Gwendolen Harleth's metamorphosis. The beginnings of Gwendolen's change of character are evidenced i n the respect she shows Deronda and her desire to gain his approval of her as a person, not simply as an attractive female. This new perspective ori her position i n r e l a t i o n to a man i s acquired by the growth of her conscience and the struggle toward self-awareness: There was not the faintest touch of coquetry i n the attitude of her mind towards him: he was unique to her among men, because he had impressed her as being not her admirer but her superior: i n some mysterious way he was becoming a part of her conscience . . . . (DD, 468) Gwendolen's f a l t e r i n g attempts to reach out to this man for help 118 without a loss of dignity betray her fear and insecurity. She alternates between the desire to satiate her curiosity i n regard to Deronda's opinions and the wish to remain aloof. These fluctua-tions determined that at one moment she "seemed to i n v i t e sympathy by c h i l d l i k e i n d i s c r e t i o n , at another to repel i t by proud conceal-ment" (DD, 471). Gwendolen Harleth shoulders the burden of pride. This major component of her character renders her :us:eless i n the face of. Grandcourt's i n s u l t s . Pride also makes Gwendolen's desire to be vulnerable to Deronda d i f f i c u l t because "what she would least l i k e to incur was the making a fool of herself and being compromised". (DD, 503). Grandcourt reminds his wife of her duty to save face. His threats suggest the same v u l n e r a b i l i t y to male supremacy which victimize Maggie T u l l i v e r and Dorothea Brooke. Grandcourt demands Gwendolen's unquestioning obedience: "'What do you know about the world? You have married me, and must be guided by my opinions'" (DD, 655). After a l l , what does Gwendolen know about the world when i t w i l l not allow her to become knowledgeable after the same manner as men? Gwendolen has i r o n i c a l l y married Grandcourt to save her dignity. After t h e i r relationship i s sealed by marriage, her pride i s taxed i n i t s attempts to avoid appearing ridiculous: "Gwendolen would not have l i k e d to be an object of disgust to this husband whom she hated: she l i k e d a l l the disgust to be on her side" (DD, 664). Pride rules even Gwendolen's passionate hatred and the process of humbling this w i l f u l s p i r i t i s concurrent with the growth of her s o c i a l conscience. 119 George E l i o t uses a t y p i c a l device to free Gwendolen Harleth from her imprisonment. As Maggie T u l l i v e r i s released from her out de sac by drowning, Gwendolen i s freed from bondage and ennui by Grandcourt's drowning. The heroine of Daniel Deronda gains the same freedom to choose a new l i f e by the convenient plot denouement that procures Dorothea Brooke's release from the fetters of marriage by the death of her husband. The hysteria that Dorothea experiences as a result of her g u i l t upon Casaubon's death, anticipates the breakdown of Gwendolen's facade when Grandcourt's accident occurs. Gwendolen's death-wish foreshadows both Grandcourt's demise and the g u i l t his wife must bear as a result of the haunting memory of her wish f u l f i l l e d i n his face as i t emerges from the water: What release but death? Not her own death . . . . I t seemed more l i k e l y that Grandcourt should die:—and yet not l i k e l y . The power of tyranny i n him seemed a power of l i v i n g i n the presence of any wish that he should die. (DD, 668-69) But her desire comes to f r u i t i o n and with i t new g u i l t s to burden her already ladened conscience. The fact that Deronda's face w i l l eventually replace Grandcourt's death mask as a consequence of the disintegration of her g u i l t through confession i s foreshadowed i n Alcharisa's joy at the replacement of her father's reproaching countenance by her son's redemptive v i s i t . Gwendolen Harleth's desperate desire to cl i n g to someone i n her insecurity makes her mould Deronda "into.a p r i e s t " (DD, 485). Deronda, i n turn, i s educated by her reverence. The supreme test of his a b i l i t y to serve Gwendolen i s in.the fulfilment of his duty i ' to chance the destruction of her admiration by a courageous truth about his future: 120 Strangely her figure entered into the pictures of his present and future, strangely, (and now i t seemed sadly) t h e i r two lo t s had come i n contact, hers narrowly personal, his charged with far-reaching s e n s i b i l i t i e s , perhaps with durable purposes, which were hardly more present to her than the reasons why men migrate are present to the birds that come as usual for the crumbs and f i n d them no more. (DD, 684) It i s to Deronda that the task of shattering Gwendolen's i l l u s i o n s f a l l s and she i s both grieved and enlightened.by the knowledge that he w i l l remain with her i n essence only. The open-ended structure of Daniel Deronda leaves the e d i f i e d heroine with a new freedom and endless p o s s i b i l i t i e s . The character of Gwendolen Harleth indicates a strong movement by George E l i o t away from the Victorian precedent of neatly formed endings. Daniel Deronda suggests a step toward the modern novel i n i t s depiction of the f l e x i b l e processes of l i f e . There i s thematic significance i n the "unfinished" form of the novel i n that i t implies a new beginning for a heroine once confined by the narrow-ness of her own vi s i o n . Gwendolen Harleth's development through her association with Deronda and Grandcourt conveys a perspective of the complex interw.eavings that form human relationships. Similar to Maggie T u l l i v e r and Dorothea Brooke's romantic a f f i l i a -t i o n s , Gwendolen Harleth's l o v e l i f e does not move i n a simple or straight-forward manner. George E l i o t exposes the intertwining of Gwendolen's past, her pride, her ide a l s , her intel l i g e n c e and the conventions which create and destroy the i l l u s i o n s that motivate her emotions, and behavior. This chapter focuses on the characterization of Gwendolen Harleth as she grows from a proud and petulant g i r l to a humble 121 and b e a u t i f u l woman. Her' growth traces the self-indulgent and i l l u s o r y escape from f i n a n c i a l disaster and personal humiliation, the marriage to a man who has already proven himself unworthy of love, the g u i l t and pretense incurred by their relationship, and the f i n a l shattering revelation of her freedom and insignificance. Gwendolen's maturing process maintains c r e d i b i l i t y by the careful depiction of her psychological t r a n s i t i o n from suppression to hysteria to repentance. The consequence of remorse i s Gwendolen's new capacity to place her fe e l i n g outside of her personal milieu and thus be redeemed through the education of sorrow. The denouement of Daniel Deronda conveys an optimism fore-shadowed by the author's t y p i c a l sympathy toward her heroine's flaws. George E l i o t excuses Gwendolen's s e l f i s h demands as the natural result of being trained to command attention by the narrowness of her environment. This part of Gwendolen s t i l l exists even i n the grief that had "changed the aspect of the world for her." I t appears i n her demands on Deronda; She i d e n t i f i e d him with the struggling regenerative process i n her which had begun with his action. Is i t any wonder that she saw her own necessity reflected i n his feeling? She was i n that state of unconscious reliance and expectation which i s a common experience with us when we are preoccupied with our own trouble or our own purpose. (DD, 841) By recognizing Gwendolen's experience as a common one, George E l i o t gains the reader's sympathy and b e l i e f i n her regeneration. Reformation i s probabl;e for a l l those whose natures allow for the p o s s i b l i t y of change by the depths of t h e i r characters: Perhaps some who have afterwards made themselves a w i l l i n g fence before the breast of another, and have carried t h e i r own heart-wound i n heroic silence—some who have 122 made their l a t t e r deeds great, nevertheless began with th i s angry amazement at the i r own smart, and on the mere denial of t h e i r fantastic desires raged as i f under the sting of wasps which reduced the universe for them to an unjust i n f l i c t i o n of pain. (DP, 334) This e x i s t e n t i a l philosophy anticipates the development of a ri c h human nature on the part of those capable of growth. In the transformation l i e s the redemption of Gwendolen Harleth through the knowledge of suffering. The psychological growth of the heroine of Daniel Deronda from all-consuming s e l f - g r a t i f i c a t i o n to d i s -appointment and shock to a fragment of universal awareness i s the foundation of hope upon which.rests the promise of expansion. Gwendolen Harleth's egoism i s emphasized by the novel's structure. The heroine of Daniel Deronda i s juxtaposed wi-th.ij.the hero i n order to contrast the r i g i d and s e l f i s h ego of the former \toth the f l e x i b l e and a l t r u i s t i c nature of the l a t t e r . These opposing t r a i t s bring the two characters together as Gwendolen's all-consuming selfishness appeals to Peronda's philosophical altruism. A dual plot serves to place both characterizations i n r e l i e f . Where he i s interested i n the destiny of an entire race, she i s obsessed by her own small future; where his nature i s concerned with the values maintained by society and t h e i r effects upon men, her nature i s devoid of moral contemplation and perturbed only.by those aspects of society that touch upon her personal well-being; where he i s interested i n the i d e a l i s t i c conditions of a nation, she i s devoted to the improvement of her own position i n society. The dual plots unite at the beginning and end of the novel i n the sense that Peronda's influence w i l l carry Gwendolen into a new future and Gwendolen's suffering w i l l extend Peronda's capacity for 123 disinterested compassion. He i s both a f o i l to her self-centered nature and an example for her to follow after her redemption: Persons attracted him . . . i n proportion to the p o s s i b i l i t y of his defending them, rescuing them, t e l l i n g upon t h e i r l i v e s with some sort of redeeming influence . . . . (DD, 369) Thus Gwendolen's characterization establishes her as an appropriate focus for Deronda's a l t r u i s t i c energy and an inappropriate mate i n the career that he i s about to pursue. Consequently, t h e i r f i n a l parting i s a credible r e a l i z a t i o n of t h e i r opposing developments. With the knowledge of Deronda's future intentions, Gwendolen i s a l l e v i a t e d from the unhealthy burden of self-delusions. The r e a l i z a t i o n that Deronda's consciousness i s occupied by a p o l i t i c a l and s o c i a l dream that i s enormous compared to her small imaginings, destroys Gwendolen's i l l u s i o n of her significance i n the context of his r e a l i t y : She did not imagine him otherwise than always within her reach, her supreme need of him b l i n d i n g her to the L separateness of his l i f e , the whole scene of which she f i l l e d with his r e l a t i o n to her—no unique preoccupation of Gwendolen's, for we are a l l apt to f a l l into this passionate egoism of imagination . . . . (DD, 867) From the staggering blow of new knowledge, the self-centered expectations she maintains of Deronda are transformed into a s e l f -less understanding of the sorrow she has caused him. Deronda's character determines that his assistance to Gwendolen be based purely on disinterested compassion: It was not Deronda's disposition to escape from ugly scenes: he was more i n c l i n e d to s i t through them and take, care of the fellow least able to take care of himself. (DD, 219) This reference to Deronda's attitude toward Hans Meyrick, his colleague at school, anticipates the protagonist's treatment of 124 Mirah Lapodith and Gwendolen Harleth i n l a t e r years. Gwendolen learns through Deronda's coaxing and his example that she must make her way on a larger stage with the added strength of a more r e a l i s t i c awareness. The extent of Deronda's disinterested generosity i s emphasized.for Gwendolen by the knowledge that he i s about to marry Mirah. The revelation of the extent of Deronda's philanthropy penetrates the egocentric g u i l t and despair that compose Gwendolen's suffering and i n i t i a t e s a moral change paramount to her redemption. The author raises her reader's curiosity by opening the f i r s t chapter with a question that informs us of Gwendolen Harleth's mysterious attracting powers, her penchant for temptation and the energy with which she indulges her whims. The heroine's "dynamic qua l i t y " and her sylph-like postures suggestsa capricious nature that revels i n the flamboyant display of her person (DD, 35): She walked on with her usual f l o a t i n g movement, every l i n e i n her figure and drapery f a l l i n g i n gentle curves at t r a c t i v e to a l l eyes except those which discerned i n them too close a resemblance to the serpent, and objected to the r e v i v a l of serpent-worship. (DP, 47) Gwendolen's i n i t i a l description establishes her as an appropriate subject for Grandcourt's malevolence and for Peronda's assistance. Those subject to the temptations of e v i l are the only appropriate victims of Gwendolen's s u p e r f i c i a l charms. Therefore, just as Casaubon's appearance serves simply to f i l l the void that Porothea Brooke creates by her aspirations, Grandcourt w i l l enter as the " r e p t i l e " that f i t s the mould pre-established by Gwendolen's value structure. Gwendolen Harleth's head-strong behavior has been.anticipated 125 i n the actions of Maggie T u l l i v e r and Dorothea Brooke. As discussed i n Chapter One, Maggie swings d r a s t i c a l l y from one position to another i n order to feed her defiant tendencies and to maintain her sense of significance. Dorothea's petulance displays i t s e l f when she latches onto her ideals and refuses to y i e l d even i n the l i g h t of common-sense promptings from her family. Gwendolen's extremism displays i t s e l f i n response to the shadow that Deronda spreads over her luck at the roulette table. His "gaze seemed to have acted as, an e v i l eye" and she responds with frivolous bravado: She was i n that mood of defiance i n which the mind loses sight of any end beyond the s a t i s f a c t i o n of enraged resistance; and with the puerile s t u p i d i t y of a dominant impulse includes luck among i t s objects of defiance. Since she was not winning s t r i k i n g l y , the next best thing was to lose s t r i k i n g l y . CDD, 39) This impetuous gesture results i n the loss of her father's jewels. But, more importantly, i t establishes the basis of Gwendolen's relationship with Deronda when he i n i t i a t e s the return of the jewels—the redeemed and the redeemer. Thus begins Deronda's a f f i l i a t i o n with Gwendolen and her impulsiveness. The cure rests i n her f i n a l acknowledgement of his advice that remorseful contemplation would increase her a b i l i t y to practice forethought: "'Take your fear as a safeguard. I t i s l i k e the quickness of hearing. I t may make consequences passionately present to you" 1 (DD, 738). Once Gwendolen has turned to face her fear i n a l l i t s implications, she i s prepared to enter a more promising future. : George E l i o t implies that Rex Gascoigne, the early rejected s u i t o r , has also turned his suffering into a "safeguard" and the reader i s l e f t to wonder i f he may be afforded a second,chance to share i n 126 Gwendolen's l i f e now that t h e i r personalities have undergone much renovation. I n i t i a l l y Gwendolen i s described by images of the snake. This reference unites her with temptation and establishes the Eden-like drama which w i l l y i e l d suffering and knowledge for the tempted: "She has got herself up as a sort of serpent now, a l l green and s i l v e r , and winds her neck about a l i t t l e more than usual'."" (DD, 40) Grandcourt, depicted by r e p t i l i a n imagery, becomes the appropriate partner i n her e v i l wilfulness. The man i n whom "of a l l inward movements those of generosity were least l i k e l y to occur" renders a p a r a l l e l to Gwendolen's s e l f i s h nature and a contrast to Deronda's a l t r u i s t i c one (DP, 326). This s i m i l a r i t y between Grandcourt and Gwendolen establishes the c r e d i b i l i t y of th e i r relationship. The author emphasizes Deronda's compassionate nature by his behavior toward Mirah Lapodith. He i s of a nature which generally tends toward goodness as i t s daily routine: "Some deeds seem l i t t l e more than interjections which give vent to the long passion of l i f e " (PP, 267). This philosophy may also be applied to Gwendolen's behavior. In her ardent search for a more meaningful r e a l i t y , she unwittingly forces herself into an empty existence. This makes a truth of her statement that ""iiry l i f e i s my own a f f a i r , " " and an irony of her interpretation (PP, 277). Similar to Maggie T u l l i v e r and Dorothea Brooke, Gwendolen Harleth i s "as clever as possible" (DD, 41) and she intends to "conquer circumstance by her exceptional cleverness" (DP, 69). But, l i k e the heroines before her, she has l i t t l e common sense to enhance t h i s i n t e l l i g e n c e and small opportunity to educate i t . 127 A f r u i t f u l l i f e gained through worldly experiences and the accompany-ing enlightenment, must be acquired at the cost of enormous despair. The three heroines are a result of thei r narrow p r o v i n c i a l knowledge as this combines with the i r peculiar characters to create harmful i l l u s i o n s . Convention directs t h e i r fates and, as i n Gwendolen's l i f e , feeds and starves t h e i r dreams: She rejoiced to f e e l herself exceptional; but her horizon was that of the genteel romance where the heroine's soul poured out i n her journal i s f u l l of vague power, o r i g i n -a l i t y , and general r e b e l l i o n , while her l i f e moves s t r i c t l y i n the sphere of fashion; an'd i f she wanders into a swamp, the pathos l i e s partly, so to speak, i n her having on satin shoes. Here i s a restraint which nature and society have provided on the pursuit of s t r i k i n g adventure; so that a soul burning with a sense of what the universe i s not, and ready to take a l l existence as f u e l , i s never-theless held a captive by the ordinary wirework of s o c i a l forms and does nothing i n pa r t i c u l a r . (DP, 83) Gwendolen Harleth's spoiled and haughty expectations confront a society that i n i t i a l l y supports and f i n a l l y destroys her s e l f -image as the sole center of l i f e ' s drama. As a result of the fact that Gwendolen seldom meets anyone she considers a peer and that she i s confined by f i n a n c i a l circum-stances to Offendene, she i s "always bored" (PP, 42). In a r e f l e c t i o n of this confinement i n terms of a woman's destiny, Gwendolen compares women to flowers and men to gardeners endowed with the powers of change: We must stay where we grow, or where the gardeners l i k e to transplant us. We are brought up l i k e flowers, to look as pretty as we can, and be d u l l without complaining. That i s my notion about plants: they are often bored, and that i s the reason why some of them have got poisonous. (PP, 171) I r o n i c a l l y , as she speaks to Grandcourt, Gwendolen unwittingly remarks on the very poison that pervades his system as w e l l as 128 her own. The fact that Deronda "looked bored" with s o c i a l i z i n g and that Grandcourt's vacuous nature precludes his being interested i n anything, t i t i l l a t e s Gwendolen's attraction to these men (DD, 42). She feels they r e f l e c t her sense of superiority by t h e i r seeming disdain for common pastimes. The "irony and contempt" with which Gwendolen erroneously labels Deronda's return of her jewels, becomes a r e a l i t y i n the form of Grandcourt's attitude toward Gwendolen's l i f e i n general (DD, 49). Typical of a l l George E l i o t ' s characterizations, Gwendolen i s not solely to blame for her supercilious attitude toward others and her shallow approach to l i f e . As Farebrother suggests i n Middtemarch, the character, l i k e the body, may suffer from improper care: "'Character i s not cut i n m a r b l e — i t i s not something s o l i d and unalterable. I t i s something l i v i n g and changing, and may become diseased as our bodies do'" (M, 538). Gwendolen's character i s "diseased" by her narrow p r o v i n c i a l environment, the extreme coddling afforded her by an indulgent mother and complaisant s i s t e r s , and the power of her personal charisma: iGwendolen'sJ potent charm, added to the fact that she was the eldest daughter, towards whom her mamma had always been i n a apologetic state of mind for the e v i l s brought on by a step-father, may seem so f u l l a reason for Gwendolen's domestic empire, that to look for any other would be to ask the reason of daylight when the sun i s shining. (DD, 71) Gwendolen's idea that she deserves a good l i f e simply by her existence i s a natural result of the evolution of expectations founded upon superfluous attentions: The i m p l i c i t confidence that her destiny must be one of luxurious ease, where any trouble that occurred would be w e l l clad and provided f o r , had been stronger i n her own mind than i n her mamma's, being fed there by her youthful 129 blood and that sense of superior claims which made a large part of her consciousness. (DD, 44) Gwendolen's concept of s e l f , then, i s established at the outset of the novel as one that feeds on f l a t t e r y and self-indulgence. Her cha r a c t e r i s t i c impulse to fervently r e s i s t discomfort, coupled with her delusions of superiority, supply Gwendolen with an almost impenetrable s o c i a l dignity. She thinks and behaves under the controlling force of a w i l f u l and dangerous snobbishness, which w i l l not allow her to admit to pain. Suppression shows i t s e l f i n her reaction to Deronda's i n i t i a l generosity, where i t i s stimulated by the fact that she judges his motives according to her own condescending attitude: Gwendolen with a passionate movement thrust necklace, cambric, scrap of paper and a l l into her necessaive, pressed her handkerchief against her face, and after pausing a minute or two to summon back her proud s e l f -control, went to j o i n her friends. (DDfr 49) Gwendolen desires above a l l to avoid the implications associated with emotions or poverty. In order to avoid being forced to behave according to someone else's desires, as would be the case i f she became a governess, Gwendolen marries Grandcourt. She s t r i v e s , by marriage, to a t t a i n the freedom that she believes his money and position w i l l afford her: Gwendolen wished to mount the chariot and drive the plunging horses herself, with a spouse by her side who would fold his arms and give her his countenance without looking ridiculous. (DD, 173) This w i l f u l pride not only burdens her conscience to the breaking point i n r e l a t i o n to Lydia Glasher, but i t i s matched and over-powered by the supreme w i l l of her tyrannical mate. Grandcourt i s too cruel to look "ridiculous" and he w i l l " f o l d his arms" to defy 130 her u n t i l , i r o n i c a l l y , i t i s Gwendolen who struggles to keep from "looking ridiculous." Beneath Gwendolen Harleth's cool facade, then, l i e s the same components of emotional intensity and uneducated i n t e l l i g e n c e that motivate Maggie T u l l i v e r and Dorothea Brooke i n th e i r drives to escape the humdrum of p r o v i n c i a l l i f e . These three heroines are equally g u i l t y of e g o t i s t i c a l pride that i n c l i n e s them toward a dream of great personal achievement. But Gwendolen's malcontent i s tinged with a selfishness foreign to Maggie and Dorothea: I t i s possible to have a strong self-love without any s e l f - s a t i s f a c t i o n , rather with a self-discontent which i s the more intense because one's own l i t t l e core of ego i s t i c s e n s i b i l i t y i s a supreme care; but Gwendolen knew nothing of such inward s t r i f e . She had a naive delight i n her fortunate s e l f , which any but the harshest saintliness w i l l have some indulgence for i n a g i r l who had every day seen a pleasant r e f l e c t i o n of that s e l f i n her friends' f l a t t e r y as w e l l as i n the looking glass. (DD, 47) This habit of self-indulgence displays i t s e l f most blatantly i n reference to Gwendolen's disregard for her mother. The daughter's changing attitaide toward maternal tenderness marks the growth of Gwendolen's conscience. I n i t i a l l y , she refuses her mother any inconvenient favors and t r i e s to accommodate her tinges of conscience with "caresses which cost her no e f f o r t " (DD, 53). Gwendolen's moral struggle and the blossoming of her sympathies display them-selves i n the contrast between her i n i t i a l behavior at home and the development of an awareness of the keen need for her mother's tenderness which stimulates a belated appreciation by the daughter for the mother. The author t e l l s us that "Gwendolen's early nature was not remorseless" but, i n stark contrast to Maggie T u l l i v e r , "she l i k e d to make her penances easy" (DP, 53). 131 The motifs of strangulation and death heighten the tone of disaster that pervades Gwendolen Harleth's story. This feeling of terror increases the dramatic tension which anticipates Gwendolen's admission that she i s " a f r a i d of everything . . . a f r a i d of getting wicked" (DD, 672). Gwendolen's potential for goodness i s shown i n her fear that the e v i l side of her nature w i l l win out. Her fear becomes a r e a l i t y when she confesses to have seen."my wish outside me" when she jumps into the water and away from her wickedness rather than toward her drowning husband (DD, 761). The youth who "strangled her s i s t e r ' s canary-bird i n a f i n a l f i t of exasperation at i t s s h r i l l singing which had again and again j a r r i n g l y interrupted her own"will,,'V (DD, 53) w i l l mature into a superstitious young lady who imagines Grandcourt's hands about her neck i n " r e t r i b u t i v e calamity:" "That white hand of his . . . was capable, she fancied, of clinging round her neck and threatening to t h r o t t l e her . . . " (DP, 481). These "fantasies moved within her l i k e ghosts" and the wish that Grandcourt should die becomes confused with a t e r r i b l e regard for her own safety: The thought of his dying would not subsist: i t turned as with a dream-change into the terror that she should die with his t h r o t t l i n g fingers on her neck avenging that thought. (DDt+669) The panel which exposes "the picture of an upturned dead face, from which an obscure figure seemed to be fleeing with outstretched arms" anticipates both Grandcourt's resurfacing i n the f e a r f u l moments of his drowning and Gwendolen's return to her mother's comfort (DD, 56) . The destruction of her s i s t e r ' s b i r d meets i t s Nemesis when 132 Herr Klesmer, jarred by Gwendolen's pompous in s u l t s to the art of music j strangles her innocent ambition to be a singer. Klesmer's i n i t i a l appraisal of Gwendolen's talent defines her character as wel l as her voice: "There i s a sort of s e l f - s a t i s f i e d f o l l y about every phrase of such melody: no cries of deep, mysterious passion—no c o n f l i c t — n o sense of the universal. It makes men small when they l i s t e n to i t ! ' (DP, 79) This marks Mie beginning of a process of humiliation for the heroine. Previous to Klesmer, "no one had disputed her power or her general superiority" (DD, 70). But to Herr Klesmer, "woman was dear to him, but music was dearer" (DD, 79). Thus, Gwendolen's false confidence proves an i n s u l t i n g i r r i t a t i o n that leads the virtuoso to expose her i r r a t i o n a l plan. I t i s not that Gwendolen should lower herself to sing on the stage as she has determined, but that she could not attain the heights necessary to ri s e to the l e v e l of an accredited musician. But Gwendolen's v u l n e r a b i l i t y to c r i t i c i s m and her a b i l i t y to appreciate Klesmer's talent, i n spite of his blatant rejection of her musical offering, indicates a potential for growth i n the glimmerings of a better s e l f . Gwendolen Harleth i s a study of w i l f u l determination. Her marriage to Grandcourt i s a matching of her w i l l and h i s , and the temporary, but promising defeat of Gwendolen by her husband's superior a b i l i t y to approach l i f e as a game. This f a i l u r e shows a greater humanity behind Gwendolen's facade than Grandcourt's. Like Dorothea Brooke, Gwendolen Harleth has certain d e f i n i t e ideas about marriage that w i l l ultimately be destroyed as her i l l u s i o n s are shattered. The heroine of Daniel Deronda assumes that the power 133 of her w i l l i s invulnerable to interference or defeat: '"I w i l l not put up with [marriage] i f i t i s not a happy state. I am determined to be happy—at least not to go on muddling away my l i f e as other people do, being and doing nothing remarkable. I have made up my mind not to l e t other people interfere with me as they have done. "' (DD, 58) Gwendolen assumes that marriage w i l l f u l f i l certain aspirations and this notion w i l l be modified only through extreme psychological stress. Gwendolen firmly believed that "marriage was s o c i a l promotion" (DP, 68) and, i r o n i c a l l y , the " b i t t e r herbs" (DD, 69) she i s w i l l i n g to accept with t h i s otherwise b e n e f i c i a l state, w i l l ultimately far outweigh the pleasures gained. Although Gwendolen Harleth's wish for a more "ardent sense of l i v i n g " p a r a l l e l s the emotional desires of Maggie T u l l i v e r and Dorothea Brooke, the s u p e r f i c i a l motivation d i f f e r s . Gwendolen desires ostentatious power and flamboyant admiration: This delicate-limbed sylph of twentynmeant to lead. For such passions dwell i n feminine breasts also. In Gwen-dolen's, however, they dwelt among s t r i c t l y feminine furniture, and had no disturbing reference to the advance-ment of learning or the balance of the constitution; her knowledge being such as with no sort of standing-room or length of lever could have been expected to move the world. She meant to do what was pleasant to herself i n a s t r i k i n g manner; or rather, ^whatever she could do so as to s t r i k e others with admiration and get i n that reflected way a more ardent sense of l i v i n g , seemed pleasant to her fancy. (DD, 69) These vainglorious ambitions delude Gwendolen's image of her place i n the universe and prompt her mistaken choice of Grandcourt as a man she can control. Their disastrous union i s largely the result of a bride who assumes most creatures to be "worth less than herself" and feels she i s capable of making "the very best of the chances that l i f e offered her" (DD, 69). I r o n i c a l l y , 134 Grandcourt w i l l play the same game with these assumptions as he does with a l l aspects of l i f e which confront him—he w i l l match his w i l l against another's determination. As the author shows through Gwendolen's development, i n t e l l i -gence i s not conducive to the attainment of happiness unless i t i s coupled with temperate emotional wisdom. Gwendolen's growing maturity and despair are coupled with increased contemplation u n t i l "day after day the same pattern of thinking was repeated" (DD, 666). This r e f l e c t i o n w i l l turn her "fear i n t o a safeguard" as Deronda has advised. Temperance i s i n i t i a l l y kept at bay by Gwendolen's bloated self-image and the consequent expectations this arouses. Her expectations are fed by her "inborn energy of e g o i s t i c desire" and supported by "her power of i n s p i r i n g fear" i n others (DP, 71-72). Butj at the same time, her own peculiar fears allow glimpses of the unstable foundation on which her cool confidence rests: What she unwillingly recognized, and would have been glad for others to be aware of, was that l i a b i l i t y of her to f i t s of s p i r i t u a l dread . . . . Solitude i n any wide scene impressed her with an undefined feeling of immeasur-able existence aloof from her, i n the midst of which she was helplessly incapable of asserting herself. (DP, 94-95) Thus, Gwendolen i n t u i t s a r e a l i t y outside of her own, but she does not own up to this knowledge because i t w i l l lessen the significance she needs to sustain her self-image. Gwendolen often appears strong i n resistance to the very feedback she paradoxically requires to sustain her ego. Such i s the case i n her relationship with Rex Gascoigne. Gwendolen enjoys his devotion u n t i l i t stimulates a s i t u a t i o n for which she must take certain r e s p o n s i b i l i t y . She, however, simply wishes her 135 friendship with Rex "to f i l l up the time of his stay at Pennicote, and to avoid explanation which would bring i t to an untimely end" (DD, 101). Thus Rex is•convenient as long as. he i s simply a means to an end—the f u l f i l l m e n t of her personal pleasure, but an inconvenience to be avoided when his admiration requires a response. One of the major appeals to Gwendolen i n Grandcourt 1s manner of courting her i s his indifference to physical communication. Therefore, while Gwendolen does not love Grandcourt, she i r o n i c a l l y feels "there i s less to d i s l i k e about him thanromost men" (DD, 175). Except for his s u p e r f i c i a l gestures, Grandcourt maintains the distance that Gwendolen requires for her neurotic d i s l i k e of being personally imposed upon: She objected, with a sort of physical repulsion, to being d i r e c t l y made love to. With a l l her imaginative delight i n being adored, there was a certain fierceness of maidenhood i n her. (DD, 101-102) Responding to gestures of affection i s a form of giving and Gwendolen's s e l f i s h desire for adoration precludes the normal response. Thus Rex i s rebuffed for attempting to bring his emotional desires to f r u i t i o n : "The perception that"poor Rex wanted to be tender made her c u r l up and harden l i k e a sea-anenome at the touch of a finger" (DD, 113). And Grandcourt i s accepted because of his lack of tenderness which allows Gwendolen to escape the d i s t a s t e f u l chore of responding. Gwendolen interprets Grandcourt's emotional void and lack of v i t a l i t y as proud s e l f - c o n t r o l , rather than cynicism or indifference. She, l i k e Dorothea Brooke, reads into her prospective husband's comments and behavior whatever i s necessary to supply her personal 136 needs: • I t was not possible f o r a human aspect to be freer from grimace or s o l i c i t o u s wrigglings; also it.was perhaps not possible for a breathing man wide awake to look less animated.'' (DD, 145) . It i s just these " s o l i c i t o u s wrigglings" on the part of her usual admirers thatmmakes Gwendolen assume an attitude of condescension. Grandcourt's lack of animation encourages Gwendolen's mistaken idea that she can assert her w i l l : "Poor Gwendolen had no awe of unmanageable forces i n the state of matrimony, but regarded i t as altogether a matter of management, i n which she would know how to act." (DD, 359) As anticipated by Dorothea, Gwendolen sees marriage according to predetermined notions. Grandcourt i s to be her savior from the tedium of confinement and poverty. Where Dorothea planned to follow Casaubon, basking i n the glory of his learned mind, Gwendolen plans to lead Grandcourt, sharing i n the pleasures of his position: Gwendolen had no sense that these men were dark enigmas to her, or that she needed any help i n drawing conclusions about them—Mr. Grandcourt at least. The chief question was how f a r his character and ways might answer her wishes; and unless she were s a t i s f i e d about that, she had said to herself thatsshe would not accept his offer. (DD, 159) Satisfaction of Gwendolen's material desires i s granted at the expense of her moral ease. She i r o n i c a l l y conjectures that "a man of extremely calm, cold manners might be less disagreeable as a husband than other men, and not l i k e l y to interfere with his wife's preferences" (DD, 147). Grandcourt, of course, w i l l i n t e r -fere wherever Gwendolen's wishes intrude upon his own. The very desires that would give.her peace of mind i n t h e i r fulfilment culminate with a clashing of w i l l s and Gwendolen's denial. Thus, 137 she w i l l grow to the knowledge that "what he required was that she should be as f u l l y aware as she would have been of a locked hand-cuff, that her i n c l i n a t i o n was helpless to decide anything i n contradiction with his resolve" (DD, 645). Freedom, her only reason for marriage, has therefore been denied i n one revelation. And the consequent breaking of Gwendolen's w i l l exposes her fortunate v u l n e r a b i l i t y to suffering and change. This development i s the substance of the dramatic psychology incorporated i n the heroine's characterization. Grandcourt's overpowering of Gwendolen's w i l f u l nature has been anticipated at the moment of t h e i r betrothal: At that moment his strongest wish was to be completely master of th i s creature . . . . And she—ah, piteous equality i n the need to dominate!—she was overcome l i k e the t h i r s t y one who i s drawn towards the seeming water i n the desert, overcome by the suffused sense that here i n this man's homage to her lay the rescue from helpless subjection to an oppressive l o t . (DD, 346) Unwittingly, Gwendolen has betrayed the weakness that w i l l give Grandcourt a l l the power—a dependence on his support i n order to r e l i e v e her of confinement to a tedious future. Grandcourt's s e n s i b i l i t y to Gwendolen's "inward resistance" i s magnified by him, "but that did not lessen his s a t i s f a c t i o n i n the mastery of i t " (DD, 616). The "dread of wrong doing" that lhovers beneath the surface of Gwendolen's behavior exposes the conventional aspect of her character that she had consciously denied (DD,.342) . This dread i s c r u c i a l to the development of her moral and s o c i a l conscience: Whatever was accepted as consistent with being a lady she had no scruple about; but from the dim region of what.was called disgraceful, wrong, g u i l t y , she shrank 138 with mingled pride and terror; and even apart from shame, her feeling would have made her place any deliberate injury of another i n the region of g u i l t . (DP, 342) Gwendolen suffers unknowingly from the pressures of convention which the author implies i n a l l her works to be the inescapable fortune of man. The g u i l t stimulated by her betrayal of Lydia Glasher w i l l inspire Gwendolen's f i r s t desire to reach out i n penitence for the affectionate.approval of another human being. Her bewildered groping toward Deronda and away from Grandcourt establishes Gwendolen's need to r i d herself of e v i l i n order to experience a new kind of l i b e r t y — a release from g u i l t . Grandcourt's moral vacuum i s a f o i l to Gwendolen's troubled conscience which hints at her a b i l i t y to grow. Both begin t h e i r relationship as a type of game—a matching of w i l l s . Grandcourt calculates just how much attentiveness i s necessary to succeed over Gwendolen's caprice and he, therefore, "would not make his offer i n any way that could place him d e f i n i t e l y i n a position of being rejected" (DD, 169). She punishes his reticence by matching i t , as an expression of her power. But for Grandcourt the game of asserting his "peremptory w i l l " continues long after Gwendolen i s suffocating i n a very re a l despair (DD, 162). Her s p i r i t e d and w i l f u l pride i s broken by his sneering self-assurance and a "grace of bearing Iwhichj has long been moulded on the experience of boredom" (DD, 394): She had been brought to accept him i n spite of every-thing—brought to kneel down l i k e a horse under training for the arena, though she might have an objection to i t a l l the while. On the whole, Grandcourt got more pleasure out of th i s notion than he could have done out of winning a g i r l of whom he was sure that she had a strong i n c l i n a -tion for him personally. (DP, 365) 139 To Gwendolen "there was the reassuring thought that marriage would be the gate into a larger freedom" (DP, 183). The step into matrimony, however, proves to be yet another f e t t e r . Gwendolen's exaggerated confidence i n making the move exposes her mistaken concept as to the extent of her own personal control.• The heroine's approach to marriage i s reminiscent of her approach to a singing career: If she chose to take t h i s husband, she would have him know that she was not going to renounce her freedom, or according to her favourite formula, "not going to do as other women did." (PP, 168) Gwendolen, i n f a c t , does worse than the average woman who at least experiences the i n c l i n a t i o n to love her mate, no matter how temporarily. Gwendolen, l i k e Maggie and Porothea before her, wishes to be different i n terms of greater freedom and fulfilment. She, l i k e her predecessors, w i l l suffer i n the struggle to surpass her contemporaries. In the process of her climb to power, Gwendolen betrays the promise to Lydia Glasher that she w i l l not marry Grandcourt. Gwendolen's shock over the discovery that Grandcourt i s the father of Mrs. Glasher's four children i s overwhelmed by the heroine's desire to avoid " l i v i n g i n the midst of hardships, ugliness, and humiliation" (DP, 270). Her betrayal of Lydia i s anticipated by the s e l f i s h r a t i o n a l i z a t i o n i n the heroine's reaction to this knowledge: It i s one thing to hate stolen goods, and another thing to hate them the more because t h e i r being stolen hinders us from making use of them. Gwendolen had begun to be angry with Grandcourt for being what had hindered her from marrying him, angry with him as the cause of her present dreary l o t . (DP, 270) 140 There i s no trace of disappointed love i n Gwendolen, but rather a resentment that her plan to maintain s o c i a l graces through,marriage i s inconveniently disrupted. The core of her disgruntlement, however, p a r a l l e l s that which frustrated Maggie and Dorothea—a desire to r i s e above "her present dreary l o t . " The cruelty and the inevitable r e t r i b u t i o n for a broken promise i s s i g n i f i c a n t i n Daniel Deronda.*. The concept of broken f a i t h , f a m i l i a r to George E l i o t ' s f i c t i o n , i s emphasized i n the r e l a t i o n -ship between Mirah Lapidoth and her father. With the revelation of Grandcourt's previous a l l i a n c e with Lydia Glasher and her mother's loss of property, Gwendolen feels h e r . f i r s t "close threats of humilia-t i o n . " But she views these changes with her t y p i c a l i l l u s i o n s of self-importance: For the f i r s t time the conditions of this world seemed to her l i k e a hurrying roaring crowd i n which she had got astray, no more cared for and protected than a myriad of other g i r l s , i n spite of i t s being a peculiar hardship for her. CPP, 278) These new conditions temporarily motivate Gwendolen's drive to succeed without the help of marriage. Her concept of herself as a singer results from a desire to escape the task of a governess and the yoke of marriage: The inmost f o l d of her questioning now, was whether she need take a husband at all-whether she could not achieve su b s t a n t i a l i t y for herself and know g r a t i f i e d ambition without bondage. (DP, 295) Gwendolen's choice of diction establishes the false premise on which her marriage i s ultimately decided—"bondage" i n exchange for power. The desire for "command and luxury," symbolized by the beau t i f u l horses Grandcourt displays as a background to his.proposal, render a " d e l i g h t f u l contrast with the'^ugliness of poverty and humiliation at which she had l a t e l y been looking close" (PP, 349). 141 Money, which Gwendolen i r o n i c a l l y assumes w i l l buy her freedom, obliterates the concept of affection. She i s motivated to consent to her t r a g i c mistake by the image of future poverty, both mental and material: "Gwendolen, l a t e l y used to the s o c i a l successes of a handsome g i r l . . . saw.the l i f e before her as an entrance into penitentiary" (DD, 315). Gwendolen's youthful concept denies the power of good over e v i l . But George E l i o t suggests i n each of her characterizations that e v i l i s doomed by i t s suffocating narrowness and such self-destructing aspects as pride. Circumstance directs the heroine's fate as much as her own character. The untasteful s i t u a t i o n i n which Gwendolen finds her-s e l f leaves her no other choice, as an i n t e l l i g e n t , but self-centered i n d i v i d u a l , than to accept Grandcourt's offer: She could not l e t him go: that negative was a clutch. She seemed to herself to be, after a l l , only d r i f t e d towards the tremendous decision:-—but d r i f t i n g depends on something besides the currents, when the s a i l s have been set beforehand. (DD, 348) P a r a l l e l to Maggie T u l l i v e r and Dorothea Brooke, Gwendolen Harleth i s motivated to change by an image of "the former dreariness" of her s i t u a t i o n (DD, 346). There i s a double entendve i n the author's selection of "Gwendolen Gets Her Choice" as a t i t l e for Book Four which deals with the heroine's marriage. Gwendolen chooses to accept Grandcourt, but the choice i s based on more than his s u p e r f i c i a l charms and her present poverty. I t i s "Mer:s choice i n the sense that Gwendolen's past environment and habitual responses have conditioned her for a move that w i l l a l l e v i a t e her own discomfort regardless of the suffering i t may incur for others. 142 But marriage and the betrayal of Lydia test the strength of Gwendolen Harleth's conscience. I t proves greater than she had expected. The heroine's struggle begins when her conscience overpowersher confidence: The b r i l l i a n t position she had longed f o r , the imagined freedom she would create for herself i n marriage, the deliverance from the d u l l insignificance of her g i r l -h o o d — a l l were immediately before her; and yet they had come to her i n hunger l i k e food with the t a i n t of a sacrilege upon i t , which she must snatch with terror. In the darkness and loneliness of her l i t t l e bed, her more resistant s e l f would not act against the f i r s t onslaught of dread after her irrevocable decision. (DP, 356) Lydia Glasher looms large i n Gwendolen's mind and the images of t h i s abandoned woman with her four children "kept repeating them-selves i n her imagination l i k e the clinging memory of a disgrace" (DP, 356). These f i r s t twinges of remorse prepare the stage for . her b a t t l e against the voice of a waking conscience. That the b a t t l e i s l o st i s a credit to Gwendolen's moral strength and a beginning to the "painful -letting i n of l i g h t " (PP, 508) . Gwendolen t r i e s to r a t i o n a l i z e Lydia's inevitable neglect apart from Grandcourt's new romance by the argument that "he could have married her i f he had l i k e d ; but he did not l i k e " (PP, 358). And she feels annoyed that Mrs. Pavilow unwittingly removes herself as a convenient object of blame by asking her daughter not "to marry only f o r my sake:" iGwendolen] was i r r i t a t e d at this attempt to take away a motive. Perhaps the deeper cause of her i r r i t a t i o n was the consciousness that she was not going to marry for her mamma's sake—that she was drawn towards the marriage i n ways against which stronger reasons than her mother's renunciation were yet not strong enough to hinder her. (DP, 357) 143 The betrayal of Lydia carves a wound i n Gwendolen's conscience that grows deeper with r e f l e c t i o n . Thus, the betrothed g i r l who rejoices i n imagining her role i n marriage as "the heroine of an admired play without the pains of a r t " (DP, 404) evolves to the fettered woman who "screamed again and again with h y s t e r i c a l violence" (DP, 407) i n the r e a l i z a t i o n that her g u i l t cannot be denied. The consequent confessions of g u i l t to Peronda, though cautious at f i r s t , i n i t i a t e "that openness which i s the sweet fresh a i r of our moral l i f e " (PD, 445). Slow maturity from narrow egoism to shackled despair and f i n a l l y to solemn awareness i s compared to "a.sick dream" and.the eventual r e l i e f from i t s aura by the dawn of a new day. The consequent knowledge of a greater perspective i n the broader r e a l i t y of Gwendolen's awakened senses renders the pain of n i g h t . i n s i g n i f i c a n t : Suddenly from out the grey sombre morning there came a stream of sunshine, wrapping her i n warmth and l i g h t where she sat i n stony s t i l l n e s s . She moved gently and looked round her—there was a world outside the bad dream, and the dream proved nothing; she rose, stretching her arms upward and clasping her hands with her habitual attitude when she was seeking r e l i e f from oppressive f e e l i n g , and walked about the room i n t h i s flood of sunbeams. (PP, 650) These sunbeams anticipate the l i g h t of awareness that w i l l reveal a world that was darkened to Gwendolen's imagination before her redemption. There remains for Gwendolen the heavy burden of acknowledging to Deronda her g u i l t i n murdering Grandcourt by the nature of her refusal to respond to her husband's pleas for help. She f e e l s , as w e l l , that her wish for his death has brought about the accident. Therefore, the "cold iron touch" of hatred has escaped her control 144 and become the r e a l i t y that she feared i t would (DP, 746). These admissions to Deronda, her "terrible-browed angel" (PP, 737), and the obvious remorse at her o w n . f a l l i b i l i t y are necessary steps i n the direction of healing her conscience: Peronda could not utter one word to diminish that sacred aversion to. her worst s e l f — t h a t thorn-pressure which must come with the crowning of the sorrowful Better, suffering because of the Worse. (PP, 762) The hysteria experienced by Gwendolen i n response to her g u i l t over Grandcourt's death, i s foreshadowed by Porothea's h y s t e r i c a l outburst over Casaubon's death. Both heroines i r o n i c a l l y fold under the burden of g u i l t as they are released from the pressure of marriage. Through Gwendolen Harleth's characterization, the reader i s reminded of George E l i o t ' s b e l i e f that religious t r a d i t i o n has a s t a b i l i z i n g force i n society and serves to t r a i n people i n the concepts of duty and fellowship. Gwendolen's lack of religious a f f i l i a t i o n s i s juxtaposed with the religious fervor of Mordecai and i t s effect upon Peronda's sense of purpose and future: "Mrs. Grandcourt . . . was, so far as pastoral care and religious fellow-ship were concerned, i n as complete a solitude as a man i n a l i g h t -house" (PP, 667). This loneliness i s exposed i n Gwendolen's grief when she senses her diminished proportions and grows aware of her insignificance. Religion i s a means to both duty and a sense of history through i t s t r a d i t i o n s . Puty gives purpose to the l i f e of an i n d i v i d u a l , and, as Peronda suggests, ""other duties w i l l spring from i t ' " (DP, 839). A knowledge of t r a d i t i o n s , on the other hand, i s concomitant with an awareness that each person i s simply 145 part of a greater whole. Gwendolen's needs are exactly these—a sense of purpose and a sense of place. Gwendolen Harleth's characterization, then, moves from excessive confidence and dogmatic egoism into a state of guilt-ridden confusion and f e a r f u l self-questioning: "Her confidence i n herself and her destiny had turned into remorse and dread; she trusted neither her-s e l f nor her future" (DP, 484). Gwendolen, who was once too quick to answer for her future and the power she assumed there, becomes passive i n the presence of Grandcourt's w i l l . Her lack of s e l f -f a i t h develops into suppressed anguish u n t i l suffering gains her a wider sympathy through an enlarged v i s i o n of others and a diminished vi s i o n of s e l f : This contrast was seen i n the year's experience which had turned the b r i l l i a n t , self-confident Gwendolen Harleth . . . into the crushed penitent impelled to confess her unworthiness where i t would have been her happiness to behheld worthy. (PD, 771) Dogmatic poise and enormous egoism are replaced by bewildered emotions and sense of worthlessness. The consequent passivity and anguish create the r e f l e c t i v e despair necessary to her learning process. Gwendolen breaks through her s h e l l of naive and disproportion-ate self-concern, i n which she assumes.the role of a "princess i n e x i l e " and, l i k e Dorothea Brooke, learns to enjoy her "own middling-ness" (DD, 491). As anticipated by Ladislaw's b e l i e f that happiness i s contagious, Gwendolen's achievement i s rendered i n accordance with Deronda's advice: '"Excellence encourages one about l i f e generally; i t shows the s p i r i t u a l wealth of the world"' (DP, 491). Peronda focuses on "thinking himself imaginatively into the 146 experience of others" and performing each task i n l i f e with a sense of i t s singular importance (DP, 570). The shock of Peronda's impending departure brings with i t the r e a l i z a t i o n that he i s not simply another part of Gwendolen's private tragedy. Peronda i s a consciousness separate from her own and one of which she i s a part only insofar as his generosity and her deservedness allow. I t i s not enough that Gwendolen change her concept of marriage and morality; she must also learn of the extended world apart from her own small drama. Gwendolen Harleth's concept of r e a l i t y widens when she begins to ask herself the question that George E l i o t has asked of the reader i n anticipation of Gwendolen's change: Could there be a slenderer, more i n s i g n i f i c a n t thread i n human history than this consciousness of a g i r l , busy with her small inferences of the^way i n which she could make her l i f e pleasant? (DP, 159) Gwendolen Harleth matures from her i n i t i a l state of w i l f u l egoism through the humbling experience which equips her with moral insight and to a new acceptance of herself i n the context of a vast universe. George E l i o t renders her heroine's flawed nature with t y p i c a l compassion: Surely a young creature i s p i t i a b l e who has the labyrinth • of l i f e before her and no c l u e — t o whom distrust i n her-s e l f and her good fortune has come as a sudden shock, l i k e a rent across the path she was treading carelessly. (DP, 317) In the f i n a l image of Gwendolen alone with her memory of g r i e f and her expanded consciousness, George E l i o t conveys a deep sense of r e a l i t y . The intensity of Gwendolen Harleth's psychological development 147 i s expressed through the i n t r i c a c i e s that form the network of her relationships and.the creation of her s o c i a l conscience. Each of George E l i o t ' s heroines benefits from the redemptive powers of suffering i n terms of a matured consciousness. The importance of th i s concept to the author i s shown bytthe fact that she also included i t i n one of her most famous poems, "Self and L i f e : " Half man's truth must hidden be If u n l i t by Sorrow's eye. I by sorrow wrought i n thee W i l l i n g pain of m i n i s t r y . ^ Thus, as L i f e suggests to S e l f , for those with the potential to learn by experience, suffering i s a route to greater self-knowledge. Gwendolen Harleth's psychological growth i s the most complex and captivating of George E l i o t ' s heroines. Her moral struggle captures a v i s i o n of the individual l i f e that has a basic truth i n i t s depth and i t s complexity. * * * * * * The study of theme c l a r i f i e s the treatment of characterization i n the novels discussed. George E l i o t suggests the dilemma of confined passions, the importance of seemingly i n s i g n i f i c a n t deeds . and the redemptive powers of suffering i n the f i c t i o n a l worlds of Maggie T u l l i v e r , Dorothea Brooke and Gwendolen Harleth. The emphasis on passion, wistfulness and caprice varies with each heroine, but the basic ingredients of theme and character remain constant. The major difference i n these novels i s the structure of the endings. In The Mill on the Floss, George E l i o t releases her heroine from the moral dilemma created by incompatibility between 148 character and environment through her death. Middlemaroh suggests an answer to this dilemma i n the opportunities provided by the good fortune of a happy and productive marriage. In Daniel Deronda, however, George E l i o t portrays a redeemed, but sorrowful heroine. Thus, the f i n a l pages of the book are not a conclusive end to Gwendolen Harleth's future l i f e . This open-ended novel terminates as Gwendolen begins a l i f e renewed by the influence of remorse and i t s a b i l i t y to affect personal insight and compassionate understanding. George E l i o t ' s f i n a l novel, therefore, concludes on a note of optimism i n terms of the theme that suffering benefits those able to learn by experience. The theme oMaredemption through suffering i s expressed by the subtle and i n t r i c a t e characterization of Gwendolen Harleth as her capricious nature i s tempered with the wisdom of sorrow. Unlike the plots of The Mill on the Floss and Middlemaroh, George E l i o t leaves the heroine of Daniel Deronda with the major portion of her l i f e before her. The depth and intensity of the psychological drama unfolded i n this f i n a l work refutes the necessity of a decisive ending. 149 FOOTNOTES George E l i o t , The Mill on the Floss (London: Pan Books Ltd,, 1973), p, 413. A l l further references to this novel w i l l be made in the text, 2 George E l i o t , Middlemaroh (Boston: The Riverside Press, 1956), p. 610, A l l further references to th i s novel w i l l be made i n the text, 3 Thomas Pinney, ed., Essays of George Eliot (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1963), p. 324, 4 J, W, Cross, George Eliot's Life (London: William Blackwood and Sons, n.d.), p. 103, 5 For a discussion of these matters see Kenneth graham, English Criticism of the Novel 1865-1900 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1965) and Richard Stang, The Theory of the Novel in England 1850-1870 (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1959), 6 George E l i o t , Daniel Deronda (England: Penguin Books, 1967), p. 673, A l l further references to this novel w i l l be made i n the text. 7 W. J. Harvey, The Art of George Eliot (London: Chatto and Windus, 1961), p. 125. 8 2 Samuel 1,23, The New English Bible (Great B r i t a i n : The Oxford University Press, 1970), p. 339. 9 George E l i o t , The Legend of Jubal and Other Poems, Old and New (Edinburgh and London: William Blackwood and Sons, n,d.), p. 207. 1 0 Ibid,, p. 201. 1 1 Cross, p. 330. 12 Richard Stang, The Theory of the Novel in England 1850-1870 (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1959), p. 105. 1 3 Haight, Gordon S,, George Eliot: A Biography (New York: Oxford University Press, 1968), p, 348, Walter A l l e n , "Introduction,"'' The Mill on the Floss, x v i i i . 150 George E l i o t , Adam Bede (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1948), p. 180. 1 6 George E l i o t , Silas Maimer, The Lifted Veil, Brother Jacob (Edinburgh and London: William .Blackwood and Sons, n,d t), p, 184. 1 7 Cross, p. 625, -*-8 U, C, Knoepflmacher, Laughter.and Despair: Readings in Ten.Novels of the Victorian Era (Los Angeles: University of C a l i f o r n i a Press, 1971), p. 6. 1 9 Cross, p. 422, 2 0 Pinney, p. 203. 2 1 Cross, p. 467, 2 2 Knoepflmacher, p, 169, 2 3 E l i o t , Silas Maimer, pp. 109-110, 2 4 Haight, p. 117. 2 5 E l i o t , Adam Bede, p. 143, 2 6 E l i o t , Silas Marner, p. 231. 2 7 Cross, p. 58. 2 8 William Wordsworth, "Michael," The Complete Poetical Works of William Wordsworth (New York: Thomas Y. Crowell and Co,, n,d.), p. 159. 2 9 George E l i o t , Impressions of Theophrastus Such (Edinburgh and London: William Blackwood and Sons, n.d.), p, 27, 3 0 Cross, p, 493, 3 1 Ibid,,?. 494. 3 2 E l i o t , The Legend of Jubal and Other Poems, Old and New, pp, 71-89. 3 3 Cross, p. 167. 3 4 E l i o t , Silas Maimer, p, 20. 3 5 Cross, p. 103. 3^ E l i o t , The Legend of JubaV and Other Poems, Old and New, p. 274. 151 BIBLIOGRAPHY Primary Sources E l i o t , George. Adam Bede, New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1948. -, , Daniel Deronda. England: Penguin Books, 1967, . , Felix Holtp The Radical. Edinburgh and London: William Blackwood and Sons, n.d, Cabinet Edition, -• , Impressions of Theophrastus Such. Edinburgh and London:; William Blackwood and Sons, n.d. Cabinet Edition, Jubal and Other Poems. Edinburgh and London: William Blackwood and Sons, n.d. Cabinet Edition, Middlemaroh, Boston: The Riverside Press, 1956, The Mill on the Floss, London: Pan Books Ltd., 1973. Romola, Edinburgh and London: William Blackwood and Sons, n.d. Cabinet Edition, , Scenes of Clerical Life, Edinburgh and London: • William Blackwood and Sons, n.d. Cabinet Edition. Silas Marnerf The Lifted Veil, Brother Jacob, Edinburgh arid London: William Blackwood aid Sons, n.d. Cabinet Edition. , The Spanish Gypsy, Edinburgh and London: William . Blackwood and Sons, n.d. Cabinet Edition, Secondary Sources A, Books Adam, Ian. Profiles in Literature: George Eliot, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1969. A l l e n , Walter. The English Novel, London: Phoenix House Ltd., 1954. Bennett, Joan. George Eliot: Her Mind and Her Art. Cambridge: At the University Press, 1966, 152 Browning, Oscar, Life of George Eliot. New York/London: Kennibat Press, 1890. Creeger, George R,, ed,tGeorge Eliot: Twentieth Century Views, Englewood C l i f f s , N, J . : Prentice H a l l , Inc., 1970. Cross, J. W. George Eliot's Life, London: William Blackwood and Sons, n.d. Cruden, Alexander. Concordance, London: The Epworth Press, 1948. Daiches, David. George Eliot: Middlemaroh.' London: Edward Arnold (Publishers) Ltd., 1963. Friedman, Alan. The Turn of the Novel. New"XYork<?xfOx£ordiv -TJni^ersity Press, 1966. Graham, Kenneth. English Criticism of the Novel 1865-1900, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1965, Haight, Gordon S., ed. A Century of. George Eliot Criticism. Boston: Houghton M i f f l i n Company, 1965, ,. George Eliot: A Biography, New York: Oxford University Press, 1968. , ed. The George Eliot Letters (Vols. I-VI), New Haven: Yale University Press,' 1954. Haldane, Elizabeth S. George Eliot and Her Times: A Victorian Study. New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1927. Halperin, John, ed. The Theory of the Novel, New York: Oxford University Press, 1974. Hardy, Barbara. The Novels of George Eliot, London: The Athlohe Press, 1959. Harvey, W. J. The Art of George Eliot, London: Chatto and Windus, 1961. Character and the Novel, London: Chatto and Windus, 1965. Jones, R. T. George Eliot, Cambridge: University Press, 1970, Ket t l e , Arnold, An Introduction to the English Novel, New York: Harper and Row, 1968. Knoepflmacher, U. C. George Eliot's Early Novels: The Limits of Realism, Los Angeles: University of C a l i f o r n i a Press, 1968, 153 Laughter and Despair: Readings in Ten Novels of the Victorian Era, Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1971. Lanier, Sidney, The English Novel: A Study in the Development of Personality, New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1900, Leavis, F. R. The .Great Tradition, New^YorkSs^NewrYbrk^University Press, 1948, Milner, Iah. The Structure of Values in George Eliot. Acta Universitatis Carolinae Philologica Monographia XXIII, 1968, The New English Bible. Great Britain: The Oxford.University Press, 1970. Pinney, Thomas, ed. Essays of George Eliot, London: . Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1963. Russell, Frances Theresa, • Satire in the Victorian Novel, New ..York: Russell and Russell, 1920. Sartre, Jean-Paul. Existentialism and Human Emotions, New>York: Philosophical Library, 1957. Speaight, Robert. George Eliot, London: Arthur Baker Limited, 1954. Stang, Richard, ed. Discussions of George Eliot, Boston: D, C. Heath and Company, 1960, The Theory of the Novel in England 1850-1870, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1959, Stevenson, Lionel, ed. Victorian Fiction, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1964, Thale, Jerome'. The Novels of George Eliot, New York: Columbia University Press, 1959, Van Ghent, Dorothy. The English Novel: Form and Function, New York: Harper and Row, Publishers, 1953. Weygandt, Cornelius.' A Century of the English Novel, New York: Books for Libraries Press, 1925. Wordsworth, William, The Complete Poetical Works of William Wordsworth, New York: Thomas Y, Crowell and Co,, n.d. 154 B, A r t i c l e s Damm, Robert H, "Sainthood and Dorothea Brooke," The Victorian Newsletter, 35 (1969), 18-22, Higdon, David Leon, " E l i o t ' s Daniel Deronda, Chapter 36," Explicator, 31 (1972-3), No. 15, Hurley, Edward T. "Death and Immortality: George E l i o t ' s Solution," Nineteenth Century Fiction, 24 (1969-70), 222-227. Kearney, John P, "Time and Beauty.in Daniel Deronda: 'Was she beautiful or not beautiful?'" Nineteenth Century Fiction, 26 (1971-2), 286-306. Knoepflmacher, U. C, "Of Time, Rivers, and Tragedy: George E l i o t and Matthew Arnold," The Victorian Newsletter, 33 (1968), 1-5. Levenson, Shirley Frank, "The Use of Music i n Daniel Deronda," Nineteenth Century Fiction, 24 (1969-70), 317-334, Mansell, David. "George E l i o t ' s Conception of 'Form'," Studies in English Literature, 5 (1965), 651-662, Mansell, Darrel, J r . "George E l i o t ' s Conception of Tragedy," Nineteenth Century Fiction, 22 (1967-8), 155-171, Mason, Michael York, "Middlemarch and History." Nineteenth Century Fiction, 25 (1970-71), 417-431. Robbins, Larry M. "Mill and Middlemarch: The Progress of Public Opinion," The Victorian Newsletter, 31 (1967), 37-39, Roberts, Lynne Tidaback, "Perfect Pyramids: The Mill on the Floss," Texas Studies in Literature and Language, 13 (1971-2), 111-124, Scott, James F, "George E l i o t , Positivism, and the Social Vision of "Middlemarch," Victorian Studies, 16 (1972-3), 59-76, Swann, Brian. "Eyes i n the Mirror: Symbolism i n Daniel Deronda," Nineteenth Century Fiction, 23 (1968-69), 434-445, "Middlemaroh: Realism and Symbolic Form," English Literary History, 39 (1972), 279-308, 

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