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Patterns of temptation in George Eliot's novels Raff, Walter S. 1969

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PATTERNS OF TEMPTATION IN GEORGE ELIOT'S NOVELS by W a l t e r S. R a f f B.S.A., B.A., U n i v e r s i t y B.L.S., U n i v e r s i t y  o f Manitoba, 1945, 1948 of T o r o n t o , 1952  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF Master in  of A r t s  the Department of ENGLISH  We a c c e p t t h i s  t h e s i s as conforming  required  t o the  standard  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH  COLUMBIA  In p r e s e n t i n g an  this  thesis  in partial  f u l f i l m e n t of the requirements f o r  advanced degree a t the U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h  the  Library  I further for  shall  make i t f r e e l y  agree that  permission  Columbia,  I agree  that  a v a i l a b l e f o r r e f e r e n c e and S t u d y . f o rextensive  copying of this  thesis  s c h o l a r l y p u r p o s e s may be g r a n t e d b y t h e Head o f my D e p a r t m e n t o r  by  h i s representatives.  of  this  written  thesis  It i s understood  forfinancial  gain  shall  that  copying or p u b l i c a t i o n  n o t be a l l o w e d w i t h o u t  permission.  ( W a l t e r Siegmund  Department o f  English  The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h V a n c o u v e r 8, Canada  Date  my  Columbia  Friday, September 5» 1969  Raff)  ABSTRACT  Shakespeare c l e a r l y found a congenial medium of expression i n kings and kingship; Pope t e l l s us that from early childhood he ". . . l i s p e d i n numbers, f o r the numbers came."  S i m i l a r l y , George E l i o t  evinces an i n s i s t e n t tendency to image her view of human l i f e i n a b a t t l e of temptation.  The p l a i n f a c t s of the n o v e l s — f r o m  Repentance to Daniel Deronda—confirm l e a s t I would think so.  Janet s 1  the t r u t h of t h i s a s s e r t i o n .  At  But the extant c r i t i c i s m of George ELiot does  not v a l i d a t e the supposition.  My t h e s i s originated i n bewilderment at  t h i s discrepancy between expectation and f a c t .  It seeks to deduce  George E l i o t ' s concept of temptation from her c r e a t i v e work, to e l u c i date i t s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c manifestations i n the defeats or v i c t o r i e s of i n d i v i d u a l temptees, to test i t s value i n a d e t a i l e d study of Maggie T u l l i v e r and of Middlemarch. Book 7, to d i s t i n g u i s h two concentric spheres of i t s cogency, showing how the more intense and more t e c h n i c a l inner sphere l i e s embedded i n a wider one r e f l e c t i n g George E l i o t ' s moral philosophy, b e l i e f s , and aims as a l i t e r a r y a r t i s t , and  finally  to intimate that the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c flavour of the novels stems i n l a r g e measure from the f e l i c i t o u s i n t e r a c t i o n between these two mutually complementary  spheres.  A l i t t l e r e f l e c t i o n , grounded on some acquaintance with l i f e  and  with l i t e r a t u r e , soon d i s c l o s e s temptation as a r e l a t i o n a l concept, composed of c e r t a i n i n t e r a c t i n g elements: a strong desire, an opportunity to  f u l f i l l the desire, and a standard of conduct that p r o h i b i t s  ment.  fulfill-  The well-known temptation i n the Garden of Eden, f o r example,  c l e a r l y unveils a l l three.  George E l i o t accepts t h i s t r a d i t i o n a l  pattern, associated p r i m a r i l y with B i b l i c a l and medieval ways of thought,  but s u b s t i t u t e s humanistic  for t h e o l o g i c a l consequences, and thus helps  to r e s u s c i t a t e i t s timeless t r u t h .  Desire, opportunity, and e t h i c a l  i d e a l burgeon i n t o counterbalancing  forces of h i t h e r t o unsuspected  mightiness,  c h i e f l y because the author sees good and e v i l as q u a l i t i e s  within us rather than without.  Her uncanny psychological penetration  i n t o the moral nature of man overwhelms readers with the shock of recognition. A f t e r l i s t i n g the p r i n c i p a l temptees i n each o f the novels, and pointing to t h e i r p i v o t a l r o l e i n a Manichean b a t t l e , I examine the conduct of f i v e i n d e t a i l .  Mr. Farebrother of Middlemarch  eminently  exemplifies the pattern of success, whereas Arthur Donnithorne, Bulstrode, and Gwendolen, despite vast i n d i v i d u a l d i f f e r e n c e s , unite i n i l l u s t r a t i n g the opposite pattern, which of course v a r i e s too.  Nevertheless, the  d i v i d i n g l i n e between the two contrasted camps remains c l e a r ; i n f a c t , the recognizable bonds between the protagonists on the two sides help to throw i t i n t o sharper focus. make the attainment  Human weakness and propensity to e v i l may  of v i c t o r y a hard struggle, or they may p r e c i p i t a t e  defeat; human strength and goodness account not only for v i c t o r y , but a l s o for the gnawing t o r t u r e of remorse a f t e r defeat.  Throughout, George  E l i o t unmistakably p r o f f e r s one pearl of precious advice: A vow to ones e l f alone never s u f f i c e s for v i c t o r y ; one must immediately and d e l i b e r a t e l y r e l i n q u i s h the means of breaking i t , u s u a l l y by taking others i n t o one's confidence. Following these r e l a t i v e l y straight-forward object lessons, I use the concept of temptation i n an a n a l y s i s of The M i l l on the F l o s s , with emphasis on i t s p r i n c i p a l temptee, Maggie T u l l i v e r ; and of Middlemarch. Book 7, whose t i t l e requires the reader to account f o r two temptations. In both instances I conclude that l a c k of my c r i t i c a l t o o l had h i t h e r t o prevented  a s a t i s f y i n g r e c o n c i l i a t i o n of a l l pertinent f a c t s .  - iii  -  Watching the reverberations of v i c t o r y or of defeat spreading i n ever-widening c i r c l e s from the inner to the outer sphere of temptation, we r e a l i z e , as do many temptees a f t e r l o s i n g t h e i r b a t t l e s , that  "No  man i s an i s l a n d , s u f f i c i e n t unto himself"; that "Our echoes r o l l from soul to soul,/And grow f o r ever and for ever."  - iiia -  TABLE OF CONTENTS  Chapter  It  THE CONCEPT OF TEMPTATTONi REFLECTIONS DERIVED IN THE MAIN FROM GEORGE ELIOT'S APPROACH  Chapter 2 i  THE TEMPTEE AND HIS STRUGGLEi  INTRODUCTORY  Chapter 3«  THE TEMPTEE AND HIS STRUGGLE« OF SUCCESS  THE PATTERN  Chapter 4»  THE TEMPTEE AND HIS STRUGGLEt  THE PATTERN  OF FAILURE  Chapter 5« Chapter 6 : Chapter 7 i  Section I t  A r t h u r Donnithorne  Section 2 i  Nicholas  S e c t i o n 3>  Gwendolen H a r l e t h  A PARADOXICAL TEMPTEE:  Bulstrode  MAGGIE TULLIVER  BOOK ? OF MIDDLEMARCHt WHOSE TEMPTATIONS? THE FUSION OF TWO CONCEPTSi AESTHETIC TEACHING AND TEMPTATION  A b b r e v i a t i o n s f o r the T i t l e s o f the N o v e l s  f o r J a n e t ' s Repentance f o r Adam Bede f o r The M i l l on the F l o s s f o r S i l a s Marner f o r Romola for F e l i x Holt f o r Middlemarch for Daniel  Deronda  A NOTE ON THE WORD "TEMPTEE" I am aware t h a t the key word of my  thesis—Temptee—  i s n o t s a n c t i o n e d i n any standard E n g l i s h o r American dictionary.  S i n c e the t h e s i s . c o u l d n o t have been w r i t t e n  without a word t o express t h i s concept, I have c o i n e d "temptee" on the analogy  of examiner and examinee.  "Tempted"  as a noun seems to be c o n f i n e d t o the s i n g l e phrase, "The tempter and the tempted."  I d i d not think that i t could  be used i n any o t h e r c o n t e x t .  And even, the b e s t of  c i r c u m l o c u t i o n s , when repeated s c o r e s of times, would have become i n s u f f e r a b l e .  On t h i s p o i n t , I hope, my r e a d e r s  will  adopt Dr. Johnson's judgment about one device^- i n P a r a d i s e L o s t; " T h i s b e i n g n e c e s s a r y was t h e r e f o r e d e f e n s i b l e . " ^  ^Investing s p i r i t s 2  vol.  or angels with form and matter.  L i v e s of the E n g l i s h Poets, ed. George B i r k b e c k  Hill,  1 (Oxford: Clarendon P r e s s , 1905), p. 184, p a r . 253.  ACKNOWLEDGMENTS  Among those to whom I am indebted f o r to undertake a n d  opportunity  work, the f o l l o w i n g may  be  to complete t h i s b i t of  s p e c i f i c a l l y named: Agnes  Sapper, whose c h i l d r e n ' s books f i r s t  e x c i t e d me  awareness of "what m i g h t i n e s s f o r e v i l and l i e s dormant i n l i t e r a t u r e ; P r o f e s s o r s and  the  with  f o r good"  Lloyd  Wheeler  George Brodersen, whose l e c t u r e s proved the  seed t h a t would grow f o r me I was  only  (however s t u n t e d l y )  while  e n r o l l e d i n A g r i c u l t u r e a t the U n i v e r s i t y  Manitoba d u r i n g "Culture,"  the War  years ( t h a t s m a t t e r i n g of  so o f t e n p e r f u n c t o r i l y and  derisively  i n c l u d e d w i t h p r o f e s s i o n a l c o u r s e s , has made a d i f f e r e n c e i n my twenty-five  of  l i f e ) ; Professor  Roy  great  Daniells, for  years of f a t h e r l y i n t e r e s t and  support,  i n a d d i t i o n to the r a r e experience of h i s l e c t u r e s ; Professor  Edward McCourt, U n i v e r s i t y of Saskatchewan,  Saskatoon, who  first  encouraged my  notion  t i o n i s a s u b j e c t worth t h i n k i n g and and  w r i t i n g about,  suggested a p o s s i b l e approach f o r i t s a p p l i c a t i o n  to George E l i o t ; P r o f e s s o r s who  t h a t Tempta-  E.B.  Gose and  read the o u t l i n e I submitted and  "promising"; P r o f e s s o r  first  recommended i t as  Ruby Nemser, once more, f o r  generous measure of time a n d d u r i n g my  Ruby Nemser,  a t t e n t i o n she  summer of w r i t i n g and  gave  me  composition;  the  - vii P r o f e s s o r W i l l i a m Robbins, Chairman of the Graduate Committee, whose sympathy l e d him t o f i g h t a d m i n i s t r a t i v e b a t t l e s on my b e h a l f ;  several  two a d m i n i s t r a t o r s  i n the L i b r a r y , U n i v e r s i t y of Saskatchewan, Regina Campusj Mr. Sidney H a r l a n d , C h i e f L i b r a r i a n , and M i s s Margaret M. Hammond, Head of P u b l i c S e r v i c e s , f o r unusually  generous allowances o f e d u c a t i o n a l  d e s p i t e much inconvenience f o r t h a t r a r e l y granted  t o themselves, and p a r t i c u l a r l y  third  chance, w i t h o u t which I  would have f a i l e d ; and my s u p e r v i s o r , Herbert and  Rosengarten, f o r two years  support,  leave,  Professor  o f guidance,  patience,  f a r i n excess of any f o r m a l o b l i g a t i o n .  -  PATTERNS OF  v l i i  -  TEMPTATION I N  GEORGE E L I O T ' S NOVELS  "We l i v e i n a w o r l d w h i c h i s f u l l o f m i s e r y a n d i g n o r a n c e , and t h e p l a i n d u t y o f e a c h a n d a l l o f u s i s t o t r y t o make t h e l i t t l e c o r n e r he c a n i n f l u e n c e somewhat l e s s m i s e r a b l e a n d somewhat l e s s i g n o r a n t t h a n i t was b e f o r e he e n t e r e d i t . To do t h i s e f f e c t u a l l y i t i s n e c e s s a r y t o be f u l l y p o s s e s s e d o f o n l y two b e l i e f s : t h e f i r s t , t h a t t h e o r d e r o f N a t u r e i s a s c e r t a i n a b l e by o u r f a c u l t i e s t o a n e x t e n t w h i c h i s p r a c t i c a l l y u n l i m i t e d ; the second, t h a t our v o l i t i o n counts f o r something as a c o n d i t i o n of the c o u r s e of e v e n t s . " .(T.H. H u x l e y , "On t h e P h y s i c a l B a s i s C y r i l B i b b y , e d . , The E s s e n c e o f T.H. H u x l e y M a c m i l l a n , 1 9 6 ? ] , p . .58)  of"Life," in . . . [Londom  ". . . l e t o u r m i n d s r e s t u p o n t h a t g r e a t a n d i n e x h a u s t i b l e word l i f e , u n t i l we l e a r n t o e n t e r i n t o i t s m e a n i n g . A p o e t r y of r e v o l t a g a i n s t m o r a l i d e a s i s a p o e t r y of r e v o l t a g a i n s t l i f e ; a p o e t r y of i n d i f f e r e n c e towards m o r a l i d e a s i s a p o e t r y of i n d i f f e r e n c e towards l i f e . "  second  (Matthew A r n o l d , " W o r d s w o r t h , " I n ' E s s a y s i n series. [ L o n d o n : M a c m i l l a n , 1 9 0 5 ] , P. ±kk)  Criticism,  ". . . my m o s t r o o t e d c o n v i c t i o n i s , t h a t t h e i m m e d i a t e o b j e c t and the p r o p e r s p h e r e o f a l l our h i g h e s t e m o t i o n s our s t r u g g l i n g fellow-men and t h i s e a r t h l y e x i s t e n c e . "  1859;  (George E l i o t to F r a n c o i s D'Albert-Durade, L e t t e r s , I I I , 231)  are  December  6,  Chapter  1  THE CONCEPT OP TEMPTATION: REFLECTIONS DERIVED IN THE MAIN FROM GEORGE ELIOT'S APPROACH  "A man vows, and yet w i l l not cast away the means o f breaking h i s vow." (M, ch. 70)  Temptation may be defined as a desire that can r e a d i l y be f u l f i l l e d , but ought not to be.  The p o s s i b i l i t y o f f u l f i l l m e n t implies  the presence o f an opportunity; the judgment that i t ought to be l e f t u n f u l f i l l e d implies a standard  of conduct or moral  The desire and the opposing conscience  conscience.  r e s i d e within the same person;  the opportunity to f u l f i l l the desire l i e s outside him.  I f a l l three  e n t i t i e s are p r e s e n t — d e s i r e , matching opportunity, and opposing conscience—the  desire may be c a l l e d a temptation,  f e e l i n g the desire may be c a l l e d a temptee.  and the person  This formulation accords  with the f a c t s of George E l i o t ' s novels, and i s therefore s u f f i c i e n t for our present purpose.  Some modification of the t r a d i t i o n a l b i b l i c a l  tempter may a l s o be present.  I f so, he w i l l be inherent i n both desire  and opportunity, and therefore part of the force that propels them toward each other, i n defiance of the temptee's conscience s t r u g g l i n g  to keep them apart.*  He cannot r e a l i s t i c a l l y be regarded as a separate  entity. The devil tempts us not—'tis we tempt him, Beckoning his s k i l l with opportunity. (FH, ch. 47, motto) It would scarcely be fanciful to read this motto as an expression of the trend from theology to psychology that in its influence on George E l i o t may be associated primarily with the names of Comte and (especially) Feuerbach.2 The temptee is fighting a battle in which the potential odds, roughly speaking, are three to one against him.  Half of himself—evil  desire--is driven toward an opportunity that in its enticing effect upon the desire is completely undivided.  His other half—opposing  conscience — is grappling with both an inner and an outer enemy.  Totally  compatible, these enemies gravitate toward each other relentlessly, gather strength and speed as they move, and fuse the moment they touch. Time and poetntial are unreservedly on their side.  If the temptee  •••Maggie does on one occasion c a l l Philip a tempter (MF, bk. 5, ch. 3), but she is simply expressing the momentary bafflement of a s t i l l very immature adolescent. He might with at least equal j u s t i f i cation be regarded as her mentor. The sections on Bulstrode and Gwen-r dolen' include discussion of the innocent tempter as a means of self-deception: well-meant advice that he knows to be based on ignorance of the v i t i a t i n g fact helps to salve the temptee's conscience. ^George E l i o t ' s The Essence of Christianity (1854), a translation of Ludwig Feuerbach's Das Wesen des Christenthums (1841), is s t i l l in print (New York: Harper & Row, 1957). Bernard J . Paris says that the influence of this book on "George E l i o t ' s understanding of religious experience cannot be over-estimated: (Experiments in Life . . . ^Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1965J , p. 92).  (motivated and to that extent represented by his opposing moral conscience) is blind to the dangers of this combination, desire and opportunity can always be inflamed and mutually adjusted to the point where he w i l l either yield in spite of his mental processes, or yield in a kind of trance, without effective awareness of what he is doing, or manipulate his mental processes t i l l they seem to justify yielding:  that i s , t i l l his conscience sides with the enemy.  be fighting a losing battle, however valiantly. withstanding unlimited t r i a l .  He w i l l  No man Is capable of  Morally vigilant and imbued with an  alert sense of his own weakness, the successful temptee (discussed in the previous chapter) recognizes the potential strength of his adversary and w i l l not give i t time to unfold.  As soon as he grows aware of an  opportunity that matches and beckons a latent e v i l desire within him, he w i l l not merely resolve on resistance:  unlike his opposite, the  unsuccessful temptee, he w i l l immediately endeavour to secure himself by casting away the means of breaking his resolution.  The result  (apart from his victory) is that a l l three forces in the aggregate of temptation are stifled:  neither desire, nor opportunity, nor even the  opposing conscience in a l l its twists and turns can be fully developed. So far as these forces are concerned, the successful temptee restricts George Eliot to the use of her left hand.3 whatever his moral shortcomings, the unsuccessful temptee is not guilty of fettering George Eliot in this way.  Placed at the center of  ^Applied to the temptee, the words "successful" and "unsuccessful" indicate the outcome of his battle, not his merit or defect as a literary creation.  the moral struggle in her novels (as shown in the f i r s t chapter), he gives occasion for, and Indeed invites, the fullest development of opportunity, and opposing conscience.  Her concept and definition of  him is that he can be defeated, but only with difficulty and by a narrow margin.  Defeated too easily, he becomes a mere v i l l a i n ;  unconquerable, he ceases to be a temptee or becomes the kind who succeeds and thereby restricts his creator.  His value to George Eliot the novelist  bent on giving "a faithful account of men and things as they have mirrored themselves in [her] mind" (AB, ch. 17), depends on his delicate and almost even balance of good and e v i l , virtue and vice, strength and weakness.  She sees him as a reflection in miniature of  a similar balance i n the larger world of the novel as a whole, which In its turn aims to reflect her Manichean view of human l i f e and even of the cosmos,^  The e v i l , the vice, the weakness within the temptee are  matched by corresponding qualities In the world outside him, and so are his goodness, his virtue, and his strength.  Evil desire discovers its  opportunity of fulfilment, and e v i l opportunity (often associated with another person) assumes a l i f e of its own and arouses and beckons its double within the temptee. ,Conversely, his moral conscience struggling against the inner enemy can receive guidance and support from the world outside, i f he takes pains to seek the support and gives i t a chance to influence him effectively.  The stereotyped phrase that we find  what we look for is revitalized in George Eliot's fictional world.  ^W.J. Harvey's concept of a "fictional microcosm" embedded in "the macrocosm of . . . the real world" is useful and has Influenced me (The Art of George Eliot [London; Chatto & Windus, 196l3, p. 71.  If human l i f e , in her view, is f i r s t and foremost a moral battle, the battle begins in the psyche of each individual, and reaches its clearest miniature expression in that of her great unsuccessful temptees. Embroiled i n a larger medium as wondrously and as delicately mixed as their own souls, these temptees become the focus and the nexus of a deeply significant conflict of attractions and repulsions that may appropriately be called "temptation," temptation being a relational concept.  David Cecil errs in treating i t as a separate entity or  personified abstraction.^  It is much more r e a l i s t i c a l l y and usefully  envisaged as an aggregate of counterbalancing forces that (rather a r t i f i c i a l l y and for convenience only) may be isolated and labelled "desire," "opportunity, ' and "opposing conscience."  A few introductory  generalizations about each of these w i l l help to minimize repetition, and serve as a basis for analysis, in the discussion of individual case histories. E v i l desire may manifest i t s e l f in attraction £o something that <vj morally forbidden or in repulsion from something that is morally required. The two kinds are generally combined (since each Implies its opposite), but with the emphasis clearly on either the one or the other.  For  the sake of easy reference, and without assuming any judgment of values, we w i l l distinguish them as positive and negative, respectively.  Early Victorian Novelists (London: Constable, 1934), p. 310. Rhetorical phrases like "the forces of temptation deploy themselves for the attack" or "temptation . . . retreats . . . comes back disguised . . . w i l l sham death only to arise suddenly" suggest that Cecil has not really asked himself what the concept of temptation means. Yet he deserves credit for explicitly recognizing George E l i o t ' s preoccupation with this subject. Within my knowledge, none of her other c r i t i c s does. 5  Negative evil desire may be rooted in transgressions that antedate the opening of the novel.  Godfrey Cass and Bulstrode (especially the  latter) are examples that immediately come to mind.  The basic require-  ments for the presentation of both kinds of desire i n a work of literature are, f i r s t , an adequately realized object of attraction or repulsion, attainable or avoidable only by unethical conduct; secondly, a temptee so effectively drawn as to e l i c i t the reader's sympathetic participation in his predicament, which consists i n enormous attraction to (or repulsion from) that object, combined with an almost equally strong abhorrence of violating the moral law; and thirdly, a common background of general beliefs and basic assumptions, accepted both by the temptee and by the society in which he lives.  The limited  and isolated worlds (some fifty years back from the author's own time) of Hayslope and Raveloe provide a unifying ethical framework for the moral conflict in Adam Bede and Silas Marner, respectively.  George Eliot  does not, however, depend on such a framework, as she is concerned with common human failings that most societies in most ages would deprecate.  Successful consummation of these three requirements suffices  for the convincing portrayal of e v i l desire.  Fulfilment (which in the  °Cf. "'Tis grievous, that with a l l amplification of travel both by sea and land, a man can never separate himself from his past history" (FH, ch. 21, motto). Or again, '"If the past is not to bind us, where can duty lie? We should have no law but the inclination of the moment" (MF, bk, 6, ch. 14). Thomas Pinney's a r t i c l e , "The Authority of the Past in George E l i o t ' s Novels" in Nineteenth-Century Fiction, XXI (September 1966), 131-47 is pertinent. R. L. Collins "The Present Past: the Origin and Exposition of Theme in the Prose Fiction of George Eliot" (unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, Stanford University, 1961) should also be mentioned. 1  1  -  7. -  case of negative desire may mean avoidance) necessitates the addition of an opportunity; and George E l i o t usually contrives to have desire and opportunity reach their respective peaks of i n t e n s i t y and simultaneously.  enticement  The device seems natural when one i s preparing the  strongest possible assault upon the temptee's r e s i s t i n g conscience. *  The object of a t t r a c t i o n or repulsion i s of course the most  important part of opportunity. inseparable.  To this extent desire and opportunity are  Insofar as i t can be i s o l a t e d , opportunity may here be  defined as the author's manipulation of circumstance with a view to generating an active e v i l desire from t a c i t f a l s i t y , ^ or with a view to f a c i l i t a t i n g and i n v i t i n g the fulfilment of a previously aroused e v i l desire.  George E l i o t c l e a r l y attaches great importance to this  endeavour and allows h e r s e l f considerable l a t i t u d e i n manoeuvering—more Q  l a t i t u d e i n fact than some twentieth-century c r i t i c s condone.  Like a  general preparing h i s blow, she knows that i t s e f f e c t w i l l not depend e x c l u s i v e l y on i t s own inherent strength, but also on the point and moment of delivery.  It must be c a r e f u l l y aimed at the victim's weakest  spot, and s t r i k e when that spot i s even more vulnerable than usual. In the end, opportunity almost seems to assume a l i f e of i t s own,  a  l i f e somehow engendered for the express purpose of matching and boosting C-f. "Tito had never had occasion to fabricate an ingenious l i e before: the occasion was come now--the occasion which circumstance never f a i l s to beget on t a c i t f a l s i t y " (R, ch. 1.1). ^For example, r e f e r r i n g to Raffles' appearance i n Middlemarch, C.B. Cox asks, "What evidence i s there that a long-forgotten crime such as Bulstrode's i s i n e v i t a b l y punished?" (The Free S p i r i t : A Study of L i b e r a l Humanism . . . London: Oxford University Press, 1963 P. 24).  ,  the temptee*s desire.  (This phenomenon is quite plausible, since  opportunity is usually associated with one or more human beings, just as desire is necessarily embodied in the temptee.^)  The temptee of  course does not grasp what is happening, because his apprehension of reality has become clouded.  He tends to think of opportunity as passive,  deludes himself that his own steadily mounting desire remains at a safe distance, and (each single step being small) may not even realize effectively that i t is_ mounting.  Suddenly opportunity leaps to meet  his advancing and growing desire, or i t accentuates the magnetic pull by which i t draws desire toward i t s e l f . ^  Being made for each other,  they merge upon contact and the irrevocable wrong is committed.^  The tempter or embodiment of the opportunity may himself be a minor temptee, as Stephen Guest i s . Maggie puts his case rather too favourably when she tells Lucy: . . . he struggled too. He wanted to be true to you'" (MF, bk. 7, ch. 4). But to the extent that he i s a minor temptee, Maggie would be his "opportunity." "Desire" and "opportunity" are reversible concepts; their application in any specific pattern of temptation depends on the point of view. Throughout this thesis (with some obvious exceptions), ours is that of the principal temptee. 1 1 1  •^Cf. Molly Fatten— Godfrey Cass's f i r s t wife—and her experience with narcotism. "She needed comfort, and she knew but one comforter— the familiar demon opium in her bosom; but she hesitated a moment . . . In that moment the mother's love pleaded for painful consciousness rather than oblivion . . . In another moment Molly had flung something away, but i t was not the black remnant[_of opiumj—It was an empty phial" (SM, ch. 12). C f . ". . . everything done is done irrevocably . . . even the omnipotence of God cannot uncommit a deed, cannot make that undone which has been done . . . every act must bear its allotted fruit according to the everlasting laws: (Leader, 11^20 Sept. 185ll, 898). The extract i taken from George E l i o t ' s review of William Rathbone Greg's The Creed of Christendom and is cited in Paris, Experiments in Life . . . p. 154. n  The remaining force in the aggregate of temptation is the temptee's conscience exerting i t s e l f to restrain his own e v i l desire and prevent its fusion with beckoning opportunity.  Up to a point,  desire and conscience can be distinguished from each other, but neither can be separated from him, for their interaction constitutes his psyche as a temptee.  Revealed to the reader in graphic presentation  and searching analysis, i t becomes a source of some of George E l i o t ' s greatest achievements.  Her basic premise is that, within the mental  boundaries that gave birth to e v i l desire., the temptee's conflict is insoluble and, provided the opportunity of fulfilment persists, must lead to disaster.  I n i t i a l l y , he can choose between total and partial  resistance, but the result w i l l be the same in either case:  a fanning  of his e v i l desire until i t assumes the proportions of monomania and ends in total yielding.  Hugged close as a guilty secret, the e v i l  desire in its turn severs his normal contact with other people, and thus tightens the state of isolation in which i t thrives.  The temptee  is endowed with at least an average degree of w i l l power, conscience, good intentions; but there is a limit to the efficacy of these alone: unaided by understanding and insight, they cannot save him.  His tortuous  mental processes and distraught, inconsequent actions w i l l not be understood u n t i l , like George E l i o t , we recognize alienation, failure in the apprehension of reality, psychological illness generally.  The  birth of e v i l desire Is one item of evidence, and the temptee's manifest inability to break from his mental prison is another.  Caught in a  vicious cycle, he is frantically searching for a path of rescue, a guiding light, where none exists.  The light is indeed there, close at  hand, but he cannot see i t because i t shines outside the walls. Generally unaware of these walls, and certainly incapable of breaking through them by his own momentum, he needs a confidant, a mentor, a therapist:  someone who w i l l shake his mental kaleidoscope and orient  him to a sounder attitude, a less self-absorbed outlook.  Bolstering  the temptee's w i l l power and thus forestalling a rash act that would entail irremediable consequences is certainly an invaluable temporary service.  But the only permanent sollution consists in the attainment  or recovery of a wider vision, a truer perspective: health.  in short, of mental  George E l i o t ' s recognition of the Intimate connection between  anti-social behaviour and mental disease places her far ahead of her time and helps to explain why the temptee's struggle lends i t s e l f  so  readily to the enlargement that is discussed in chapters 4 and 5 of this thesis.  It also accounts, i n part, for the great revival of interest  in her since the end of the War. It may be helpful to remind ourselves at this point that even Adam Bede, usually a p i l l a r of righteousness,  finds himself in a  situation where his judgment becomes so clouded that, left to his own guidance, he might err more drastically than the man whose wrongdoing appears to him unforgivable.  He is fortunate in having Bartle Massey  and Mr. Irwine with him during those harrowing days at Stoniton, in a  l ^ w . j , Harvey perceives two poles of published work on George E l i o t , the second of which "essentially represents a post-1945 ph n° q '"" (V*- ^ Fiction: a Guide to Research, ed. Lionel Stevenson (^Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1966^, p. (^294j). Bernard J . Paris recognizes that "the rescue of man by man is a recurrent motif" In George E l i o t ' s novels (Experiments in Life ^Detroit, 1965 P. 224). ft  T  flV  t>  ctor  an  bleak room near Hetty's prison.  D i l a t i n g upon Adam's understandable  but dangerous craving f o r vengeance on Arthur, the Rector t r i e s to steer h i s thoughts toward a more constructive approach and a more r e a l i s t i c apprehension of the f a c t s :  " I f you were to obey your passion--for i t i_s passion, and you deceive y o u r s e l f i n c a l l i n g i t j u s t i c e - - i t might be with you p r e c i s e l y as i t has been with Arthur; nay, worse; your passion might lead you y o u r s e l f into a h o r r i b l e crime." (AB, ch. 41)  We r e c a l l Mr. Farebrother's oft-quoted remark: i n m a r b l e — i t i s not something  "'Character i s not cut  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 Dorothea  replies:  "'Then i t may  do. " 1  be rescued and healed'" (M, ch. 72).  With some of her temptees, notably Gwendolen and T i t o , as we s h a l l see, George E l i o t s p e c i f i c a l l y indicates the state of mind that would c o n s t i t u t e l i b e r a t i o n and mental health; with others, she confines h e r s e l f to c l e a r i m p l i c a t i o n , leaving the reader to draw h i s own inferences; or she may  specific  give him a h i n t , as i n the following l i n e s from  Daniel's "Musophilus," quoted as part of the epigraph for chapter 68 of Middlemarch:  ". . . the d i r e c t e s t course s t i l l best succeeds. For should not grave and learn'd Experience That looks with the eyes of a l l the world beside, And with a l l ages holds i n t e l l i g e n c e , Go safer than Deceit without a guide!"  Through a l l this d i v e r s i t y , one u n i f y i n g thread of guidance c o n s i s t e n t l y and unmistakable:  emphasis on the paramount  of sympathy with the i n d i v i d u a l human beings who  runs importance  cross our path.  A  s i n g l e i l l u s t r a t i o n may s u f f i c e : Dino, a r e l i g i o u s  f a n a t i c , warns h i s s i s t e r a g a i n s t h e r impending  m a r r i a g e , but h i s words f a i l based on a v i s i o n  On h i s deathbed, Romola's b r o t h e r  t o i n f l u e n c e h e r because  they a r e  t h a t "comes from the shadowy r e g i o n where human s o u l s  seek wisdom a p a r t from the human sympathies which a r e the v e r y and substance o f our wisdom" (R, c h . 15, l a s t his  prophecy proves w e l l - f o u n d e d ; but though  her  husbandJ had been d e l u s i v e ,  paragraph).  life  By chance,  "her t r u s t : [ i n T i t o , now  . . . ^RomolaJ would have chosen over  a g a i n t o have a c t e d on i t r a t h e r than be a c r e a t u r e l e d by phantoms and d i s j o i n t e d w h i s p e r s i n a w o r l d where t h e r e was the l a r g e music o f r e a s o n a b l e speech, and the warm g r a s p o f l i v i n g hands" While  the r e a d e r ' s mental g l a n c e remains  (R, c h .  steadily directed  36),  toward  this  c a r d i n a l d o c t r i n e o f human sympathy w i t h I n d i v i d u a l s , he i s n o t l i k e l y to  fall  i n t o g r o s s m i s a p p r e h e n s i o n o f George E l i o t ' s  A temptee's  purpose.^  redemption can be a c h i e v e d on one o f two l e v e l s .  (The concept o f h i g h e r and lower i s c e n t r a l i n George E l i o t ' s we a r e on s a f e ground i n t a l k i n g o f l e v e l s . )  thinking:  On the lower l e v e l ,  evil  i  R a t h e r h y p e r b o l i c a l l y , Laurence L e r n e r c a l l s the l a s t - q u o t e d statement " t h e c e n t r a l sentence o f George E l i o t ' s n o v e l s " (The T r u t h t e l l e r s . . . Q.ondon: Chatto & Windus, 196]], p. t j - 0 3 ) and quotes i t as one o f the two mottoes f o r h i s book. He I s q u i t e r i g h t , however, i n s t r e s s i n g i t s Importance. i J  l ^ F o r example, about C h a r l e s Bray's book, The P h i l o s o p h y o f N e c e s s i t y , she remarks: " I d i s l i k e e x t r e m e l y a passage . . . i n which you appear t o c o n s i d e r the d i s r e g a r d o f i n d i v i d u a l s as a l o f t y c o n d i t i o n of mind. My own e x p e r i e n c e and development deepen e v e r y day my c o n v i c t i o n t h a t our moral p r o g r e s s may be measured by the degree i n which we sympathize w i t h i n d i v i d u a l s u f f e r i n g and i n d i v i d u a l j o y " ( L e t t e r s , I I , 403),  - 13. desire i s not i n i t s e l f transcended; but i t i s e f f e c t i v e l y counteracted or  even neutralized by a trenchant awareness of probably consequences,  including an imaginative i d e n t i f i c a t i o n with other people's  suffering.  Assuming the role of Gwendolen's mentor, Daniel Deronda never wearies (though at times he wearies the reader) In h i s e f f o r t s to guide her toward at least t h i s l i m i t e d kind of rescue.  They are diffused  through  a large part of the novel, but appear i n t h e i r most concentrated form i n chapter 36, from which a representative sample may  be quoted:  the present s u f f e r i n g as a painful l e t t i n g i n of l i g h t . . . more of the way  hearing.  you know  i n which your l i f e presses on others, and their  on yours. . . . Take your fear as a safeguard.  '"Take  life  It i s l i k e quickness of  It may make consequences passionately present to you.'"  S i m i l a r l y , Parson Irwine does h i s best, a l b e i t unsuccessfully, to impress Arthur with the fact that '"consequences are u n p i t y i n g ' " (AB, ch. 16).  But i t i s Maggie, acting here as her own mentor, who  gives the most poignant expression to the difference between mental disease and mental health i n the face of an e v i l desire that has not, as such, been exorcised:  "If I had been better, nobler pother p e o p l e s ^ claims would have been so strongly present with me—I should have f e l t them pressing on my heart so continually, j u s t as they do now i n the moments when my conscience i s awake— that the opposite f e e l i n g would never have grown i n me, as i t has done: It would have been quenched at once--I should have prayed f o r help so e a r n e s t l y — I should have rushed away as we rush from hideous danger." (MF, bk. 6, ch. 14) 1  Rescue on the lower l e v e l can go no farther; Maggie i s here aware of i t s utmost reach, where i t touches upon and merges into the higher  (  - 14 . level, characterized by a state of consciousness that deflates or even extirpates the original desire. a simple illustration.  Janet's experience may be cited as  Thanks to Mr. Tryan's efforts and her own, she  successfully withstands her long-ingrained habit of resorting to alcohol for comfort, t i l l in the end i t ceases to allure her.  "How  feeble and miserable the temptation jj>randyj seemed to her at this moment!" (JR, ch. 25)  Or again, "Janet felt a deep stillness within.  She thirsted for no pleasure; she craved no worldly good" (JR, ch. 28). Such total victory may also be won by more sophisticated people grappling with more complex issues.  Confronted with the choice between  Harold Transome, motiveless ease, and luxury on the one hand, and Felix Holt, dedication, and poverty on the other, Esther Lyon, though quite aware that "oh each side there was renunciation" (FH, ch. 49), cannot but act as she does and "has never repented" (FH, Epilogue). George Eliot states the reason in brief compass: Nay, falter not--'tis an assured good To seek the n o b l e s t - T t i s your only good Now you have seen i t ; for that higher vision Poisons a l l meaner choice for evermore. (FH, ch. 49, motto) 1  Resisting temptation is no longer the issue:  temptation has ceased  to tempt because the temptee has risen to a mental level beyond its reach.  So far as he is concerned, the object of former attraction and  the opportunity of fulfilment are at this stage innocuous; e v i l desire has withered by being deprived of the medium in which i t emerged and  luxuriated:  his baser self, now successfully surmounted.  A battle-  ground between two contrasted moral principles in the human psyche and in the cosmos (as we have pointed out in the f i r s t chapter), the temptee is endowed with greater ethical potential than those who are less severely tried: above i t .  he may sink below their average, but he may also soar  Kind-hearted, innocent Lucy is not far wrong in her last  words to the friend who has caused her so much grief:  '"Maggie, she 1  said, In a low voice, that had the solemnity of confession in i t , 'you are better than I am,  I can't . . .  1  She broke off there . . . "  (MF, bk. 7, ch. 4). Like other striking characters in literature, the temptee is often remembered in his own right, as i f he were an actual acquaintance, quite apart from his function in the composition.  He quickens our  understanding and our compassion, for we recognize his human f r a i l t y , his tragic flaw, and identify ourselves with him as an erring mortal who (in a slight adjustment of Stevenson's familiar words) means well,  tries  a l i t t l e , and fails much.**' "To know a l l is to forgive a l l . " And that is precisely the effect George Eliot is aiming to produce. to Charles Bray, dated July 5, 1859, she says: men's sympathies, i t does nothing morally."17  In a letter  "If art does not enlarge Her psychological acumen,  - The temptee's higher state w i l l probably entail its own set of new (and perhaps more elevated) temptations; or he may revert to a lower level, where the older ones resume their sway. i  )  l^From "A Christmas Sermon," published in Scribher's Magazine for December 1888, and included In Across the Plains: with other Memories and Essays (14th ed. ; London: Chatto & Windus 1910). 17  L e t t e r s , III, 110.  - 16. " comprising  even discernment of the unconscious,^ lends much support  to  the claim frequently made that she i s the e a r l i e s t of the "modern" novelists.^ temptation  For example, the account of Bulstrode's b a t t l e with h i s  includes the following sagacious  and penetrating a n a l y s i s :  He JBulstrodeJ did not measure the quantity of deseased motive which had made him wish for Lydgate's goodwill, but the quantity was nonetheless a c t i v e l y there, l i k e an i r r i t a t i n g agent i n his blood. A man vows, and yet w i l l not cast away the means of breaking h i s vow. Is i t that he d i s t i n c t l y means to break i t ? Not at a l l ; but the desires which tend to break i t are at work i n him dimly, and make t h e i r way into h i s imagination^ and relax h i s muscles i n the very moments when he i s t e l l i n g himself over again the reasons for his vow. Raffles, recovering quickly, returning to the free use of h i s odious powers— how could Bulstrode wish for that? Raffles dead was the image that brought release. (M, ch. 70)  This passage i s quoted and praised by J.W.  Beach i n a book devoted 20  almost e n t i r e l y to n o v e l i s t s l a t e r than George E l i o t .  As he observes,  i t makes one marvel that she could have been contemporary with Trollope. I have selected one of i t s sentences as the motto for this because i t pinpoints the root of f a i l u r e i n the unsuccessful  chapter, temptee,  and the e s s e n t i a l difference between him and h i s successful counterpart. "A man vows, and yet w i l l not cast away the means of breaking h i s  vow."  ^Laurence Lerner asks r h e t o r i c a l l y , "What had George E l i o t to learn from psycho-analysis?" And he answers, "As a n o v e l i s t , surely l i t t l e or nothing" (The T r u t h t e l l e r s . . ., p. 56). E . g . Walter E. A l l e n , The English Novel: a Short C r i t i c a l History (London: Phoenix House, 1954), p. 208. C e c i l , Early V i c t o r i a n Novelists, p. 283. Edward C. Wagenknecht, Cavalcade, of the English Novel (New York: Holt, 1954), p. 319. 19  ^ T h e Twentieth-Century Novel: The Century Co., 1932), p. 32.  Studies i n Technique (New  York:  -  17.  The case h i s t o r i e s of the great unsuccessful temptees substantiate this dictum and attest i t s wisdom.  Chapter THE TEMPTEE AND  2  HIS STRUGGLE:  INTRODUCTORY  'faow Is there c i v i l war within the s o u l . " (M, ch. 67, f i r s t l i n e of epigraph)* "Let  thy chief terror be of thine own s o u l . " (DP, f i r s t l i n e of epigraph for the whole novel)  Most of George E l i o t ' s major characters are confronted with some kind of temptation, but there is no d i f f i c u l t y i n naming the p r i n c i p a l temptee i n each novel.  Arranged i n chronological order,  they are: 2 Janet Dempster in Janet^s Repentance Arthur Donnithorne in Adam Bede Maggie T u l l l v e r in The M i l l of the Floss  Epigraphs not otherwise i d e n t i f i e d were composed by George E l i o t ; some of these derive from her own previously published verse, notably The Spanish Gypsy. 2 Throughout this thesis, "Janet's Repentance," the third of the Scenes of C l e r i c a l L i f e , w i l l be treated as a separate novel. Its inclusion i s Imperative, because i t represents the e a r l i e s t and simplest example of the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c pattern.. If a further j u s t i f i c a t i o n were needed, i t might be found in the technical argument that "Janet's Repentance" is e a s i l y novel-length by modern standards, being about as long as S i l a s Marner.  "19, " o  Godfrey Cass in Silas Marner  J  Tito Melema in Romola Esther Lyon in Felix Holt Nicholas Bulstrode in Middlemarch Gwendolen Harleth in Daniel Deronda This choice cannot be defended in brief space.  Readers are asked to  accept i t provisionally, suspending final agreement or disagreement until they have reached the end of the thesis. What sort of people are these temptees?  Each of course is a  sharply defined and highly individualized person; and indeed a number of them--notably Arthur, Maggie, Bulstrode, and Gwendolen--rank among George E l i o t ' s best-drawn characters.  Protagonists such as Adam,  Romola, Felix, and (worst of a l l ) Daniel are idealized and generally inferior as creations to the principal temptees in the corresponding novels.  George E l i o t ' s success in presenting the latter is not  surprising.  The struggle in the breast of the temptee epitomizes her  view of l i f e as a moral battlefield, and thus relates easily and naturally to the rest of the novel.  It gives ample scope to her talent  for psychological analysis, for presenting moral issues in their f u l l complexity, and for sympathizing with individual striving, f a i l i n g , and suffering.  If her fiction as a whole is the a r t i s t i c embodiment  of a view of l i f e , the principal temptee within each novel is the  ^Godfrey Cass belongs with the group of failures treated in chapter 3. However, as a temptee he gives us l i t t l e that is not exemplified in greater depth by Arthur Donnithorne. In order to conserve space for essentials, he is not discussed separately in chapter 3. Passing references to him will be found elsewhere in the thesis.  - 20.focus of that view in a specific setting.  His credibility and  solidity as a character is the best possible refutation of those who disparage the view of l i f e from which he springs as dated, fanciful, or unrealistic. George Eliot envisages the temptee as living in a moral borderland.  Here is a revealing comment on one of the most convincing—  Arthur Donnithorne: One thing is clear: Nature has taken care that he shall never go far astray with perfect comfort and satisfaction to himself; he w i l l never get beyond that borderland of sin, where he w i l l be perpetually harassed by assaults from the other side of the boundary. He w i l l never be a courtier of Vice, and wear her orders in his buttonhole. (AB, ch. 12) Similarly, Janet, Esther, and Gwendolen straddle the two sides of the moral boundary portrayed, respectively, by the Tryanites and the anti-Tryanites, the world of Felix Holt and the world of the Transomes, the world of Daniel Deronda and the world of Grandcourt. Generally less schematic than I have here implied, and obscured (as i t should be) by a faithful representation of the complexities of human life., this is nevertheless the basic stance of the temptee.  In an oft-quoted defense  against Sir Edward Bulwer-Lytton s criticism of Maggie's relationship 1  with Stephen, George Eliot enunciates what at f i r s t sight appears to be a challenging literary manifesto: If the ethics of art do not admit the truthful presentation of a character essentially noble but liable to great error—error that is anguish to its own nobleness'—then, i t seems to me, the ethics of art are too narrow, and must be widened to correspond with a widening  - 21." psychology. Actually, as Joan Bennett points out,"* George Eliot is here loosely paraphrasing Aristotle's definition of the tragic hero.  Applied to  prose fiction, her approach may have startled in mid-Victorian days, but does nothing of the kind a century later.  The novelty, i f there  be any, does not reside in her definition and defense of the tragic hero, but rather in the view, which to her appears axiomatic, that the hero so conceived must necessarily be a temptee.^  Her treatment of  Maggie throughout The Mill on the Floss, and particularly in Book 6, entitled "The Great Temptation," leaves no room for doubt on this score.  By way of evidence in brief compass,  Maggie's words of  impassioned self-accusation (following the semi-elopement with Stephen) may be cited: "I feel no excuse for myself--none. I should never have failed . . . as I have done, i f I had not been weak, selfish, and hard—able to think of {others *J pain without  4The George Eliot Letters, ed. Gordon S. Haight, 7 vols. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1954-55), III, 318; cited hereafter in text as Letters. ^George E l i o t : Her Mind and Her Art (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1948), p. 116. ^obviously, i t does not follow that he is a temptee and nothing else: i f he were that, he would be an abstraction resembling no one in l i f e ; nor does i t follow that two characters who are temptees w i l l necessarily resemble each other closely even in that one quality. As so often, the same word is used to cover a practically unlimited variety of possibilities.  a pain to myself that would have destroyed a l l temptation. (MF, bk. 6, ch. 14)  Maggie i s a temptee; she i s a temptee i n v i r t u e of being "a character e s s e n t i a l l y noble but l i a b l e to great e r r o r — e r r o r that i s anguish to i t s own nobleness."  George E l i o t h e r s e l f thus provides a convenient  working d e f i n i t i o n for at least this  Second chapter of the present study.  At varying l e v e l s of i n t e n s i t y and with v a r y i n g degrees of completeness, our l i s t .  the above d e f i n i t i o n applies to most of the characters on  T i t o i s an exception, because even at the beginning of  Romola he i s charming one h e s i t a t e s .  and agreeable rather than noble.  With Bulstrode  He c e r t a i n l y suffers great anguish and he does have a  few streaks of n o b i l i t y i n h i s c o n s t i t u t i o n .  In Esther's case we  have to substitute "would have been anguish" f o r " i s anguish," because she i s that r e l a t i v e l y rare phenomenon i n George E l i o t , the temptee who succeeds i n r e s i s t i n g . Godfrey Cass i s given almost as much space i n S i l a s Marner as the protagonist.  The c o n f l i c t i n h i s case a r i s e s from inadequate  f i b e r , perpetually goaded by a rather active conscience.  moral  George E l i o t  t e l l s Us:  Deeper down, and half-smothered by passionate desire and dread, there was the sense that . . . he ought to accept the consequences of h i s deeds.. . . But he had not moral courage enough to contemplate that active renunciation of Nancy as possible f o r him: he had only conscience enough and heart enough to make him f o r ever uneasy under the weakness that forbade the renunciation. (SM, ch. 13)  A pattern i s already beginning to emerge.  A l l temptees are i n a state  - 23.of moral c o n f l i c t , from which i t follows that they must be endowed with an active conscience and with a tendency e i t h e r to act i n opposition to that conscience or to f a i l to act i n accordance with i t s dictates.  This i s t h e i r common denominator, and i t i s wide and  f l e x i b l e enough to permit of great i n d i v i d u a l v a r i a t i o n .  The  conscience may or may not amount to n o b i l i t y OS character, and the counteracting tendency may range from mere weakness to an actual t r a g i c flaw.  Arthur Donnithorne stands about h a l f way between Maggie  and Godrey Cass i n these q u a l i t i e s .  Stronger and nobler than Godfrey,  he Is yet weaker and c l o s e r to common clay than Maggie. Our f i n a l example i s by common consent of r e c e n t c r i t i c s one of 7  George E l i o t ' s greatest creations and, i n my view, her greatest Gwendolen Grandcourt (nee Harleth) i n Daniel Deronda. novel, composed by the author h e r s e l f , i s revealing. to the p r i n c i p a l temptee,  temptee:  The motto of that Obviously r e f e r r i n g  i t expresses sentiments that Daniel echoes  again and again i n h i s capacity as her mentor:  Let thy c h i e f t e r r o r be to thine own soul: There, 'mid the throng of hurrying desires That trample o'er the dead to seize t h e i r s p o i l , Lurks vengeance, f o o t l e s s , i r r e s i s t i b l e As exhalations laden with slow death, And o'er the f a i r e s t troop of captured joys Breathes p a l l i d pestilence.  "Recent" i n r e l a t i o n to George E l i o t ' s c r i t i c s i s used throughout this thesis i n the sense of " a f t e r 1945." Gerald B u l l e t t ' s (1947), Joan Bennett's (1948), and F. R. Leavis' (1948) discussions may be regarded as the e a r l i e s t examples i n book form of the "recent" approach. W. J . Harvey i n the opening paragraph of chapter 9 of V i c t o r i a n F i c t i o n : a Guide to Research, ed. Lionel Stevenson (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1964), speaks of two poles of George E l i o t c r i t i c i s m , the second of which " e s s e n t i a l l y represents a post-1945 phenomenon." 7  - 24. This then is the soul of the temptee as George Eliot conceives i t : a battleground between urgent, selfish desires for ease and enjoyment, irrespective of higher claims or other people's rights, and an active conscience that w i l l forever annul these enjoyments and convert ease into pain--pain accentuated by a sense of guilt and often harder to bear than the original t r i a l would have been.  Trying to prepare Adam  for the shattering disclosure of Hetty's imprisonment and its cause that he is about to make, Parson Irwine says: "there is a heavier sorrow coming upon you than any you have yet known. But you are not guilty— you have not the worst of a l l sorrows. God help him [Arthur Donnithorne] who has. " (AB, ch. 39)8 1  By and large, Parson Irwine s sentiments are George E l i o t ' s own. 1  She  defends him at length in that oft-quoted chapter 17 of Adam Bede: Which the Story Pauses a L i t t l e . "  "In  At any rate, the consciousness of  guilt as "the worst of a l l sorrows" is a view that reverberates through Daniel Deronda.  For example, when Gwendolen tells her mentor that  she has "'thrust out others-- . . . made [her] gain out of their loss— tried to make i t — t r i e d , ' " and that she "'must go on'" and "'can't alter i t , ' " he replies:  "'That is the bitterest of all—to wear the yoke  of our own wrongdoing " (DP, ch. 36). 1  The f i r s t chapter, and indeed the f i r s t paragraph, of Daniel Deronda lends further support to a Manichaean concept of the temptee.  ^Cf. Arthur's pleading with Adam, just prior to their reconciliation: "'Perhaps you've never done anything you've had bitterly to repent of in your l i f e , Adam; i f you had, you would be more generous. You would know then that i t ' s worse for me than for you. . . . And don't you think you would suffer more i f you'd been in fault?'" (AB, ch. 48)  -25. Watching Gwendolen at the gaming table in Beubronn, Deronda asks himself some pertinent questions about her: Was she beautiful or not beautiful? and what was the secret of form or expression which gave the dynamic quality to her glance? Was the good or the e v i l genius dominant in those beams? Probably the e v i l . . . The link between these two, forged in the b r i l l i a n t opening scene, is developed and strengthened throughout the long novel, to the point where Daniel becomes an almost allegorical figure in relation to Gwendolen—a personification of her conscience, of her better self—just soul.  as Grandcourt embodies the opposite element in her divided  If this element triumphs, she may become like him, for she and  Grandcourt certainly have much in common.  Gwendolen herself  recognizes some of the affinities between them.  For example, in the  course of their f i r s t encounter at the Archery Meeting, she  reflects  "that a man of extremely calm, cold manners might be less disagreeable as a husband than other men"  (DP, ch. 11).  The reader is not surprised  at this supposition, for he remembers her reaction to a suitor of the opposite kind: The perception that poor Rex wanted to be tender made her curl up and harden like a sea-anemone at the touch of a finger. . . . the l i f e of passion had begun negatively in her. She felt passionately averse to this volunteered love. (PP, ch. 7) Or again, on the day following the engagement to Grandcourt, she remarks gaily to her mother:  "'Aha.' he is very proud.  match each other'" (ch. 28).  But so am I.  We shall  There is no doubt that the motto for  the novel as a whole, already quoted, refers primarily to Gwendolen.  -26. There is also no doubt that i t would be a fairly appropriate motto for George E l i o t ' s other novels, and that i t could meaningfully be addressed to a l l of her temptees. The temptations themselves must now be briefly summarized. Janet Dempster gives way to despair, to listlessness, and to alcoholism^ but is redeemed through the influence of the Reverend Edgar Tryan and her own efforts.  Arthur Donnithorne seduces Hetty and then  adds to the e v i l consequences by deceiving Adam, in a vain attempt to protect her and to exculpate himself.  Maggie Tulliver yields--a  long way but not a l l the way—to her infatuation with Stephen Guest, in defiance of the claims that Lucy and Philip have on her, and thus becomes the cause of intense suffering for both.  Her earlier yielding  in the matter of tacitly consenting to regular secret meetings with Philip Wakem in the Red Deeps is also presented as a temptation, but with a unique difference.  For the first and last time in any  comparable situation, George E l i o t ' s sympathies are so divided that she is not prepared to commit herself unequivocally.  Maggie's choice  here reflects a conflict that is specifically articulated In chapter 56 of Romola and by implication elsewhere in that novel:  "The problem  where the sacredness of obedience ended, and where the sacredness of rebellion began."  An autobiographical interpretation of the conflict is  tempting and would not be far-fetched, but had better be resisted here as conjectural and not directly relevant.  ^Handicapped prudery—euphemisms freely used—George but i t is certainly  by inexperience as a novelist and by Victorian like "lohg-accustomed stimulus" (ch. 21) are Eliot fails to make Janet's alcoholism convincing, Intended to be taken seriously.  -27 .  Godfrey Cass has allowed his immoral brother Dunstan to trap him into a thoroughly disreputable marriage.  "It was an ugly story of  low passion, delusion, and waking from delusion" (SM, ch. 3).  Within  the novel he fails to own his f i r s t wife and their child, and to accept his responsibilities toward them.  When Molly dies in the snow just  outside Raveloe, and Eppie finds her way to Marner's cottage, Godfrey conceals their connection with him from everyone, including Nancy Lammeter, who within a year becomes his wife.  Eppie would probably  have been taken to the workhouse i f Marner had hot adopted her.  Not  until fifteen years after the second marriage does Godfrey confess his shameful past to Nancy. Tito Melema's case is cogently summarized after his death in Romola's words to his natural son L i l l o : "He was young, and clever, and beautiful, and his manners to a l l were gentle and kind. . . . But because he tried to slip away from everything that was unpleasant, and cared for nothing else so much as his own safety, he came at last to commit some of the basest deeds--such as make men infamous. He denied his father, and left him to misery; he betrayed every trust that was reposed in him, that he might keep himself safe and get rich and prosperous." (R, Epilogue) Of a l l the temptees, Tito alone sinks deeper and deeper, with the result that he becomes simply a v i l l a i n before the end of the novel is reached. Esther Lyon is one of the few successful temptees.  The choice  facing her is between something higher and something lower rather than between right and wrong.  Felix Holt's elevating influence on her  - 28. better self, which has lain dormant, combines with the frightful spectacle of Mrs. Transome's protracted nemesis to make her choose poverty and noble endeavour as Felix' wife, in preference to the luxury and motiveless ease that would have been her probable lot as Harold Transome s. 1  Nicholas Bulstrode, like Godfrey Cass, has done wrong before the opening of Middlemarch.  His past sins are heavier than Godfrey's,  more numerous, and of longer standing.  Their nature and the motives that  prompted him are described at some length in chapter 61 of Middlemarch. He has amassed his large fortune through years of connection with a business establishment that he knew to be—saying the least—usurious, and through cheating Will Ladislaw's mother out of her due inheritance by deliberately concealing from his first wife (Will's grandmother) that her daughter was s t i l l living and had been found.  For over a quarter  of a century he has imposed himself on Middlemarch as an exceptionally God-dearing, philanthropic, and public-spirited person, and he continues to do so until he is threatened with exposure by the scoundrel Raffles, a former accomplice who knows his guilty secrets.  Tempted to  connive at Raffles' death in a vain attempt to silence him, he yields. Gwendolen Harleth's great temptation is Grandcourt's offer of marriage, at a time when she is smarting under the hardship of sudden poverty and of various concomitant humiliations.  She accepts him as a  convenience, without love, simply for his wealth and position, and in defiance of the claims of his mistress, Mrs. Glasher, and her four children.  At her meeting with Mrs. Glasher and two of the children,  at the Whispering Stones (DP, ch. 14), Gwendolen promises, or at least half-promises:  '"I w i l l not interfere with your wishes.*" The  - 29. ~  wishes, of course, are that Grandcourt should marry Mrs. Glasher and make their boy his heir.  Once the i n i t i a l wrong has been committed,  Gwendolen finds her marriage so s t i f l i n g and oppressive that she gradually develops murderous impulses toward her husband, and these constitute the second temptation that so often follows from yielding to the f i r s t . Examining these temptations, at least in their i n i t i a l  phases,  one finds that they are rather commonplace and may be classified under four heads: (1)  An addiction, such as Janet's drinking;  (2)  sexual infatuation, like Arthur's for Hetty and Maggie's for Stephen Guest;  (3)  love of ease, wealth, and luxury, conjoined with the urge to escape from everything painful or disagreeable, as preeminently embodied in Tito and Gwendolen;  (4)  ambition of the wrong kind, especially lust for power, memorably exemplified by Bulstrode.  These categories are of course not absolute; and they overlap.  Maggie,  for example, is attracted to Stephen both sexually and for the social advantages he can offer her.  Tito and Gwendolen care primarily for  ease and luxury, but they seek power too.  With Bulstrode the emphasis  lies in his craving for power, though he is not indifferent to other obvious advantages that wealth confers.  The chief point is that most  people at some stage in their lives experience temptations of this kind.  Imaginative participation and identification are thus made easy  for the other characters in the novel and for the reader.  3  Chapter  THE TEMPTEE AND HIS STRUGGLE:  THE PATTERN OF SUCCESS  ' " T i s one t h i n g t o be tempted, E s c a l u s , Another t h i n g t o f a l l . " (Measure f o r Measure, I I , i , 17-18; c i t e d as e p i g r a p h , M i d d l e m a r c h , c h , 66)  A l l o f t h e temptees s t r u g g l e , b u t few s u c c e e d : the l i s t o f p r i n c i p a l t e m p t e e s — J a n e t and E s t h e r — a n d  o n l y two on three others —  F a r e b r o t h e r , F r e d V i n c y , and (marg i n a l l y ) H a r o l d Transome. success  i s p r i m a r i l y due c e r t a i n methods, g u i d e s  they f o l l o w .  experience  f o r behaviour,  which  These a r e s e t f o r t h i n J a n e t ' s d i s c u s s i o n w i t h Mr. T r y a n ,  a t the n a d i r o f h e r e x p e r i e n c e , beginning  Their  and t h a t d i s c u s s i o n marks the  of Janet's regeneration.  Her d i r e need and b i t t e r  past  b r i n g h e r t o the r e c o g n i t i o n o f a t r u t h t h a t none o f t h e  unsuccessful  temptees r e a l i z e s u n t i l t o o l a t e — t h e t r u t h t h a t good  r e s o l u t i o n s by themselves a r e n o t a s u f f i c i e n t s a f e g u a r d  f o r the  future:  She wanted s t r e n g t h t o do r i g h t — s h e wanted something t o r e l y on b e s i d e s h e r own r e s o l u t i o n ; f o r was n o t the path b e h i n d h e r s t r e w n w i t h b r o k e n r e s o l u t i o n s ? How c o u l d she t r u s t i n new ones? (JR, c h . 16)  J a n e t has l e a r n e d the g r e a t e r p a r t o f t h e i r l e s s o n b e f o r e opens. Mr.  the n o v e l  I t i s p r a c t i c a l l y c e r t a i n t h a t she would have f a i l e d  Tryan.  without  George Eliot does believe very strongly that people can help one another, and indeed that they must do so i f their lives are to be meaningful.  Mr. Paris is absolutely right in stating that "the rescue  of man by man is a recurrent motif" in her novels and in her letters.^If a temptee trusts to his own strength alone, he is generally doomed. For example, when Arthur Donnithorne fails at the last moment to make a confidant of Parson Irwine about his infatuation with Hetty, the author remarks:  "the rope to which he might have clung had drifted  away—he must trust now to his own swimming" (AB, ch. 16).  No one can  help us i f we are not willing to seek and to receive help.  The  essential prerequisite for rescue is a core of human sympathy and affection that works in two ways:  i t leads us to cultivate a circle of  worthy friends and mentors before the temptation arises, and i t reacts forcefully against the temptation when i t does arise.  Fred's relations  with Mary Garth and her father, and with Mr. Farebrother, which ultimately establish that average and precariously poised young man as a successful and respected member of society, constitute a striking illustration.  Particularly memorable are the intense shame he feels  when he confesses to Mary that he has brought financial hardship on her family (M, ch. 25), and his willingness to be reprimanded by Mr. Farebrother (ch. 66) at a moment of dangerous weakness that had led him to revert to the billiard-room at the Green Dragon, and might easily have undone a l l his previous efforts.  His sister Rosamond, in contrast,  never sees the light (with a momentary exception in chapter 81, when she  Experiments in Life: George E l i o t ' s Quest for Values (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1965), p. 224.  - 32. undeceives Dorothea about Ladislaw).  She continues b l i n d , egocentric,  and self-righteous to the end, and ruins the immensely promising  career  of her husband, Lydgate.  rescued,  Unlike her brother, Rosamond cannot be  because from her f i r s t appearance i n the novel her heart and mind are closed to human sympathy and a f f e c t i o n .  Her early schooling at Mrs.  Lemon's (ch. 1.1) i s partly responsible Provided the basic condition i s f u l f i l l e d , w i l l often lead to rescue i n the hour of t r i a l .  two potent  The f i r s t i s recognition  of our own weakness and willingness to confide i n others. Tryan says to Janet at the end of their f i r s t  steps  As  Mr.  interview:  "Open your heart as much as you can to your mother and Mrs, P e t t i f e r . Cast away from you the pride that makes us shrink from acknowledging our weakness to our f r i e n d s , " (JR, ch. 19)  The second step consists In making good resolutions e f f e c t i v e by t r y i n g to place oneself i n circumstances impossible.  that render y i e l d i n g d i f f i c u l t  The act of confiding i n others w i l l often i n i t s e l f  to that r e s u l t , but other measures may precautions against ourselves.  Mr.  also be required.  or lead  We must take  Tryan continues:  "Ask them to help you i n guarding yourself from the least approach of the s i n you most dread. Deprive yourself as far as possible of the very means and opportunity of committing i t . " (JR, ch. 19)  Other things being equal, the more promptly these steps are taken, more l i k e l y they are to succeed. soon as i t a r i s e s .  the  Temptation should be dealt with as  Delay and procrastination may  Harold Transome—a minor temptee who  well prove f a t a l .  i s on the whole s u c c e s s f u l — s t r i k e s  - 33 . the right note in what he says to Esther at a great c r i s i s in his life:  '"When a man sees what ought to be done, he had better do i t  forthwith.  He can't answer for himself tomorrow'" (FH, ch. 49).  Esther Lyon has an equivalent Edgar Tryan in Felix Holt.  He  is in prison at the time when she is faced with her great choice between him and Harold Transome, which is also a choice between two diametrically opposite approaches to l i f e .  But even i f Felix were not in prison  and she could send for him or go to him, there would be no need, for by that time he dwells within her inseparably.  Much earlier, when  Rufus Lycm discloses Esther's history and reveals that he Is not her real father, the influence of Felix Holt is stirring within her,^ so that she reacts in a way that leads the minister to reflect:  "Surely  the work of grace is begun in her—surely here is a heart that the Lord hath touched" (ch. 26).  He is only superficially wrong, for we know  George E l i o t ' s view that "the idea of God, so far as i t has been a high spiritual influence, is the ideal of a goodness entirely human" (Letters, VI, 98).  In the afternoon of the same day, Felix and Esther  go for a walk, In the course of which he urges her to develop "'such a Vision of the future that  [she ] may never lose [her] best self.'" And  in the next sentence he calls i t '"a good strong terrible vision'" (ch. 27).  Later, about noon of the day of the election at Treby, just  before he becomes fatefully involved in the r i o t , he goes to see her and, being stirred a l i t t l e out of his usual reticence in matters of personal feeling, he quite spontaneously tightens the bond that has been  Most readers, including myself, feel that this influence works too fast to be a r t i s t i c a l l y quite convincing.  - 34. developing between them since near the beginning of the novel. often, the chapter epigraph is significant.^  As so  George Eliot quotes one  of Mrs. Browning's "Sonnets from the Portuguese" in f u l l , but the f i r s t few lines suffice to suggest its tenor: Go from me. Yet I feel that I shall stand Henceforward in thy shadow. Never more Alone upon the threshold of my door Of individual l i f e , I shall command The uses of my soul . . . (FH, ch. 32) We need not trace Felix' influence on Esther in further detail.  The  point is that by the time she faces the supreme choice of her life— the choice between two radically different suitors and between two radically different ways of life—her decision, although s t i l l d i f f i c u l t because i t involves renunciation either way, is yet to a large extent predetermined.  As the pertinent epigraph suggests, she cannot willingly  choose the man and the way of l i f e that she now unmistakably recognizes as the lower of the two: Nay, falter not—'tis an assured good To seek the noblest—'tis your only good Now you have seen i t ; for that higher vision Poisons a l l meaner choice for evermore. (ch. 49) And so Esther renounces her legal claim to the riches of Transome Court, and weds poverty and dedication as the wife of Felix Holt.  The chapter epigraphs are more important in Felix Holt than in the other two novels in which they are used—Middlemarch and Daniel Deronda. Certainly they are well chosen. But the reader's need of them is perhaps indicative of a tendency in Felix Holt to "lapse from the picture to the diagram" (Letters, IV, 300). One feels too often that the chapter was developed from the epigraph, whereas Middlemarch generally gives the impression that an epigraph was found or composed for the chapter.  - 35. There i s one man  ~  i n George E l i o t ' s n o v e l s whose case  i l l u s t r a t e s the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c p a t t e r n o f s u c c e s s  preeminently  in resisting  temptation:  the p a t t e r n t h a t a l l the u n s u c c e s s f u l temptees v i o l a t e a t t h e i r  peril.  Mr. F a r e b r o t h e r i s amply endowed w i t h the b a s i c p r e r e q u i s i t e o f human sympathy and a f f e c t i o n , and h i s wisdom and knowledge o f h i m s e l f him t o adopt the t e c h n i q u e  t h a t Mr.  Tryan urges on J a n e t :  induce  Recognize  your own weakness; c o n f i d e i n o t h e r s ; p l a c e y o u r s e l f i n c i r c u m s t a n c e s render y i e l d i n g d i f f i c u l t or i m p o s s i b l e .  He a l s o a c t s p r o m p t l y ,  that  as  H a r o l d Transome does a t "the most s e r i o u s moment i n [ h i s ] l i f e " (FH, ch. 4 9 ) , r e f e r r e d t o above. T e m p t a t i o n comes t o the Reverend Camden F a r e b r o t h e r  unexpectedly  (M, c h . 5 2 ) , a t a time when he i s p a r t i c u l a r l y happy because Dorothea has r e c e n t l y c o n f e r r e d the L o w i c k l i v i n g upon him.^  He now  e n j o y s a much  w i d e r scope f o r b e n e f i c e n t a c t i v i t y , can s u p p o r t h i s r e l a t i v e s h a v i n g to p l a y w h i s t f o r money, and h i s l o v e f o r Mary G a r t h .  i s at l a s t i n a p o s i t i o n to express  But F r e d V i n c y , who  has  l o v e d Mary s i n c e  e a r l y c h i l d h o o d and i s as y e t t o t a l l y i g n o r a n t o f Mr. f e e l i n g f o r h e r , e n l i s t s him as h i s a d v o c a t e . agrees h i s own  t o attempt  without  Farebrother's  The V i c a r magnaminously  t h i s d i f f i c u l t t a s k o f p l e a d i n g F r e d ' s case a g a i n s t  i n t e r e s t , and c a r r i e s i t through w i t h g r e a t competence and w i t h  great delicacy.  I n t e r e s t e d i n the problem o f t e m p t a t i o n , we  t h a t he r i d e s t o L o w i c k R e c t o r y " t h a t v e r y day"  (ch. 52)--not  o r the day a f t e r tomorrow, as an u n s u c c e s s f u l temptee would have r e s o l v e d on d o i n g .  observe tomorrow probably  And a t the end of h i s memorable i n t e r v i e w w i t h  ^See A p p e n d i x f o r a d i s c u s s i o n of F a r e b r o t h e r ' s as the second t e m p t a t i o n i n Book V I I o f Middlemarch ("Two Temptations").  - 36. Mary, he uses the same technique. feels about her, she exclaims: some t e a " ' (ch. 52).  Sensing for the f i r s t time how  "'Oh,  please stay, and l e t me give you  But he r e p l i e s :  '"No  my dear, no.  I must get  back, " and within three minutes he i s on h i s horse again. 1  r e a d i l y imagine how Arthur Dbnnithorne,  One  can  as well as other unsuccessful  temptees, would have acted i n the same s i t u a t i o n . have said to himself something l i k e t h i s :  "Now  Arthur would probably  that I have d e f i n i t e l y  renounced Mary, and have even gone to- the length of prompting marriage with Fred, there i s no reason why company for a short h a l f hour.  he  her  I should not enjoy her  Surely I have deserved that at l e a s t . "  And then he would have sat down to tea with her.  (Cf.  "He  [Arthur  Donnithorne ] had made up h i s mind not to meet Hetty again; and now might give himself up to thinking how  immensely agreeable i t would be  i f circumstances were different"--AB, ch. 12.) knows better.  he  Realizing that he i s a man  But Mr. Farebirother  and therefore l i a b l e to e r r ,  he takes precautions against h i s own weakness; as f a r as possible, he secures himself against the p o s s i b i l i t y of moral backsliding.  The  r e s u l t i s not only that he emerges v i c t o r i o u s from the f i r s t bout with his  temptation, but also that he i s able to enter on the second  bout  (which he does not foresee yet) from a position of advantage:  Our as for why  l i v e s make a moral t r a d i t i o n for our i n d i v i d u a l selves, the l i f e of mankind at large makes a moral t r a d i t i o n the race; and to have once acted greatly seems a reason we should always be noble. (R, ch. 39)  The auguries for Mr. Farebrother s success i n the second and 1  battle with h i s temptation are now  propitious.  final  The second battle--the battle to take advantage of Fred's backsliding—is described in chapter 66.  Mr. Farebrother again  emerges victorious, and the mental processes and the steps which underlie this triumph are made very clear to the reader.  George Eliot  here achieves a remarkable fusion of the aesthetic and didactic.  She  does not find i t necessary to step in herself and t e l l us what went on in Farebrother's mind.  Neither does she here employ another  character to act as her mouthpiece or as a chorus.  In a way that is  absolutely plausible and convincing, the temptee is made to reveal his own mind to the very person whose actions constitute a temptation for him.  Fred Vihcy is at this time trying hard to win Mary's hand by  good behaviour and worthwhile accomplishment.  But he Is an average  young man, and as such he finds the yoke of virtue rather galling at times.  Farebrother persuades him to leave the Green Dragon.^  In their  conversation under the stars, Fred is on the defensive; most of the talking is done by Mr. Farebrother. great interest.  What he says to his protege is of  Essentially another rendering of Tryan's advice to  Janet, i t amounts to an exposition of what George Eliot regards as the only sure way in which a temptation that is really worthy of the name can be permanently resisted.  By and large, her temptees either use  Farebrother's method or they f a i l .  And most of them do f a i l .  What is Farebrother's method?  It is neatly and concisely  presented in about two pages of crucial significance^ and may be briefly  5"There was a billiard-room at the Green Dragon, which some anxious mothers and wives regarded as the chief temptation in Middlemarch" (ch. 18).  - 38. summarized as follows:  Recognize  that you are confronted with a  temptation, and that you have your f u l l share of human weakness.^ I t i s not enough  f o r you to resolve that you w i l l r e s i s t the temptation.  The combination of opportunity and desire may at any time be such as to overwhelm your moral conscience.  Therefore, at t h i s moment,  while you see the r i g h t path and enjoy f u l l s e l f - p o s s e s s i o n , you must secure y o u r s e l f against the p o s s i b i l i t y of f a l l i n g , nor merely by making a vow, but by "cast [ ing ] away the means of breaking [ your ] vow" (M, ch. 70; i t a l i c s added). secure himself?  There i s no other way.  And how does a man  The answer i s , by taking others into h i s confidence,  so that he may "Look with the eyes of a l l the world beside;"^ "the hope i n l i e s i s forever  so that  swept away, and the soul recovers the  noble a t t i t u d e of s i m p l i c i t y " (R, ch. 9).  The "others" w i l l of course  have to be j u d i c i o u s l y selected, the choice depending on the i n d i v i d u a l temptee s s o c i a l environment, as w e l l as on the nature of 1  his  temptation.  In the present case, Mr. Farebrother s e l e c t s Fred  "Farebrother s awareness of h i s own weakness leads him astray on one occasion: expressed crudely and unkindly, i t leads him to judge others by himself. At the great c r i s i s i n h i s f r i e n d Lydgate's l i f e , he f a i l s to r i s e to the occasion, as Dorothea alone does. Discussing that c r i s i s with her, S i r James Chettam, and others, he remarks: " ' I t i s posslble--I have often f e l t so much weakness i n myself that I can conceive even a man of honourable d i s p o s i t i o n , such as I have always believed Lydgate to be, succumbing to such a temptation as that of accepting money which was offered more or less i n d i r e c t l y as a bribe to insure h i s silence about scandalous facts long gone by'" (ch. 7 2 ) . These suppositions do less than j u s t i c e to h i s f r i e n d , who at this point i s i n dire need of encouragement and v i n d i c a t i o n . 1  ^From Daniel's "Musophilus." chapter 68 of Middlemarch.  Cited as part of the epigraph f o r  Vincy, h i s unconscious tempter.  In h i s conversation with him, he  faces the temptation u n f l i n c h i n g l y , but with no arrogant or unwarranted self-confidence:  "I have said to myself, 'If there i s a l i k e l i h o o d of that youngster doing himself harm, why should you i n t e r f e r e ? . . . I f there's a chance of h i s going to the dogs, l e t him--perhaps you could nohow hinder i t — a n d do you take the benefit.' But I had once meant better than that, and I am come back to my old i n t e n t i o n . I thought that I could hardly secure myself i n i t better, Fred, than by t e l l i n g you just what had been going on i n me. And now, do you understand me?" (ch. 66)  Fred does understand and i s saved, and Mr. Farebrother's better s e l f has gained a decisive v i c t o r y over h i s lower s e l f .  But George E l i o t ' s  unsuccessful temptees are not privileged to hear him, and probably would pay no heed i f they were.  Though they struggle, they do not  face t h e i r temptations squarely; they do not secure themselves casting away the means of breaking t h e i r resolutions.  by  However long  and harrowing the b a t t l e , unlike Farebrother they succumb i n the end.  k  Chapter  THE TEMPTEE AND. HIS STRUGGLE: THE S e c t i o n 1: A r t h u r Donnithorne  Donnithorne  i s George E l i o t ' s e a r l i e s t  p o r t r a i t o f the temptee who the a c t u a l war  Arthur  PATTERN OF FAILURE  f a i l s to r e s i s t .  full-length  I n s o f a r as i t i s r e c o r d e d ,  w i t h h i s t e m p t a t i o n i s fought i n t h r e e b a t t l e s :  b a t t l e a g a i n s t meeting H e t t y i n t h e Wood f o r t h e f i r s t  time  the  (AB,  ch. 12);  t h e b a t t l e a g a i n s t meeting her a g a i n i n the e v e n i n g o f t h e same day ( c h . 13); and t h e b a t t l e t o make a c o n f i d a n t o f Mr. morning ( c h . 1 6 ) .  Irwine the f o l l o w i n g  A r t h u r l o s e s a l l t h r e e , but not w i t h o u t  a commendable  s t r u g g l e , a s t r u g g l e t h a t "foreshadows t h e inward s u f f e r i n g which i s t h e worst  form o f Nemesis" ( c h . 1 6 ) .  A r e l a t i v e l y s i m p l e c h a r a c t e r , he  a f f o r d s a c l e a r and memorable i l l u s t r a t i o n o f the i n t e r p l a y o f f o r c e s that c o n s t i t u t e s temptation.  H i s moral c o n s c i e n c e as r e v e a l e d i n  and r e s u l t a n t a c t i o n i s t h e most f u l l y developed w i l l r e c e i v e the g r e a t e s t s h a r e o f a t t e n t i o n . i n a vacuum, without  the f u e l o f c h a l l e n g e .  under c e a s e l e s s p r e s s u r e by the two aggregate  thought  o f these forces,  and  But i t cannot s t r u g g l e I t must be a r o u s e d  and  kept  c o u n t e r a c t i n g f o r c e s i n the  o f t e m p t a t i o n , as a n a l y z e d i n Chapter 1.  Discussion of  A r t h u r ' s case h i s t o r y as a temptee b e g i n s n a t u r a l l y w i t h h i s d e s i r e and his opportunity. The  c r e a t i o n o f an i n t e n s e d e s i r e t h a t must be r e s i s t e d can  a c o m p l i c a t e d matter, testify. case.  as t h e p o r t r a i t s o f B u l s t r o d e and  I t i s the r e v e r s e o f c o m p l i c a t e d i n A r t h u r  He i s a normal young man,  frequent s i g h t  be  Gwendolen  Donnithorne's  j u s t under twenty-one, exposed t o t h e  ( a t church and a t t h e H a l l Farm) o f "a d i s t r a c t i n g l y  p r e t t y g i r l of seventeen" t h a t p r o s c r i b e s marriage  (AB,  ch. 7 ) , w i t h i n the framework o f a  between them, and a t the same time  society  regards  -  41.  -  e x t r a - m a r i t a l r e l a t i o n s between the sexes as one o f the most  heinous  of s i n s .  suggest  George E l i o t ' s c h o i c e o f s e t t i n g and p e r i o d r a t h e r  t h a t she d e l i b e r a t e l y sought s i m p l i c i t y .  I s o l a t e d p h y s i c a l l y and  p s y c h o l o g i c a l l y t o an e x t e n t t h a t would no l o n g e r have been p o s s i b l e i n h e r own day,  the v i l l a g e o f Hayslope a t the t u r n o f the century  (1799-1801) i s e n v e l o p e d  i n a m o r a l l y homogeneous c l i m a t e o f o p i n i o n .  Not a s i n g l e v o i c e i s r a i s e d a g a i n s t t h e h i e r a r c h i c a l s t r u c t u r e o f society, or against t r a d i t i o n a l attitudes to i l l i c i t and t h e u n m a r r i e d mother.  sexual r e l a t i o n s  A r t h u r agrees w i t h Adam t h a t he cannot  p o s s i b l y marry H e t t y ( c f . h i s l e t t e r t o h e r , c h . 3 1 ) , and H e t t y h e r s e l f n e v e r even a t t e m p t s  t o defend h e r s e l f on t h e o r e t i c grounds.  The  s e d u c t i o n u p s e t s a m o r a l o r d e r t h a t i s a c c e p t e d u n q u e s t i o n i n g l y by a l l . Arthur's d e s i r e i s so i n t e n s e because i t i s a l l t o o n a t u r a l , and I t I s e v i l because t h e s o c i e t y i n w h i c h he l i v e s , and whose m o r a l v i e w s he h i m s e l f s h a r e s , r e g a r d s i t as such. A d e s i r e so n a t u r a l and so i n t e n s e r e q u i r e s l i t t l e and l i t t l e both.  explanation  r e i n f o r c e m e n t , and y e t George E l i o t t a k e s p a i n s t o p r o v i d e  H e t t y ' s p h y s i c a l b e a u t y , v a n i t y , and "narrow f a n t a s t i c  o f h e r own p r o b a b l e  calculation  p l e a s u r e s and p a i n s " ( c h . 31) a r e d e v e l o p e d a t  l e n g t h i n c h a p t e r s 7, 9, and 15, w h i l e A r t h u r i s endowed w i t h c e r t a i n c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s , and i n v o l v e d i n c e r t a i n c i r c u m s t a n c e s , to exacerbate  his susceptibility.  calculated  F i r s t i n t r o d u c e d t o him on h i s v i s i t  w i t h Mr. I r w i n e a t B r o x t o n Parsonage ( c h . 5 ) , t h e r e a d e r i s q u i c k l y made aware o f A r t h u r ' s I m m a t u r i t y :  an I m m a t u r i t y  p l a u s i b l e , b u t by no means i n e v i t a b l e . mother a t the a p p r o a c h i n g  t h a t h i s age r e n d e r s  H i s plans f o r the Rector's  grand b i r t h d a y f e a s t ( t o c e l e b r a t e h i s coming  - 42. o f age)  -  s u g g e s t t h a t i n some ways he i s s t i l l  the boy who  l o n g ago  had  thought o f a p p o i n t i n g Adam " g r a n d - v i z i e r " to a " r i c h s u l t a n " - - h i m s e l f . I t i s not s u r p r i s i n g t h a t he  "can h a r d l y make head or t a i l " o f  Rime o f the A n c i e n t M a r i n e r . " and  We  o b s e r v e , t o o , t h a t he  f r u s t r a t e d by h i s g r a n d f a t h e r ,  is still  i n a c t i v i t y and  that a broken  thus i n c r e a s e s h i s boredom and r e s t l e s s n e s s .  few p a r a g r a p h s ) ,  thwarted  arm,  o b l i g e d t o c a r r y i n a s l i n g , compels r e l a t i v e  time he r i d e s away from the H a l l Farm w i t h Mr.  (ch.  feels  the o l d S q u i r e ; t h a t he welcomes  p l e a s a n t d i v e r s i o n s as an a i d i n k i l l i n g t i m e ; and w h i c h he  "The  h i s i n f a t u a t i o n w i t h H e t t y has  12, o p e n i n g ) we  Irwine  By  ( c h . 9,  last  a l r e a d y begun.  are shown a n o t h e r a s p e c t o f A r t h u r ' s  the  Later  immaturity:  the c o n v i c t i o n t h a t e x t e r n a l f a c t s ought t o a d j u s t themselves, to the c o n v e n i e n c e o f a good f e l l o w l i k e . h i m s e l f .  F o i l e d i n h i s laudable  t o r e s i s t d e s i r e and o p p o r t u n i t y by escape through a f i s h i n g t r i p , r e a c t s i n a way  plan he  t h a t harmonizes f u l l y w i t h what we have l e a r n e d o f h i s  c h a r a c t e r , and a t the same time u n v e i l s the a u t h o r ' s  technique:  He c o n s i d e r e d h i m s e l f t h o r o u g h l y d i s a p p o i n t e d and annoyed. . . . I t was v e x a t i o u s . . . I t seemed c u l p a b l e i n P r o v i d e n c e t o a l l o w such a c o m b i n a t i o n o f circumstances. To be shut up a t the Chase w i t h a b r o k e n arm . . . shut up w i t h h i s g r a n d f a t h e r . . . And t o be d i s g u s t e d a t e v e r y t u r n w i t h the management of the house and the e s t a t e ! I n such c i r c u m s t a n c e s a man n e c e s s a r i l y g e t s i n an i l l humour, and works o f f the i r r i t a t i o n by some e x c e s s or o t h e r . (AB, ch. 12)  George E l i o t i s f a n n i n g the flames o f an e v i l d e s i r e , i n p r e p a r a t i o n for  an o p p o r t u n i t y t h a t she i s a r r a n g i n g s i m u l t a n e o u s l y and  equal  with  skill. As we have s t a t e d i n S e c t i o n 1, the o b j e c t o f a t t r a c t i o n or  r e p u l s i o n i s the most i m p o r t a n t  p a r t o f both d e s i r e and  opportunity.  - 43. A r t h u r ' s o b j e c t o f a t t r a c t i o n i s o f c o u r s e H e t t y , whose p h y s i c a l beauty and  (by i m p l i c a t i o n ) c o n c o m i t a n t  the a u t h o r , almost Adam Bede. motive,  d e f e c t s o f c h a r a c t e r are s t r e s s e d by  to the p o i n t o f e x c e s s , i n the f i r s t t w o - t h i r d s o f  Recent c r i t i c s s u s p e c t and r e s e n t the o b v i o u s a u t o b i o g r a p h i c a l  the " p l a i n woman's m i s t r u s t o f p i n k cheeks and p e r f e c t  eyelashes."'''  However t h i s may  be, G e o r g e , E l i o t i s u n m i s t a k a b l y  h a r d t o i n f l a m e e v i l d e s i r e by r e n d e r i n g i t s o b j e c t as a l l u r i n g possible. The  But t h a t i s n o t e n o u g h t o meet the e x i g e n c i e s of  as  temptation.  t  o b j e c t must a l s o be a t t a i n a b l e .  trying  O r d i n a r i l y , i n the w o r l d o f  Hayslope,  the s q u i r e ' s grandson would see a d a i r y maid l i k e H e t t y o n l y a t Church and i n h e r own home, where even the s t r o n g e s t d e s i r e c o u l d h a r d l y l e a d him t o do m i s c h i e f .  Moreover, the n i e c e o f r e s p e c t a b l e f o l k  like  the P y s e r s would p r o b a b l y r e s i s t an a s s a u l t on h e r v i r t u e by anyone i n h e r own (ch.  s t a t i o n of l i f e .  12) t h a t Mr.  w a l k s through  She  i s i n d i g n a n t a t the bare  C r a i g , the g a r d e n e r ,  the Chase.  d i f f e r e n t order of beings.  suggestion  t a k e s c a r e o f h e r when she  But A r t h u r , i n H e t t y ' s v i e w , b e l o n g s Her v a n i t y and i g n o r a n c e  to a  transform h i s  w e a l t h and s o c i a l p o s i t i o n i n t o a f r e e c h a r t e r f o r amorous approaches. So f a r as we a r e i n f o r m e d , h e r m o r a l abandonment i s so a b s o l u t e t h a t can s c a r c e l y speak o f s e d u c t i o n , s i n c e s e d u c t i o n i m p l i e s an r e s i s t a n c e g r a d u a l l y conquered.  one  initial  She has no c o n s c i e n c e , u n l e s s f e a r o f  shame and exposure can be c a l l e d a c o n s c i e n c e .  The w i s h e s o f h e r whole  Gordon S. H a i g h t i n h i s " I n t r o d u c t i o n " t o the R i n e h a r t e d i t i o n o f Adam Bede. (New York: Holt., R i n e h a r t and W i n s t o n , 1948), p. x i v . See a l s o , W.J. Harvey, The A r t o f George E l i o t (London: C h a t t o & Windus, 1961), pp. 84-87.  account  2 s i m u l t a n e o u s l y , and by the same t e c h n i q u e , she i s t r y i n g t o f o r Adam's i n f a t u a t i o n .  - 44. being coincide completely with those of Arthur's baser s e l f — t h e  self  that i s i n c o n f l i c t with the better side of h i s divided temptee's nature. Hesitation, and resistance emanate from Arthur, not from her; they are genuine, and might s u f f i c e to keep them apart ( a l b e i t by a narrow margin), i f two additional f a c t o r s — o n e negative and one p o s i t i v e — d i d not m i l i t a t e against s e l f - d e n i a l . The negative factor i s Arthur's t o t a l ignorance that Adam loves Hetty and seeks to make her h i s wife.  (Cf. "'Adam, i t would never  have happened i f I'd known you loved her. me from I t " ch. 48 .) 1  That would have helped to save  The positive factor i s revealed during h i s  tete a tete with Hetty i n the dairy (ch. 7 ) .  In addition to further  manifesting h i s i n t e r e s t i n her, and a c t u a l l y i n v i t i n g her to go walking i n the Chase, he e l i c i t s some important information.  Fe r e c a l l s having  seen her i n Mrs. Best's, the housekeeper's, room, and Hetty now explains that she goes one afternoon a week to learn various kinds of needlework from Mrs. Pomfret, the lady's maid.  The next occasion w i l l be  tomorrow (Thursday) afternoon, when she i s going to have tea with Mrs. Pomfret.  Thus the stage i s already being set for the f i r s t battle of  Arthur's war with h i s temptation.  Desire and opportunity are aligned;  i t remains to be seen how Arthur's moral conscience w i l l react against this formidable a l l i a n c e .  As he rides away from the H a l l  Farm with Mr. Irwine, the parson on h i s own i n i t i a t i v e volunteers and proffers a hint that could be immensely valuable to Arthur at this stage:  "When I've made up my mind that I can't afford to buy a tempting dog, I take no notice of him, because i f he took a strong fancy to me, and looked l o v i n g l y at me, the  - 45.  s t r u g g l e between a r i t h m e t i c and i n c l i n a t i o n might become unpleasantly severe." (AB, c h . 9)  This h i n t i s not r e j e c t e d :  i t m e r e l y meets a c c e p t a n c e a t a low l e v e l  o f comprehension, a l e v e l t h a t i n terms o f p r a c t i c a l e f f i c a c y i s o f t e n no b e t t e r than r e j e c t i o n . lot;  That i s one o f the t r a g e d i e s o f t h e human  i t c e r t a i n l y proves t o be A r t h u r ' s i n the p r e s e n t i n s t a n c e . Two o f the t h r e e d e c i s i v e b a t t l e s i n the war o f A r t h u r ' s  conscience  a g a i n s t h i s own d e s i r e , backed by e x t e r n a l o p p o r t u n i t y ,  a r e fought and l o s t the v e r y next day, Thursday, the day on w h i c h , as he has a s c e r t a i n e d i n the d a i r y ( c h . 7 ) , H e t t y w i l l t w i c e be p a s s i n g through Mrs.  the Chase:  a t about f o u r , i n the a f t e r n o o n , on h e r way t o  Pomfret, and a t about e i g h t i n the e v e n i n g ,  There i s no q u e s t i o n o f s e d u c t i o n a t t h i s s t a g e .  on h e r way back home. The s e d u c t i o n w i l l  o c c u r l a t e r , a t t h e H e r m i t a g e ; i t cannot be d e s c r i b e d i n a V i c t o r i a n n o v e l , and even t h e e x a c t time i s l e f t u n s p e c i f i e d . we have i s H e t t y ' s  pregnancy and the " l i t t l e  The o n l y  evidence  pink s i l k neckerchief (or  h a n d k e r c h i e f ) " t h a t A r t h u r t h r u s t s i n t o the waste-paper b a s k e t i n c h a p t e r 28 and t a k e s out a g a i n a t the v e r y end o f c h a p t e r 48.  The  p o i n t a t i s s u e on t h i s c r u c i a l Thursday i s s i m p l y whether he w i l l renounce the o p p o r t u n i t y o f b e i n g a l o n e w i t h H e t t y f o r the f i r s t  time.  He has c e r t a i n l y made no commitment t o meet h e r , and y e t he knows t h a t she i s e x p e c t i n g him.  Viewed o b j e c t i v e l y , h e r e x p e c t a t i o n c o n s t i t u t e s  an added r e a s o n a g a i n s t f u l f i l l i n g i t .  A l t h o u g h A r t h u r does n o t (and  perhaps c a n n o t ) r e a l i z e i t e f f e c t i v e l y , h i s a c t s o f g a l l a n t r y a t c h u r c h and  i n the d a i r y ( c h a p t e r 7, but a l s o f o r some weeks p r i o r t o the o p e n i n g  o f t h e n o v e l ) have a l r e a d y wrought c o n s i d e r a b l e m i s c h i e f :  - 46.  Hetty had got a face and a presence haunting her waking and sleeping dreams; bright, soft glances had penetrated her, and suffused her l i f e with a strange, happy languor . . . For three weeks, at least, her inward l i f e had cons i s t e d of l i t t l e else than l i v i n g through In memory the looks and words Arthur had directed toward her. (ch. 9)  His absence from the Chase at those f a t e f u l hours (about 4 p.m. 8 p.m.)  and  on this Thursday would be the most convincing and the least  painful way  of t e l l i n g Hetty that h i s previous attentions meant nothing,  and that she would be f o o l i s h to give them any further  thought.  Thursday opens auspiciously with two wise resolutions:  Arthur  w i l l avoid Hetty completely that day, meeting her neither i n the afternoon nor i n the evening; i t ends ignominiously with both resolutions broken, and with the genesis of a third'--to make a confidant of Parson Irwine—which  w i l l promptly be broken the following morning.  George  E l i o t presents the formation of this t r i p l e defeat with such uncanny i n s i g h t , such recognizable truth to experience, that Arthur's inconsequent  thoughts, hollow r a t i o n a l i z a t i o n s , and f r a n t i c ,  futile  movements seem to defy comprehension, just as they would In actual  life.  He turns each f a i l u r e into a stepping stone to the next, and w i l l not even acknowledge squarely to himself that a problem exists at a l l . No appreciable harm, he thinks, would be done i f he did meet Hetty that day.  His resolutions to avoid her are therefore i m p l i c i t rather than  e x p l i c i t ; he may so.  How  break them without being acutely conscious of doing  can anyone expect to succeed i n a d i f f i c u l t act of s e l f - d e n i a l ,  when he i s simultaneously persuading himself that i t i s r e a l l y more or less unnecessary and superfluous?  Locked i n the mental prison that  engendered h i s e v i l desire, Arthur i s desperately seeking a path of  - 47. r e s c u e o r a g u i d i n g l i g h t w i t h i n the w a l l s , where none e x i s t s .  As  l o n g as he s t a y s t h e r e and the o p p o r t u n i t y o f f u l f i l m e n t r e m a i n s , n o t h i n g t h a t he does o r f a i l s t o do c a n prevent  the s t e a d y i n t e n s i f i c a t i o n o f  h i s d e s i r e , u n t i l i t ends i n y i e l d i n g and d i s a s t e r , f o r no man's i n n e r r e s i s t a n c e i s u n l i m i t e d , and A r t h u r ' s i s o n l y a v e r a g e . him,  Unperceived  by  s a l v a t i o n beckons o u t s i d e the w a l l s ; but he i s i n s u f f i c i e n t l y  aware o f t h e i r e x i s t e n c e , and s t i l l through  l e s s of h i s i n a b i l i t y to break  them w i t h o u t h e l p from a n o t h e r human b e i n g :  a human b e i n g who  i n t h i s case i s a v a i l a b l e and would be g l a d and competent t o g i v e i t . One o f the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s o f i n v o l v e m e n t r e a l i s t i c a l l y , and i n p e r s p e c t i v e . o f Roy D a n i e l l s '  i s i n a b i l i t y t o see c l e a r l y ,  I am reminded o f two l i n e s from one  sonnets:  And t h e r e ' s a causeway r e a c h i n g o u t o f s i g h t , A s t r a i g h t r o a d r i g h t t o the C e l e s t i a l C i t y . ^  H i s v i s i o n o b s t r u c t e d , A r t h u r cannot d i s c e r n the "causeway," the " s t r a i g h t road":  a human t r a g e d y i s c l e a r l y i n the making.  W i t h i n h i s p r i s o n , A r t h u r c a n a t f i r s t choose between t o t a l r e s i s t a n c e and p a r t i a l y i e l d i n g ; he t r i e s b o t h , one a f t e r the o t h e r , w i t h p r e d i c t a b l e consequences.  Temporarily  thwarted  i n h i s p l a n t o go  f i s h i n g a t E a g l e d a l e , and t o t a l l y unaware t h a t he cannot escape from h i m s e l f by p h y s i c a l movement, he d e c i d e s  t o "have a g a l l o p on R a t t l e r  t o Norburne t h i s m o r n i n g , and l u n c h w i t h Gawaine" ( c h . 1 2 ) . p l a n I s c a r r i e d o u t , b u t s e r v e s no purpose w h a t e v e r .  This  Instead of staying  and c h a t t i n g w i t h Gawaine l o n g enough t o e n s u r e t h a t H e t t y s h a l l have  ^Deeper i n t o the F o r e s t ( T o r o n t o : 1948), p. 22.  U n i v e r s i t y d f Toronto P r e s s ,  -  reached  48.  the housekeeper's room and be s a f e out o f s i g h t b e f o r e  r e t u r n s , as he had t a c i t l y promised  h i m s e l f , he comes g a l l o p i n g back  i n g r e a t h a s t e a t t h r e e , from f e a r t h a t he m i g h t m i s s h e r . E l i o t here i n t e r j e c t s one  he  George  of h e r pungent comments:  I b e l i e v e t h e r e have been men s i n c e h i s day who have r i d d e n a l o n g way t o a v o i d a r e n c o n t r e , and t h e n g a l l o p e d h a s t i l y back l e s t t h e y s h o u l d miss i t . I t i s the f a v o u r i t e s t r a t a g e m o f our p a s s i o n s t o sham a r e t r e a t , and t o t u r n s h a r p round upon us a t the moment we have made up our minds t h a t the day i s our own. (ch.  Not b e i n g a c a l l o u s man,  A r t h u r i s now  o f us manage t o s o l v e w i t h remarkable ourselves to o u r s e l v e s .  12)  f a c e d w i t h a problem t h a t most ingenuity:  the problem o f j u s t i f y i n g  A r t h u r proves no e x c e p t i o n .  The  d e s i r e to  meet H e t t y , he t e l l s h i m s e l f , i s b a s i c a l l y a " t r i v i a l  fancy," i n f l a t e d  by h i s own  Irwine's  f o o l i s h r e s i s t a n c e t h i s morning and by Mr.  judged and u n a s k e d - f o r diary.  The  a d v i c e as t h e y were r i d i n g away from Mrs.  But he i s not a c t u a l l y  p l a n n i n g t o see h e r .  i f i t o c c u r s , w i l l be i n c i d e n t a l .  and  Their  H i s r e a l purpose i n g o i n g  to the Hermitage i s t o f i n i s h r e a d i n g a h o v e l — D r . The  Poyser's  o n l y s e n s i b l e t h i n g to do i s t o see her t h i s a f t e r n o o n  break the s p e l l . meeting,  ill-  Moore's Z e l u c o .  ^  Hermitage i s i d e a l f o r l o l l i n g on such an e n e r v a t i n g a f t e r n o o n as  this.  Why  s h o u l d he not go t h e r e ?  h i m s e l f as the same person who  A r t h u r would h a r d l y r e c o g n i z e  o n l y t w e n t y - f o u r h o u r s e a r l i e r had  the H a l l Farm i n the R e c t o r ' s company.  And y e t h i s m e n t a l  left  processes  George E l i o t had h e r reasons f o r c h o o s i n g t h i s p a r t i c u l a r title. See I r v i n g H. Buchen, " A r t h u r Donnithorne and Z e l u c o : C h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n v i a L i t e r a r y A l l u s i o n i n Adam Bede," Victorian N e w s l e t t e r , X X I I I ( S p r i n g 1963), 18-19.  - 49. -  are q u i t e u n d e r s t a n d a b l e and e l i c i t  the r e a d e r ' s sympathy.  Having  found t h a t r e s i s t a n c e a g g r a v a t e s h i s d e s i r e i n s t e a d o f b r i n g i n g the gradual  r e l e a s e he had hoped f o r , he n a t u r a l l y c o n c l u d e s t h a t the o n l y  a l t e r n a t i v e c o u r s e o f a c t i o n he c a n e n v i s a g e must produce the o p p o s i t e effect.  I t i s h a r d f o r any human b e i n g  and h a r d e r s t i l l his  t o regard  defeat  as I n e v i t a b l e ,  to r e a l i z e e f f e c t i v e l y that a s u f f i c i e n t widening of  m e n t a l h o r i z o n would e n a b l e h i m t o t r a n s c e n d  t h e problem t h a t now  appears i n s o l u b l e . As a l m o s t anyone m i g h t have p r e d i c t e d , the f i r s t m e e t i n g w i t h Hetty  i n the Wood does n o t h i n g  t o assuage A r t h u r ' s  c r a v i n g ; on the  c o n t r a r y , i t whets h i s a p p e t i t e f o r more m e e t i n g s and g r e a t e r  intimacy.  No t h i r d c o u r s e o f a c t i o n i s p o s s i b l e w i t h i n h i s p r e s e n t c o n f i n e s : had  t r i e d r e s i s t a n c e and found t h a t i t f a l l s ; he has t r i e d  y i e l d i n g and found t h a t I t f a i l s a t l e a s t e q u a l l y . would t h i n k , he w i l l  The f i r s t m e e t i n g w i t h H e t t y  S u r e l y now, one  t h r o u g h them.  i s exerting i t s negative  b o t h i n f o m e n t i n g A r t h u r ' s m e n t a l and e m o t i o n a l c o n f u s i o n , p r o v i d i n g a new r a t i o n a l i z a t i o n . met H e t t y  i n the a f t e r n o o n ,  Despite  he i s now a s s i d u o u s l y  and  influence, and i n  preparing  for. d e f e a t  t h a t a n o t h e r m e e t i n g w i t h h e r has bee  h i s e x p e r i e n c e t o d a t e , he i s about t o r e p e a t a l l the  m i s t a k e s he made i n the m o r n i n g . confidence;  But he does  H a v i n g l o s t h i s f i r s t b a t t l e when he  i n the second by p e r s u a d i n g h i m s e l f a duty.  partial  become aware o f the m e n t a l w a l l s t h a t impede h i s  v i s i o n and o f h i s need f o r h e l p i n b r e a k i n g not.  he  A g a i n he f a i l s t o take anyone i n t o h i s  a g a i n he t r u s t s t o h i s own judgment i n a s t a t e o f d i s t u r b a n c e  i n f a t u a t i o n ; a g a i n he i m a g i n e s t h a t he c a n r e l y on h i s s e l f - m a s t e r y ,  t h a t he can t r u s t i n h i s own r e s o l u t i o n s , w i t h o u t c a s t i n g away the means  - 50. o f b r e a k i n g them.  S i t t i n g i n the Hermitage between h i s f i r s t m e e t i n g  w i t h H e t t y and d i n n e r - t i m e  ( c h . 12, c o n c l u d i n g p a r t ) , he b e g i n s h i s  r u m i n a t i o n s w i t h a f l a s h o f i n s i g h t and w i l l not meet H e t t y a g a i n .  the w i s e r e s o l u t i o n t h a t he  Then he r e p e a t s the c a r d i n a l b l u n d e r  b e l i e v i n g t h a t he w i l l be a b l e to p e r s i s t i n h i s r e s o l u t i o n ,  of  and  proceeds t o reward h i m s e l f b e f o r e h a n d by i n d u l g i n g i n m e n t a l images o f the m e e t i n g w h i c h he has h e r o i c a l l y renounced. enough, these i n d u l g e n c e s  l e a d him  H e t t y once m o r e — f o r h e r own balance  Maintained  long  t o the c o n c l u s i o n t h a t he must see  sake, not f o r h i s .  Striking a judicious  between o f f e n s i v e c o l d n e s s and amorous advances, he w i l l t r y  to a n n u l  the f a l s e I m p r e s s i o n  t h a t he has u n w i t t i n g l y c r e a t e d i n h e r  mind; f a i l u r e t o make t h i s a t t e m p t would amount t o wanton c r u e l t y . Thus the q u e s t i o n no l o n g e r i s whether he w i l l h o l d a l o o f from H e t t y t h i s e v e n i n g , but m e r e l y whether he w i l l " i n a q u i e t , k i n d way" A r t h u r has  succeed i n b e a r i n g h i m s e l f  ( c h . 12, n e a r end o f p e n u l t i m a t e  lowered h i s s i g h t s a l o n g way  paragraph).  s i n c e the morning o f  the  same day. A r t h u r ' s second meeting w i t h H e t t y ( c h . 13) c o n s t i t u t e s a double d e f e a t :  i t s occurrence  as such v i o l a t e s the r e s o l u t i o n s he  made i n the m o r n i n g ; i t s outcome impugns h i s d i r e c t l y rationalizations.  preceding  T h e i r i n t i m a c y h a v i n g advanced to the k i s s i n g  he can no l o n g e r save h e r from s u f f e r i n g , but he can s t i l l from r u i n i n g her l i f e .  What she w i l l endure i f he now  i s as n o t h i n g when compared w i t h h e r u l t i m a t e o r d e a l .  stage,  refrain  l e a v e s her  Arthur i s at  l a s t becoming aware o f the m e n t a l w a l l s t h a t o b s t r u c t h i s v i s i o n , the d i s a s t e r t h a t must ensue i f he s t a y s w i t h i n them, and i n a b i l i t y to break through  unaided.  alone  of  of h i s  But awareness f u n c t i o n s on  different  l e v e l s , d i s t i n g u i s h e d by degrees shade too low:  o f i n t e n s i t y , and h i s r a n k s j u s t a  s i t t i n g on the b o r d e r l i n e of e f f e c t i v e n e s s , i t i s  e a s i l y i n f l u e n c e d by s m a l l s o l i c i t a t i o n s o f c i r c u m s t a n c e , f a v o u r a b l e or u n f a v o u r a b l e .  A s l i g h t s h i f t i n the  whether  kaleidoscope  o f e v e n t s can s p e l l the d i f f e r e n c e between d e l i v e r a n c e and  calamity.  Parson I r w i n e ' s r e f l e c t i o n s a f t e r the t r a g e d y a r e d i r e c t l y t o the p o i n t , e x c e p t t h a t he m i g h t j u s t l y blame h i m s e l f a l i t t l e more: I t was p l a i n enough now what A r t h u r had wanted t o conf e s s . And i f t h e i r words had taken a n o t h e r t u r n . . . if he h i m s e l f had been l e s s f a s t i d i o u s about i n t r u d i n g on a n o t h e r man's s e c r e t s . . . i t was c r u e l t o t h i n k how t h i n a f i l m had shut out rescue from a l l t h i s g u i l t and misery. (AB, ch. 39; George E l i o t ' s e l l i p s e s . )  A r t h u r , of course, his  i s not f a v o u r e d w i t h the l i g h t o f h i n d s i g h t .  second m e e t i n g w i t h H e t t y on Thursday e v e n i n g ,  l i m i t e d way  t h a t he cannot t r u s t h i s own  he r e a l i z e s I n a  r e s o l u t i o n s and  f i n d h i m s e l f i n an u n s p e a k a b l e p o s i t i o n i f he c o n t i n u e s today.  Following  t h a t he  may  as he has  done  P e r h a p s , deep down i n h i s h e a r t , he does not r e a l l y b e l i e v e t h a t  such a f a t e c o u l d e v e r b e f a l l him--him of a l l p e o p l e , a l u c k y , w e l l meaning, good-natured f e l l o w l i k e him. i s w i s e and  fills  one w i t h hope.  Still,  Tomorrow m o r n i n g , as soon as he  had h i s b r e a k f a s t , he w i l l r i d e t o Broxton l o v e problem to Mr. it  seem t r i v i a l ;  paragraph).  Irwine.  Rectory  I t seems a r e a s o n a b l e  morning ( F r i d a y ) .  and  has  c o n f e s s h i s whole  mere a c t o f t e l l i n g i t would make  the t e m p t a t i o n would v a n i s h  two b a t t l e s , A r t h u r may  battle.  "The  he makes a d e c i s i o n t h a t  ..."  expectation.  s t i l l be saved by  ( c h . 13,  penultimate  Having l o s t h i s  first  t h i s p l a n f o r the f o l l o w i n g  U n f o r t u n a t e l y , however, he does n o t e n v i s a g e  F a i l i n g t o a n t i c i p a t e any d i f f i c u l t i e s or h i n d r a n c e s ,  another he f i n d s  - 52. himself completely unprepared when they arise.  His experience to  date has not appreciably affected the easy optimism that is apt to beguile him.  Will the "act of telling" be easy when he is actually  sitting face to face with the Rector?  If he does get through the act,  w i l l i t necessarily make the whole affair seem t r i v i a l ? really vanish so easily?  Do temptations  Arthur does not ask himself these questions;  i f he did, his chances of victory would be higher.  The last nine words  of chapter 13--"there was no more need for him to think"--are fraught with dramatic irony, foreshadow his third and final defeat, and draw attention to one of its major causes.  Throughout the whole of his  involvement with Hetty, Arthur does not think enough. The next morning, Friday, Arthur goes through the motions. Beginning even better than he had Intended, he rides to Broxton before breakfast instead of after i t , and is soon seated with Mr. Irwine at a heavily laden table (ch. 16).  The stage-setting that he had  envisaged has been realized; now is his chance to f u l f i l l the good resolutions of the preceding night.  But once again he f a i l s , because  a l l the paraphernalia of his plan, however meticulously carried out, are rendered meaningless by omission of the one essential communication of his love problem to the Parson.  element--  Although subtly hidden  in the general scene and dialogue, the mental processes that impede Arthur from making this crucial confession may (at some loss, necessarily) be isolated and briefly listed:  Reluctance to admit his weakness from  fear of forfeiting Mr. Irwine's good opinion and respect; vague and unrealistic trust that the turn of the conversation w i l l do his work for him painlessly and almost automatically; delusion that his problem  - 53. i s not r e a l l y s e r i o u s , s i n c e the R e c t o r  (whom he keeps i n  does not c o n f i r m i t s s e r i o u s n e s s ; 5 doubt whether Mr. anything  ignorance)  I r w i n e can  do  t h a t he cannot do f o r h i m s e l f ; m i s t a k e n b e l i e f t h a t r e v i v a l  of h i s p l a n to keep out of harm's way  by a f i s h i n g - t r i p to  makes c o n f e s s i o n u n n e c e s s a r y ; sudden m e n t a l w i t h d r a w a l back when Mr.  Eagledale  or s h r i n k i n g  I r w i n e commits the t a c t i c a l e r r o r o f f o r c i n g him  b r i n k w i t h an a b r u p t , d i r e c t , and  personal question; fear that  g e n e r a l m o r a l d i s c u s s i o n he h i m s e l f has  t o the the  i n i t i a t e d w i l l make subsequent  c o n f e s s i o n appear f a r more s e r i o u s than ( i n h i s v i e w a t t h a t moment) i t r e a l l y i s ; l a s t l y , and  perhaps most i m p o r t a n t  of a l l ,  t h e r e i s the  " b a c k s t a i r s i n f l u e n c e , " as George E l i o t a p t l y c a l l s i t ( c h . 16). A r t h u r r e a l l y want t o s t a y away from H e t t y ?  Meeting her again  Does may  become much more d i f f i c u l t a f t e r a c o n f e s s i o n to Mr.  Irwine.  c o n s c i o u s l y and h a l f u n c o n s c i o u s l y he has e n g i n e e r e d  the f a i l u r e o f h i s  own  Half  e x c e l l e n t p l a n , the p l a n t h a t c o u l d so e a s i l y have saved h i m s e l f  and o t h e r s from h i d e o u s s u f f e r i n g .  The  i n t e r v i e w w i t h Mr.  Irwine  has  proved f r u i t l e s s , l e a v i n g the w a l l s o f A r t h u r ' s m e n t a l p r i s o n unshaken and unbroken.  George E l i o t remarks:  The o p p o r t u n i t y was gone. W h i l e A r t h u r was h e s i t a t i n g , the rope t o which he might have c l u n g had d r i f t e d away-he must t r u s t now t o h i s own swimming. ( c h . 16, p e n u l t i m a t e paragraph.)  I n p r a c t i c e t h i s means t h a t A r t h u r i s now, f r a n t i c and  f u t i l e search  n e c e s s a r i l y , r e v e r t i n g to h i s  f o r a path of r e s c u e w i t h i n the w a l l s , where  " I t was n o t , a f t e r a l l , a t h i n g t o make a f u s s a b o u t . " H e a v i l y dependent on o t h e r p e o p l e ' s o p i n i o n , A r t h u r can see h i m s e l f o n l y as they see him. 5  - 54. none e x i s t s , where a n y t h i n g  -  t h a t he does o r r e f r a i n s f r o m . d o i n g  will  s t i m u l a t e t h e growth o f h i s d e s i r e u n t i l i t proves t o o much f o r h i s powers o f r e s i s t a n c e .  D i s a s t e r has become a n e a r - ^ c e r t a i n t y .  Revival of Arthur's  f a i t h i n escape from h i m s e l f by p h y s i c a l  movement i s the f i r s t symptom t h a t the i n t e r v i e w w i t h Mr. I r w i n e has failed.  H i s m e n t a l s t a t e - - t h e s t a t e t h a t makes c a l a m i t y  remains v i r t u a l l y u n a l t e r e d .  On l e a v i n g the R e c t o r y ,  s t a r t i m m e d i a t e l y on h i s f i s h i n g - t r i p t o E a g l e d a l e  inevitable—  he d e c i d e s t o  ( c h . 16, l a s t  p a r a g r a p h ) , and a p p a r e n t l y he does go t h e r e , f o r he i s absent from the c h u r c h s e r v i c e on t h e f o l l o w i n g Sunday, and Mr. C r a i g , the g a r d e n e r , t e l l s Adam t h a t t h a t i s the r e a s o n ( c h . 1 8 ) . But i t means as l i t t l e as h i s e a r l i e r moves meant.  H i s thoughts w h i l e engaged i n f i s h i n g  are n o t d e s c r i b e d , b u t may e a s i l y be s u r m i s e d . A r t h u r w i l l be back a g a i n b e f o r e great  preparations  l o n g , f o r he has t o s u p e r v i s e t h e  f o r h i s coming-of-age. p a r t y on J u l y 30.  know t h e p r e c i s e time when the a c t u a l s e d u c t i o n p r o b a b i l i t y before  Mr. C r a i g says t h a t  that date.  takes  We do n o t  p l a c e , but i n a l l  By the day o f the f e a s t he has a l r e a d y  g i v e n H e t t y an e x p e n s i v e p a i r o f e a r r i n g s and a l o c k e t w i t h h i s h a i r , and (ch.  the b r i e f l y described  scene t h a t l e d t o the g i v i n g o f the e a r r i n g s  22) s u g g e s t s g r e a t i n t i m a c y .  he w h i s p e r s t o h e r :  A t the dance on the same f e s t i v e day  " ' I s h a l l be i n the wood the day a f t e r to-morrow  a t s e v e n ; come as e a r l y as you c a n " ( c h . 2 6 ) . We l e a r n l a t e r 1  nemesis i s a l r e a d y b e g i n n i n g had  f o r h i m a t t h i s time:  been a t ease b e f o r e Adam's d i s c o v e r y .  transformed  "Not t h a t  that Arthur  S t r u g g l e s and r e s o l v e s had  themselves i n t o compunction and a n x i e t y " ( c h . 2 9 ) . H i s l i e s  when Adam sees h i m w i t h H e t t y i n the Grove (ch.. 27) a c c e n t u a t e t h e e v i l , but  they a r e i n a sense well-meant f o r H e t t y ' s  p r o t e c t i o n - - " ' I thought  - 55. i t was f o r c e d upon me; I thought i t was the b e s t t h i n g I c o u l d d o " 1  (ch.  48)--and they come t o h i s l i p s l i k e the b l i n k i n g o f a menaced e y e ,  without  premeditation. Commenting on A r t h u r , Jerome Thale remarks:  "This i s o f course  the q u e s t i o n , whether t h e f e a r o f g i v i n g p a i n and the d e s i r e t o be admired w i l l produce v i r t u e . " & conscience  i s c l e a r ; otherwise  And he answers, " o n l y as l o n g as the they a r e u s e l e s s and p e r n i c i o u s . "  7  H i s approach t o Adam Bede i s , I b e l i e v e , i n harmony w i t h the a u t h o r ' s intention.  Without d e p r e c i a t i n g the appeal  o f t h e p a s t o r a l s e t t i n g , he  sees the n o v e l as p r i m a r i l y an i n c i s i v e s c r u t i n y o f " t h e b a s i s o f conduct."  8  6The N o v e l s o f George E l i o t  (New Y o r k :  Columbia U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s ,  1959), p. 23. 7  I b i d . , p. 24.  T h e words i n q u o t a t i o n marks form t h e t i t l e o f h i s c h a p t e r on Adam Bede. 8  Section 2: Nicholas Bulstrode  Bulstrode ranks among George Eliot's greatest temptees. A l l three elements of the aggregate of temptation—revil desire, opportunity, and moral conscience—are f u l l y developed i n his case and interact i n a way that compels the reader's conviction. Yet one of the three outranks the other two as an outstanding achievement:  the graphic presentation  in a l l i t s twists and turns of Bulstrode's diseased and involuted moral conscience.  Once we have admitted that Raffles, though made plausible  for the moment, exists primarily for the purpose of resurrecting the temptee's e v i l past i n the present, and i s of l i t t l e intrinsic interest, we have exhausted a l l that can be entered on the negative side of the ledger.  A comment like Gerald Bullett's "the unmasking of the evangelical  Mr. Bulstrode (this last a crudely conceived and mechanically contrived sequence) . . . ,"9 i s surely perverse in that, though verbally defensible, i t misses nine-tenths of the essentials. Bulstrode's potentially e v i l desire originates i n a shady past that i s gradually revealed to the reader, and particularly (through his own retrospect) i n chapter 61 of Middlemarch.  The mental processes by  which he justifies the successive steps of this past betray an enormously egocentric person, who sees himself as the hub of the universe; looking upon every convenient event i n his l i f e as a "leading" that proves him 9 George E l i o t :  Her Life and Books (London:  p, 220.  - 56 -  Collins, 1947),  - 57  -  to be directed by a remarkable and personal Providence, he concludes that he has been singled out as a special instrument In the service of God.  George E l i o t ' s famous parable of "the scratches [that] w i l l seem  to arrange themselves i n a fine series of concentric c i r c l e s round . . . a centre of illumination" (M, ch. 27, opening) f i t s Bulstrode's egoism even more squarely than i t does Rosamond's. Rules of conduct that bind other men may be flouted by him when such behaviour enhances the glory of God, he himself of course being the judge of this issue.  Indeed he  comes close to having a partnership with God, and v i r t u a l l y bargains with Him when he t r i e s to stay the rod by offering to compensate Ladislaw for having defrauded his mother out of her due inheritance (ch. 6 l ) . Grossly deficient i n human sympathy, he sees himself l i v i n g under the special dispensation of a God who conveniently winks or looks the other way whenever the conduct of His "instrument" might otherwise embarrass Him.  Bernard J. Paris believes that Bulstrode "perfectly exemplif[ies]  Feuerbach's description of the religious habit of mind,"-^ and George E l i o t herself, who had translated Feuerbach, remarks:  "There i s no  general doctrine which i s not capable of eating out our morality I f unchecked by the deep-seated habit of direct fellow-feeling with individual fellow-men " (M, ch. 61). For decades Bulstrode has imposed himself on Middlemarch as an exceptionally pious and philanthropic person.  Since no one else,  obviously, w i l l believe that he has been granted a s p e c i a l dispensation, his peace of mind, his well-being, his happiness depend upon the past remaining a secret between himself and God.  Both his self-respect and  10 Experiments i n L i f e : George E l i o t ' s Guest for Values (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1965), p. 171.  - 58 -  his view of God's attitude toward him rest on the good opinion and high esteem of his fellow-men—the very men, ironically, whom he regards as nonentities In the divine scheme.  "The loss of high consideration from  his wife as from everyone else who did not clearly hate him out of enmity to the truth, would be as the beginning of death to him" (ch. 6 l ) .  This  being his posture, the threat of certain disclosures, combined with the possibility of averting i t by base conduct, w i l l almost inevitably constitute a temptation.  As George E l i o t remarks in another novel, "The  contaminating effect of deeds often lies less in the commission than i n the consequent adjustment of our desires—the enlistment of our selfinterest on the side of f a l s i t y " (R, ch. 9). His conduct in such a situation, should i t arise, seems virtually predetermined by the train of thought that served to justify the misdeeds he i s anxious to conceal. Trying to entangle Bulstrode i n the relation of forces called temptation, George E l i o t naturally begins with the transformation of latent or potential e v i l desire into virulently active e v i l desire; her way, as might be expected, i s the creation of an imminent threat to the v e i l of secrecy that Bulstrode's psyche requires, almost as much as his body requires food and sleep. Bulstrode's e v i l past i s precipitated into the present through the agency of his former tool and accomplice, John Raffles, a selfish, light-minded, drunken blackguard, who on any scale of human values must certainly rank a long way below his former employer.  Applying one of  George Eliot's favourite tests, one may assert that Bulstrode does believe in something other than his own greed,*-'- whereas Raffles does not. Cf. "But a man who believes in something else than his own greed, has necessarily a conscience or standard to which he more or less adapts himself." (M, ch. 61) 1 1  First  - 59 attracted to Middlemarch through an ingenious b i t of plot contrivance— Joshua Rigg (Featherstone), who has inherited Stone Court from his natural father, old Peter Featherstone, i s his stepson—Raffles soon forces himself on Bulstrode and blackmails him mercilessly.  Indeed he  plays a regular cat-and-mouse game with his victim, for the multiplicity of vices with which George Eliot endows him comprises a "delight in tormenting" (ch. 53).  Bulstrode suffers excruciatingly, not only from  the constant menace of exposure, shame, and humiliation, but also from his old accomplice's derisive parroting of religious views that (on a theoretical level) he holds with sincerity. some of the most sensitive spots.  Raffles manages to find  For example, he never tires of  insisting sarcastically that he was sent to Bulstrode by Providence, perhaps as a blessing to both.  Given this state of a f f a i r s , Bulstrode  must inevitably wish that his tormentor would cease to exist, for he knows that no other contingency w i l l put an end to his ordeal.  His  numerous and liberal payments to Raffles are not only the means of buying a temporary respite and a temporary silence; on the last recorded occasion, when the blackmailer i s given yet another hundred pounds, the g i f t or bribe i s accompanied by the reflection i n the banker's mind "that the man had been much shattered since the f i r s t g i f t of two hundred pounds" (ch. 68). E v i l desire has already begun to change from i t s latent or potential state to a virulent, active drive.  Meanwhile Bulstrode's  moral conscience, representing the better part of a self even more drastically divided than that of most temptees, remains viable and alert.  Nevertheless, i t i s in i t s e l f seriously flawed, as we have  seen earlier in this Section; and to that extent i t i s weakened i n  - 60 i t s power to oppose the lower part, represented by e v i l desire.  Comple-  tion of the aggregate of temptation now calls for the introduction of an opportunity adapted to both parts of the temptee's self:  i t must entice  e v i l desire and simultaneously seek to undermine the opposing moral conscience.  In the present case, the f i r s t aim i s attained by making  fulfillment appear not only easily possible, but also legally safe; the second, by discerning the flaws i n the moral conscience i t s e l f , and exploiting them through rationalizations carefully devised for the purpose and seductively insinuated.  The Introduction of this opportunity  marks the beginning of Bulstrode's great battle with his temptation—the battle that after a prolonged and rather valiant struggle he loses, thereby adding the crime of virtual murder to his earlier misdeeds. Seriously i l l , Raffles has returned to Middlemarch and been taken to Stone Court (now owned by Bulstrode, but not his usual residence) In Caleb Garth's gig (ch. 69).  Garth then informs the banker of what he  has done, and at the same time severs a l l further relations with him (he had recently assumed employment as manager of the land connected with Stone Court), admitting that certain disclosures made by the sick man compel him to this decision.  Bulstrode feels deeply mortified, and yet  characteristically sees an earnest of heavenly protection In two fortuitous chances.  F i r s t , so far as he knows, the secret has been betrayed  to no one but honest Caleb Garth, who now allays one of his fears with a solemn assurance:  "'I hold i t a crime to expose a man's sin unless I am  clear i t must be done to save the innocent'" (ch. 69).  Secondly, Raffles  l i e s at Stone Court, where Bulstrode can keep personal watch over him and prevent communication with anyone else, even Mr. and Mrs. Abel, the house-  - 61  keeper couple.  -  People might draw dangerous inferences from the patient's  semi-coherent muttering. The temptee's satisfaction i n these two coincidences bodes i l l for the outcome of the impending struggle: i t reveals that, blinded by the hope of maintaining absolute secrecy, he f a i l s to recognize the primary p e r i l that confronts him.  In the circumstances that have now arisen, his  inescapable desire for Raffles' death surely constitutes a threat appalling enough to overshadow the r i s k of possible disclosures.  But Bulstrode  does no more than barely perceive his chief p e r i l as a quite secondary danger.  His thoughts cannot escape from the fixed, narrow, and r i n g -  shaped groove i n which they have been going round and round, In endless c i r c l e s , for decades.  Once he has arranged everything with a view to the  greatest protection for himself from what he quite mistakenly regards as the primary danger—that i s , from disclosures by the patients-he does "set himself to keep his intention separate from his desire. He inwardly declared that he intended to obey [the doctor's] orders" (ch. 70).  In  the face of his extreme l i a b i l i t y to the commission of an abhorrent crime, that i s his closest approach to a vow of righteousness.  As for securing  himself by casting aside the means of breaking this half-hearted vow, no thought of the kind enters his head—unless, indeed, i t s opposite be regarded as a r e l a t i v e .  Far from confiding i n anyone, he does not even  take the elementary precaution of entrusting the patient exclusively to Lydgate's care and directions (as regards nurses or hospitalization, for example), while himself keeping out of harm's way by avoiding a l l contact with the patient. Preoccupied with the reverse of what ought to be his primary anxiety, he makes no more than a bow i n the right direction,  - 62 -  while carefully preserving and even cultivating the means of transgressing his half-hearted resolution.  Some of the temptees take their vows  more seriously than Bulstrode does, and come much closer than he to severing their own lines of retreat.  Nevertheless, they are defeated i n  the end, for (consciously or unconsciously) they have l e f t a path of retreat, however narrow; in consequence, they are forced to rely on their own vision, strength, and guidance at the very moment—the peak of moral crisis—when these are most l i k e l y to f a i l them.  It Is no  wonder, then, that Bulstrode w i l l share their fate. George Eliot introduces an element of irony into Bulstrode s 1  struggle—an element that on a f i r s t reading of the novel cannot be perceived at the point where i t operates chronologically, and may easily be missed on a second or even later reading. nized by any of the published c r i t i c s .  I have not seen i t recog-  Yet there i s no ambiguity; the  simple facts of the novel demand this conclusion. The temptee i s not merely losing his battle; he is.fighting one that serves no purpose at a l l and Is indeed contrary to his own interest, however defined. Were he aware of the facts, he would realize that no disclosures on Raffles' part can at this stage add anything to the impending disaster; nor could the disaster be averted by Raffles' death in a public hospital and i n the most unexceptionable circumstances.  Perhaps misled, in part, by the  lifelong habit of seeing himself as a special pet of Providence, Bulstrode Is much too sanguine i n the assumption that Garth alone knows his secret. While staying at Bilkley and before returning to Middlemarch, Raffles told the whole story to Mr. Bambridge, "a horse-dealer of the neighbourhood," whom we f i r s t meet at the beginning of chapter 23, where we are  - 63 told that his "company was much sought in Middlemarch by young men understood to be 'addicted to pleasure.'" His e v i l influence on one of these— Fred Vincy—especially i n the light of i t s later contrast with Mary's influence, her father's, and Mr. Farebrother's, gives us some measure of the horse-dealer's character. It i s Bambridge and Bambridge alone who repeats Raffles' scandal to the town at large (ch. 71, near opening), nor was there ever any chance that a man of his stamp would act otherwise in the circumstances.  Though he does not and cannot then know i t ,  Bulstrode i s doomed even before Raffles delivers "his minute terrorstricken narrative to Caleb Garth" (ch. 69).  Caleb, we r e c a l l , feels  bound to guard the secret even from his trustworthy wife.  But of course  one can scarcely conceive a wider gulf between two characters than that which divides Mr. Bambridge from Mr. Garth.  The diametrically opposite  reactions of these two men under a common stimulus constitute a minor and yet memorable instance of the many mutually illuminating contrasts i n which Middlemarch abounds. However interesting, the author's motive in this arrangement of the plot must remain conjectural.  Her scheme  requires, of course, that Bulstrode be exposed i n the end, but she was not bound to render his battle with temptation futile beforehand.  Dis-  closure might have come at a much later point, for example during the night when Raffles i s l e f t i n Mrs. Abel's hands.  Possibly George E l i o t  wished to point or to imply the moral that conduct based on calculations of self-interest tends to be self-defeating, since no man can know objectively where his interest l i e s ; he had better ask himself what, in any specific situation, constitutes kindness, honesty, and helpfulness:  the answer forms part of what i t i s given him to know.Sent for by the bankerj Dr. Lydgate soon arrives at Stone Court and examines Raffles, reaching the conclusion that recovery appears probable (ch. 69).  Communicating only with Bulstrode, who has expressed  his Intention of remaining at Stone Court and personally taking care of the patient, he issues a number of medical directives, with special emphasis on the refusal of alcoholic beverages of any kind, no matter how insistently they may be demanded.  Then he departs, promising to  return the next morning, and the temptee i s l e f t alone with his tormentor, except for Mr. and Mrs. Abel, who help in a purely mechanical way, being ignorant of the doctor's instructions.  His determination to keep them  uninformed, needless even when the basic urge to prevent disclosures i s accepted, certainly suggests the operation, so early i n the battle, of a dangerous "backstairs influence" (AB, ch. 16).  Examining Raffles'  pockets—a degrading act—Bulstrode finds some comfort i n the evidence (interpreted, with unconscious irony, as yet another sign of providential favour) that the blackmailer returned to town only this day, his nearest stopping place elsewhere having been Bilkley, some forty miles from Middlemarch—a sizable distance i n those days (ch. 70, opening).  The  banker's future as a man of prominence and evangelical influence i n Middlemarch has not, apparently, been ruined; i t simply remains endangered.  Godfrey Cass's experience i s similar to Bulstrode's i n this respect. Having kept his fatherhood of Eppie a secret for fifteen years, he discovers that Nancy, his second wife, would have been glad to adopt her. '"Do you think I'd have refused to take her i n , i f I'd known she was yours?'" "At that moment Godfrey f e l t a l l the bitterness of an error [i.e. his sin i n f a i l i n g to acknowledge Eppie] that was not simply f u t i l e , but had defeated i t s own end." (SM, ch. 18)  - 65 -  The path of self-interest thus seems perfectly clear:  while Raffles  continues sick, he must be prevented from making compromising disclosures to anyone, whether intentionally or through semi-coherent muttering; when he recovers (as Lydgate i s expecting), why then . . . God's w i l l be done, but i t would be most convenient for His faithful instrument i f i t were God's w i l l that Raffles should not recover. this wretched creature?" (ch. 70)  "What was the removal of  An intimation or "leading" to that  effect may be forthcoming and must not be missed.  Meanwhile Bulstrode  watches by the patient through the night and the following morning, abiding s t r i c t l y by the doctor's directions.  What he f a i l s to realize  Is that mental indulgence i n his e v i l wish for the patient's death steadily reduces the margin by which he outwardly continues to do what is right, or abstains from doing what would be wrong.  Lydgate's return  at noon—later than scheduled—concludes the f i r s t stage of the temptee's battle.  He has not lost i t ; yet the auguries for success in the second  and f i n a l stage are unpropitipus. Pathetically ignorant of what i s already pre-determined, and increasingly obsessed with the delusion that burial of Raffles would mean burial of the threatening past, Bulstrode opens the second stage of the battle by taking out an insurance against possible moral defeat (ch. 70).  Offering the thousand pounds he had coldly refused on the  previous day, he tries to win an a l l y by conferring a momentous benefit on Lydgate, entangled in dire financial straits.  He does not, of course,  analyze his own motives, but certainly the old habit of seeking and finding convenient "providential leadings" must make him alive to the possibility that another may be in the offing to extricate him from his  - 66 present predicament.  Since some people or society in general might f a i l  to recognize the validity (let alone sanctity) of such "leadings," he would be taking a wise precaution in binding the medical man to himself by a bond t h a t — i t proves a l l too true—can never be unravelled.  completely  "He did not measure the quantity of diseased motive which  had made him wish for Lydgate's goodwill, but the quantity was none the less actively there, like an i r r i t a t i n g agent In his blood" (ch. 70). Being a supreme egoist, he does not even think of possibly disastrous consequences for the doctor and the doctor's career.  Characteristically,  Bulstrode sees Lydgate, as he does nearly a l l others with whom he comes In contact, in the light of a convenience created primarily for his own sake. Decades before, when cheating Sarah Dunkirk (Ladislaw's future mother) out of her due inheritance, Bulstrode asked himself, "Could i t be for God's service that this fortune should in any considerable proportion go to a young woman and her husband who were given up to the lightest pursuits . . . ?" (ch. 61)  A corresponding train of thought  now leads him to conclude (since he is an authority on the subject) that the prolongation of a l i f e so dissolute as Raffles' cannot possibly tend to the glory of God.  Nevertheless, he carefully listens to and absorbs  the doctor's latest instructions, which are to avoid (as before) giving the patient any kind of alcoholic beverage, and to administer extremely small doses of opium i f sleeplessness persists.  Lydgate specifies the  exact point at which these doses must cease (whatever the state of the patient), and emphatically warns against the danger of their not ceasing. Following the doctor's. departure, Bulstrode again finds himself alone  - 67 with the sick man, who undoubtedly, i f he recovers, w i l l resume the role of tormentor and blackmailer. (We have to remind ourselves that Bulstrode does not know the facts; i f he did, he would realize that Raffles has already done his worst and is no longer in a position to blackmail him.)  Mr. and Mrs. Abel continue to help in only menial ways,  being deliberately kept as ignorant of the doctor's second set of instructions as of the f i r s t .  This last fact combines with the sudden, financial  generosity to Lydgate as a revelation of the temptee's psyche on this afternoon of the second day.  It seems clear that Bulstrode i s exceeding  the unsuccessful temptee's usual failure to cast away the means of breaking his vow.  Though not acknowledging (even to himself) that he  intends to break i t , he i s yet actively preparing for the contingency that he  may. The scene at Stone Court during the second stage of Bulstrode's  battle ( s t i l l ch. 70) certainly constitutes one of the most unalloyed and most arresting instances of the aggregate of temptation as George E l i o t conceives It. E v i l desire i s approaching i t s peak of intensity: "imperious w i l l stirred murderous impulses towards this brute l i f e . . ."; the opportunity of Indulging the e v i l desire entails l i t t l e fear of legal consequences (especially since the loan to Lydgate) and hence appears a l l the more spell-binding and seductive; the temptee's better s e l f — h i s moral conscience--faces steadily increasing odds in the tussle against this mighty alliance of opportunity with e v i l desire—Ms self.  own lowest  Moreover, intellectual equivocation has been a lifetime habit  with Bulstrode; in a very real sense he has for decades been lying to himself (while scrupulously shrinking from a direct factual l i e to others),  - 68 -  and i n proportion as he has come to believe i n the truth of his own l i e s , he has blurred awareness of ethical distinctions between his several selves—even between the lowest and the highest.  A perverted sense of  values certainly ranks among his most serious handicaps i n the present crisis.  The outcome of the battle i s s t i l l i n balance, but certain  c o l l a t e r a l trends and developments now begin to make their weight f e l t , a l l uniting i n the single effect of steadily m i l i t a t i n g against the temptee's chance of victory. Afraid to take anyone into his confidence, determined to retain the means of breaking his vow, he depends solely on inward colloquy, on self-guidance (which i n a c r i s i s often means l i t t l e more than random impulse); and these, taking their cue from speciously misleading outer circumstances (that i s , from an opportunity carefully adapted to the flaws or weakest spots i n the temptee's moral conscience) are propelling him r e l e n t l e s s l y toward surrender. The most potent of the c o l l a t e r a l Influences, probably, i s the new force that belongs to a f i n a l opportunity.  Raffles may soon f a l l  into curative sleep and wake the next morning In a state close to convalescence.  Resolution meets i t s ultimate and most trying test at the  l a s t moment: at the moment that w i l l make i t irrevocable. may be fast approaching for Bulstrode.  That moment  Then again, there i s his physical  state and i t s normal psychological consequences.  By the evening of the  second day he has gone without sleep for some twenty-four hours and borne a heavy load of v i r t u a l l y unrelieved anxiety.  A man of s i x t y  seldom i n better than tolerable health, he i s naturally t i r e d , weary, hear exhaustion.  Although morale and morals are two quite different  concepts, there i s this connection between them that a low state of  - 69 morale accentuates the d i f f i c u l t y o f adhering to a high standard o f morals, f o r such adherence requires inner resistance, and that does i n some degree fluctuate with changes i n the l e v e l o f morale.  Bulstrode  i s i n a l l p r o b a b i l i t y stating the simple t r u t h when he t e l l s Mrs. Abel i n the evening that he has reached the end o f h i s tether, and must confide the patient to her care.  He Informs her o f Lydgate's  instruc-  t i o n s , e s p e c i a l l y i n regard to the opium (including size of each dose and frequency), which he himself has already begun to administer i n accordance with the p r e s c r i p t i o n , since R a f f l e s continues sleepless and restless.  A l c o h o l i c beverages are not mentioned; they have so f a r been,  s t r i c t l y kept out o f the sick-room.  A l b e i t by a r a p i d l y dwindling  margin, Bulstrode i s s t i l l keeping h i s hands pure a t t h i s l a t e stage i n the b a t t l e .  Having instructed Mrs. Abel, he goes downstairs and s i t s  by the f i r e , we:ary almost to the point o f p a r a l y s i s and yet continuing to nurse h i s c o n f l i c t . Drawing on one of the centers o f strength i n her manifold t a l e n t , George E l i o t now contrives, quite p l a u s i b l y , the unique congruity (whether p o s i t i v e or negative) of inner state and outer circumstance that i n a precariously balanced moral c r i s i s f i n a l l y s p e l l s the difference between v i c t o r y and defeat.  Seated wearily i n the parlour and racked by  c o n f l i c t i n g impulses, Bulstrode suddenly remembers that he has forgotten to  t e l l Mrs. Abel when the doses o f opium must cease.  The author  probably wants her readers to accept t h i s as an honest error o f omission. I f there i s room f o r doubt, i t i s such doubt as i n p a r a l l e l circumstances occurs i n actual l i f e .  In any case, no appreciable harm can have been  done as yet; Bulstrode's absence from the sick-room has been too short.  - 70 He need o n l y go u p s t a i r s — n o w ,  immediately—and  add t h i s c r u c i a l i t e m o f  i n f o r m a t i o n t o t h e o t h e r i n s t r u c t i o n s he has l e f t w i t h t h e housekeeper. But he does n o t .  A t a moment when h i s d u t y s h i n e s by i t s own c l e a r  l i g h t , when d e l a y may r e s u l t i n t h e d e a t h o f a n o t h e r  human b e i n g , he  h e s i t a t e s and p r o c r a s t i n a t e s ; then goes u p s t a i r s , l i s t e n s o u t s i d e t h e d o o r o f t h e s i c k - r o o m , and f i n a l l y t u r n s i n t o h i s own bed-chamber, w i t h out even s e e i n g Mrs. A b e l a g a i n and w i t h o u t s a y i n g a s i n g l e word t o h e r . F o r t h e f i r s t time s i n c e t h e b e g i n n i n g o f t h e b a t t l e he has p u t h i m s e l f u n e q u i v o c a l l y i n t h e wrong.  Why does he now, a t one s t r o k e , a n n u l t h e  s t r e n u o u s and genuine e f f o r t s over h i m s e l f he has made e v e r Raffles, seriously i l l ,  since  a r r i v e d a t Stone C o u r t i n C a l e b G a r t h ' s  s i n g l e e r r o r o f omission, probably near-innocent  gig? A  i n i t i a l l y and e a s i l y  r e m e d i e d , has p r o v e d t h e p r e c i p i t a t i n g a g e n t t h a t t u r n s a p r e c a r i o u s moral balance  Into g l a r i n g moral defeat.  O f t e n a c c u s e d o f o v e r - e x p l a i n i n g h e r c h a r a c t e r s , George E l i o t does n o t h i n g o f t h e k i n d i n t h e c l o s i n g phase o f t h i s temptee's b a t t l e . B a r b a r a Hardy remarks in. h e r comment on "The A u t h o r ' s to  Bulstrode: " . . .  the convention o f omniscience  Voice" i n r e l a t i o n  [ i s ] suspended.  v o i c e i s as e x p r e s s i v e i n i t s absence a s i n i t s p r e s e n c e . " - ^ consciousness  As  The  The temptee's  i s becoming b l u r r e d and i n t e r m i t t e n t , and h i s c r e a t o r depends  on o u r i m a g i n a t i v e p a r t i c i p a t i o n t o see c l e a r l y where B u l s t r o d e sees d i m l y , and to  t o b r i d g e t h e gaps i n h i s c o n s c i o u s n e s s .  She i s i n e f f e c t a s k i n g u s  immerse o u r s e l v e s i n t h e p r e d i c a m e n t and m e n t a l i t y o f t h i s temptee.  ^ The N o v e l s o f George E l i o t : A t h l o n e P r e s s , 1959), p. I84.  a S t u d y i n Form (London:  - 71 The  I n t e r p r e t a t i v e comments which f o l l o w have no  as a n y t h i n g more than an attempt  claim to being  regarded  i n t h i s d i r e c t i o n on the p a r t o f  one  reader—myself. B u l s t r o d e h e s i t a t e s as soon as he grows aware o f h i s e r r o r f o r g e t f u l n e s s ; and  of  h e s i t a t i o n , i n the c i r c u m s t a n c e s , i s r e l e n t l e s s l y  t r a n s f o r m i n g an e r r o r o f f o r g e t f u l n e s s i n t o a crime o f d e l i b e r a t e omission.  Thus he I s caught  In a v i c i o u s and r e c o g n i z a b l e c i r c l e :  the  l o n g e r he h e s i t a t e s , the g r e a t e r h i s i n c e n t i v e f o r c o n t i n u i n g t o h e s i t a t e , s i n c e h i s g u i l t i s s t e a d i l y mounting. p r o b a b l y keep him of  s a f e , can he r e a s o n a b l y be expected  exposure t o s u s p i c i o n ?  t o c o u r t the  I t i s his i n i t i a l hesitation that starts  b a l l of mischief rolling; accounted  When d o i n g n o t h i n g a t a l l w i l l  and y e t t h i s i n i t i a l  f o r as t o appear a l l but i n e v i t a b l e .  h e s i t a t i o n i s so A man  risk the  easily  whose d e s i r e s  a c c o r d w i t h normal s t a n d a r d s would n o t have been a f r a i d t o acknowledge and  t o r e c t i f y an honest  yet  l i k e l y t o have r e s u l t e d i n any harm.  hastened  e r r o r o f o m i s s i o n , e s p e c i a l l y when i t i s not  to f o r e s t a l l e v i l  On  the c o n t r a r y , he would have  consequences o r t o keep them t o a minimum.  But B u l s t r o d e , u n l i k e h i s nephew F r e d V i n c y , never outgrows " . . .  the  n o t i o n t h a t the h i g h e s t motive f o r not d o i n g a wrong I s something i r r e s p e c t i v e o f the b e i n g s who  would s u f f e r the wrong" (M^  ch.  24).  H i s d e f i c i e n c i e s i n human sympathy combine w i t h h i s e g o c e n t r i c r e l i g i o u s f a n t a s i e s t o keep him  l o c k e d i n the l o w e s t o f "the t h r e e s t a g e s o f m o r a l  development" t h a t Bernard The  J . P a r i s r e c o g n i z e s i n George E l i o t ' s n o v e l s .  c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s o f t h i s stage a r e t h a t the  self  r e l a t e [ s ] t o the w o r l d e g o i s t i c a l l y (or s u b j e c t i v e l y ) , i n which case the d i s t i n c t i o n between the inward and the outward I s obscured; s e l f i s seen as the c e n t e r o f the w o r l d and the w o r l d  - 72 as an extension of s e l f . . . . The egoist tends to assume that the order of things corresponds to the desires of the mind; . . .-^4Bulstrode can have no f a i t h that others w i l l believe i n the honesty of an error of forgetfulness whose r e s u l t s promote the f u l f i l l m e n t of e v i l desires he has been nursing for some twenty hours.  He has now indulged  s i n f u l wishes f o r so long that i n h i s present wearied condition he i s no longer able to d i s t i n g u i s h c l e a r l y between wishing e v i l and doing e v i l . As soon as he grows conscious of a flaw In h i s conduct, he sees h i s e v i l wish outside himself, as Gwendolen does i n another novel when she watches Grandcourt drowning: wish outside me"'  " . . . I know n o t h i n g — I only know that I saw 1  (DD, ch. 56).  my  Thus he i s misled Into assuming, pre-  maturely, that the game i s up; that wishing and doing have become identical.  Like Gwendolen, he derives no comfort from that v i s i o n ; yet  i t exerts great influence i n that i t predisposes him to keeping the road whose successive milestones may be l a b e l l e d indulgence i n e v i l wishes, error of omission, awareness of error of omission, i n i t i a l h e s i t a t i o n , prolonged h e s i t a t i o n , crime of omission, and f i n a l l y crime of commission amounting to near-murder. Abstension from acting (whether f o r good or e v i l ) i s generally easier than acting; c e r t a i n l y i t does not demand an equally intense state of consciousness.  Bulstrode would a t t h i s point f i n d I t very d i f f i c u l t  to make a deliberate decision leading to an overt act; i n a c t i v i t y requires none:  i t only requires that indecision continue.  He i s not yet lured  into doing anything that he knows to be wrong; he i s only induced to r e f r a i n from doing something that he knows to be 1 4  Experiments .in. L i f e . pp. 128-129  right; and because of  - 73 his confused and overtired mental state, even that awareness i s dimmed and lacks the absolute c l a r i t y warranted i n the circumstances. By dint of incessantly looking at and self-debating the same subject, we lose v i s i o n , perspective, healthy common sense.  Something of the sort has  happened to Bulstrode. Though he apprehends what he ought to do about the opium, he apprehands i t at a r e l a t i v e l y low l e v e l of consciousness. Hence he i s p a r t i c u l a r l y susceptible to the temptation of allowing events to take their course.  I f he s i t s back doing nothing long enough, i f he  goes to bed and l e t s things s l i d e , he can reasonably expect f u l f i l l m e n t of his wish—-whether self-acknowledged or not, and as virulent as i t i s e v i l — f o r Raffles' death. Bulstrode i s encouraged i n this attitude by his awareness that Lydgate i n the l i g h t of the times (around 1831-32) i s a medical reformer, perhaps even a medical radical.  Without the least intimation of an e v i l  j  motive, he has told Bulstrode In so many words that the almost unrestricted allowance of alcoholic beverages (especially brandy) and of doses of opium much larger than he prescribes would be standard procedure i n the general medical practice accepted and followed by a l l his colleagues i n Middlemarch. He has also expressed the view (in the banker's hearing) that patients suffering from Raffles' kind of ailment are more often k i l l e d by the treatment than by the disease (ch. 69)-  Though Bulstrode has i n the past  consistently supported Lydgate i n controversies over medical innovation, he now finds I t expedient to ask himself whether i t seems l i k e l y that the new doctor alone Is r i g h t , while a l l the others are mistaken.  I f i t be  true that patients of Raffles' kind are more often k i l l e d by the treatment than by the disease, perhaps Lydgate's own treatment constitutes a case i n  - 74 point.  After a l l , he i s f a l l i b l e , as are a l l other doctors.  Since the  moans and murmurs emanating from the sick-room prove that Raffles i s s t i l l not asleep, i t may be advisable—i.e., i n the patient's own best i n t e r e s t to  continue indefinitely giving him doses of opium, regardless of what  the f a l l i b l e Lydgate had said to the contrary.' This i s the kind of apposite, felicitous rationalization that George Eliot excels i n devising for  her temptees.  Why should Bulstrode attempt to reverse or even to  check the consequences of his error of forgetfulness, when there i s the possibility that they may. be good for the patient?  Thus rationalization  confirms him i n his hesitation, and hesitation in the circumstances amounts to a virtually deliberate and certainly heinous crime of omission. How far Bulstrode himself recognizes this train of thought as a rationalization, we cannot t e l l with precision, but we do have evidence for  concluding that he does so i n only a very limited sense.  He has  always equated the truth with what he wanted to believe, and now exhaustion and the pressure of c r i s i s are aggravating the effect of this habit.  Whatever the degree of his awareness, the rationalization has  induced him to prolong hesitation u n t i l , i n the circumstances, i t culminates i n a major crime of omission.  This crime marks the penultimate  milestone on the temptee's path of regression.  A crime i t i s , whatever  the outcome, but the opium i n excess of the allowance does not necessarily suffice by i t s e l f to cause Raffles' death.  He might recover despite the  indirect and Insidious emendation of that part of the prescription; we r e c a l l Lydgate's '"there's a good deal of wear In him s t i l l . . .'" (ch. 69). Bulstrode is unlikely to descend the moral scale to a wrung below his crime of omission, unless an additional stimulus from without precipitates  - 75 an impulsive leap to the one remaining milestone, characterized by the active crime of directly promoting the death of a patient l e f t in his care.  Resorting to her device of the innocent tempter, George E l i o t  lands Bulstrode at that milestone before he realizes that he i s on the way.  Twenty-four hours earlier he could not have believed that he would  ever find himself at a point so low on the scale of e v i l .  Character-  i s t i c a l l y , he continues to disbelieve i t after his arrival. Bulstrode's equivocations with himself regarding the soundness of Lydgate's medical judgment are of course as applicable to the absolute prohibition of alcoholic beverages as they are to the restriction on the allowance of opium.  Since Lydgate himself has ordered and brought the  opium, a crime of omission suffices for disregarding the restriction on i t s use; since he has forbidden alcoholic beverages absolutely, and of course has brought none, a more active crime of commission i s needed before the patient can be treated to a l l the brandy he calls for and w i l l drink.  The immediate incentive to this crime springs from the  impact of an innocent and ignorant tempter's pleading on a rationalization scarcely recognized as such even before, and yet potent enough to have led Bulstrode already into his lesser crime of omission.  In-  directly confirmed from without by someone who clearly has no selfish motive, the rationalization suddenly turns into a shining light that seems to illuminate the path of duty.  If the Innocent tempter i s speak-  ing in obvious ignorance of Lydgate's orders, that vitiating fact can be overlooked or put out of mind; and i f the path of duty coincides with Bulstrode's interest, that i s no more than he would expect.  Thus,  once again, the temptee's sins in the past are misleading him in the  - 76 -  present; and Opportunity, s k i l f u l l y adapting Its attack to the weakest spots, has l i t t l e d i f f i c u l t y in undermining his flawed moral conscience, already exhausted i n Its battle of some twenty-four hours with an e v i l desire that admits of such easy fulfillment. While Bulstrode i s undressing, Mrs. Abel knocks at his door, and when he opens i t an inch, she reasons with him i n the tone of a humble servant appealing to the well-known generosity and kind-heartedness of her master.  In other words, at this most susceptible moment, the  temptee's rationalizations are being re-echoed from outside himself, with the clearest implication that they constitute (as indeed Mrs. Abel believes) the facts of the case and that acting upon their unmistakable suggestion i s obviously the fulfillment of the highest moral obligation in the circumstances.  Bulstrode says nothing for many minutes; the f i n a l  battle i s raging within him while he listens to Mrs. Abel.  The poor  patient i s calling for brandy, she t e l l s him; he w i l l swallow nothing else; he must surely die for want of support i f the brandy i s withheld much longer; on an occasion long past, when she was nursing another patient, the directions were that he should be allowed a l l the brandy he wanted; rather than see the poor creature tormented furthery she i s willing to give him her and her husband's own l i t t l e store of ruin; but she can't believe that Mr. Bulstrode would grudge so elementary a boon to the patient whom he has exhausted himself i n guarding these last twenty-four hours.  Pleading i n this strain and along these lines,  Mrs. Abel (without thinking in those terms at a l l ) i s allowing the temptee considerable time in which to make up his mind.  No one, within  my knowledge, has seen f i t to comment i n print on this scene between  - 77 Bulstrode and the housekeeper.  On one level, of course, i t s irony i s  so obvious that comment seems superfluous. But there i s another level, based on some awareness of the concept of temptation.  I believe that  recognition and enjoyment of the f u l l adroitness of the scene i s contingent on approaching i t in the light of that concept. Mrs. Abel sees herself appealing to Bulstrode's better self; and so she i s , but neither in the way she understands i t herself, nor in the way he responds.  While unconsciously tempting Bulstrode, she i s with  equal unconsciousness pointing to his last chance of recovering the straight path, the path that alone can save him from murder or "something very like it."*--'  She i s as good as calling his attention to the hideous  consequences that must ensue i f he does not inform her—-now, at l a s t — • of the doctor's s t r i c t orders against allowing alcoholic beverages.  Once  he does that, the sequel w i l l be equally obvious, since each step in the right direction throws light upon the next one.  He ought to send for  Lydgate once more (as only a short while ago he had himself thought of doing), ask him to repeat or to modify his orders i n Mrs. Abel's,presence, and enjoin her to adhere to them faithfully and absolutely in a l l circumstances.  This course of action would also, automatically, check any  further consequences from his sin of omission about the opium.  Or better  s t i l l , he ought to persuade Mrs. Abel to leave the sick-room and t e l l Lydgate to make his own arrangements, either by sending a nurse to the house or by having Raffles hospitalized.  Then he- himself ought to with-  draw from the proceedings, at least to his bedroom at Stone Court, but  ^  Cf. Clough's Dipsychus, Scene V, Line 185.  - 78 preferably to his own home "The Shrubs;"  After a night of watching he  does need sleep—more than one night of i t i f sleep can restore some degree of mental health.  In the present c r i s i s , these are the minimal  safeguards required as protection against his own murderous impulses; none of the safeguards would force him to reveal anything about the past.  They would simply imply (to himself alone) that he w i l l rather  incur the risk inherent in Raffles' possible recovery than the risk of conniving at murder.-^ But Bulstrode no longer possesses a normal human mind.  Being  the perverse creature he i s , he responds primarily with his lowest self, with e v i l desire; simultaneously he appeases or keeps hoodwinked whatever better self he has l e f t by means of the rationalization that Mrs. Abel is unwittingly dangling before him.  Mentally and physically close to  exhaustion, his vision obstructed In excess of what his mental prison makes inevitable, he does not begin to see the situation objectively or in perspective. His apprehension of r e a l i t y has become so clouded that he recognizes neither the supreme temptation nor the last opportunity of rescue implicit in Mrs. Abel's words.  In a reversal of ethical  standards suggestive of Satan's "Evil be thou my Good,"-'-''' what he does perceive dimly i s rescue In terms of yielding —not to temptation undraped 1  but to temptation i n the effective disguise of a heaven-sent "leading."  Perhaps we should remind ourselves once more that, i n reality, there Is no risk, since the worst he fears has already happened: his secret i s known to Mr. Bambridge, the horse-dealer, who w i l l divulge i t to the whole town. Arguing on Bulstrode's own level, one might say that i t would cost him nothing to be honest.  - 79 -  As Freudians would expect, his mind reverts to a pattern established and petrified i n the distant past. Our deeds s t i l l travel with us from afar, And what we have been makes us -what we are.  (M, . ch. 70, epigraph)-^  Like Casaubon's "characteristics," Bulstrode's mental habits are by this time "fixed and unchangeable as bone" (M, ch. 20).  In the great chapter  (61) that analyzes his early history, George E l i o t speaks of "the train of causes i n which he had locked himself . . . ." "Locked himself" strikes one as exactly the right expression, for i t implies a mental prison from which he cannot escape. But he that hides a dark soul and foul thoughts Benighted walks under the mid-day sun; Himself i s his own dungeon.19 The combination of inner and outer circumstances that now propels him toward murder i s analogous to that which accounts for his earlier misdeeds; and not surprisingly, since both originate and thrive i n the same mental prison.  Though three decades have rolled by, they have not changed  the prison i n essentials; they have merely made escape harder by reinforcing i t s walls.  " . . . the years had been perpetually spinning them  [his ' pleas ' or self-deceptive thoughts] into intricate thickness, like masses of spider-web, padding the moral sensibility . . . " (M, ch. 6 l ) . Long accustomed to interpret chances that accord with his desires as '• providential "leadings"; to shun the direct crime while assuming that God winks at the indirect when i t i s committed by himself for a higher 18 Since this i s the chapter describing Bulstrode's battle and defeat, the author i s unmistakably reminding us of chapter 61, which t e l l s us what Bulstrode has been before he settles In Middlemarch and before the novel opens. 19 Milton, Comus, 3 8 3 - 3 8 5 .  - 80 purpose veiled from ordinary mortals; to take for granted that a special relationship—almost amounting to a partnership—exists between himself and God; and to conclude that the glory of God, as determined by himself, may require the sacrifice of people whom the same authority regards as ciphers or nonentities, Bulstrode now responds to Mrs. Abel's words by handing her the key to the wine-cooler, and assuring her, "huskily," that she w i l l find plenty of brandy there. Slight and innocuous in i t s e l f , this act brands him a murderer, determines the death of Raffles, and ruins the promising medical career of Lydgate.  Awareness operates at different levels.  Bulstrode cannot  but hope that his compliance with Mrs. Abel's request w i l l lead to the death of Raffles, and yet he i s no more than slightly conscious that this result must make him guilty of murder.  Up to a point, his experience  here i s by no means peculiar to himself, but rather exemplifies one of the tragic problems of human conduct.  After a l l , handing a key to some-  one i s such a simple, such an innocent deed. made about anything so t r i v i a l ?  Why should so much fuss be  It i s fatally easy to perform an act  that damages others, and then virtually to forget that one has done anything of the kind, because the act, as such, seems both harmless and insignificant.  This common human problem would alone be sufficient to  refute the criticism of one of George Eliot's contemporary reviewers: The description of the crime i t s e l f i s wonderfully fine; but the complete equanimity with which he looks back upon ity after the great struggle which preceded i t , we cannot accept as t r u e . ^ ^ W.J. Harvey, "Criticism of the Novel: Contemporary Reception," in Barbara Hardy, ed., Middlemarch: C r i t i c a l Approaches to the Novel (London: Athlone Press., 1967), p. 137. u  - 81 In Bulstrode, however, a recognizable and ail-too prevalent human weakness becomes a weakness of a quite different kind, characterized by mental perversion and a gross lack of normal human sympathy.  Days after the  event he s t i l l feels that "he had accepted what seemed to have been offered" (ch. 71) and of course he attributes the offer to Providence, as he has done on so many analogous occasions i n the past.  The possible  consequences foi* Lydgate do not enter his head; nor i s he visited by any compassion for the man whom, as Caleb Garth points out (ch. 69), he may have helped to make worse when he profited by his vices, and who in any case i s a fellow human-being.  Thus George E l i o t exhibits in their f u l l  hideousness the consequences of the noxious taint to which she pointed In her outline and analysis of his early past:  "And to Mr. Bulstrode  God's cause was something distinct.from his own rectitude of conduct" (ch.  6 l ) ; at the same time she substantiates indelibly the truth of one  of her most passionately held convictions:  "There i s no general doctrine  which i s not capable of eating out our morality i f unchecked by the deepseated habit of direct fellow-feeling with individual fellow-men" (M, ch.6l). Succumbing completely to the temptation he has set out to resist, Bulstrode certainly f a i l s to walk staunchly by the best light that even he has; his transgression of the f i r s t of Bishop Wilson's injunctions i s absolute.  In this respect, however, allowing for the usual individual  variations, he does not differ in kind from other great unsuccessful temptees.  His uniqueness manifests i t s e l f as soon as we think of the  second of the good Bishop's injunctions: not darkness."  "Take care that your light be  The sudden, almost terrifying, intensification of meaning  that results from relating the abstract concepts of mental light and  - 82 mental darkness to Bulstrode's case—to his warped and involuted mind, his incessant autobiography, his equivocations with himself, his bargains •with his God—--constitutes a measure of George Eliot's achievement i n creating this character. A more memorable picture of incipient aberration, undetected and untreated, gradually spreading and thickening, like a cancerous growth,*^ u n t i l i t envelops the whole mind and turns i t s victim into something close to a personification of mental disease, is rarely found, even i n the literature of our time; nor, by inescapable implication, a more eloquent plea for the promotion of mental health. I n i t i a l l y , Bulstrode was endowed with considerable potential for a beneficent impact on those with whom he comes in contact.  The chapter  primarily devoted to his early history (61) t e l l s us that, In those days, he thought "of the ministry as possibly his vocation," and that even now in the present, " i f he could be back In that far-off spot with his youthf u l poverty—why, then he would choose to be a missionary."  It i s a  calling in which he might have distinguished himself; or, at the worst, in which he would almost certainly have done less harm than in the role which he does assume.  Even in that role we recognize him as a highly  evolved member of the species to which we ourselves belong, and in a limited measure sympathize with his suffering.  A l l the forces of good  and e v i l found elsewhere i n the town of Middlemarch seem to be warring in his own breast.  I f he i s egotistical, self-deceived, and lacking in  human sympathy, so are Casaubon and Rosamond; i f he means well In a misguided way, so in a sense does Dorothea; i f he i s dogmatically religious,  21 "masses of spider-web," in George Eliot's phrase. (M, ch. 61) o r  - 83  -  so i s the Rev. Walter Tyke; i f he i s interested i n good works and scientific progress, so are Caleb Garth and Lydgate; i f he f a i l s to bring his l i f e into harmony with his convictions, so do Lydgate, Farebrother, Will, and Dorothea.  Contrasting what Bulstrode i s and  what he does with what George E l i o t has convinced us that he might have been and might have done, we may express our poignant sense of tragic waste in one of Marlowe's mighty lines:  "Cut Is the branch  that might have grown f u l l s t r a i g h t . " ^  The Tragical History of..Dr  Faustus, "Epilogue," f i r s t line.  Section 3: Gwendolen Harleth  There is another temptee in George Eliot who ends up wondering whether she i s a murderess.  Her name i s Gwendolen Harleth, and by common  consent of recent c r i t i c s she ranks among the author's most impressive creations.  Her great enticement to e v i l is marriage with Grandcourt,  for whom her early feelings are ambivalent and i n some degree (espec i a l l y regarding his fine horses) consonant with the aphorism that " i t is a very good quality in a man to have a trout s t r e a m . S h e does not love him, but she recognizes him as an excellent match and i s prepared to accept him, partly on the advice of her uncle Gascoigne, Rector of Pennicote.  But before Grandcourt proposes, Gwendolen meets Mrs. Glasher  at a spot symbolically called the "Whispering Stones" (ch. 14). Mrs. Glasher demands secrecy, and then reveals that she i s Grandcourt's mistress and the mother of four children by him; two of them, including the only boy, are seated on the grass nearby.  Her husband being dead,  she i s obsessed with the wish that Grandcourt marry her and make their boy his heir; and she i s convinced that he w i l l eventually do so i f Miss Harleth declines the offer that she correctly suspects him of being about to make. Seized with revulsion, and feeling that rescue has come in time, Gwendolen utters a fateful half-promise: "'I w i l l not interfere with your wishes.'"  Determined not to marry Grandcourt, she* leaves  23 An incidental and partly facetious remark of Mr. Cadwallader's in Middlemarch. chapter 8 , intended as an argument i n support of Dorothea's engagement to Casaubon. - 84 -  - 85 early the next morning for Leubronn (ch. I 4 ) . Later we are told that on this occasion "she had not reasoned and balanced: she had acted with a force of impulse . . . ( c h . 27).  Somewhat cryptically and hyperbolically,  the  impulse i s made explicit in the epigraph for the chapter that includes  the  scene at the Whispering Stones: I w i l l not clothe myself in wreck—wear gems Sawed from cramped finger-bones of women drowned; Feel chilly vaporous hands of ireful ghosts Clutching my necklace; trick my maiden breast With orphans' heritage. Let your dead love Marry i t s dead. (ch. I 4 )  Asserting Gwendolen's sentiments that day at the Whispering Stones, and the  opposite of what she w i l l presently do, the epigraph amounts to a  challenge.  "This staggering transformation," we are told i n effect,  "you shall witness and believe."  Satisfied that, as a novelist, she  has mastered the concept of temptation, George Eliot i s here expressing her awareness of what she can accomplish with i t . Marriage with Grandcourt thus established as e v i l on several counts—lack of love, his mistress and four children, Gwendolen's halfpromise to-the mistress—George E l i o t begins to unfold the characteri s t i c aggregate of temptation, as discussed i n Chapter 1.  Its f i r s t  essential element—desire for what i s evil—springs from the impact on "the  spoiled child" of the family's sudden loss of fortune.  Book I of  the novel, which bears that t i t l e , presents a b r i l l i a n t flashback that in almost Freudian fashion explores the past in order to help us understand the temptee's reaction when she i s torn between the pressure of hitherto unimagined humiliations and Grandcourt's glittering offer. Since she has taken no one into her confidence, she alone (within her circle) knows i t to be tainted.  Its attraction for her progresses  - 86 s t e a d i l y toward a peak of i n t e n s i t y as she learns at home (having obeyed her mother's urgent summons to return from Leubronn) what "loss of f o r tune" means i n p r a c t i c a l terms: grinding poverty for the family (her mother and h a l f - s i s t e r s ) i n a wretched and as yet unfurnished  dwelling  c a l l e d Sawyer's cottage, formerly the home of an exciseman, where they w i l l earn s h i l l i n g s and sixpences by doing needlework for various charitable purposes; and f o r h e r s e l f a p o s i t i o n as governess, at £100 a year, to the three daughters of Bishop Mompert and of h i s wife, who  is  morally so s t r i c t that she "objects to having a French person i n the house [!!]" (ch. 24).  Unable to believe that there i s no a l t e r n a t i v e to  a future so u t t e r l y repugnant, Gwendolen persuades h e r s e l f that she possesses talent and experience enough for a distinguished career as an actress and singer, but Herr Klesmer ("one  of the few convincing geniuses  of f i c t i o n " ) , whom she consults " i n a scene which equals anything i n 2 4  The Tragic Muse." 5 shatters her i l l u s i o n s . 2  Gwendolen had never i n her l i f e f e l t so miserable. . . . For the f i r s t time since her consciousness began, she was having a v i s i o n of h e r s e l f on the common l e v e l . . . the truth she had asked for with an expectation that i t would be agreeable, had come l i k e a lacerating thong, (ch. 23) This " v i s i o n of h e r s e l f on the common l e v e l " appears i n t o l e r a b l e ^ and 2  i s being envenomed on the following day when she learns from her uncle  2 4  1961), p. 2 5  W.J. Harvey, The Art of George E l i o t (London: Chatto & Windus, 237. Ibid.  p.  238.  As i t does to the protagonist of George E l i o t ' s poem "Armgart," a celebrated singer whose voice, i n consequence of a throat i n f e c t i o n , loses i t s former d i s t i n c t i o n . Daniel Deronda's mother, who has been "the greatest l y r i c actress of Europe," reacts i n a s i m i l a r way when she "[begins] to sing out of tune" (ch. 51). 2 o  - 87 that Mrs. Mompert w i l l not make a f i n a l decision to engage her without a preliminary interview of inspection.  "After she had done herself the  violence to accept the bishop and his wife, they were s t i l l to consider whether they would accept her" (ch. 2 4 . ) .  Mr. Gascoigne tries hard to  persuade his niece into adopting a sounder attitude toward her prospective employers, but the response, though she does not verbalize i t , could scarcely be farther from his aim: "Continuance of education"—"bishop's views"—"privately s t r i c t " — "Bible Society," i t was as i f he had introduced a few snakes . . . She saw the l i f e before her as an entrance into a penitentiary, (ch. 2A) When the Rector calls at Offendene some days later to specify the exact time in the following week and the place for the exploratory meeting with the Bishop's wife, Gwendolen feels that the fatal iron gates of the penitentiary are about to close upon her relentlessly.  Having  always regarded her mother's l i f e as a kind of warning example, she sees herself threatened with an imminent future that is equally dreary and joyless. Twenty years hence Mrs. Davilow may look at her and think: "'Poor Gwen too i s sad and faded now'" (ch. 2 6 ) .  Intent on helping us  to comprehend the psychological state of this princess denied her natural rights, George Eliot uses an apt analogy: Imagine one who had been made to believe in his own divinity finding a l l homage withdrawn, and himself unable to perform a miracle that would recall the homage and restore his own confidence, (ch. 2 6 ) Gwendolen sobs "with a sort of tender misery."  Without foreseeing the  arrival of the opportunity that w i l l transform desire into temptation, she i s preparing for defeat, unconsciously but assiduously, by sealing herself within mental walls impervious to the guiding light outside.  - 88 In one of those remarkable passages that inextricably fuse description or characterization with author comment, George Eliot simultaneously points to the exact source of Gwendolen's woe, arouses our sympathy for her genuine suffering, and suggests the train of thought that would bring r e l i e f in i t s wake: . Gwendolen had never dissociated happiness from personal preeminence and eclat. . . . Surely a young creature i s pitiable who has the labyrinth of l i f e before her and no clue . . . . The sweetness of labour and f u l f i l l e d claims; the interest of inward and outward activity; the impersonal delights of l i f e as a perpetual discovery; the dues of courage, fortitude, industry, which i t is mere baseness not to pay towards the common burthen; the supreme worth of the teacher's vocation . . . . (ch. 24.) The time is coming before the end of the novel when such considerations w i l l be urged on Gwendolen by her mentor, Daniel Deronda, and w i l l meet with their due response.  A long period of intense suffering and remorse  w i l l prepare her mind and heart for their reception. At the present c r i t i c a l juncture in her l i f e they cannot effectively penetrate, the mental prison in which she has locked herself; they are no more than "faintly apprehended doctrines." but there i s no way out. changed without pain.  One wishes that she could be spared,  Attitudes and habits of thought are seldom  Gwendolen's perverted sense of values renders i t  inevitable that she w i l l mistake true rescue for false, and false for true.  False rescue i s on the way;  negatively for i t s reception.  she i s continuing to prepare herself  When i t arrives she w i l l struggle, for  the elements of goodness within her have not been uprooted; but they l i e dormant or insufficiently awake, and in the end she w i l l react to the false rescue as a fish to the worm on an angler's hook.  - 89 Gwendolen sobs "with a sort of tender misery" because she finds herself at the nadir of humiliation; as a necessary corollary, her desire to prevent the dreaded, imminent future from turning into an unbearable present has reached i t s highest peak of intensity.  Character-  i s t i c a l l y , this is the precise moment when George E l i o t introduces the second element i n the aggregate of temptation—false rescue i n the form of an opportunity to f u l f i l l the desire by means of conduct unquestionably e v i l .  Bent on creating a truly formidable conflict, she has devised  an opportunity that strikes Gwendolen's weakest spot i n the most trying circumstances.  While she i s sobbing, Mrs. Davilow enters, holding a  letter—unopened—in her hand.  It i s addressed to her daughter and  reads as follows: "Mr. Grandcourt presents his compliments to Miss Harleth, and begs to know whether he may be permitted to c a l l at Offendene tomorrow after two, and to see her alone. Mr. Grandcourt has just returned from Leubronn, where he had hoped to find Miss Harleth." (ch. 26) "Few and formal" (ch. 26), these words are weighted with enormous possibilities for e v i l and for good. As Mrs. Davilow remarks, they leave no doubt that Grandcourt intends a proposal of marriage.  Allowing  him to come i s therefore very nearly tantamount to accepting him.  The  classic battle of the temptee's moral conscience against ignoble desire, suddenly animated by dazzling opportunity, begins with Gwendolen's perusal of this letter. At one stroke Gwendolen i s offered not only total release from the harrowing dread of poverty, insignificance, drudgery, and monotony, but also (in effect) the homage needed for restoration of belief in her own divinity.  We recall some of Mr. Gascoigne's words when he urged  - 90 -  his niece (before the family's monetary ruin) to marry Grandcourt: "You hold your fortune in your own hands—a fortune such as rarely happens to a g i r l in your circumstances—a fortune in fact which almost takes the question out of the range of mere personal feeling, and makes your acceptance of i t a duty. I f Providence offers you power and position . . . ." (ch. 13) Seductive even when "a g i r l in your circumstances" meant a young lady well provided for and expecting to remain so, the prospect of "fortune . . . power and position" must needs prove over-whelmingly alluring to the  same g i r l in circumstances so drastically and abruptly deteriorated  that she can scarcely believe them to be hers. A far less alluring vista would at this moment have seemed "easier than the dead level of being a governess" (ch. 23).  Opportunity i s not likely to f a i l in i t s  attempt to achieve an alliance with the temptee's baser self, manifested by latent e v i l desire. As might be expected, the pressure of inclination, now leads Gwendolen to seek rationalizations that are bound to undermine her moral conscience.  Impelled by such feelings to remember, adopt, and expand  her uncle's reasoning, his d r i f t of thought, she i s certain to arrive at the most comforting beliefs.  Equating duty with worldly advantage,  he has fostered her ingrained conviction—very similar to Tito's—that she i s singled out for almost supernatural favours and exempted from a normal share of the common human afflictions.  If Grandcourt was sent  by Providence in her days of material affluence, when she hardly needed him, and i f acceptance of his offer amounted to "almost . . . a duty" at that time, would she not be justified i n concluding (by an inference from her uncle's logic by no means stretched) that destitution has made the duty absolute; or i f not quite, that i t may easily be raised to  - 91  -  this state by remembering what the husband of Gwendolen Grandcourt would probably do for her poor mother (whom she does love) and for her poor half-sisters (whom she despises)?  Why should she refrain from accepting  him, when her view of duty can so readily be brought into agreement with the strong urge to snatch at his bait?  It i s true that neither her  uncle, nor her mother, nor anyone connected with her has the least intimation of what she heard and saw at the Whispering Stones and of her half-promise to Mrs. Glasher. probably,  27  Her mother almost certainly, her uncle  would judge quite differently i f they did.  But their  ignorance necessarily keeps them silent on the subject, and thus helps Gwendolen to persuade herself that Mrs. Glasher and her children are l i t t l e more than a bad dream she had long ago, since no one substantiates their existence for her.  Instead of making a confidant of someone whom  she trusts, she tries to imagine what "anybody" would say, and then gives herself the desired answer: "The verdict of 'anybody' seemed to be that she had no reason to concern herself greatly on behalf of Mrs. Glasher and her children" (ch. 27).  Mrs. Glasher seems very unreasonable  in her wishes; and i f Gwendolen did marry Grandcourt, she would exert the wife's influence to stimulate his conscientious care for these dependents. Like other phenomena, Gwendolen's battle may be regarded from various points of view.  Trying to come as close as possible to George  Eliot's own, we can safely guide ourselves by the epigraphs she has  2^ Prior to urging his niece to accept him, Mr. Gascoigne had indeed heard pejorative gossip about Grandcourt's past, but he lacked any precise knowledge and, for Gwendolen's sake (so the benign but worldly Rector imagined), he closed his mind to the gossip (DD, ch. 13).  - 92 obligingly provided.  I f these accord both with the facts of the novel  and with the theory of temptation expounded in Chapter 1 of the thesis, our general approach would seem to be vindicated. The f i r s t epigraph tells us (poetically) what Gwendolen ought to do: He brings white asses laden with the freight Of Tyrian vessels, purple, gold, and balm, To bribe my w i l l : I ' l l bid them chase him forth, Nor l e t him breathe the taint of his surmise On my secure resolve.  (ch. 26, f i r s t stanza of epigraph)  Within the confines of Gwendolen's present circumstances and her present attitude toward them, Grandcourt's offer must needs be so spellbinding that rejection becomes almost superhumanly d i f f i c u l t .  The purport of  his letter being quite unmistakable, her one and only chance of effective resistance l i e s in refusal to see him.  I f she cannot withstand him at a  distance, i t i s most improbable that she could do so when he i s actually facing her, with a l l the beguilement of wealth and position at his command, and i n consequence of a letter that virtually implies acceptance beforehand.  Without delay or vacillation, while resolution i s strong,  while she s t i l l sees what i s right, Gwendolen ought to cast aside the means of breaking the vow she made to herself and to Mrs. Glasher by telling Grandcourt (in a short letter: his servant i s waiting) that there is no point in coming; that he can have nothing to say to her that anybody may not hear; that an interview with her would serve no useful purpose.  I f i t was morally wrong to marry him before the family lost  their fortune, i t i s equally wrong now. The loss of fortune does not affect the moral issue, though i t does enormously increase the temptation. If she has doubts—and she has—she ought to consult with others. But at this supremely c r i t i c a l juncture i n her l i f e , when her moral conscience  - 93 -  is being tried to the limit of i t s strength or even beyond, and requires a l l the outside support i t can muster, she not only f a i l s to take anyone into her confidence, but allows herself to be propelled i n the direction she desires by advice or suggestions—from her mother and retroactively from her uncle—that she knows to be based on ignorance of the f u l l facts.  Thus she acts in the most perverse way possible by turning  potential a l l i e s of her better self into tempters whose efficacy i s intensified by their innocence.. Had they been apprised of the scene at the Whispering Stones, her mother-, her uncle, and perhaps others might have come to the rescue.  Relying on herself alone, Gwendolen  remains exceedingly vulnerable and i s predisposing herself to moral defeat. The second epigraph i s slightly more subtle in i t s significance than the f i r s t .  Telling us what Gwendolen' mistakenly thinks she i s  doing rather than what she does do, i t constitutes a memorable expression in verse of make-belief, of rationalization, of self-deception. Ay, 'tis [resolution] secure; And therefore l e t him come to spread his freight. For firmness hath i t s appetite and craves The stronger lure, more strongly to resist; Would know the touch of gold to fling i t off; Scent wine to feel i t s l i p the soberer; Behold soft byssus, ivory, and plumes To say, 'They're f a i r , but I w i l l none of them,' And flout Enticement i n the very face. (ch. 26, epigraph, second stanza) No temptee in George Eliot, major or minor, ever succeeds i n doing what is here suggested.  The bravado, in fact, amounts to a self-contradiction  as soon as i t i s examined.  If enticement has ceased to entice, there i s  no challenge and no point i n exposure; i f i t continues to entice, there  - 94 -  i s no certainty of success in resistance, and a grave risk of irrevocable f a i l u r e — f a i l u r e that w i l l probably hurt many others besides the foolish experimenter.  Being the exact opposite of casting aside the means of  breaking one's vow, the sentiments pictorially expressed in this second epigraph formulate the way Gwendolen, and those whom she epitomizes, beguile and delude themselves u n t i l the consequences of failure tear the blinkers from their eyes.  In view of the perverse state of mind she has  been cultivating, the mental prison in which she has locked herself, one can scarcely conceive a plausible alternative to Gwendolen's reaction and conduct at that great turning point i n her l i f e marked by the a r r i v a l of the letter.  Wholly incapable at this juncture of recognizing (let  alone breaking through) the walls that confine her psyche, she sees no release from pain other than Grandcourt"s offer, and within those walls that pain i s so acute that she would have to be almost superhuman to renounce the prospect of deliverance. Although insufficiently alert at this c r i s i s , the better side of Gwendolen's divided temptee's nature—the side that w i l l later scourge her mercilessly—has not ceased to exist.  "Her dread of wrong-doing  . . . was vague . . . and aloof from the daily details of her l i f e , but not the less strong" (ch. 27).  She cannot say to herself, "I w i l l  embrace e v i l " ; neither can she say, "I w i l l abjure the rescue offered by Grandcourt's letter and i t s implications."  Yet that, i n effect, i s  the choice she must make, whatever she says or does not say. alternate dip of counterbalancing  "The  thoughts begotten of counterbalancing  desires had brought her into a state in which no conclusion could look fixed to her"  (ch. 27).  She tries to reconcile the irreconcilable, to  - 95 combine two mutually exclusive courses of action.  Disguising her true  motives with rationalizations, she prepares the way for acceptance of Grandcourt's offer while staunchly asserting her determination to reject him, and finds arguments i n support of the view that the purely hypothetical marriage, which of course w i l l never eventuate, would not really commit her to e v i l . The third epigraph expresses the true meaning—as distinct from the make-belief meaning—of the^second.  Gwendolen has persuaded herself  that she allows Grandcourt to come in order to "flout Enticement i n the very face."  Her real purpose i s of course quite different.  Desire has trimmed the sails, and Circumstance Brings but the breeze to f i l l them.  (ch. 27, epigraph)  Gwendolen would renounce Grandcourt willingly enough; what she cannot bring herself to renounce are the advantages (as they seem to her) that he offers.  Since she cannot have them without him, she i s beginning to  wish that she had never met Mrs. Glasher; that she had remained i n ignorance of Grandcourt s past, so that there would be no reason (within 1  her knowledge) against her acceptance of him.  (It hardly occurs to her  that there might be reasons against marrying a man like Grandcourt, even i f he had no mistress and children.) answer.  His servant i s waiting for an  Concerned at keeping him waiting too long, Mrs. Davilow  unintentionally goads her daughter into writing hurriedly, simply on the ground that something has to be written.  She also urges the con-  sideration that Grandcourt must feel a real attachment, since the family's financial disaster has not deterred him from renewing his suit. "Circumstance" i s clearly equivalent to the element in the aggregate of temptation that I have called "opportunity" throughout this thesis.  95  -  -  combine two mutually exclusive courses of action.  Disguising her true  motives with rationalizations, she prepares the way for acceptance of Grandcourt's offer while staunchly asserting her determination to reject him, and finds arguments in support of the view that the purely hypothetical marriage, which of course w i l l never eventuate, would not really commit her to e v i l . The third epigraph expresses the true meaning—as distinct from the make-belief meaning—of the second. >  Gwendolen has persuaded herself  that she allows Grandcourt to come in order to "flout Enticement in the very face."  Her real purpose i s of course quite different.  Desire has trimmed the sails, and Circumstance^ Brings but the breeze to f i l l them. (ch. 27, epigraph) Gwendolen would renounce Grandcourt willingly enough; what she cannot bring herself to renounce are the advantages (as they seem to her) that he offers.  Since she cannot have them without him, she i s beginning to  wish that she had never met Mrs. Glasher; that she had remained in ignorance of Grandcourt's past, so that there would be no reason (within her knowledge) against her acceptance of him.  (It hardly occurs to her  that there might be reasons against marrying a man like Grandcourt, even i f he had no mistress and children.) answer.  His servant i s waiting for an  Concerned at keeping him waiting too long, Mrs. Davilow  unintentionally goads her daughter into writing hurriedly, simply on the ground that something has to be written.  She also urges the con-  sideration that Grandcourt must feel a real attachment, since the family's financial disaster has not deterred him from renewing his suit. *° "Circumstance" i s clearly equivalent to the element in the aggregate of temptation that I have called "opportunity" throughout this thesis.  - 96 Deluding h e r s e l f that the door stays wide open and she remains e n t i r e l y free, Gwendolen pens a note that, short as i t i s , v i r t u a l l y  commits her  and cuts o f f r e t r e a t . "Miss Harleth presents her compliments to Mr. Grandcourt. She w i l l be a t home a f t e r two o'clock tomorrow." (ch. 26) Why should't she be a t home tomorrow afternoon and why shouldn't she t e l l Grandcourt so? She can l e t him come, have a t a l k with him, exert her  power again as she has exerted i t before, and f i n a l l y refuse him.  C e r t a i n l y she w i l l refuse him.  This nominal resolution p e r s i s t s u n t i l  he a c t u a l l y a r r i v e s , but dwindles progressively into "a form out o f which the blood has been sucked" (ch. 27). Once she i s seated face to face with Grandcourt, the end i s n e a r . ^ 2  She cannot bear to l e t him go, for the simple reason that she cannot contemplate a return to the prospect o f Sawyer's cottage, Mrs. Mompert's children, and a l l the other concomitant humiliations of d e s t i t u t i o n and insignificance.  Her attempt to defer a decision by a l l u d i n g to the  family's loss of fortune proves s e l f - d e f e a t i n g , because h i s implied promise o f generous maintenance fills—sustains  f o r her mother—a  promise that he f u l -  the most e f f e c t i v e o f her r a t i o n a l i z a t i o n s .  And so she  f i n a l l y agrees to marry Grandcourt, without r e a l i z i n g the f u l l implications o f her consent, mistakenly supposing him unaware o f her meeting  29 Several recent c r i t i c s have singled out t h i s proposal scene for high praise. They include (chronologically) F.R. Leavis i n The Great Tradition (New York: G.W. Stewart, 1948), Robert Speaight, and Walter A l l e n . Speaight's comment: "Before writing of t h i s q u a l i t y c r i t i c i s m i s s i l e n t " (George E l i o t [London: Arthur Barker, 1954], p. 114); and A l l e n ' s : "That i s great w r i t i n g " (George E l i o t [New York: Macmillan, 19641, p. 177).  - 97 with Mrs. Glasher,^ and i n the fallacy that she w i l l be able to "manage" him.  Informing her mother of the engagement, she declares triumphantly,  "'Everything i s to be as I like'" (ch. 27).  Fraught with unconscious  irony, these words reverberate in the reader's mind when "Gwendolen gets her choice"-^-'- and her nemesis begins.  The nemesis entails further  temptations, including murderous impulses toward her husband.  But by  that time she has made a confidant and mentor of Deronda, who regards "her remorse [as] the precious sLgn of a recoverable nature" (ch. 56) and helps to save her from irretrievable ruin.  A badly bruised creature,  strikingly transformed from the proud, self-assured young lady who met Grandcourt's mistress at the Whispering Stones, and ye.t clearly recognizable as the same human being, Gwendolen at the end of the novel i s beginning a painful ascent from the bottom of the moral slope, hoping that, in Deronda's words, she "may live to be one of the best of women, who make others glad that they were born" (ch. 70).  3° She feels deeply mortified when learning, much later, that her husband knew the silent consciousness, the silently accepted terms on which she had married him" (DD, ch. 4-8). u  on The words i n quotation marks constitute the t i t l e of Book IV of Daniel Deronda.  Chapter  5  A PARADOXICAL TEMPTEEi  MAGGIE  On one l e v e l , M a g g i e T u l l i v e r ' s conduct in  perfectly  exemplify  the preceding chapter;  w i t h h e r on t h a t l e v e l , an a d d i t i o n a l  and i f I c o n f i n e d m y s e l f  Maggie,  emphasizing  paradoxical, of  t o the other three.  The  Mill  simply  Therefore I devote the q u a l i t i e s  significance  Treated i n  a separate  a n d ( I am  speaking)  f o r an adequate i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of  correspond  quoted  be n o t d a r k n e s s . "  phasis varies  of these  enormously.  temptees, Maggie bears a measure a t l e a s t greater.  embodiment  every  Alone  equal  injunction f o r  take care  that  your  every r e s p o n s i b l e  but the r e l a t i v e  among G e o r g e o f the second  d e r i v e s i n p a r t from  em-  Eliot's injunction i n  t o that of the f i r s t ,  t o me a s p r i m a r i l y  "Walk  t e m p t e e , h a s t o come t o  injunctions,  the brunt  Her uniqueness  appears  you have;  which  Bishop Wilson:  T o some e x t e n t ,  human b e i n g , a n d c e r t a i n l y terms w i t h both  t o the twin  r e p e a t e d l y from  staunchly by the best l i g h t  She  convinced)  on t h e F l o s s .  human c o n d u c t  light  chapter to  t h a t make h e r d i f f e r e n t ,  M a g g i e a s a t e m p t e e moves on two p l a n e s , (broadly  to dealing  sustain a pattern already  c h a l l e n g i n g to the c r i t i c ,  particular  illustrated  I could appropriately discuss heri n  s e c t i o n added  established.  d e c i s i o n s and  the p a t t e r n of f a i l u r e  t h a t way, h o w e v e r , s h e w o u l d firmly  TULLIVER  and p r o b a b l y this  cause.  a highly successful artistic  of three outstanding c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s  i nher  - 99 - ~ creator.  Two o f t h e s e a r e i n t e n s e  the  impulse  The  third  within  toward c o n f o r m i t y and t h e impulse  i s the state  o f mind  t h e same I n d i v i d u a l ,  to m a i n t a i n h e r psychic be The as  reconciled,  r e s u l t i n g from  and from  Integration  and b y f a c i n g  a conventional  that  toward r e b e l l i o n . their  collision  individual's  need  b y r e c o n c i l i n g what c a n  the unalterable  two c o n f l i c t i n g i m p u l s e s f i n d  temptee.  and c o n f l i c t i n g impulses:  with  resignation.  t h e i r c o r r e l a t i v e i n Maggie  temptee a n d i n M a g g i e a s a m i s g u i d e d  The a u t h o r e v i n c e s h e r s t a t e  o f mind i n the r e s u l t s  o f M a g g i e ' s d u a l r o l e , i n h e r comments on t h e s e r e s u l t s , a n d in  her analysis The  on  of the  characters.  key to an understanding  the Floss  lies  i n George E l i o t ' s  o f M a g g i e a n d o f The M i l l awareness o f a problem  t h a t must c a u s e g r i e f a n d w a s t e o f p o t e n t i a l w h e t h e r a decision is  made.  several after to  i s made o r e v a d e d , a n d r e g a r d l e s s George E l i o t  herself  of i t s manifestations,  confronted  o f what  decision  the problem i n  i n e a c h c a s e made a  decision  t h e most c a r e f u l d e l i b e r a t i o n , and i n each c a s e  the f u l l  the price  w r o t e The M i l l won t h r e e  on t h e F l o s s  great  emancipation;  she had f o r e s e e n .  inner  (1859-60),  battlesi  the b a t t l e  paid  By t h e time she she h a d f o u g h t and  the b a t t l e f o r r e l i g i o u s  f o r an i n t e l l e c t u a l  life  i n London  a m i d s t m i n d s o f h e r own c a l i b e r ; a n d t h e b a t t l e f o r l o v e and As  "someone t o l e a n u p o n " i n h e r I l l i c i t a r e s u l t of t h i s experience,  o f what s h e h a d e s c a p e d  union with  s h e was i n t e n s e l y  conscious  f r o m , a n d o f what s h e w o u l d  h a v e become i f ( l i k e M a g g i e ) s h e h a d r e g a r d e d  Lewes.  o r might  escape as a  - 100 temptation  t o be r e s i s t e d .  The r e i t e r a t e d  M i l l , on t h e F l o s s b e t w e e n b r e a d t h narrowness r e f l e c t s equally, pay in  this  contrast  of v i s i o n and  awareness.  exile  from  countryside. concomitant  from  her family,  stifling  C o n v e r s e l y and  h o w e v e r , she w r i t h e d u n d e r t h e p r i c e  i n severance  i n The  i n social  she h a d t o  o s t r a c i s m , and  her n a t i v e Warwickshire  and i t s b e l o v e d  Triumph a t e m a n c i p a t i o n  and g r i e f  deprivations divide  The M i l l  at i t s  on t h e F l o s s  b e t w e e n them. R e a d e r s who d e r i v e t h i s  impression are being  a f f e c t e d as the author desired. Blackwood of  (April  the r i g h t  k, 1861),  on b o t h  In a letter  she a f f i r m s  sides"  meaning—rather  must a p p r e c i a t e s u c h a p l a i n directly, in  Importance the F l o s s  who  than  strive their  statement  and I t s M o r a l "  (1856),  have t r i e d  2  find  statements.  t h e most a p p l i c a b l e  Torn from  ^-Letters, I I I ,  the novel Less  i tcorroborated  an a r t i c l e  S i n c e i t cannot be quoted  to select  to find  own—in  (however i n c i d e n t a l l y ) as a g l o s s  (I860).  of [ h e r ]  o f h e r aim.  b u t more f o r m i d a b l y , t h e y w i l l  "The A n t i g o n e  "the e x h i b i t i o n  sums up " t h e v e r y s o u l  i n t e n t i o n i n the s t o r y . T h o s e George E l i o t " s  that  to John  of high  o n The M i l l in full,  on  I  and i l l u m i n a t i n g  t h e c o n t e x t , t h e y do n o t c a r r y  their  397.  I t f i r s t a p p e a r e d i n t h e L e a d e r , V I I (29 M a r c h , 1856), 3Q6; a n d i s r e p r i n t e d i n E s s a y s o f G e o r g e E l i o t , e d . Thomas P i n n e y (New Y o r k : C o l u m b i a U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , 1963), 2  pp. 261-265.  -  full and  charge?  101  y e t much r e m a i n s ,  -  and  none d i s t o r t s  the  drift  t e n o r of George E l i o t ' s reasoning. ^ . . . two p r i n c i p l e s , b o t h h a v i n g t h e i r v a l i d i t y , a r e a t war . . . . The b e s t c r i t i c s have a g r e e d . . . i n recognizing t h i s balance of p r i n c i p l e s , t h i s antagonism between v a l i d claims; . . . . . . the s t r u g g l e between A n t i g o n e and C r e o n r e p r e s e n t s [ t h e ] s t r u g g l e between e l e m e n t a l t e n d e n c i e s and e s t a b l i s h e d laws . . . . W h e r e v e r t h e s t r e n g t h o f a man's I n t e l l e c t , o r m o r a l s e n s e , o r a f f e c t i o n b r i n g s him i n t o o p p o s i t i o n w i t h the r u l e s which s o c i e t y has s a n c t i o n e d , ^ t h e r e I s renewed t h e c o n f l i c t between A n t i g o n e and Creon; . . . The e x q u i s i t e a r t o f S o p h o c l e s i s shown i n the t o u c h e s b y w h i c h he makes u s f e e l t h a t Creon, as w e l l as A n t i g o n e , I s c o n t e n d i n g f o r what he b e l i e v e s t o be t h e r i g h t , w h i l e both are a l s o conscious that, i n f o l l o w i n g o u t one p r i n c i p l e , t h e y a r e l a y i n g themselves open t o j u s t blame f o r t r a n s g r e s s i n g a n o t h e r . . . w h i c h c a n n o t be i n f r i n g e d w i t h o u t harm. P e r h a p s t h e b e s t m o r a l we c a n draw i s t h a t to which the Chorus p o i n t s — t h a t our p r o t e s t f o r t h e r i g h t s h o u l d be s e a s o n e d w i t h m o d e r a t i o n a n d r e v e r e n c e , and t h a t l o f t y w o r d s . . . are not becoming to m o r t a l s .  On a s u r f a c e statements Broadly  level, at least,  t o The M i l l  s i o n and  no  is  aesthetic  response  relatives—who  263  on t h e F l o s s  speaking, Antigone  i n t e l l e c t u a l and  the r e l e v a n c e of  from  equates  can  s c a r e c e l y be  missed.  w i t h M a g g i e , whose  h u n g e r m e e t s w i t h no the p e o p l e — i n c l u d i n g  compose h e r l i t t l e  these  world;  Creon  comprehenthe n e a r e s t equates  with  3A11 q u o t a t i o n s f r o m t h i s a r t i c l e a r e f o u n d on p a g e s and 26k o f t h e P i n n e y a n t h o l o g y . The g r o u p i n g i s m i n e . ^The d i r e c t l y a u t o b i o g r a p h i c a l b e a r i n g o f t h i s as unmistakable as I t i s poignant.  phrase  -  Tom,  the Dodsons, and  blind,  the  -  s o c i e t y o f S t . Ogg's, i n  p e r s i s t e n t adherence  practices  102  to t r a d i t i o n a l  t o the most p r e c i o u s  injunction  of the Chorus equates w i t h  in  analysis,  flexibility,  o f human v a l u e s ;  which d i s t i n g u i s h  their reiterated  and  standards  and  t h a t are narrow, b i a s e d , a t b e s t b a r e l y mediocre,  impervious  and  their  on  individual  emphasis  this  on  the a u t h o r ' s novel  on  t o l e r a n c e , on  the  final  comments  from her  comprehension of i n d i v i d u a l limitations,  the  others  ethical  circumstances  rejection  of  stereotyped  maxims o r s l o g a n s a s a b a s i s o f j u d g m e n t ; a n d  "the e x q u i s i t e  art  own  in  of Sophocles" c o n v i n c i n g us  equates with  t h a t , e v e n a t h i s w o r s t , Tom  c o n t e n d s f o r what he e y e s g i v e "no like  ch.  3)»  Despite  like  of us)  limits  h i g h as  of the  a misguided  cannot help  o f h i s own  nature"  (mental) (again being  (B&.  right  w o u l d d i s p u t e , The  her  on b o t h  the b e s t  7»  they  t e m p t e e , who  has  aim:  sides" (Letters,  confuses  her  III,  own  wider  vision  temptations  t o be  resisted  and  e x p o u n d e d i n "A  Variation  of P r o t e s t a n t i s m  bk.  4,  ch.  1).  397).  primarily  standards  (MF,  on  "the  from  Bossuet"  diverge  self-avowed  Mill  because  i n t e n t i o n s , Maggie a c t s  larger-hearted f e e l i n g s with  Eliot  he  Creon)  that his  a work o f a r t , p a r t l y  does a c c o m p l i s h  Despite  to  rest  i m p e r f e c t i o n s t h a t few  exhibition  because  right,  (like  t h a t , i n s h o r t , t o know a l l i s t o f o r g i v e a l l .  George E l i o t  and  the  w i t h i n the  the F l o s s ranks  as  b e l i e v e s t o be  success  warning of t h e i r i m p e r f e c t i o n , " t h a t  C r e o n and  "imprisoned  George E l i o t * s  p r a c t i c e s George  Though s t r a i n i n g  Unknown  t o be  just  - 103 and  impartial,  revulsion their  the  from  lack  a u t h o r c o n v i n c e s us  their  stifling  of v i s i o n *  thing better  their  than being,  certain  certainties.''  in  Middlemarch,  of  her  revulsion.  of  the  intellectual life," s p r i n g i n g from  p u r p o s e , " and "the  ances" in  points  absorbing (M,  a battle  73).  as  valiant  utmost to  and  to walk staunchly  regard  the  into  the  yearnings  aesthetic  two  familial  of  her  to  dilates  idols  define  affection  retain  gulf  between such a  ennobling  mutilation—she stupefaction—by  thought life  struggle with worldly  painful  as  in their  against  light.  the By  best  their  her  to  those  Her  life--cannot  of  of her  very mis-  they  f a t h e r and  intellect  her  dissociate to  c a l l s i t resignation; stifle  her  force  reconcile  above  normal  their petty  alms,  standards.  Philip craving  and  brother—  l o v e , Maggie attempts V i r t u a l  to  has,  which tower h i g h  gross, m a t e r i a l i s t i c  trying  tries  she  foredoomed attempt, because  heart with  and  herself  this  to  and  annoy-  i t is futile,  s t a n d a r d s as  from adherence  their  "serene  the  those  source  supremacy  of  and  "Assured  the  seed  Maggie, f i g h t i n g  any-  Lydgate,  "a  intensity.  of her  on  i n the  her  conceive  upon "the  manifested  s e n s i b i l i t y , a l l three  b l i n k e r e d v i e w s , and order to  she  hers  b a n e f u l antagonism between t r y i n g  average i n t h e i r the  comment o f  of  bigotry,  E l i o t ' s words,  Dodson s t a n d a r d s d r i v e  g u i d e d , r a c k i n g , and her  to  And  her  narrowness,  A  soul-wasting  ch.  i n a b i l i t y even to  serves i n c i d e n t a l l y There  indelibly  narrowness, t h e i r  i n T.S,  of  activity"  -  In self-  calls i t for  intellectual  -  and  aesthetic  two  i n t h e Red  upon t h i s  fulfilment. Deeps  issue.  The  (Bk.  Philip  104  5»  If  t h e c h a n c e , he  ciliation Alone  a c r o s s the  within her c i r c l e  absolute  brother  and  centers  t h a t rends  can b u i l d  a bridge  the  Maggie. of  recon-  s i d e s of a tiarrowing s e l f - d i v i s i o n . of acquaintances,  he  conjoins  f o r appeasing  even r e c o g n i z e , and  her  that  other  f a t h e r and  c e r t a i n l y do  not  begin  satisfy.  consist  r e s e m b l a n c e s between Maggie and  i n comparable  endowments, c o m p a r a b l e  i n the c l a s h between the  a b l e i n n e r torment. their  success  But  or f a i l u r e  two,  which  George E l i o t  exemplify  opposite alternatives sundry  pertinence virtually  to stand by  con-  them, and  Deeps.  two  to attune  dilemma.  Among  perplexities  Timeless,  panacea.  our minds,  t h a t no m o r t a l  so c o n f l i c t i n g as Any  o f no  can  the  justly  those b e i n g debated  and  completely  highest i n interest  discussion.  they admit  i n the  take, Maggie  momentous a n d  of t h e i r analogous  and  emphasizes i n advance claims  the  f o r the p r e s e n t  obviate misreading  comparin  and M a g g i e r a n k  insoluble,  circumstances,  In the d e c i s i o n s they r e a c h ,  m a n i f e s t a t i o n s i n the n o v e l , the  lacerating Philip  her creator  occasions a  s e q u e n c e s o f t h e a c t i o n s t h e y a c t u a l l y do  its  4)  the  i n l a r g e measure,  equally peremptory—which  scarcely  The  and  3,  the c o n f l i c t  d e v o t i o n w i t h ample g i f t s  hunger—almost  to  two  1,  possesses,  to assuage  g i v e s him  whole debate between  chs.  r e s o u r c e s needed she  -  and  tragic,  Eager  to  author apportion  i n the  h y p o t h e t i c a l b e s t d e c i s i o n must n e e d s  be  Red  - 105 limited  to f i n d i n g  Dorothea) "the  the  least  least painful  partial  Though a c t u a t e d b y Maggie  t r y hard  reveals  the  and  scenes  embodiment o f t h e  ideas found  the  h e a r t by now  she  circumstances  sides  of her  kind.  The  stricken "little  i n "A  Variation  [her]," while  remains  "tied"  of the  has  "fibres"  to transform  always "taken  wench"; i t d e n o t e s h e r b r o t h e r , i s now  of  these  of the  minded mother, reduced  and the  and  But  two  and  the p a r t " o f h i s the  idol  of  her  to r e s t o r e  i t denotes her f e e b l e -  to n e a r - i m b e c i l i t y by  treasures,  of  acutest  labouring slngle-mindedly  the f a m i l y ' s r e s p e c t a b i l i t y ;  novel  witnessing again  generation denotes her beloved  f a t h e r , who  her household  of P r o t e s t a n t i s m  to that generation.  have c o n s p i r e d  preceding  and  "above t h e m e n t a l l e v e l  development i n t o a c o n f l i c t  c h i l d h o o d , who  Philip  e x e m p l i f i c a t i o n and  e x c e p t i o n a l s t r e n g t h of those which  (like  20).  From t h e v e r y b e g i n n i n g  generation before  again  ch.  or  C l o s e a t t e n t i o n soon  b e t w e e n them a s a n  have watched Maggie r i s i n g  the  (M,  jumbled motives,  earnestly.  Unknown t o B o s s u e t . " we  good"  solution  Philip's  the  loss  remonstrances  of  notwith-  s t a n d i n g , M a g g i e c a n n o t d e l i b e r a t e l y make a d e c i s i o n t h a t will  sever  or endanger those  are  sacred  her  inner balance.  lead  to her;  they  bonds o f f a m i l y a f f e c t i o n :  c o n s t i t u t e the  Their loss  certainly  shares  mainstay  or v i o l a t i o n m i g h t 1  to psychological d i s i n t e g r a t i o n .  l o v e d w o u l d a l w a y s subdue h e r "  foremost  (MF,  that q u a l i t y with  bk. her  "The 6,  they of  easily  need of  being  k).  Maggie  ch.  creator;  almost  - 106 however, she s h a r e s a n o t h e r t  equally, live  without love,  rise  above t h e m e n t a l  itself  she c a n n o t level  hunger;  mental and a e s t h e t i c literature,  side  than the other; i t requires some d e g r e e  amputated  Philip:  within  can s a t i s f y  h e r need  not prove  slow  Protestantism abhorrance  nature  no  less  outlet, at  I t cannot be i g n o r e d o r of her personality. t h e two c o n t r a s t e d  i n her relations  hunger.  She " w i l l  (Bk. 5 » c h . 4 ) ,  n o t know c a n n o t h u r t h i m . or tongue-tied  with  b u t what  And P h i l i p  i n his efforts  suggestive  n e v e r do  does  t o persuade  of* "A V a r i a t i o n o f  Unknown t o B o s s u e t , " he e x p r e s s e s h i s own  existence"  the e f f e c t  (Bk. 5  of t h e i r  l i k e Maggie's,  developments Eliot,  a limited  o f t h e Dodson s t a n d a r d s — * * . . . t h e dead  of p r o v i n c i a l terizes  exists  t o l o v e and t o be l o v e d , a s w e l l a s  and a e s t h e t i c  U s i n g language  music,  o f h e r a c q u a i n t a n c e s , he a l o n e  t o wound [ h e r ] f a t h e r "  h e r f a t h e r does  her.  nature harmonize  i n acute  craving f o r  knowledge,  i n h e r own f a m i l y ,  the c i r c l e  her i n t e l l e c t u a l anything  at least  without grievous mangling  of Maggie's  t o themi  o f h e r psyche  of s a t i s f a c t i o n .  Irreconcilable sides  alien  satisfactions—for That  Her  o f p a r e n t s and b r o t h e r m a n i f e s t s  i n a near-irresistible  and a r t .  she c a n n o t  by love alone.  i n an overpowering urge q u i t e  Intellectual  least  live  though  that  a l l sides  at least—aimed  on a  subsequent  as well-founded prophecies,  we know, r e c o g n i z e d  charac-  " o p p r e s s i v e narrowness"  and u t t e r s warnings  establish  on a c o n s c i o u s l e v e l  i ch. 3 ) — m e m o r a b l y  level  of the dispute  George and—  above a l l e l s e a t  "the  e x h i b i t i o n of  the  Maggie's  struggle  insight,  and  respect;  pression  of  scruples,  sizes at  a  ought  the  she  allows  they are  us  no  t o be  7i  r e - a s s e r t i n Chapter o f The  Mill  on  George E l i o t ' s frain  the  hesitations.  the  problem as  a  h i s urge  discussions  F l o s s are  i n one  and  respect  forced  to  c o n v i c t i o n that her  Despite  debate  the  fairest  temptee, m u l t i f o r m knowledge of  the  o r w h o l l y on i n the  Red  the  the  author's biography,  shall debates  within re-  Here  sympathy  case i n  novel,  compels  l e a s t equal t o — a n d  than-—her a f f i n i t y  f o r M a g g i e ' s v i e w s and  Eliot  statements  concurs with  I  author  dice.  of Maggie as  evidence w i t h i n  his  alone lies  other.  Deeps i s a  presentation  i n a measure a t  the  As  unique  Here a l o n e does the loading  that  temptation  agitated  not  The  equally,  to promote R a f f l e s '  from  side  empha-  ought t o r e s i s t  sides,  one  ex-  unequivocally,  taking  w h o l l y on  But  to marry Grandcourt.  the  the  sympathy,  She  well-founded.  Donnithorne  fiction.  portrays  scope f o r the  from  we  that,  temptee w i t h  r e s i s t e d , i n d u b i t a b l y and  Gwendolen h e r s  She  ground whatever f o r t h i n k i n g  seduce H e t t y , B u l s t r o d e  d e a t h , and  sides."  full  d o u b t s , and  sense t h a t A r t h u r  urge to  are  conventional  that  gives  -  r i g h t on b o t h  regards P h i l i p ' s view of  that in  editorially  l e a s t , she  she  as  107  of P h i l i p ' s ,  a  point.  ?  conventional  blended the  conclusion  probably struggle, such as  with  greater George the  following? "... y o u a r e s h u t t i n g y o u r s e l f up i n a narrow s e l f - d e l u s i v e f a n a t i c i s m , which i s o n l y a way o f e s c a p i n g p a i n by s t a r v i n g i n t o  -  108  -  d u l l n e s s a l l the h i g h e s t powers of y o u r nature. . . . You a r e n o t r e s i g n e d : y o u a r e only t r y i n g to stupefy y o u r s e l f . , . . Maggie, . . . don't p e r s i s t i n t h i s w i l f u l ^ senseless privation. I t makes me w r e t c h e d t o see you b e n u m b i n g and c r a m p i n g y o u r n a t u r e i n t h i s way. . . . I foresee that i t w i l l n o t end w e l l : y o u c a n n e v e r c a r r y on t h i s s e l f - t o r t u r e . . . . I t i s less w r o n g t h a t y o u s h o u l d see me t h a n t h a t y o u s h o u l d be c o m m i t t i n g t h i s l o n g s u i c i d e . " (Bk. 5, c h . 3) ". . . n o one h a s s t r e n g t h g i v e n t o do what i s unnatural. I t i s mere c o w a r d i c e t o s e e k safety i n negations. No c h a r a c t e r becomes s t r o n g i n t h a t way. You w i l l be t h r o w n I n t o t h e w o r l d some day, a n d t h e n e v e r y r a t i o n a l s a t i s f a c t i o n o f y o u r n a t u r e t h a t you d e n y now, w i l l a s s a u l t you l i k e a s a v a g e a p p e t i t e . " (Bk. 5, c h . 3) Maggie's f a i l u r e  t o r e s i s t P h i l i p may  his  a s s e r t i o n t h a t she  and  t h a t the  needful  more s i g n i f i c a n t , conscious  assault  irony, Is her  "'Philip,  how  tempter,'" "'.  like  foreboding,'" that  the  episode  s h a k e me the  of course,  a  second will  reading  find  i t s exact  Stephen G u e s t — " T h e  P h i l i p m i g h t have e n a b l e d U n v e i l e d by  the  her  to  concept  Great  unstate-  every  d e n y now,  will  replies: You  are  adding  insight  of the  last  . .  i n t h i s way?  charge,  Much  fraught with  t h a t you  of  unnatural,  her.  p r e d i c t s ,that '".  g i v e s i n s i g h t , M a g g i e , and  foreboding with  denied  savage a p p e t i t e , ' " Maggie  denies  On  confirmation  something  certainly  of your nature  dare you  He  . . love  a  one  immediate answer t o the  When he  satisfaction you  t o do  s t r e n g t h w i l l be  h o w e v e r , and  ment q u o t e d a b o v e . rational  i s trying  be  that  often  n o v e l , we  fulfilment  a  gives  know in  the  Temptation"—that  resist. of  temptation,  by  the  facts  - 109 of  the a u t h o r ' s  the  and  t o p o g r a p h y o f t h e Red  emerges i n f u l l the B i s h o p ' s see  life,  two  the debate  Deeps  c l a r i t y ' : we  see  twin i n j u n c t i o n ;  heroine  trying  much c l o s e r  to darkness  practices.  two  distinct  and  c o n v e n t i o n a l temptee;  two  and  reason  entities:  t h e y may they  c r e a t i v e e n e r g y and  of that f i s s u r e  One Pro V i t a  may  Sua,  human)  representing  s t r u g g l i n g u p o n them tragic  self-division  be  regard  Mill  tagged  Dodson  misguided  on  they  as  temptee correla-  evidently productive and  of  standards  objectify a loosely  vitality;  we  something  However u n c o n s c i o u s l y , M a g g i e f u n c t i o n s  f o r e n v i s a g i n g The  ploitation  planes,  to l i g h t — t h e  f i s s u r e w i t h i n George E l i o t ,  remarkable  discussed,  t o walk s t a u n c h l y by  than  and  just  ( p h y s i c a l and  temptees, r e p r e s e n t i n g the  a misguided  tive  by  -  give  the F l o s s as h e r  of good  ex-  i n a work o f a r t .  this  engendered by  n o v e l as  the author's  Apologia  the p a s s i o n a t e urge f o r  justification  s p r i n g i n g from  s l a n d e r s and  gross  structions,^  I n e v i t a b l y , however, George E l i o t  self-  misconexpressed  5George E l i o t ' s y e a r n i n g t o j u s t i f y h e r s e l f f i n d s r a t h e r p a i n f u l e x p r e s s i o n i n two s e n t e n c e s f r o m a l o n g l e t t e r ( d a t e d S e p t e m b e r k, 1855) to her intimate f r i e n d C a r o l i n e Bray: " L i g h t a n d e a s i l y b r o k e n t i e s a r e what I n e i t h e r d e s i r e t h e o r e t i c a l l y nor c o u l d l i v e f o r p r a c t i cally. Women who a r e s a t i s f i e d w i t h s u c h t i e s do n o t a c t a s I h a v e d o n e — t h e y o b t a i n what t h e y d e s i r e and a r e s t i l l i n v i t e d t o d i n n e r . " ( L e t t e r s , I I , 21k; q u o t e d i n H a l g h t , G e o r g e E l i o t , p. 190. ) One may be t h a n k f u l t h a t G e o r g e E l i o t s o o n l e a r n e d r e s o r t t o t h e medium o f a r t f o r h e r j u s t i f i c a t i o n .  to  - 110 t h a t urge i n a form t o t a l l y d i f f e r e n t from Newman's, m i d - V i c t o r i a n n o v e l i s t , she knew t h a t she c o u l d not h e r s e l f by t r y i n g to win a c t i o n s corresponded  A defend  sympathy f o r a human b e i n g whose  t o h e r own.  Nor would she have wished  t o do so, f o r she f e a r e d t i i a t " . . .  h e r example should be  s e i z e d upon by the l i g h t m i n d e d as an excuse f o r s e x u a l licence,"^  S t i l l a d h e r i n g t o the n o v e l i s t ' s way,  she t h e r e -  f o r e v i n d i c a t e s h e r s e l f by i m p l i c a t i o n , i m p r e s s i n g us i n d e l i b l y w i t h the p o s s i b l e consequences when an l i k e Maggie, whose endowments and c i r c u m s t a n c e s suggest h e r c r e a t o r ' s , reaches  individual approximately  the o p p o s i t e d e c i s i o n  and,  however h e s i t a n t l y and f a l t e r i n g l y , s t r u g g l e s t o c a r r y i t out. i n s o f a r as The M i l l on the F l o s s amounts to the a u t h o r ' s A p o l o g i a Pro V i t a Sua, P h i l i p ' s remonstrances i n the Red Deeps are not addressed  to Maggie a l o n e .  They a l s o  draw the contemporary r e a d e r ' s a t t e n t i o n t o the g r i e v o u s s o c i a l l o s s and b i t t e r p e r s o n a l s u f f e r i n g t h a t would p r o b a b l y have ensued from George E l i o t ' s adherence to the standards i m m o r t a l i z e d throughout  h e r book and e p i t o m i z e d i n  "A V a r i a t i o n of P r o t e s t a n t i s m Unknown t o Bossuet." w i t h our knowledge of the a u t h o r ' s b i o g r a p h y , a l o n e p r o v i d e s s u f f i c i e n t ground f o r t h i s F o r t u n a t e l y , however, a d i r e c t statement S a r a H e n n e l l , one  Blended  the n o v e l  interpretation. from a l e t t e r to  of h e r l i f e - l o n g f r i e n d s , f a v o u r s the  s k e p t i c w i t h c o r r o b o r a t i n g evidence: 6 e r a i d B u l l e t t , George E l i o t : Her L i f e and Books (London: C o l l i n s , 19-+7), P. 96. G  -  I l l-  " I f I l i v e f i v e years l o n g e r , the p o s i t i v e r e s u l t o f my e x i s t e n c e on t h e s i d e o f t r u t h and goodness w i l l outweigh the s m a l l n e g a t i v e good t h a t w o u l d h a v e c o n s i s t e d i n my n o t d o i n g a n y t h i n g t o shock o t h e r s , and I c a n c o n c e i v e no c o n s e q u e n c e s t h a t w i l l make me r e p e n t the p a s t . " ( L e t t e r s , I I , 342) This  letter  i s d a t e d J u n e 5i  e n g a g e d on h e r  The  passage  and  years  The  on  Mill  Victorian  stipulated  j u s t quoted  had  elapsed—Adam  t h e F l o s s (i860), S i l a s M a r n e r ,  r e a d e r s would have a g r e e d  Owing t o P h i l i p ' s to Maggie, h e r  crucial  with  ambivalent  role  as a d u a l f a i l u r e :  a mentor r a t h e r than a  own  tEois f a i l u r e conduct  may  tempter,  In a  stand  as i n t e r p r e t e d  Before (1859) •  (1861)—most  relation  expresses  t o r e c o g n i z e t h a t he  and  i n glaring  yet  i t s sentiment.  o f d u a l temptee  failure  failure  to r e s i s t  t o be.  Both  c o n t r a s t t o George  i n her a r t i c l e  on  1 8 5 4 — a b o u t t h r e e months a f t e r h e r a t t i t u d e with  is the parts  Eliot's  as w e l l  as  Sophocles*  l e t t e r to J o h n Chapman w r i t t e n on O c t o b e r  h e r p o s i t i o n and  then  therefore  Bede  i n roughly analogous circumstances,  to Antigone's play.  not  function i n  t e m p t e r whom she m i s t a k e n l y b e l i e v e s him of  had  was  some a d m i r a t i o n a s a p r o p h e c y come t r u e .  the f i v e  itself  George E l i o t  Scenes of C l e r i c a l L i f e  a t t a i n e d w i d e fame. excite  1857.  "elopement"—she  15, states  c o n f i d e n c e and s e l f - a s s u r a n c e :  "I have c o u n t e d the c o s t of the s t e p t h a t I h a v e t a k e n a n d am p r e p a r e d t o b e a r , w i t h o u t i r r i t a t i o n or b i t t e r n e s s , r e n u n c i a t i o n by a l l my f r i e n d s . I am n o t m i s t a k e n i n t h e p e r s o n t o whonr.I h a v e a t t a c h e d m y s e l f . He i s worthy of the s a c r i f i c e I have i n c u r r e d . . .  7Quoted i n G o r d o n S. H a i g h t , G e o r g e E l i o t : ( O x f o r d : C l a r e n d o n P r e s s , 1968), p. 162.  a  Biography  - 112 Rightly  o r wrongly,  basically similar  she c o n c e i v e s A n t i g o n e ' s  conduct as  e q u i v a l e n t t o h e r own, a n d s u m m a r i z e s i t i n a  vein: . . . [ A n t i g o n e ] d e c l a r e s t h a t she d e l i b e r a t e l y disobeyed [Creon*s p r o c l a m a t i o n ] , and i s ready to a c c e p t death as i t s consequence. I t was n o t Z e u s , s h e t e l l s [ C r e o n ] — i t was n o t e t e r n a l J u s t i c e that issued that decree. The p r o c l a m a t i o n o f Creon i s n o t so a u t h o r i t a t i v e a s t h s l u n w r i t t e n l a w o f t h e Gods , . . ,°  The  direct  both  antithesis  instances.  George E l i o t act  o f Maggie's conduct  Fully  cognizant of a l l relevant  and Antigone  i n f u l l accordance,  flinching.  make t h e i r d e c i s i o n s  facts,  to rebel,  and a c c e p t t h e consequences  without  M a g g i e , on t h e o t h e r h a n d , makes t h e o p p o s i t e  decision—the  decision  wobbles p i t i f u l l y , carry  looms g l a r i n g i n  to conform—and  and p a r t l y  fails,  then f a l t e r s and  i n h e r attempt t o  i tout. This  resemblance  i s t h e p o i n t where t h e d i r e c t yields  autobiography  autobiography of  t o t h e i n d i r e c t a n d more c o m p l i c a t e d  of a n t i t h e s i s .  T h o u g h c o m p a r a b l e i n endowments,  temperament, a n d c i r c u m s t a n c e s , t h e two t e m p t e e s p o i s e d on that  fateful  f r o n t i e r make a n t i t h e t i c a l d e c i s i o n s ,  antithetical  actions,  and g a r n e r a n a n t i t h e t i c a l h a r v e s t .  T h e y do, h o w e v e r , s h a r e are  willing  years—from  one p i e c e o f common g r o u n d .  t o i n c u r , a n d do i n c u r ,  wounding t h e i r  fathers,  the marriage  Spinney,  take  E s s a y s , p.  whom b o t h  sacrifices  263.  to avoid  o f them l o v e .  of her s i s t e r  Both  Christiana  F o r twelve i n May 1837  - 113 until  h i s death  housekeeper. she d i d . 9 that  None o f h i s o t h e r c h i l d r e n c a r e d f o r h i m a s  S i m i l a r l y , Maggie t e l l s  she w i l l  submits  i n May 1849--Marian a c t e d a s h e r f a t h e r ' s  Philip  from  the s t a r t  n e v e r do a n y t h i n g t o wound h e r f a t h e r , a n d  t o t h e g r o s s e s t abuse from  a b i d i n g by t h a t  resolution.  Tom f o r t h e sake o f  One w o u l d t h i n k t h a t t h e  a u t h o r ' s a g r e e m e n t w i t h M a g g i e on t h a t  issue  doubted.  supposition.  But the evidence b e l i e s  Speaight declares:  Eliot's "'. m  e  i  plaint  o f t h e weaker n a t u r e  We h a v e p r e v i o u s l y q u o t e d  i n a l e t t e r about  The M i l l  succumbing George  on t h e F l o s s :  „ . s p e c i a l cases of m i s i n t e r p r e t a t i o n might  i « l l  A  statement  s  a  n  however, t h i s  paralyse  i n s t a n c e o f such m i s i n t e r p r e t a t i o n ,  surely  Robert  "Maggie',s s u r r e n d e r t o Tom on t h i s  q u e s t i o n was s i m p l y a c a s e to t h e stronger."10  this  c o u l d n o t be  takes h i g h rank.  I n the t o t a l  Speaight's  picture,  s m a l l a r e a o f a g r e e m e n t b e t w e e n t h e two  t e m p t e e s amounts t o no more t h a n t h e e x c e p t i o n t h a t the r u l e . attempt—as  proves  M a g g i e , we h a v e s e e n , v i o l a t e s h e r n a t u r e ill-advised  as i t i s nobly m o t i v a t e d — t o  h e r s e l f by t h e Pearson-Dodson standards. notwithstanding,  she t h e r e b y i n f l i c t s  The b e s t  i n an guide  intentions  a maximum o f g r i e f  9TO t h e e n d o f h e r d a y s , G e o r g e E l i o t r e g r e t t e d t h e b r i e f a l i e n a t i o n c a u s e d b y h e r r e f u s a l t o go t o c h u r c h . The i s s u e a r o s e i n J a n u a r y 1842; b y t h e m i d d l e o f May s h e h a d y i e l d e d a n d resumed g o i n g t o c h u r c h w i t h h e r f a t h e r f o r the r e m a i n i n g seven y e a r s o f h i s l i f e . l°George E l i o t ^Letters,  (London:  I I I , 397.  Arthur Barker,  1954), p . 54.  - 114 upon a l l c o n c e r n e d  a n d t o t a l l y w r e c k s h e r own l i f e .  complete  the author  contrast,  braces the opposite side herself  (however r e l u c t a n t l y )  painful  I have d e l i b e r a t e l y  consequences  will,  taken  certainly  suffered  ... . .  cruelly—The Mill  did  Those t h a t l a y ahead  n o t even  entered  remotely foresee.^3  i n t o h e r d e c i s i o n , which  urge  to reconcile  the  need  t o be l o v e d a n d t h e n e e d  life  the deepest  L i k e E s t h e r Lyon,  could  on t h e F l o s s  known t o h e r a t t h e  No p r e s c i e n c e o f t h e k i n d sprang e x c l u s i v e l y  to a l l a y her i n t e l l e c t u a l  she r e c o g n i z e d " t h e b e s t t h i n g t h a t  g i v e h e r " w h i l e f u l l y aware t h a t  f o ra l l that i s greatly  to  make t h e r i g h t  to  bear  good"  " i t was n o t t o s u c h a s we m u s t  ( F H , c h . 49).  Intelligence  c h o i c e i n h e r circumstances and s t r e n g t h  the s u f f e r i n g i t e n t a i l s — t h o s e  qualities  that  doom.  she n o t o n l y w a l k e d  I n Bishop Wilson's  II,  terms,  s p e l l s poor  enabled  her t o a v o i d the s e l f - m u t i l a t i o n  ^Letters,  from  c r a v i n g s of h e r psyche:  be h a d w i t h o u t p a y i n g a h e a v y p r i c e f o r i t , pay  bears  a n d h a v e made h e r i m m o r t a l s h e  the  hunger.  of friends.•  t h e s e words t o C h a r l e s B r a y ,  i n d i r e c t witness--from the consequences time.  of a  T h e most  I know, be t h e l o s s  O c t o b e r 1854, when s h e w r o t e  she  em-  o f the f r o n t i e r and d e c l a r e s  " ' q u i t e prepared t o a c c e p t the consequences  step which  In  In  Maggie's staunchly  179.  13ln t h e e n d , t h e y d i d h e l p h e r t o a c h i e v e some compromise with the opposite world: not o n l y acceptance by V i c t o r i a n s o c i e t y a t l a r g e , b u t a l s o a degree o f e v e n t u a l r e c o n c i l i a t i o n w i t h h e r f a m i l y , e s p e c i a l l y w i t h the second g e n e r a t i o n o f E v a n s e s ( h e r nephews a n d n i e c e s ) .  - 115 by  the b e s t l i g h t  light  was  not  she  had,  b u t a l s o made s u r e  f o r e x e m p l i f i c a t i o n abound  the whole o f George E l i o t ' s  5  Chapter its  The  obvious  scarcely  Need t o be  6,  bk.  requires  headed  George E l i o t  In a world finds her  one  i n the s a n c t i t y  children,  and  s u b j e c t , the note  that  characterizes  on  absolute, unqualified here  o f human r e l a t i o n s ,  The  author  and  (MF, faith,  o f lukewarm a n d  especially,  w i f e , between p a r e n t s  Whenever she  touches  on  perfunctory praise f a v o u r a b l e comments  t o i t s e x a c t o p p o s i t e — a tone  of  conviction.  to  I t may  once more t h e p e r t i n e n t p a s s a g e  chapter.  comment  Sister":  subdue h e r "  even her r e l a t i v e l y  the Dodsons y i e l d s  takes  of a b s o l u t e s t r e n g t h and  among s i b l i n g s .  this  biography  of v a n i s h i n g r e l i g i o u s pillar  of  formal proof.  an author's  o f c o u r s e , i n t h o s e b e t w e e n h u s b a n d and and  throughout  i n the f a c t s  " B r o t h e r and  of b e i n g l o v e d would always  ch. 4).  support  also  Loved"—from  on M a g g i e d u r i n g t h e d e b a t e need  work, a n d  i n Professor Haight's d e f i n i t i v e  title—"The  "The  her  darkness.  Opportunities  her l i f e .  that  be  from  the  is' speaking of those  who  useful  quote  "Bossuet"  . . . i n t h e onward t e n d e n c y o f human t h i n g s have r i s e n above the m e n t a l l e v e l o f the g e n e r a t i o n b e f o r e them, t o w h i c h t h e y h a v e been n e v e r t h e l e s s t i e d by the s t r o n g e s t f i b r e s of t h e i r hearts, (MF, bk. 4, c h . 1) So  f a r a s d e p e n d e d on G e o r g e E l i o t ,  differences  l e v e l — h o w e v e r g r e a t — c o u l d no>t weaken t h o s e heart.  Not  a b s o l u t e and  theory merely, inviolable.  but Her  inmost  in  fibres  need, kept  r e l a t i o n with her  mental of  them sister  the  - 116 Chrissey—a  decent  c o n s t i t u t e s a case to  reach  that  girl,  but not  i n point.  stage  on O c t o b e r  9 t  intellectual—  did require a  of i n t e l l e c t u a l  mained c o n s t a n t throughout example,  She  i n the l e a s t  little  development, but  time  i t re-  the whole o f h e r mature l i f e .  1 8 4 - 3 — j u s t  t w e n t y - f i f t h b i r t h d a y — s h e wrote  o v e r a month b e f o r e in a  letter  to Sara  For  her Hennelli  "When t h e s o u l i s j u s t l i b e r a t e d f r o m t h e w r e t c h e d g i a n t ' s b e d o f dogmas . . . t h e r e i s a f e e l i n g o f e x u l t a t i o n and s t r o n g h o p e . . . . B u t a y e a r o r two o f r e f l e c t i o n . . . m u s t , I t h i n k , e f f e c t a change. S p e c u l a t i v e t r u t h b e g i n s t o a p p e a r b u t a shadow o f i n d i v i d u a l minds, agreement between I n t e l l e c t s seems u n a t t a i n a b l e , and we t u r n t o t h e t r u t h of f e e l i n g as the o n l y u n i v e r s a l bond o f u n i o n . " (Letters, I, 1 6 2 ) And  a q u a r t e r of a century l a t e r  her  immense fame was  already approaching  w r o t e i n t h e same s t r a i n life-long kith  and  and most i n t i m a t e f r i e n d s :  that  emotional  sentence  George E l i o t ' s  i t s zenith, one  "'I c l i n g  of  when she her  strongly  t h e y r e j e c t me. " ' ^  to  For a l l i t s  p o i n t s t o the c o r e of i t s a u t h o r ' s  i s justified  of l i f e ;  by  poem " S e l f a n d  notwithstanding,  l o v e remained  t o t h e v e r y end  l ^ L e t t e r s , V,  The and  1 8 6 9 ) »  dilemma.  "Life  tion  2 1 ,  to Barbara Bodichon,  k i n , even though  brevity,  (December  l o v e " - - t h e s e words Life." ^ 1  f o r her  Fame a n d the o n l y  o f h e r d a y s she  conclude genius  justifica-  c o u l d see  no  ?4.  • ^ T h e Works o f G e o r g e E l i o t , C a b i n e t e d i t i o n , v o l . 10: L e g e n d o f J u b a l and O t h e r Poems, O l d and New (Edinburgh L o n d o n : W i l l i a m B l a c k w o o d and Sons [_1878-80J, p. 275.  - 117 other.  But  by  -  t h e i r very nature  and  definition,  a f f e c t i o n a r e a two-way r e l a t i o n s h i p , an a c c o r d  of r e c i p r o c a l  potentials.  a mutual Confined  t o one  that p o t e n t i a l — e v e n at i t s peak—cannot  love.  The  good f e e l i n g  i n George E l i o t  b r o t h e r I s a a c and  from  crux  and  there Mill  of her  grief  i s the primary on  the F l o s s . pleads  able phrase,  she  vision" wider  bk.  vision,  and  who  experienced  t h e n o v e l may  epitomizes.  nor  and  know, o f c o u r s e ,  l a c k of  Simultaneously,  f o r g i v e n e s s , nor  they almost  so  who  wider had  the  however,  she  that  tolerance  can  love.  without  appreciable distortion,  with brother Isaac  correspondent  discussed primarily  are  res-  response,  and M a g g i e ' s b a t t l e g r o u n d , — t h a t i s , the  who  novel,  incredibly  Eliot's  viduals,  The  have the  exceptional intensity,  equated  with  t h o s e who  what c a u s e s  with  of  p o i n t , i n a memor-  t h e more c o n f i n e d — t h e  i t .  the  of Maggie's;  the  life;  be  from  . . remember t h a t t h e  with We  and  T h e r e was  Eliot's  milieu—may  and  response  again throughout  of unrequited  be  sense  there i s the crux  t o ".  ch. 3).  Conveniently, in  us  can f o r g i v e  the g r i e f  no  f o r t o l e r a n c e ; a t one  urges  7»  o f good  person  generate  autobiographical inspiration  neither understanding, assuage  he  problem;  Understanding  George E l i o t knew, and  those  of t o l e r a n c e l i e s  (MF,  confined.  elicited  A g a i n and  George E l i o t  ponsibility  combination  and  exchange,  alone,  most f e l i c i t o u s  love  o u t s t a n d i n g as  In  George  justification,  through  these  George  Pearson-Dodson two  indi-  representatives that  amount t o p e r s o n i f i c a t i o n s .  Making  Tom  the  -  individual oldest the  This being  "still  holding  culprit  from  i n the  does not  the  scene of a c t i o n "  she  comes c l o s e  own  as  true.  Tom, her  convictions  trying  (Bk.  So  his  the  censorious  to f i g h t  q u i c k l y resumes h e r against  her  own  Professor  5).  as  (for this  as  once)  condemnation  scene i n which false,  tyranny  and  her  lacks  perhaps,  and  They  i f i t were  of  knows w o u l d  the  she  cannot  the  majority.  side  with  d i s d a i n f u l view  that  she  alone  of  could  r o l e of misguided  true  in-  compelling  ch.  h o w e v e r , she  Does i t seem l i k e l y  she  5»  one  rather,  against  at  following to  were  brother's  i s the  e x c e p t e d , e v e r y b o d y whom she  conduct.  i f he  Maggie  creator,  convictions—or  corroborating  right?  as  t o d e f i n i n g Tom's l i g h t her  glance  w a l k s away w i t h M a g g i e  that her this  and  grossly unjust  feeling P h i l i p ' s pain  Indeed,  Unlike  of her  maintain her Philip  tightly,  i n a d d i t i o n to hers,  guilt.  l e t us  according  D e e p s , Tom  wrist  assume i m m e d i a t e l y  proves her  courage  novel,"  her  exchange h e a t e d words; and  Red  simplest  Maggie, d i r e c t l y  H a v i n g heaped h i s b r u t a l and  on P h i l i p  own,  the  granted,  and  most p a i n f u l scene i n the  sults  her  -  type i s s u r e l y  o f words "between Tom  Haight.l^  a  f o r the  of metaphors.  war  "the  stand  118  be  temptee,  light.^  ^ I n t r o d u c t i o n , R i v e r s i d e E d i t i o n , p. x. I myself r e g a r d i t a s one o f t h e two m o s t p a i n f u l , r i v a l l e d b y Tom's t u r n i n g h i s s i s t e r f r o m h i s d o o r when she comes b a c k f r o m her "elopement." (Bk. 7» c h . 1 ) . ^The author i m p l i e s , I t h i n k , t h a t Maggie i s r i g h t i n h e r d e c i s i o n t o s u b m i t t o a n y t h i n g r a t h e r t h a n wound h e r f a t h e r ; b u t w r o n g i n y i e l d i n g t o Tom b e y o n d t h a t p o i n t . 1  - 11.9 In  t h i s p a r a g r a p h , however, o u r i n t e r e s t c e n t e r s  on Tom's  reply  t o one o f t h e v e h e m e n t r e m o n s t r a n c e s M a g g i e  while  still  irt s i g h t o f t h e t r u e  utters  lightj  " P r a y , how h a v e y o u shown y o u r l o v e , t h a t y o u t a l k o f , e i t h e r t o me o r my f a t h e r ? By d i s obeying and d e c e i v i n g u s . I have a d i f f e r e n t way o f s h o w i n g iny a f f e c t i o n . " ( B k . 5, c h . 5) Unquestionably the  basis  that  sincere,  t h e s e words a r e i l l u m i n a t i n g .  o f George E l i o t ' s  Injunction—".  the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y of tolerance  have t h e w i d e r v i s i o n " — t h e y they s t a t e and exemplify lem  George E l i o t  On  . . remember  l i e s with  those  who  c a n be r e a d i l y defended.  p e r f e c t l y the b a s i c  h a s endowed M a g g i e w i t h ,  But  emotional  prob-  b e c a u s e i t was h e r  own. "'I  have a d i f f e r e n t ' w a y  o f s h o w i n g my a f f e c t i o n . ' "  Tom i s s p e a k i n g i n a n g e r h e r e a n d e x p o s i n g h i s p s y c h e a t its  worst.  About a year l a t e r ,  i n a scene  a t h i s modest b e s t ,  he e x p o u n d s t h a t  specifies  form i t would  the exact  that  shows h i m  " d i f f e r e n t way," a n d  take i n i t s a p p l i c a t i o n t o  Maggie. "... y o u m i g h t h a v e l i v e d r e s p e c t a b l y amongst y o u r r e l a t i o n s , u n t i l I c o u l d have p r o v i d e d a home f o r y o u w i t h my m o t h e r . A n d t h a t i s what I s h o u l d l i k e t o d o . I w i s h e d my s i s t e r t o b e a l a d y , and I would always have t a k e n c a r e o f y o u , a s my f a t h e r d e s i r e d , u n t i l y o u w e r e w e l l married." ( B k . 6, c h . 4) Isaac  E v a n s , we know, h e l d  of h i s s i s t e r Marian, one  s i m i l a r notions  the future  about  George E l i o t .  o f h e r c l o s e s t f r i e n d s h a s summarized, them  implied)  i n a letter  that  survives.  the welfare Fortunately,  (with  Oh F e b r u a r y 22,  judgments 1843,  -  about  two y e a r s  intellectual Bray wrote  120 -  a f t e r M a r i a n h a d come u n d e r t h e e m a n c i p a t i n g  i n f l u e n c e o f the B r a y s and H e n n e l l s ,  to Sara  Hennell,  Mrs. Cara  her sister:  " I t seems t h a t b r o t h e r I s a a c w i t h r e a l f r a t e r n a l kindness thinks that h i s s i s t e r h a s no c h a n c e o f g e t t i n g t h e one t h i n g n e e d f u l — i . e . a husband and a s e t t l e m e n t — u n l e s s s h e m i x e s more i n s o c i e t y , a n d comp l a i n s . . . t h a t Mr. B r a y , b e i n g o n l y a l e a d e r o f mobs, c a n o n l y i n t r o d u c e h e r t o C h a r t i s t s and R a d i c a l s , and t h a t such o n l y w i l l e v e r f a l l i n l o v e w i t h h e r i f she does not belong t o the church."1° The  "real  f r a t e r n a l kindness"  was s i n c e r e e n o u g h .  m i g h t h a v e e c h o e d Tom's w o r d s t o M a g g i e : hot  Isaac  "'You t h i n k I am  k i n d ; b u t my k i n d n e s s c a n o n l y b e d i r e c t e d b y what I  believe  t o b e good f o r y o u ' " (Bk. 6, c h . 4).  narrow l i m i t s  of t h e i r  standards  men d i d d e s i r e t h e w e l f a r e author's  and understanding,  of their  sisters.  only If  show i t s e l f  "The b r o t h e r ' s  i n Tom's  both  The f o l l o w i n g  comment w o u l d b e e q u a l l y a p p r o p r i a t e  were r e p l a c e d b y " I s a a c ' s " : could  Within the  i f "Tom's"  goodness  . . .  fashion."  a s k e d t o c h a r a c t e r i z e Tom i n t h e f e w e s t  possible  words, I would choose i n t r a n s i g e n c e , narrowness, and s e l f righteousness. novel,  these  explicated, and  Exemplified  qualities  again  are repeatedly  and d e n o u n c e d — o c c a s i o n a l l y  by P h i l i p ,  throughout the  and c o g e n t l y  analyzed,  b y a u t h o r i a l comment  b u t more o f t e n b y M a g g i e ' s i n d i g n a t i o n ,  communicated a t times i n a d i r e c t in  and a g a i n  outburst  (as i n that  scene  t h e Red D e e p s ) , b u t more f r e q u e n t l y t h r o u g h h e r c r e a t o r ' s  18Haight, George E l i o t ,  p . 48.  account  of her  crucial  importance  Philip they  thoughts.  stem f r o m  The  chapter.  standards  o f The  Mill  on  as  impulses,  is  neededi  and  an  The  For the  i n the psyche,  embodiment  irreconcilable  h e n c e a medium p l a u s i b l e  suitable  ever-felt.  eminent degree,  as a  of  that  pressures source  of  f o r i t s dramatic p r e s e n t a t i o n . even h e r i n t e r a c t i o n ,  c a n meet t h e s e  and  the a u t h o r ' s  artistic  tussle with  the l e a v e n of an  relentless  on  u n d e r l i e the a u t o b i o g r a p h i c a l I n s p i r a t i o n  N e i t h e r Maggie a l o n e , nor with P h i l i p  on h i s s i s t e r a n d  so memorably s k e t c h e d  the F l o s s .  t h e t u s s l e and  and  o u t s t a n d i n g r e p r e s e n t a t i v e of  Combined w i t h  i n s p i r a t i o n demands a and  magnitude, q u a l i t y ,  h i s p o s s e s s i o n of these q u a l i t i e s .  Pearson-Dodson standards,  these  -  o f Tom's i m p a c t  sustain his role  "Bossuet"  121  requirements.  A  as  third  such, element  opposite p s y c h o l o g i c a l pressure, When Tom  T u l l i v e r provides i t i n  the i n t e r a c t i o n w i t h P h i l i p  unusually p e r p l e x i n g aggregate  generates  of c o u n t e r b a l a n c i n g f o r c e s  that  s t e e r s Maggie i n t o a d u a l s t r u g g l e - - i n t o an attempt  ride  s i m u l t a n e o u s l y i n o p p o s i t e d i r e c t i o n s — a n d thus  h e r p a r a d o x i c a l as a Maggie, in  that  she  contrasted solicited elements  resembles  George E l i o t ' s  straddles a dividing e t h i c a l worlds; sides,  t h a t respond  perspective,  l e t us  word seems a l m o s t  to  renders  temptee.  then,  from b o t h  an  like and  to both.  recall  line  b e t w e e n two  temptees  sharply  h e r c o u n t e r p a r t s , she endowed w i t h By way  the a u t h o r ' s  justified—of  other  is  conflicting  of m a i n t a i n i n g a definitions—the  three of her  temptees.  due  - 122 Arthur of  Donnlthome  "will  s i n , where he w i l l be  from the  other  C a s s "had active  not moral courage  the  the  worlds  who  (M,  t h a t , a t the v e r y  ch.  included.  a higher."^  line  strugglers.  and But  o f no  on  least,  that and  heart  Bulstrode  satisfactory In  the  the  "was his the  agreement  Janet,  a  George  Eliot  expression  f r o m I n Memoriam: " T h e r e i s a for  share  The  in  i n t h e i r performance one  c r u c i a l bond;  ethical  author  lower  illustration,  enormously i n t h e i r psyches,  t h e y do  two  near-absolute  i t s neatest  simply  for  Esther  f r o n t i e r s between  exemplify  I t finds  that  same v e i n a n d  intellectuals,  p r o b l e m s , and  doubt.  13).  o n c e more e n v i s a g e  a n e x u s t h a t u n i t e s them: t h e admits  Godfrey  gradually explained  R e c a l l e d here  temptees d i f f e r  circumstances  12).  ch.  been s t r o n g e r than  6l).  of most V i c t o r i a n  i n an a p h o r i s t i c  assaults  only conscience  ch.  had  Gwendolen s t a n d i n g  unquestionably  these  had  of h i s d e s i r e s i n t o  beliefs"  conviction  and  and  same p u r p o s e , l e t us  Lyon, and  by  f o r e v e r uneasy u n d e r the weakness  •theoretic b e l i e f s ,  those  he  whose d e s i r e s h a d  gratification  (AB,  border-land  enough t o c o n t e m p l a t e  r e n u n c i a t i o n " (SM,  s i m p l y a man  that  p e r p e t u a l l y harassed  s i d e of the boundary"  enough t o make him  with  n e v e r get beyond  renunciation . . .  forbade  -  i s s u e they  knows what t h e y  their as  there i s confront ought t o  do,  19ceorge E l i o t q u o t e s t h e l i n e a s p a r t o f t h e e p i g r a p h h e a d i n g c h a p t e r 4-3 o f F e l i x H o l t . She i n t e n d s i t t o r e f e r t o E s t h e r , who w i l l s o o n h a v e t o c h o o s e b e t w e e n t h e w o r l d s r e p r e s e n t e d b y h e r two s u i t o r s — H a r o l d Transome ( t h e l o w e r ) and F e l i x H o l t ( t h e h i g h e r ) .  - 123 and  she  conveys  her conviction  t o t h e r e a d e r i n no u n c e r t a i n  terms, Alone side  among t h e m a j o r t e m p t e e s ,  t h a t most v i t a l  nexus.  As  h e r c o u n t e r p a r t s , and  on  book b a t t l e — a  perfectly  istic the  battle  one  pattern previously  strength of that  c l a s s by h e r s e l f .  level  stands  developed  out-  as any  fighting a virtual  illustrating  of text-  the c h a r a c t e r -  e l u c i d a t e d — s h e n e v e r t h e l e s s , on  exclusion,  She  fully  Maggie  cannot  ranks  a s an a n o m a l y , i n a  u s e f u l l y be  d i s c u s s e d as  though  circumstances allowed her to f i n d  d i r e c t i o n i n those  basic  common a s s u m p t i o n s  diverse  and  enable  each  t h a t may  unite  to d e r i v e support from  the  sense  individuals of b e l o n g i n g .  Perplexing her with a fundamentally d i f f e r e n t  ethical  the author d e p r i v e s her  that  temptees  find  easier  perception—than dividing  two  s i m p l y , be and  lower.  Eliot's having  to follow,  c a t e g o r i z e d as Rather,  the a n t i t h e s i s  their validity,  from  Poised  Pinney,  the primary  level  frontier  plainly  they pose r e c a l l s "Two  and higher George  principles  with e a c h . "  2 0  for this  resides  other  of  wrong, o r even as  incentive  her usual practice  i e n c e s b e f o r e and  cannot,  of the A n t i g o n e ; a r e a t war  low  the  too s t r a d d l e s a  that  r i g h t and  light"  on a  Maggie  worlds, but worlds  r e a s o n a b l e doubt,  2 0  "kindly  to s e e — a l b e i t  interpretation  departure  of the  issue,  both  Beyond unique  i n personal  exper-  d u r i n g the c o m p o s i t i o n of the n o v e l .  precariously  E s s a y s , p.  on a f r o n t i e r  263.  that divides  two  -  124 -  i r r e c o n c i l a b l e w o r l d s , Maggie endures a l l t h e torment arises  from  acute  inner conflict.  Neither world  geneous.  On t h e c o n t r a r y , e a c h b y i t s e l f ,  reference  t o the other, i l l u s t r a t e s  thread  i n t h e web o f . . . l i f e , "  attention  "the mingled  the author  adds,  I n t h e same c h a p t e r  " . . . mingled  give a f a i t h f u l  mirrored her  themselves  eagerness  limited  right Let  world  draws  ( n o . 7) o f t h a t  s e e d must b e a r a m i n g l e d  T h u s , once a g a i n , i n harmony w i t h h e r o f t - q u o t e d "to  the l e a s t  i n Book 5 o f t h e n o v e l , a p p r o p r i a t e l y e n t i t l e d  "Wheat a n d T a r e s . " she  t o which  i s homo-  without  eminently  that  account  aspiration have  (AB, c h . 17)» s h e s t r e s s e s  to present, impartially  and r e a l i s t i c a l l y , the  and i t s obverse  wrong.  us b e g i n w i t h  limited  the Pearson-Dodson  i n w h i c h M a g g i e was b o r n a n d r a i s e d .  the a u t h o r  crop."  o f men a n d t h i n g s a s t h e y  i n [ h e r ] mind"  Book  emphasizes  (Bk.  4, c h , 1 ) .  both  having  the impact  Because  world—the We  that  o f i t s "oppressive narrowness"  o f that narrowness,  their validity,  recall  are at w a r "  2 1  "two p r i n c i p l e s ,  — e v e n w i t h i n the  confines  of that world,  irrespective  relation  t o any other.  So enormous a d i s t a n c e s e p a r a t e s  their  levels  of v a l i d i t y ,  that  these  without  serious oversimplification,  "bad."  T h e good one, o f c o u r s e ,  and  familial  r e l a t i o n with her  affections,  [ f o r t h e moment] o f i t s  two p r i n c i p l e s be l a b e l l e d  consists  f a t h e r and h e r b r o t h e r .  of her l i f e "  "good" a n d  i n the b a s i c  primarily manifested  " t h e two i d o l s  may,  human  i n Maggie's  ( B k . 4, c h . 2 ) —  A n d t h e b a d one, o b v i o u s l y ,  2 1 P i n n e y , E s s a y s , p . 263.  - 125 exposes i t s e l f judgment b y  i n the Pearson-Dodson standards, which  the k i n d e s t p o s s i b l e l i g h t  than b a r e l y mediocre.  No  us  t h a t one  least  feel  can  kindly  a t t i t u d e s and her  like  father,  adopted  an  brother.  ignorance—these tives Mr.  f o r c e her  Tulliver  almost  equal  and  Tom  c i a t e a f f e c t i o n and practices.  cognate  qualities  f o r him;  But  and  from  l o n g f o r and ardor.  and  most p a i n f u l an  rela-  conflict.  intensity  though i n c a p a b l e of  f a t h e r and  for a  son a l i k e  anything  lower  fail  to  disso-  to t h e i r  In i t s effect  on M a g g i e ,  t h i s aggregates  her a f e a r f u l p r i c e  amounts t o n o t h i n g  glaring f o r the  t h a t she  retention  less  than  t h a t must d e s e c r a t e  of  t h a t most  craves with  and  standards  limitations.  affections—affections  Given Maggie's i n s t i n c t s  practices  i n her nearest  conformity  r e c e i v e , and  her,  her  l o v e from  normal f a m i l i a l  to  have  f a t h e r and  wench" w i t h  most b a n e f u l e x p r e s s i o n of t h e i r exacts  deep a t t a c h m e n t  d o e s command t h e p o t e n t i a l  degree of a f f e c t i o n .  their  intransigence,self-righteousness,  loves h i s " l i t t l e  proportionate,  and  toward h e r  i n t o an a v o i d a b l e and  to hers  very  sharing  Maggie c o u l d e a s i l y  attitude  narrowness,  the  tells  r e l i g i o n were a n a t h e m a t o  i n point).  analogous But  and  at  remotely  (George E l i o t ' s  whose p o l i t i c s  such  Common e x p e r i e n c e  them—without  opinions,  higher  f u n c t i o n i n g on  even l o v e p e o p l e — o r  toward  c o n s t i t u t e s a case  principles  of cogency.  and  rate  inherent or absolute reason n e c e s s i -  t a t e s a n t a g o n i s m b e t w e e n two widely disparate planes  cannot  even  with  h e r n a t u r e , and  It good people  exceptional  endowments, t h e  compliance  the  price  standards thus  and  conduce  -  t o the  126  d i s i n t e g r a t i o n of h e r  psyche.  B o t h f o r e m p h a s i s on  d i s p a r i t y and  of r e f e r e n c e ,  the  may  be  the P h i l i p - S t e p h e n  we  will  tagged  territory  -  two  worlds.  outranks h i s r i v a l w e l l as  decision tions  to  the  other  and  side  world.  As  Red  resultant failure  f r u s t r a t e d as  of H u m i l i a t i o n , "  she  2 2  source  an  responds  toward—the  only  reach.  The  following extracts  suggest  the  main elements composing h i s  i t s correlate,  to  the  the  conflict who  discussion,  Despite  her  his  solicita-  The  magnitude  c a u s e no  surprise.  dweller  in  to—indeed  author's  "The  gravitates  of a l l e v i a t i o n w i t h i n her from  frontier  present  Deeps.  involuntary  the  on P h i l i p ,  Maggie cannot r e s i s t  r e g u l a r l y i n the her  with  s t r e s s must f a l l  a human b e i n g .  convenience of  turning  i n s i g n i f i c a n c e f o r the  contrary,  o f h i s i m p a c t and Fettered  The  i n h i s worth as  t o meet him  Valley  the  examine i t i n i s o l a t i o n b e f o r e  between the  as  on  for  sight  and  analysis  influence:  . . . an opening i n the r o c k y w a l l which shut i n the narrow v a l l e y of h u m i l i a t i o n . . . She m i g h t h a v e b o o k s , c o n v e r s e , a f f e c t i o n . . . m a k i n g h e r m i n d more w o r t h y o f i t s h i g h e s t s e r v i c e , , . some w i d t h o f k n o w l e d g e . . . a kindness to P h i l i p . . . I t was so b l a m e l e s s , so g o o d . . . t h a t t h e r e should be f r i e n d s h i p b e t w e e n h e r a n d P h i l i p . . . . (Bk. 5, c h . 3) Despite  his imperfections,  reasons r a t h e r we I  ignore am  the  these are  other  side  of  Philip  the  frontier,  does deserve  M a g g i e i n t o a p r e m a t u r e engagement T i t l e o f Book 4; begins with t h e i r f i r s t 2  considerations—  than excuses or r a t i o n a l i z a t i o n s — p r o v i d e d  t r y i n g t o do,  2  sound  (Bk.  as  i n this  reproach f o r 5»  ch.  4),  t h e n e x t B o o k — " W h e a t and m e e t i n g i n t h e Red D e e p s ,  paragraph hurrying  when  he  Tares"—  - 12? knows t h a t she  had  o n l y thought  of l o n g s t a n d i n g .  Nearly  acknowledges t h i s "before h e r that,  death  error (Bk.  deficient,  possibly  infidelity  with  counts  stands  adequately Philip, and  3).  someone l i k e  exclusively  endowment and  on m o s t  could neither  impart  cisely,  At  embodiment  one  to  standard  affection  setting, Philip's  would  think  (FH,  so,  of judgment.  . . . some w i d t h  . . . friendship  w o u l d r e c o n c i l e what t h e  . . . ."  c r u e l and  the needs  o f t h e h e a r t and  the needs of the mind.  emotional  c r a v i n g s and  unnatural  know, a c h i e v e s  no  of  Pre-  conflict:  her a e s t h e t i c - i n t e l l e c t u a l  assuaged, Maggie would  "She  Pearson-Dodson  have f o r c e d i n t o  M a g g i e , we  conjunction  of " t h a t h i g h e r  standards  m e d i a t e d and  both,  i t un-  In  such v a l u e  least  of an a b s o l u t e  , . , kindness Philip  f o r doing  u n e q u i v o c a l w o r t h emerges i m p r e s s i v e l y  might have books, c o n v e r s e , knowledge  nature.  a l l meaner c h o i c e f o r evermore"  p a r t of epigraph).  light  other  c o n d i t i o n s of Maggie's s o c i a l  [which] poisons  the  into  substantialize  t h a t i t looms p a l p a b l y a s a n  i t s positive,  her  f o r her happiness.  t h i s urge  grant  complement M a g g i e ' s  t o u n f o l d , expand, and  this  even by  and  may  biologically  S t e p h e n , who  b e l o w him,  and  shortly  one  i n contrast, evinces great p o t e n t i a l  the r e s t r i c t i n g  c h . 49,  writes  Likewise,  friend  recognizes  to the p o i n t of tempting  with  vision  l a t e r he  might have proved  a l o n g way  r e s e r v e d l y and  since  ch.  as a p r e c i o u s  l e t t e r he  match n o r a d e q u a t e l y  yearns  offer  years  i n the  7,  a s a h u s b a n d , he  two  o f him  Her hunger  cease  t o be  self-divided.  such  happy  consummation:  indeed, does.  s h e c o u l d h a r d l y m i s s i t b y a w i d e r m a r g i n t h a n she In dire  fitted, denies  128 -  need  of the h e l p  that P h i l i p  i s eminently  a n d a r d e n t l y l o n g i n g , t o b e s t o w on h e r , him the o p p o r t u n i t y by f a i l i n g  dispensable  prerequisite.  a d e c i s i o n she a l o n e He d o e s h i s b e s t  That  can reach,  she y e t  to provide  its in-  prerequisite consists i n poised  on h e r f r o n t i e r .  t o s t e e r h e r toward i t , b u t the f i n a l  r e s p o n s i b i l i t y must r e m a i n h e r s .  A n d M a g g i e , a s we h a v e  seen,  fails  she m i s t a k e s  light  f o r a temptation  f o r one b a s i c r e a s o n t  h e r s e l f by the f a i n t  t o be r e s i s t e d ,  while  the true  trying  t o guide  glimmer o f t h e Dodson s t a n d a r d s .  (The  rider  " b a s i c " needs t o be s t r e s s e d : a s u s u a l l y happens i n  life,  Maggie's c h o i c e does n o t l i e between b l a c k and w h i t e ;  it  might reasonably  phasis  assume t h e f o r m  t h a t does n o t p r e c l u d e  We w i l l  presently enlarge  on t h e s e m o d i f i c a t i o n s , b e c a u s e  f o r the p l a u s i b i l i t y  a  Nevertheless,  her  into  follows: and  decisively;  the worlds  conflict it  Dodson s t a n d a r d s  mislead  and o p p o s i t e d e c i s i o n ,  from h e l p i n g h e r e f f e c t i v e l y  i t i s u n n a t u r a l , cannot be c a r r i e d  her to later  a s he c o r r e c t l y  of Maggie's d u a l r o l e as  a n d r e s u l t s may b e s u m m a r i z e d a s  i tprecludes P h i l i p  predisposes  of  those  reaching the a l t e r n a t i v e  whose c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s  em-  a l l e v i a t i o n b y compromise.  they account temptee).  of an unequivocal  o u t , and  " a s s a u l t " by a "savage a p p e t i t e , "  d i s c e r n s a n d f o r e s e e s ; i t makes t h e w o r s t  on b o t h  between those  s i d e s of the f r o n t i e r ;  i t embraces t h e  worlds and p e t r i f i e s  i t i n h e r psyche;  s p e l l s maximum p a i n f o r h e r s e l f a n d maximum p a i n f o r t h o s e  - 129 connected with her; her  w i t h no  reach  that  and  i t predetermines her  more t h a n a c h o i c e t r a g i c and  arising  from her  nantly,  M a g g i e ' s own  D e f o e ' s The  -  as  of  the  ruin,  path by  yet unrecognized  which  goal.  calamitous d e c i s i o n r e c a l l s ,  History  childhood of  the  leaving she  The  will  plight  rather  poig-  e x p l i c a t i o n of a p i c t u r e  from  Devil. -  " T h a t o l d woman i n t h e w a t e r ' s a w i t c h — they've put h e r i n t o f i n d out whether she's a w i t c h o r no, a n d i f she swims s h e ' s a w i t c h , and i f s h e ' s drowned . . . s h e ' s i n n o c e n t . . . . B u t what good w o u l d i t do t o h e r t h e n , you know, when she was d r o w n e d ? " (MF, Bk. 1, ch. 3) Alienated do  the  from  unnatural,  failure  from  tensifies  the  pain;  and  attempt  Maggie f i n d s h e r s e l f i n ah  the  to  Pearson-Dodson w o r l d by  one's p s y c h e  her  impossible  sustains  in-  double a l i e n a t i o n i n -  irreconcilable conflict  so m e m o r a b l y d e p i c t e d  i n many a n o v e l Our  earlier  the m e n t a l p i c t u r e  o f George E l i o t ' s  w i t h Maggie  The  of  our  of  Mill  the  on  the  autobiographical Floss  the P h i l i p - S t e p h e n  fuses  tightly  stance c h a r a c t e r i s t i c frontier worlds.  f u s i o n of Maggie the  autobiographical  as  century.  s t r a d d l i n g the  that fusion--the the  own  on  i n S i l a s M a r n e r , 23  of Maggie, i n the  temptees,  t h e P e a r s o n - D o d s o n and nature,  of  discussion  inspiration underlying  I860,  her  a l i e n a t i o n s tends to engender t h a t warping e f f e c t  we^ll a s  very  world by  A l i e n a t i o n causes pain;  personality,  with  the  i n a p o s i t i o n t h a t no  definitely.  the  and  to c a r r y i t out,  position,  rival  the P h i l i p - S t e p h e n  between By  its  temptee  projection—radiates  llghtj  2 3 e o r g e E l i o t c o m p l e t e d The M i l l on t h e F l o s s i n M a r c h , and b e g a n S i l a s M a r n e r i n S e p t e m b e r o f t h e same y e a r . G  -  130  the l i g h t t h a t enables us to r e c o g n i z e h e r as a paradox among the temptees and  to account f o r the paradox; the  light  needed f o r r e s o l u t i o n of the r i d d l e posed a t the b e g i n n i n g of  t h i s chapter.  C l e a r l y enough, Maggie'•s psyche  and  cir-  cumstances p a r a l l e l those of h e r c r e a t o r as c l o s e l y as decorum, p r o p r i e t y , and the n e e d f u l a e s t h e t i c d i s t a n c e permit. its  B r o a d l y speaking, the Pearson-Dodson w o r l d , w i t h  emphasis on the a u t h o r ' s m a t e r n a l a u n t s , and  on  Marian-Maggie's r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h f a t h e r and b r o t h e r , r e p r e s e n t the world of the a u t h o r ' s c h i l d h o o d : the w o r l d which she m e n t a l l y outgrew by a s t a g g e r i n g d i s t a n c e , w h i l e remaining t i e d t o i t by the s t r o n g e s t f i b r e s of h e r h e a r t . Once more, a t t h i s p o i n t , l e t us remind "Bossuet"  o u r s e l v e s of the  c h a p t e r and of the a r t i c l e on the  Antigone.^  P r o f e s s o r H a i g h t ' s w e l l - c h o s e n words h e l p t o evoke the s t r e n g t h and pathos  of those  "fibres":  She was a c o u n t r y g i r l a t h e a r t : o n l y by remembering t h a t can many c u r i o u s c o n t r a d i c t i o n s i n h e r l i f e be understood. The y e a r n i n g f o r b l u e sky, an o r c h a r d f u l l of o l d t r e e s and rough g r a s s , f o r hedgerow paths among e n d l e s s f i e l d s , haunted h e r always . . . . (Letters, I, x l v i i ) L e s s c l o s e l y , but n o n e t h e l e s s r e c o g n i z a b l y , the P h i l i p Stephen w o r l d on the o t h e r s i d e of the f r o n t i e r , r e p r e s e n t s the a u t h o r ' s l i f e i n the most advanced I n t e l l e c t u a l of  circles  London: h e r a s s o c i a t i o n w i t h the Westminster Review,  U l f i seem to have overemphasized Antigone i n t h i s c h a p t e r , l e t i t be remembered t h a t George E l i o t r e f e r s to h e r a g a i n a t the end of Middlemarch ( p e n u l t i m a t e p a r a g r a p h ) , where the j u x t a p o s i t i o n w i t h S a i n t Theresa forms p a r t of the a u t h o r ' s attempt to sum up the q u i n t e s s e n c e of h e r creed. 2  -  131 -  h e r r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h J o h n Chapman, H e r b e r t S p e n c e r , many o t h e r l i b e r a l s ,  including  and  ( o f c o u r s e ) George Henry  Lewes. Loosely  e q u a t i n g the c h a r a c t e r and c i r c u m s t a n c e s o f  Maggie w i t h  those  "antagonism  between v a l i d  The  o f h e r c r e a t o r , we may now summarize t h e  good q u a l i t i e s  normal f a m i l i a l daughter,  claims" i n this  dual  of the Dodson-Pearson world  affections  endeared  from  comprise  ( e s p e c i a l l y between f a t h e r and  and between b r o t h e r and s i s t e r ) ,  environment  application.  earliest  and a  physical  childhood (Dorlcote M i l l  i n Maggie's case; G r i f f  i n the author's).  though e n d l e s s i n t h e i r  r a m i f i c a t i o n s , may a l l be summed up  in  George E l i o t ' s  world  on t h e o t h e r s i d e  of i n t e l l e c t u a l , mental  of the f r o n t i e r ,  aesthetic,  fused with endure:  those a s s e t s .  and b i o l o g i c a l  consist  satisfaction:  physical  love.  Pope's  The d i s a d v a n t a g e s  inextricably  them c a n b e s t a t e d a s e a s i l y a s t h e y a r e h a r d t o  alienation  a l i e n a t i o n from  from  the b a s i c  outgrown b y t h e i n t e l l e c t .  t o moral  temptees  standards  itself  straddle  affections;  environment  So f a r , t h e n ,  i n t o a r t expresses  comparable  familial  the endearing p h y s i c a l  emotional adherence  transmuted  the assets  I n the  o f r e a s o n a n d t h e f l o w o f s o u l s " may i n p a r t  characterize  two  "oppressive narrowness."  companionship c o n j o i n e d with  "the f e a s t  hood;  own t e r m ,  I t s bad q u a l i t i e s ,  and t r a d i t i o n s ,  autobiography  through  resemblance:  t h e f r o n t i e r b e t w e e n two  comparably c o n t r a s t e d and comparably i n c o m p a t i b l e Undoubtedly,  The M i l l  of c h i l d -  on t h e F l o s s p r e s e n t s a  worlds. conflict,  and  132  presents I t e f f e c t i v e l y .  -  But  t h e a u t h o r ' s and  p r i m a r y c o n c e r n d o e s n o t c e n t e r on It  c e n t e r s on  (according it  Eliot's  t o t h e a r t i c l e so o f t e n c i t e d play.  work a s a w h o l e ,  that distinguish  this  R a r e l y , always  bodyguard Its  The M i l l  extended  on  more o f t h e the F l o s s  chapter)  stands  out  characteristics  from  her  other  never without  d o e s she a d m i t  expression—though  or e f f e c t i v e  as  i n this  f o c u s of• i n t e r e s t  reluctantly—and  of q u a l i f i c a t i o n s —  most s u c c i n c t  such.  I n the p e r s p e c t i v e of George  a s a n u n u s u a l phenomenon! one  novels.  the c o n f l i c t as  the v a l i d i t y of the c o n f l i c t , j u s t  does i n S o p h o c l e s '  reader's  this  a  validity.  b y no means i t s m o s t  p o r t r a y a l — o c c u r s i n another novel:  The law was s a c r e d . Yes, b u t r e b e l l i o n m i g h t be s a c r e d t o o . I t f l a s h e d upon [ R o m o l a ' s ] m i n d t h a t t h e p r o b l e m b e f o r e h e r was essentially t h e same a s t h a t w h i c h h a d l a i n b e f o r e S a v o n a r o l a — t h e p r o b l e m where t h e s a c r e d n e s s o f o b e d i e n c e e n d e d , a n d where t h e s a c r e d n e s s of r e b e l l i o n began. (R, c h . 56) M i s l e d by George E l i o t ' s i n t e l l e c t u a l w i d t h b y h e r u n i o n w i t h Lewes, c r i t i c s her  conservative streak.  two  r o l e s as  expressed a  t e m p t e e who  light—'Maggie ordeal directs she  mistakes  Broadly speaking,  j u s t quoted.  attention  to that  or t r i e d  to the reader:  a s I h a v e d o n e — i f she  As  had  self-division, temptee-  darkness  the author, because  "sacredness  c r e a t o r had  vainly  underrated  the h e r o i n e ' s  and  to withstand.  " I f my  above a l l ,  a misguided  l i g h t f o r darkness  indirectly vindicates  f a i l e d t o see  saying  have g e n e r a l l y  temptee r e f l e c t h e r c r e a t o r ' s  i n the passage  and,  d e c i d e d and  this  her  rebellion"  In effect,  t r i e d to  would have been r u i n e d as I have beeni  of  for  she i s acted  conform—she impressive  - 133 chronicle  o f my f a i l u r e ,  which you f i n d  n e v e r have been penned."  Thus  so moving,  she p o i n t s  to the s p e c i a l  c i r c u m s t a n c e s and t o the e x t r e m i t y of the c h o i c e fronted her creator, rebellion"  implying  that  would  that  con-  "the sacredness of  b e g i n s when t h e a t t e m p t a t o b e d i e n c e i s f o r e -  doomed t o f a i l u r e b e c a u s e i t i m p o s e s n e g a t i o n s b e y o n d t h e individual's  endurance, and hence would r e s u l t  agony f o r a l l  concerned.  sacredness of r e b e l l i o n " the in  same r e a s o n Maggie's  Failure  to recognize "the  would have r u i n e d  that P h i l i p  i n useless  rightly  the author, f o r  d i s c e r n s and p r e d i c t s  l o o s e l y analogous case. "I f o r e s e e i t w i l l n o t end w e l l : y o u c a n n e v e r c a r r y on t h i s s e l f - t o r t u r e . " "I s h a l l h a v e s t r e n g t h g i v e n me," s a i d M a g g i e , tremulously. "No, y o u w i l l n o t , M a g g i e ; no one h a s s t r e n g t h g i v e n t o do what i s u n n a t u r a l , " (MF, b k . 5» c h . 3)  D i s c e r n i n g no s a c r e d n e s s b e y o n d consequence m i s t a k i n g  light  and  h e r mentor  the  common human m e a s u r e ,  By  life  o f o b e d i e n c e , and i n  f o r darkness, darkness f o r l i g h t ,  ( P h i l i p ) as a tempter, Maggie causes others  the paradox of a r t , t h i s  creator's  that  tragic  suffers  to suffer,  beyond  and d i e s .  ordeal quickens her  and e l e v a t e s The M i l l  on t h e F l o s s  t o George  E l i o t ' s A p o l o g i a P r o V i t a Sua. But sacredness teacher,  George E l i o t , of r e b e l l i o n "  we h a v e  seen, b e l i e v e d " t h e  t o be a l a s t  resort.  s h e was much more c o n c e r n e d t o i n c u l c a t e " t h e  sacredness  of obedience."  tremendous  scope t o the a u t h o r f o r d o i n g f u l l  both  As an a e s t h e t i c  claims—rebellion  Maggie•s dual  struggle  offers  justice to  and o b e d i e n c e — a n d t o c l o t h e the  - 134 manifestations graphical and  of those  complexity  between v a l i d obedience. the  o f The  Mill  sacredness  failure  sacredness  impulses  strating as  found  others.  t h a t they are  (Mill  Operating  claims  on  that they  on  the  refuting  the  an  the  sacredagitated  with  None  turning  t h a t would on  "the  i n unison, a l l  s i d e of  and obedience.  argument i s  other  s i d e as  each  strengthened  fairly  them, o r b e f o r e  and  as  demon-  "Candor i n c o n t r o v e r s y  J o h n H e n r y Newman r e m a r k e d  came c l o s e t o b e i n g  candor leads  success  coalesced readily,  outweighed.  saint,"  points  tremendous  self-justification  i n a work o f c r e a t i v e l i t e r a r y  argument—-such  temptee  feeble Apologia  Similarly,  possible before  of  i n t o p r o v i d i n g the w i d e s t  the premises  r a r e as b e i n g a  occasion. But  the  exhibiting as  she  those  a w r i t e r — a e s t h e t i c , moral,  the  range f o r the  Once i n s p i r e d ,  fully  as  alone.  goaded h e r  rivalry  comment.  have been s a t i s f i e d  of r e b e l l i o n "  most f r u i t f u l  the  her p a r t i a l  for authorial  from h i n g i n g her  impulses  reinforcing  whereas h e r  paradox  basically,  r e s u l t i n g d i a l o g u e s and  latitude  the F l o s s i n t o  have e v o l v e d  by  o f r e b e l l i o n and  the  autobiographical—could on  The  i n that role—emphasize  And  great  o f George E l i o t ' s  three  revelations.  a conventional temptee—and  debates allow  autobio-  the F l o s s d e r i v e ,  of r e b e l l i o n ,  of obedience.  Mill  of  s t r u g g l e , which r e p r e s e n t s  c l a i m s j those  or only p a r t i a l  The  on  form  Maggie's f u n c t i o n as a misguided  s t r u g g l e as  ness  i n the  or semi-autobiographical  from Maggie's d u a l  to  claims  -  one  of those  one  saints).  a r t — a s distinct  to bounty, amplitude,  on  Is  from  an  complexity,  - 135 provided single  the contending  effect.  the e f f e c t itself  fuse o r g a n i c a l l y  remarkable  display  to the f a l s i t y literature,  "Here I s God's p l e n t y . "  Incidentally, her counts:  Browning poses  near  the a r t i s t i c  sources  answering  of creativity;  so much?  success; f a i l s  , , 2  t h a t s p r i n g from  and c o n v i n c e s us o f t h i s  role  i n a situation  t o choose between t h e mixed good and e v i l o f emphasis.  George E l i o t ' s  s t r u g g l e s so g a l l a n t l y  have a l r e a d y d i s c u s s e d these v a l u e s .  2  5 x i l , 841.  presents  truth,  I t will  between  requiring her  on b o t h  w i t h many o f t h e v a l u e s  a c o n v e n t i o n a l temptee  seen)  of misguided  s h e makes t h e w r o n g d e c i s i o n  r i g h t a n d wrong, b u t b e c a u s e ,  sympathize  the author  i n n a t e human  into her other r o l e — t h e  i n h e r judgment  (we h a v e  "the sacredness of  them f u l l y  t e m p t e e — n o t because  "Why  b y a n a r r o w m a r g i n when s h e  do command momentous v a l i d i t y :  instincts  and i t  5  the heroine  obedience"  Maggie s t r a y s  between  t h e e n d o f The R i n g a n d t h e Book:  way t o p r o v e  Claims  to  a pivotal question that  a c o n v e n t i o n a l temptee,  achieves p a r t i a l  errs  i tpoints  which p o s t u l a t e s a necessary cleavage  g o e s a l o n g way t o w a r d  does f a i l .  of creative  o f t h e " A r t f o r A r t ' s Sake" approach  the e t h i c a l and the a e s t h e t i c  As  manifests  One m i g h t p r a i s e h e r n o v e l I n D r y d e n ' s w o r d s  s u c c e s s m e r i t s r e g a r d on two c o l l a t e r a l  take  in a on t h e F l o s s t  do s o i n The M i l l  w i t h o u r p r o g n o s i s , and a l s o  i n the author's  Chaucert  about  They c e r t a i n l y  squares  vitality.  elements  s i d e s , she deepest  t h a t Maggie as to uphold. suffice  here  We  - 136 to emphasize the an  once more t h e d e p t h  of the author's b e l i e f i n  f a m i l i a l a f f e c t i o n s and i n the potency environment endeared from  mind p e r s i s t e d t o t h e end.  of attachment t o  early childhood. I n her last  novel  This  state of  she w r o t e :  A human l i f e , I t h i n k , s h o u l d b e w e l l r o o t e d i n some s p o t o f a n a t i v e l a n d , where i t may get the love of tender k i n s h i p f o r the face o f t h e e a r t h , f o r t h e l a b o u r s men go f o r t h t o . . . The b e s t i n t r o d u c t i o n t o a s t r o n o m y i s t o t h i n k o f the n i g h t l y heavens as a l i t t l e l o t o f s t a r s b e l o n g i n g t o o n e ' s own h o m e s t e a d . (DP, c h . 3 i o p e n i n g p a r a g r a p h ) Thus M a g g i e ' s s t r u g g l e part  t o renounce, and the f e a r t h a t  people might point sexual exhibit  serves i n  forms o f l o o s e  t h e r i g h t on b o t h  tolerance,  light-minded  t o h e r example a s j u s t i f i c a t i o n f o r  l i c e n c e or other  between v a l i d  claims,  living.  s i d e s and t o mediate  George E l i o t  In this  Trying to the antagonism  novel  pleads f o r  sympathy w i t l r i n d i v i d u a l s o r r o w a n d i n d i v i d u a l  c a r e f u l allowance f o r s p e c i a l c i r c u m s t a n c e s , and a  spirit  of e t h i c a l  flexibility  dozens o f p e r t i n e n t the  temptee  t o e x p r e s s t h e a u t h o r ' s n o s t a l g i a f o r what s h e h a d  been f o r c e d  joy,  as a conventional  rooted  illustrations  f o l l o w i n g may s e r v e  i n a n open mind.  Among  t h a t m i g h t be q u o t e d  a s one r e p r e s e n t a t i v e  here,  example:  . , . the mysterious complexity of our l i f e i s n o t t o b e embraced b y maxims . , . t h e d i v i n e promptings and i n s p i r a t i o n s t h a t s p r i n g from g r o w i n g i n s i g h t a n d sympathy . . . . t h e i n s i g h t t h a t comes f r o m a h a r d l y - e a r n e d e s t i m a t e o f t e m p t a t i o n , o r from a l i f e v i v i d and i n t e n s e enough t o h a v e c r e a t e d a w i d e f e l l o w - f e e l i n g w i t h a l l t h a t i s human. (MF, b k . 7, c h . 2, p a r t o f l a s t p a r a g r a p h ) T h e r e i s no e s c a p e f r o m p a i n chance o f slow, g r a d u a l  i n this  amelioration;  life,  but there  i sthe  and each i n d i v i d u a l ,  - 137 w i t h i n h i s sphere, s h o u l d t r y to c o n t r i b u t e toward m o d e s t — b u t r e a l i s t i c and w o r t h w h i l e — g o a l .  The c o n c l u d i n g  paragraph of George E l i o t ' s essay on the Antigone with the s p i r i t  that  harmonizes  t h a t quickens and pervades The M i l l  on the  Floss. Perhaps the b e s t moral we can draw i s t h a t to which the Chorus p o i n t s — t h a t our p r o t e s t f o r the r i g h t should be seasoned w i t h mode r a t i o n and r e v e r e n c e , and t h a t l o f t y words , . . are not becoming to mortals.26 One might express a cognate sentiment i n more f a m i l i a r languages  "Judge not t h a t ye be not judged."  S p i n n e y , E s s a y s , p.  265.  Chapter BOOK 7 OF  MIDDLEMARCHt  In a l l areas  6 WHOSE TEMPTATIONS?  o f human e n d e a v o u r , a  c o n v i c t i o n must n e c e s s a r i l y s t a n d of  i t s application.  results  of  such  But  The  i n t o which preceding  t o measure  from  the  i f the  facts  the h e r o i n e  4,  of a  o f The  remembering  temptees,  at best,  Mill  that  would not  casting  light  5) on  misguided  dual  of  give  the  as  value  Eliot,  as  the  a  the  critical  the  the  Procrustes fitted. attempt  in  a p p l i c a b l e to  i t explicitly;  not  confidence  tool;  of  concept  in  a  paradox,  temptee and  t o The and  of  or  Mill  re-  on  the  caution: f o r  temptation--including  failure"—has  substantiated  f o r c a u t i o n , because  flexibility  and  written for i t s  enlargement  approach  concept  the  "Pattern," derived  n e c e s s a r i l y be  concurrent  " p a t t e r n of  exhibiting  e v i d e n t l y uses  the  or  illustrated  of c o n v e n t i o n a l  traditional  because  the  the F l o s s a g a i n s t  image o f M a g g i e a s  ground f o r both  characteristic  its  role  rate,  only instrumentally useful,  resultant  temptee, and  confidence, a  The  the  adjustment Floss,  be  a  results  stems f r o m an  u p o n a n o v e l , w h i c h was  vindication. comprising  i t can  a t any  worthless  M a g g i e , whose c r e a t o r n e v e r f o r m u l a t e d that,  the  or  g i v e n work m u s t be  " P a t t e r n of F a i l u r e , "  while  other  be  by  t h e o r y becomes a  d i s c u s s i o n (Chapter  characteristic Chapter  in literature,  an a p p l i c a t i o n w i l l  positively misleading, Bed,  or f a l l  theory  characteristic  in a variety  of  of  George mastery,  unexpected  - 139 guises in  and  -  f o r a v a r i e t y of purposes.  assuming t h a t  the  with a preconceived The  a p p l i c a t i o n of formula  present  i n the  There i s r e a l  danger  c o n c e p t must  square  the  critic's  mind.  ( C h a p t e r 6),  discussion  which  focuses  on M i d d l e m a r c h , Book 7 — " T w o T e m p t a t i o n s " — s c r u t i n i z i n g meaning and that  the  s i g n i f i c a n c e of  concept of  temptee) u n d e r l i e s one  it  temptation  itself  f o r c o n v e n i e n c e , be the  the  "pattern  earlier  But  discussion  negative  obverse, p o i n t i n g the  her  one  the  present to  the  Thlrd,  i n part,  from  temptee can  conceptions about Lydgate equally misleading  on  failure  Second,  false  tacit  one  and  the  their  evidently  attractive  the  play  spring,  detailed  s t u d y d e p e n d s on  j u s t as  of  emphasizes  i n C h a p t e r 3.  author's  they  "pattern  p o s i t i v e elements i n  of p a l p a b l e ,  purpose.  about Maggie s p r i n g , that  the  use  ways.  follows:  the  I l l u s t r a t e d , with  Farebrother,  s t u d y depended  from  i t does  as  as  of  of Maggie;  i n a number o f  delineated  the  i t  broadly  of f a i l u r e " ;  assumption  respect  ( C h a p t e r 5).  the  test  categories,  success," f r o m Mr.  theory—  the  e x a m i n a t i o n o f M i d d l e m a r c h , B o o k 7, of  surmising  my  amount t o a b s o l u t e  "pattern  abstention  this  examination of Maggie emphasized  exemplification  and  In  a l s o complements t h a t d i s c u s s i o n  failure";  the  thinking—to  to p a r a l l e l i n g  not  subjects  s p e c i a l e m p h a s i s on  i t s Immediate p r e d e c e s s o r  confine  First,  the  (with  George E l i o t ' s  T h o u g h t h e s e ways do may,  title,  further practical application.  parallels not  that  the  deliberate  opportunities, conceptions unfounded  r o l e only,  so  false  i n l a r g e measure, from  an  t o draw a d i s t i n c t i o n — s t r e s s e d  - 140 i n my  concluding Chapter—between  sense, whereby p r a c t i c a l l y Temptation  sense.  are about  to show—share  about  Chapter:  i t into  potential results great  a s o u r c e I have  of  tried  and  i t s component p a r t s ,  companionate  shown,  c a u t i o n — g r e a t respect for i t s function that  and  accurately  thus i n d i r e c t l y  approaching  each  and  facts,  and  and  through  they unite  circumscribed  in a  c o n f i r m the need applying  single  and  tool,  may  a l l the  contradictions  effect.  moderation—by  In this  awareness t h a t  are not becoming to m o r t a l s " — d o o f a commonly h e l d v i e w  about  shares  elasticity for  we  now  t h e "Two  of  more  o r may  not  pertinent by  showing  spirit  c o n f i d e n c e , o f c o n f i d e n c e tempered  c a u t i o n and  the  s e p a r a t e work  which  for  differs  yet  the need  as a  encompassing  reconciling  the  o f t e m p t a t i o n a s no  critical  itself--through  last,  unforeseeable  emphasizing  e n v i s a g i n g the concept  vindicate  and  on t h e F l o s s ,  novel individually,  than a p o s s i b l y u s e f u l  concept,  i n Book 7 o f M i d d l e m a r c h  unexpected  my  to r e a l i z e i t s  f o r the f a c t s — i n  i n The M i l l  common e l e m e n t :  Fifth,  or  critical  t o remedy i n  and  studies  and semi-  have  to think e x p l i c i t l y  in i t s use,  for  source  i n George E l i o t ' s work.  w i d e l y from  that  more l i m i t e d ,  another  failure  o f t h e two  concept,  art,  become t e m p t e e s ,  t e m p t a t i o n , to r e c o g n i z e i t as a r e l a t i o n a l  to break  one  i n i t s widest  F o u r t h , b o t h n o v e l s — a s we  misinterpretation, opening  a l l men  i n i t s more p r e c i s e ,  technical  Temptation  by  of the  "Lofty  proceed  words  to an  Temptations"  need  analysis  i n Book  7  of  Middlemarch. Everybody i s agreed that one of the "Two  Temptations"  i n the t i t l e of Middlemarch, Book 7» i a Bulstrode's, but there i s disagreement about the other, the  I am convinced that  Rev, Camden Farebrother•s i s meant (see Chapter 3)» that  George E l i o t d e l i b e r a t e l y Juxtaposes i t to Bulstrode's. men are tempted, but only one of them f a l l s . however, take a d i f f e r e n t view.  Both  The c r i t i c s ,  At l e a s t two of them  s p e c i f i c a l l y r a i s e or discuss the question of whose temptation (besides Bulstrode's) i s meant i n the t i t l e of Book 7» and both concur that i t i s Lydgate's.  Barbara Hardy devotes one  short sentence to the subjectJ "'Two Bulstrode's and Lydgate• s. *•'^  Temptations' are  David Daiches i s more e x p l i c i t :  The 'Two Temptations' of the t i t l e of Book VII are Bulstrode's and Lydgate's. . . . Lydgate's temptation i s more complicated; i t i s to accept a much needed loan from Bulstrode when, on r e f l e c t i o n , he has some doubt of Bulstrode's motives i n consenting to give i t ; and i t i s a l s o to succumb to f i n a n c i a l and other pressure and give up h i s research ambitions and medical i d e a l s , which means g i v i n g up h i s i n t e g r i t y . Both men y i e l d . . . , 2  This approach i s worth examining i n some d e t a i l . Two of Mr. Daiches' statements need not detain us long.  "Lydgate's temptation i s more complicated [than  Bulstrode's]."  On the analogy of George E l i o t ' s p r a c t i c e  •*-The Novels of George E l i o t : a Study i n Form (London: A th1one Press, 1959), p. 108. George E l i o t : Middlemarch (Woodbury, New York: Barron's Educational Series, Inc., 1963), p. 6 l . (Studies i n English L i t e r a t u r e , no. 11). 2  -  142 -  w i t h a l l h e r i n d i s p u t a b l e t e m p t e e s , we may be s u r e w o u l d n o t be c o m p l i c a t e d — i n Lydgate  w e r e i n t e n d e d a s a temptee..3  repeatedly invite she  the author  consistently resists  pity.  the sense  He w o u l d p r o b a b l y  o f hard  supposed  to define--if  His circumstances^  t o p r e s e n t him i n t h a t r o l e , and  t h e i r prompting. have ranked  Perhaps i t i s a  among h e r g r e a t e s t ,  a l o n g w i t h A r t h u r , Maggie, and Gwendolen, [Lydgate*s  that i t  temptation]  i s also  And a g a i n : " I t  t o succumb t o  financial  a n d o t h e r p r e s s u r e a n d g i v e up h i s r e s e a r c h  ambitions  and m e d i c a l  Integrity," experience  i d e a l s , w h i c h means g i v i n g up h i s  But f i r s t , along  these  the greater part of lines  i s concentrated  Lydgate's i n "Sunset  S u n r i s e , " a n d d o e s n o t f a l l w i t h i n "Two T e m p t a t i o n s , " George E l i o t  had wanted t o r e f e r  to i t i n a t i t l e ,  and If  she would  c e r t a i n l y have chosen t h a t o f t h e book i n which i t i s emphasized. acceptance  Secondly,  the request  are motivated  f o r a l o a n and i t s  by t h e d e s i r e t o f o r e s t a l l most o f  3 l n t h e t i t l e s o f M i d d l e m a r c h , B o o k 7, a n d o f T h e M i l l on t h e F l o s s , B o o k 6, G e o r g e E l i o t i s o b v i o u s l y u s i n g t h e word "Temptation" i n i t s l i m i t e d , s p e c i f i c , a n d semit e c h n i c a l sense. T h i s i s a l s o t h e s e n s e i n w h i c h I am u s i n g i t throughout t h i s chapter. I n l i t e r a t u r e a s i n l i f e , most people—Lydgate c e r t a i n l y i n c l u d e d — a r e temptees i f t h e word " t e m p t a t i o n " i s d e f i n e d i n i t s w i d e s t p o s s i b l e s e n s e , t o mean a n y t h i n g a l l u r i n g t h a t tends t o p r e v e n t us from b e i n g t h e b e s t t h a t we c a n b e , a n d d o i n g t h e b e s t t h a t we c a n d o . T h e two s e n s e s i n w h i c h t h e w o r d may b e u s e d a r e d i s c u s s e d i n chapter 8 of the t h e s i s . ^ T h e s e i n c l u d e h i s b r i e f l a p s e s o f t a k i n g opium a n d o f g a m b l i n g a t t h e " G r e e n D r a g o n " ( c h . 66), w h i c h a r e h o t i n t h e l e a s t e x p l o i t e d i n t h e way c h a r a c t e r i s t i c o f G e o r g e E l i o t when s h e p r e s e n t s a c h a r a c t e r s t r u g g l i n g a g a i n s t a temptation.  the  evils  did  constitute a  by any  t h a t Mr.  honest  fulfillment a  Daiches  I f these  evils  effort  to a v o i d  them  l a w f u l means c o u l d o n l y be  regarded  as  temptation,  and  of a duty.  temptation,  f o r the  as anything but  here  then  Thirdly, good r e a s o n  evils.  They l a c k  s u p e r f i c i a l a t t r a c t i o n which definition  i n others, but a  do  that Lydgate  not  constitute  never  e v e n t h a t modicum  A  attract  "temptation"  opposite d i r e c t i o n  remaining  [Lydgate's  needed doubt Mr.  evils  the  person  sees  them  of  common or an  object  i n some r e s p e c t s  t h a t r e p e l s and  i s simply a  the  and  does  contradiction  terms. The  "It  these  o f the word " t e m p t a t i o n . " 5  n o t h i n g i n the in  the  i s r e q u i r e d by  o r a s e t o f c i r c u m s t a n c e s may repel  enumerates.  p o i n t r e q u i r e s more d e t a i l e d  supposed  l o a n from  t e m p t a t i o n ] i s t o a c c e p t a much  B u l s t r o d e when, on  of B u l s t r o d e ' s motives  Daiches  the nature  reflection,  he  i n consenting to give  seems t o h a v e f o r g o t t e n t h e of Lydgate's  refutation.  time  doubt, as I s h a l l  has it."  sequences  now  some  and  t r y to  establish. When L y d g a t e 67i  he  requests a loan of Bulstrode i n chapter  i s i g n o r a n t of R a f f l e s '  e x i s t e n c e . °-  He  feels  most  5 l t m i g h t be a r g u e d t h a t t h e i r a t t r a c t i o n c o n s i s t s i n t h e i r b e i n g t h e p a t h o f l e a s t r e s i s t a n c e ; b u t Mr. D a i c h e s d o e s n o t make t h i s p o i n t , w h i c h i s i n a n y c a s e a d u b i o u s one, c o n s i d e r i n g L y d g a t e ' s n a t u r e a n d i n c l i n a t i o n s on t h e one h a n d , a n d h i s p a i n f u l d u t y t o Rosamond on t h e o t h e r . I f i t were a c c e p t e d , Lydgate's e f f o r t s to escape from the (supposed) a t t r a c t i o n of these e v i l s would have even l e s s c l a i m t o b e i n g r e g a r d e d as a y i e l d i n g to t e m p t a t i o n .  fifth  ^This last fact paragraph.  i s stated  specifically  i n chapter  73,  - 144 reluctant  and  "Bulstrode's  does have h a r r o w i n g d o u b t s , b u t motives  T h e y meet a g a i n  i n the  Their conversation is  purpose  doctor  offers  calls  clear are  t h a t h i s own  at f i r s t  too  Stone Court, is  he  the  the  fully  an  absolute  assertion  next  Bulstrode's  7  i t corresponded 70).  Court,  and  directly  preceding  7The e x e c u t i o n house.  on  for  the  Lydgate's  relevant to  the  T h e y make i t q u i t e  later,  this  sense  t h a t he with  as  he  s u b j e c t , and  " I t appeared  of  relief  i s leaving his  t o him  should  have  a  thought very  reconsidered  t h e more m u n i f i c e n t  side  These words s u r e l y c o n s t i t u t e p o i n t — o f Mr.  [Lydgate] to give  Lydgate as  reflections  this  day,  room f o r s p e c u l a t i o n a b o u t  i s s t a t e d as  has  70).  subsequent  i n consenting  i t s nature  (ch.  Slightly  reflection,  Douht does b e s e t  appointment,  they are  r e f u t a t i o n — u p to t h i s  motives  by  presented.  plainly:  (ch.  i s out  "Doubt  the  patient  does r e f l e c t  t h a t "on  reference  t h o u s a n d p o u n d s on  to leave  motives."  of h i s c h a r a c t e r "  no  69).  question.  h a r a s s m e n t and  s t a t e d c l e a r l y and  refusal:  illness;  (ch.  the  n a t u r a l movement i n B u l s t r o d e his  same d a y  refuses.  of  a t Stone Court  great  his benefactor's  the  Raffles'  r e a c t i o n s , i n s o f a r as  p o i n t at i s s u e , are  since Bulstrode  i n consenting"  of re-examining  t h o u g h t s and  on  of  about  p a s s e d b e t w e e n them i n t h e m o r n i n g .  motives  Bulstrode when t h e  afternoon  centers  made t o what h a d  of Bulstrode's  i n consenting,"  not  he  has  some d o u b t  r i d e s away f r o m  unambiguously as  been put  of  [the l o a n ] . "  on B u l s t r o d e ' s  day  Daiches'  into  Stone  his  motives:  Lydgate's  - 145 There c r o s s e d h i s mind, w i t h an u n p l e a s a n t i m p r e s s i o n , as from a dark-winged f l i g h t o f e v i l augury a c r o s s h i s v i s i o n , the thought o f t h a t c o n t r a s t i n h i m s e l f w h i c h a few m o n t h s h a d b r o u g h t — t h a t he s h o u l d b e o v e r j o y e d a t b e i n g u n d e r a s t r o n g o b l i g a t i o n — t h a t he s h o u l d b e o v e r j o y e d a t g e t t i n g money f o r h i m s e l f from B u l s t r o d e . (ch. 70) It  i s quite clear  concern  that these  d o u b t s do n o t i n t h e l e a s t  themselves with B u l s t r o d e ' s motives.  disturbed  b e c a u s e he h a s p u t h i m s e l f  d e p e n d e n c e , a s we w o u l d e x p e c t extreme r e l u c t a n c e t o a p p l y  Lydgate i s  i n a position of  him t o be i n v i e w o f h i s  f o r a loan in the f i r s t  place.  L y d g a t e h a d s o many t i m e s b o a s t e d b o t h t o h i m s e l f and o t h e r s [e.g., t o F a r e b r o t h e r i n c h a p t e r s 1 7 a n d 4 5 ] t h a t he was t o t a l l y i n d e p e n d e n t o f B u l s t r o d e , t o whose p l a n s he h a d l e n t h i m s e l f s o l e l y b e c a u s e t h e y e n a b l e d h i m t o c a r r y o u t h i s own i d e a s o f p r o f e s s i o n a l work a n d p u b l i c b e n e f i t — h e had so c o n s t a n t l y i n t h e i r p e r s o n a l i n t e r course had h i s p r i d e s u s t a i n e d by the sense t h a t he was m a k i n g a g o o d s o c i a l u s e o f t h i s predominating banker . . . . ( c h .67» second paragraph) The  above p a s s a g e i s s u r e l y ample  sense  t o account  o f r e t r o g r e s s i o n , and t o i n t e r p r e t  dark-winged Evidence  flight  of e v i l  i n support  f o r Lydgate's  the phrase  "a  augury a c r o s s h i s v i s i o n . "  o f Mr. D a i c h e s '  claim continues  t o be  lacking. Lydgate  r e t u r n s t o Stone Court  f o l l o w i n g morning had  not expected  suspects patient's the  (ch.  before  him t o d i e and f e e l s  i s "ignorance death;  7 0 ) , just  there  banker's motives  i n the middle Raffles  uneasy.  dies.  no e v i d e n c e  i n l e n d i n g t h e money.  He  What he  o r imprudence" as f a c t o r s is still  of the  i n the  t h a t he  suspects  L a t e r on t h e  146  -  same d a y ( c h . 70) execution loan,  Mr. F a r e b r o t h e r ,  i n Lydgate's  house,  who h a s h e a r d  comes t o s e e h i m .  of the Told  he p r a i s e s i t a s a n a c t o f g e n e r o s i t y , p a r t l y  attempt  to counteract h i spersonal d i s l i k e  Lydgate does n o t o r a l l y subject to  -  i n an  of the donor.  d i s a g r e e , b u t h i s thoughts  do n o t harmonize w i t h  of the  the V i c a r ' s .  on t h e  He h a s now b e g u n  be t r o u b l e d b y d o u b t s r e g a r d i n g B u l s t r o d e ' s  motives.  Lydgate f e l t uncomfortable under these k i n d l y suppositions. T h e y made more d i s t i n c t w i t h i n h i m t h e u n e a s y c o n s c i o u s n e s s w h i c h h a d shown i t s f i r s t dim s t i r r i n g s o n l y a few h o u r s b e f o r e , t h a t B u l s t r o d e ' s m o t i v e s f o r h i s sudden b e n e f i c e n c e f o l l o w i n g c l o s e upon t h e c h i l l e s t i n d i f f e r e n c e might be m e r e l y s e l f i s h . ( c h , 70) The  timetable i s important  his  l o a n a b o u t n o o n on t h e d a y b e f o r e  occurs at  after  the very  the  at this  The  Farebrother  dim s t i r r i n g s "  the v i s i t ;  pays him a v i s i t  regard  to these  be  merely  selfish,"  of the loan.  motives? probably  knows t h e b a n k e r ' s p a t r o n a g e their  connection.  that i s ,  "ignorance and o n t h e same d a y , Court,  t h e m s e l v e s " a few h o u r s  shortly after Raffles'  not a t i t s actual occurrence),  in  Death  o f an "uneasy c o n s c i o u s n e s s " r e -  that i s , very  a f t e r h i s acceptance  of  dies.  His suspicions a t  do n o t go b e y o n d  garding Bulstrode's motives manifest  (but  receives  a f t e r L y d g a t e h a s r e t u r n e d home f r o m S t o n e  "first  before"  Raffles  twenty-two hours l a t e r .  a c t u a l moment o f d e a t h  some t i m e  Lydgate  h a l f - p a s t t e n on t h e f o l l o w i n g m o r n i n g ; least  imprudence,"  point.  and over  twenty-two  death hours  A n d what a r e h i s s u s p i c i o n s  No more t h a n i n a sense  t h a t they  little  t o have been from  worse  "might than he  the beginning  T h e c o n t r a s t may s i m p l y b e w i t h h i s  -  earlier of  attribution  now to  o f t h e same k i n d .  suspects Raffles  persists  positively  death  else.  i s publicly  ( c h . 71).  H a w l e y , who l e a d s  "undergoing pretation  acceptance Mr. consists  augury."  t h a t he f e l t visit,  s t a t e o f mind  t e n days  practical  after  over  inter-  Thus i t i s q u i t e c l e a r  advanced  that  significantly or o f an "uneasy  on t h e d a y o f R a f f l e s '  death  and  twenty-two hours a f t e r h i s  of a loan. Daiches  a s s e r t s that Lydgate's  temptation  i n " a c c e p t [ i n g ] a much n e e d e d l o a n f r o m  consenting  reflections  i n relation  t o the lawyer,  the " f i r s t dim s t i r r i n g s "  when, o n r e f l e c t i o n ,  he h a s some d o u b t  to give i t . "  distinct  of Bulstrode's  of Lydgate's  request  i n c l u d e d some a p p r e h e n s i o n  from merely  selfish—motives.  partly  Bulstrode  H i s c l a i m c o u l d be a l l o w e d  o c c u r r e d a t the time  l o a n o r b e f o r e , and i f they evil—as  This  about  the t e r r i b l e  has n o t , i n the i n t e r v a l ,  Farebrother's  either  the i n f o r m a l prosecution, Lydgate i s  o f some f a i n t  consciousness"  t h a t he e v e n  e x p o s e d a t a m e e t i n g on  A s he l i s t e n s  a shock as from  a p p r e c i a b l y beyond  evil,  side  Farebrother's  T h e r e i s no e v i d e n c e  o r t o anyone o r a n y t h i n g Bulstrode  and with  s a n i t a r y ^ q u e s t i o n i n t h e Town H a l l ,  Mr.  in  ( c h . 70)  him o f a n y t h i n g  until  Raffles'  he  -  o f t h e l o a n t o " t h e more m u n i f i c e n t  [Bulstrode's] character"  mistake  a  147  The  motives i f the fora of evidence  8i n i t s c o n t e x t , t h e word " s a n i t a r y " c a r r i e s a n i r o n i c a l secondary meaning. T h e q u e s t i o n t h a t Mr. H a w l e y and h i s f r i e n d s r e g a r d as a n e c e s s a r y p r e l i m i n a r y t o t h e m a i n p u r p o s e o f t h e m e e t i n g i s one o f m o r a l s a n i t a t i o n t h r o u g h the removal of B u l s t r o d e .  - 148 -  is  incontrovertible  that  t h e y do n e i t h e r .  B u l s t r o d e * s motives, Lydgate Eliot  continues as b l i n d  deems c o n s i s t e n t w i t h p l a u s i b i l i t y ,  tantly  the meeting  with  shattering  i n t h e Town H a l l . clarity,  known t o h i m r e n d e r s t r i c t l y  ridden  extreme  tension,  aware o f t h e grounds  he  t o walk  relucunaided) sees  i n f e r s more t h a n t h e  inevitable.  He  reaches  i n t h e d a y ( c h . 73)» when he  o u t o f town i n a n a t t e m p t  inner  as George  T h e n he s u d d e n d l y  and a c t u a l l y  a more b a l a n c e d j u d g m e n t l a t e r has  until  l e a d s B u l s t r o d e (who i s t o o s h a k e n  from  facts  Regarding  to find  release  and i s self-communing.  Now  and nature of the s u s p i c i o n s  from  fully against  B u l s t r o d e a n d h i m s e l f , h e ~ n o n e t h e l e s s r e c o g n i z e s t h a t he h a s no w a r r a n t yet—and  f o r regarding Bulstrode's g u i l t  yet . . .  i t i s just possible  w a r d s me may h a v e b e e n a g e n u i n e d e a l i n g s w i t h t h i s man hands pure, (ch.  73).  himself rises  i n spite Even  fully  relenting  "some d a y s  t o Dorothea,  suspicion  o f the doubt,  disobeyed  innocent nothing  Wishing  he s a y s , "* How my  of any c r i m i n a l  mentioning i t ' "  when he i s o p e n i n g  he e x p r e s s e s u n c e r t a i n t y  '"It i s still  t o do w i t h  to the contrary*"  who a l o n e among t h e M i d d l e m a r c h e r s  i s a q u e s t i o n t o which  (He n e v e r w i l l ) .  t h e change t o . . , In h i s last  (ch. 76),  later"  B u l s t r o d e * s motives and a c t i o n s . benefit  that  "'And  [ R a f f l e s ] B u l s t r o d e may h a v e k e p t h i s  o f my  t o the occasion,  as c e r t a i n .  regarding  t o g i v e him the o r d e r s came t o b e  I don't  know t h e a n s w e r . * "  possible  t h a t B u l s t r o d e was  intention—even  possible  t h a t he h a d  the d i s o b e d i e n c e , and merely a b s t a i n e d from  (ch. 76).  In this  scene w i t h Dorothea,  Lydgate  - 149 Is  s e a r c h i n g h i s s o u l and t r y i n g hard  before which  h e r ; above a l l , t o omit n o t h i n g a g a i n s t even  Talking  t h e most s l e n d e r  to her with this  consciousness  that  i n h i s private  behaviour,  though  recognized  obligation"  a i m , he t e l l s  against  him.  ( c h . 76).  pronounces  judgment b u t y o u r  degree  own,  "Two T e m p t a t i o n s " make  The  facts  . . .  feels  uneasy  case, revela-  b e f o r e a n y one's  i n i t s actual  i s impossible. case  Lydgate  form,  i n every  convincing one o f t h e  Mr. D a i c h e s , however, that  does  c a n b e made.  openings, n e i t h e r of  expects R a f f l e s  a s he p r o b a b l y w o u l d  a  constitutes  on h i s s i d e  from q u e s t i o n i n g  o f deep o b l i g a t i o n  day b e f o r e .  Insofar as  on L y d g a t e ' s  t o r e c o v e r , and  when he f i n d s h i m a t t h e p o i n t  he r e f r a i n s  housekeeper,  i f ever.  You s h a l l be c l e a r e d  d o g i v e h i m two p o s s i b l e  he t a k e s .  sense  judgment  that Lydgate's  the strongest  which  Yet  possible,  ( c h . 76).  of the view  not  charge  o f j u s t i c e be brought  i ta f t e r having heard h i s f u l l  Given Middlemarch defence  of any p u b l i c l y  I t i s the utmost  "'You have n o t b e e n b l a m a b l e  f a i r mind'"  and p r o f e s s i o n a l  A b s o l u t e c e r t a i n t y and knowledge i n psycho-  t h e r e c a n be a d e f i n i t i v e  tion:  h e r o f " h i s uneasy  not i n h i s fulfilment  l o g i c a l matters are r a r e l y  Dorothea  himself f o r  o f t h e money h a d made some  inclination  can with the smallest  truth  f o u n d a t i o n c a n be f o u n d .  the acceptance  difference  that  to l a y the f u l l  of death  ( c h . 70).  e i t h e r B u l s t r o d e o r the do i f he were n o t u n d e r  f o r t h e l o a n he h a s r e c e i v e d  a  on t h e  - 13Q He was c o n s c i o u s t h a t B u l s t r o d e h a d b e e n a b e n e f a c t o r t o h i m . B u t he was u n e a s y a b o u t t h i s case. He h a d n o t e x p e c t e d i t t o t e r m i n a t e a s i t had done. Y e t he h a r d l y knew how t o p u t a q u e s t i o n o n t h e s u b j e c t to Bulstrode without appearing to i n s u l t him; a n d i f he e x a m i n e d t h e h o u s e k e e p e r - why, t h e man was d e a d . ( c h . 70) A s we h a v e  s e e n , he s u s p e c t s n o t h i n g w o r s e  or imprudence."  Nevertheless,  o c c a s i o n t r o u b l e s him a f t e r  than "ignorance  h i s s i n of omission  on  this  the exposure.  I f he h a d n o t r e c e i v e d a n y money . . . w o u l d he . , . h a v e a b s t a i n e d f r o m a l l i n q u i r y e v e n on f i n d i n g t h e man d e a d ? — w o u l d t h e s h r i n k i n g from an i n s u l t t o B u l s t r o d e . . . have had j u s t t h e same f o r c e o r s i g n i f i c a n c e w i t h h i m ? ( c h . 73) T h o s e who w i s h t o make a c a s e f o r t h e v i e w is  one o f t h e "Two T e m p t a t i o n s " m u s t n e c e s s a r i l y d w e l l  and m a g n i f y t h i s Raffles. have  phase  T h e i r c a s e w o u l d be weak, s i n c e  i t t h e emphasis  ? implies,  and s i n c e  Still,  temptation  opinion  novel,  opportunities  partly  h i s reaction  him as a s u r p r i s e an  that  inclusion  would  i f she h a d i n t e n d e d  i n the t i t l e  o f Book  f o r p r e s e n t i n g him as a  i f Mr. D a i c h e s h a d s a i d ,  consists  influence  that  George E l i o t  ( a s we a r e a b o u t t o s e e ) s h e d e l i b e r a t e l y  b y - p a s s e s much b e t t e r temptee.  upon  o f h i s r e l a t i o n s w i t h B u l s t r o d e and  d e v e l o p e d t h e p h a s e much more f u l l y  to give  to  that Lydgate's  i n allowing to Raffles'  "Lydgate's  the loan  from  death, which  comes t o  on m e d i c a l g r o u n d s , " h e w o u l d h a v e  does n o t d i r e c t l y v i o l a t e  a n d c o u l d be r e s p e c t e d  the f a c t s  Bulstrode  expressed of the  e v e n when i t i s b e l i e v e d  t o be  mistaken. Shortly after  Raffles'  death, Lydgate experiences the  - 151 " f i r s t dim s t i r r i n g s "  o f a n "uneasy  consciousness" regarding  B u l s t r o d e ' s m o t i v e s i n l e n d i n g him t h e money. second o p e n i n g t h a t Mr. D a i c h e s f a i l s t o t a k e .  Here i s a His claim  t h a t L y d g a t e ' s a c c e p t a n c e o f a l o a n from B u l s t r o d e c o n s t i t u t e s a y i e l d i n g to temptation i s simply mistaken. w e i g h t c a n be s a i d i n i t s d e f e n c e .  N o t h i n g of any  He would have some degree  of p l a u s i b i l i t y on h i s s i d e i f he had s a i d i n s t e a d :  "Lydgate's  t e m p t a t i o n , i n p a r t , i s t o r e t a i n a l o a n from B u l s t r o d e a f t e r he has begun t o f e e l d o u b t s r e g a r d i n g t h e b a n k e r ' s m o t i v e s i n c o n s e n t i n g t o g i v e i t , " We r e c a l l t h a t l a t e r , a f t e r t h e e x p o s u r e , L y d g a t e does r e t u r n B u l s t r o d e ' s money ( c h . 8 1 ) , Dorothea's  g e n e r o s i t y ( c h . 76,  l a s t p a r a g r a p h ) e n a b l e s him  t o do s o . U n f o r t u n a t e l y , however, he does n o t t h i n k o f h e r in  time a s a p o s s i b l e c r e d i t o r . 9  He i s u n a b l e t o r e t u r n t h e  money when doubts o f B u l s t r o d e ' s m o t i v e s f i r s t a s s a i l h i m , s i m p l y because he h a s a l r e a d y s p e n t much o f i t on t h e day b e f o r e , when he was q u i t e u n s u s p i c i o u s . A s soon a s t h e cheque i s i n h i s p o c k e t , "he p u t h i s h a c k i n t o a c a n t e r , t h a t he m i g h t g e t t h e s o o n e r home, a n d t e l l t h e good news t o Rosamond, and g e t c a s h a t t h e bank t o pay o v e r t o Dover's a g e n t " ( c h . 70).  F u r t h e r m o r e , t h e word "doubt" i s s t i l l t o o  s t r o n g t o e x p r e s s what he f e e l s on t h e day o f R a f f l e s ' d e a t h and F a r e b r o t h e r ' s v i s i t . this  A l l t h a t he e x p e r i e n c e s a t  s t a g e a r e t h e " f i r s t dim s t i r r i n g s "  o f an "uneasy  ^ T h i s f a c t i s as d e p l o r a b l e as h i s marriage w i t h Rosamond. Once he was i n d e b t , D o r o t h e a would have been by f a r h i s best recourse.  - 152 consciousness" n o t h i n g worse bankruptcy  regarding motives than b e i n g  and  t h e money w o u l d  on  such  believe to  she  would  so  does n o t , -  single  that  The  charge, The  is  one  but two  of the  proverbial accounted  naive  be  We  even i n p a s s i n g ; c a n we  title  a p p r e c i a b l y add  that proves ground  s t a t e and  may the  be  of a  In his d i f f i c u l t  the  that  regarded  actions i n regard  no  in she book.  facts  of  to i t s c r e d i b i l i t y .  as  Lydgate's the  They a r e  t h a t George E l i o t  can  and  f r e e s i t from  rule.  she m u s t n o t  act  temptation  believe that  claim i s refuted by  Temptations"  to  scarcely  t h e name o f  f e e b l e openings f o r the view  the  can  this, less  remainder  expected  give  s o v i r t u o u s t h a t we  human b e i n g , ^  not  emendation I have proposed does not  of  his  would  Still  appear p l a u s i b l e ;  or  should  f o r a t t e n t i o n i n the  exception f o r on  Considering  or foundation.  Daiches'  "Two  make h i s m e n t a l Raffles  1 0  i t out  i t s t a n d s , Mr.  the n o v e l .  he  prompting  tenuous as  suspects  t h a t r e t u r n of even the  entail,  t h a t George E l i o t  anything  fact  As  slight  t h a t he  selfish.  everything  of  a  -  easily  must n e c e s s a r i l y  to Bulstrode  p o r t r a y him  as  longer recognize  circumstances,  he  and  so a  participates  •^ In c o n t r a s t , the word " t e m p t a t i o n " ( o r the c o r r e s p o n d i n g verb) i s used repeatedly i n connection with Farebrother's t r i a l ( c h . 66). 0  H G e orge E l i o t does not s t r e t c h L y d g a t e ' s g u i l e l e s s n e s s beyond the l i m i t s of p l a u s i b i l i t y . I t a c c o r d s w i t h what we h a v e p r e v i o u s l y s e e n — h i s s u s c e p t i b i l i t y t o women, h i s l a c k of p o l i t i c a l s k i l l , h i s I m p r a c t i c a l i t y i n f i n a n c i a l m a t t e r s — and I n t h e p r e s e n t c i r c u m s t a n c e s i t i s n a t u r a l l y a c c e n t u a t e d . The p r e s s u r e o f h a r r o w i n g p e r s o n a l p r o b l e m s — i m p e n d i n g b a n k r u p t c y a n d m a r i t a l d i s c o r d — l e a v e him l i t t l e I n c l i n a t i o n t o take an i n t e r e s t i n other people's a f f a i r s . Furthermore, B u l s t r o d e ' s s e c r e t a n d c o n s e q u e n t d e s i r e s a r e more e v i l t h a n a n y o n e o f a v e r a g e d e c e n c y w o u l d be l i k e l y t o s u s p e c t .  - 153 in  t h e temptee's  at  some p o i n t o f t h e i r  significant inviting share as  experience  to the extent  lives  the author  takes  as p o s s i b l e , and even then  than  hit i t .  at  a little  in  the f i r s t  finally  On t h e f i r s t  peculiarity  Bulstrode,'"  her integrity  t h e mark r a t h e r  he i s n o t " s u r p r i s e d forms  the h i s t o r y  "no c o n j e c t u r e s ,  of R a f f l e s " ; and  "'Raffles i s an object 70),  On t h e s e c o n d d a y ( c h .  of the money—refused  t o keep h i s  a r e formed as  graze  i n Bulstrode";  obviously  with  day ( c h . 69),  i n s t a n c e , about  supposes t h a t  they  What i s  pains  His suspicious conjectures  late  offer  o f the most  t o t h e minimum t h a t i s c o m p a t i b l e  an a r t i s t .  3).  (see footnote  i s that, i n the face  circumstances,  t h a t m o s t men do  of charity to  he a s c r i b e s t h e  on t h e f i r s t — t o  " t h e more  munificent  s i d e o f [ B u l s t r o d e ' s ] c h a r a c t e r " : d i s t u r b e d he i s ,  certainly,  b u t o n l y b e c a u s e he h a s p u t h i m s e l f  of  dependence,  contrary to h i s e a r l i e r boasts  And  even on t h e t h i r d  his  surmises  more t h a n in  and kept  the doctor's  presence,  t h a t way u n t i l  seen,  hearing,  Bulstrode especially  with  the p u b l i c  exposure,  constantly fears disclosures from  t h e two m o s t  p a t i e n t h i m s e l f and Mrs. A b e l ,  who a d m i n i s t e r s Raffles,  and r e s o l u t i o n s .  a s we h a v e  the truth as i s consistent  a week l a t e r .  sources—-the  c h . 70),  position  about Bulstrode's motives a r e c a r e f u l l y  s t e e r e d as f a r from plausibility,  day ( s t i l l  i n a  apparent  the housekeeper,  t h e opium a n d b r a n d y i n a l l g o o d f a i t h .  we a r e t o l d ,  "took l i t t l e  and continued  to talk  notice of Lydgate's  o r murmer i n c o h e r e n t l y "  But  70);  (ch.  and  Mrs.  Abel,  self-communion a f t e r while  "Raffles  further of  the  a s we  1 2  the  public  . . . continued (ch. 73).  treatment"  l o a n i n f l u e n c e s him  refrains  from  certifies  -  154,  learn  exposure, alive  and  Lydgate's  reveals nothing s u s c e p t i b l e of  Professionally, o n l y to the  questioning Bulstrode  i n writing  from  t h a t the death  his  extent  acceptance  that  he  or the housekeeper, i s due  to  and  delerlum  tremens.^3 Novelists purpose  rarely  c r e a t e o p p o r t u n i t i e s f o r the  o f n o t u s i n g them; b u t  manifold  other purposes,  t h e y may  i n c l u d i n g beguilement  c h a r a c t e r s i n t h e i r n o v e l s , and of  their  readers.  imputations stantially aggravate for  later false,  the  raised  injury  yet tinged with  she  intended  reading.  that they  Certainly  appearances,  Quite  she  compelling  enough  tribute  least  to  mistake to her  on a  c o n t r i v e d a decoy of  enough  to mislead a l l but  source 76.  the  sub-  him  powers  p o s s i b l y , they are being  l H a w l e y l a t e r uses h e r as a Lydgate t e l l s Dorothea i n chapter 2  truth  should b e — a t  has  beguilement  s h o u l d be  R e a d e r s who  a temptee a r e p a y i n g u n c o n s c i o u s  as a c r e a t i v e w r i t e r . as  cause.  the  purpose r e q u i r e s t h a t  a g a i n s t Lydgate  they  of  a corresponding  George E l i o t ' s  and  c r e a t e them f o r  affected  first  spurious one  of  of i n f o r m a t i o n ,  the  as  13The c e r t i f i c a t e i s m e n t i o n e d i n a s i n g l e p h r a s e , a n d f o r the f i r s t and o n l y t i m e , i n c h a p t e r 71. U.C. Knoepflmacher, i n my v i e w , s e r i o u s l y o v e r r a t e s I t s i n t e n d e d s i g n i f i c a n c e ( R e l i g i o u s , Humanism a n d t h e V i c t o r i a n N o v e l . , , [ P r i n c e t o n : P r i n c e t o n U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , 1 9 6 5 J , p. 91).  - 155 Middlemarchers, into  a d o p t i n g the Middlemarch  closure  of the e v i l  71),  (ch,  point  to lure  past a t that meeting  Everybody  that  knows t h a t he d i e d  L y d g a t e was  the reader  of view.  After  dis-  i n t h e Town  ho one c a n d o u b t B u l s t r o d e ' s w i s h  Raffles. and  a n d c o m p e l l i n g enough  Hall  t o be r i d o f  i n B u l s t r o d e ' s house,  t h e d o c t o r who a t t e n d e d h i m ;  equally»  everybody  knows t h a t L y d g a t e h a s b e e n f l o u n d e r i n g i n d i r e  financial  straits  thousand death  of the patient.  f o r the " p u t t i n g  impressions the  false  exhibit  to kindliness  "Mrs. D o l l o p ,  feels  a n enormous  the s p i r i t e d  "deeply mournful"  two d a y s  later  judgment, d e s i g n e d helpfulness.  Leaping  from  bias,  (and y e t expected)  c o a r s e n e s s and  t o those  delivers  human  these  We a r e n o t s u r p r i s e d  landlady  ( c h . 71)  gossip,  expense—within  and j u d i c i o u s balances  ( c h . 71)  They e r r i n  the people of  tedium w i t h  of a t i m e l e s s and r e c o g n i z a b l e  of individual variation.  S l a u g h t e r Lane"  and  relieving  I t r a n g e s a l l t h e way f r o m  crudity  71),  c o n c l u s i o n , m i n g l i n g t h e t r u e and  or clever a t others'  the Middlemarchers spectrum  than would  anywhere and a t any p e r i o d .  inextricably,  manifestations  that  accept i twith a l a c r i t y .  to a definite  feeling virtuous  an a t t r a c t i v e  o f two a n d two t o g e t h e r " ( c h .  s o , b u t t o no g r e a t e r d e g r e e  o t h e r communities,  of  The a u t h o r has p r o f f e r e d  the Middlemarchers  doing  a  p o u n d s f r o m B u l s t r o d e on t h e d a y p r e c e d i n g t h e  invitation and  f o r some t i m e , a n d t h a t he r e c e i v e d  ludicrous  from  the surmises  of the Tankard i n  o f Mr. F a r e b r o t h e r , who a t the time  a tentative,  of the exposure,  carefully  ( i n p a r t ) t o dampen D o r o t h e a ' s  balanced ardour of  - 156 " I t i s p o s s i b l e — I h a v e o f t e n f e l t s o much weakness i n m y s e l f t h a t I c a n c o n c e i v e even a man o f h o n o u r a b l e d i s p o s i t i o n , s u c h a s I have always b e l i e v e d Lydgate t o be, succumbing t o such a t e m p t a t i o n a s t h a t of a c c e p t i n g money w h i c h was o f f e r e d more o r l e s s i n d i r e c t l y as a b r i b e to i n s u r e h i s s i l e n c e about s c a n d a l o u s f a c t s l o n g gone b y . I say, I can c o n c e i v e t h i s . . , ." ( c h . 72, i t a l i c s a d d e d ) And  s o , we  may  be  r e a s o n has  she  taken  that  Lydgate  s u r e , can George E l i o t .  shall  n o t be  perfectly  plausible  statement  gives a  though  to  s e e Mr.  as a  suggest  t h a t he  f o r two  temptations,  the n o v e l .  (in effect)  had  decided  the n o v e l ,  temptee  and  whereas the  striking  the  the c r i t i c s  have version  them  the  they mistake  the a c t u a l  to  the  ignore or s l u r  over  facts the  treatment—  d i s p a r i t y b e t w e e n them p r o v e s the a u t h o r ' s  failing  (though  and  to  blueprint  o f Book 7 r e q u i r e s  the Middlemarchers,  on  The  with h i s tentative  situation,  f o r the p r a c t l c e - - f o r  intention  happen—  t h e y e a g e r l y s e i z e upon  opportunity  opposite  us  the g u l f between t h e i r approach Like  Farebrother's  the r e j e c t e d  himself does),  Since the t i t l e  obvious p o s s i b i l i t i e s of the or mlscontrue  of a  Though  happening.  i t tells  Treating  to concur, b a s i c a l l y ,  of p r o b a b i l i t i e s .  of  rejected,  F a r e b r o t h e r i n the r o l e  i t easy  account  t o p r e v e n t from  temptee.  demonstrated)  o f what d i d n o t  i t s embodiment w e r e w r o u g h t i n t o  words quoted found  o f him,  would have been i f George E l i o t  present Lydgate as  labors  have  very  beyond h i s s t r e n g t h .  i n i t s assessment  of a b l u e p r i n t  what t h e p l o t  tried  ( a s we  s u c c i n c t account  o f what t h e a u t h o r equivalent  s o much c a r e  For that  the  part. ^ 1  l^cf, L y d g a t e ' s words i n h i s o u t p o u r i n g t o D o r o t h e a t " ' I t i s one o f t h o s e c a s e s on [ s i c ] w h i c h a man i s condemned on t h e g r o u n d o f h i s c h a r a c t e r — i t i s b e l i e v e d t h a t he h a s c o m m i t t e d a c r i m e i n some u n d e f i n e d way, b e c a u s e he h a d t h e m o t i v e f o r d o i n g i t : and B u l s t r o d e * s c h a r a c t e r has e n v e l o p e d b e c a u s e I t o o k h i s money'" ( c h . 7 6 ) ,  me,  - 157 One Mr.  Middlemarcher  -  o n l y r i s e s above  F a r e b r o t h e r s c o n s t r u c t i o n — D o r o t h e a , who Her  r o l e a s a modern S a i n t T h e r e s a  confused—at  least  concerned—if true.  the  so f a r a s h e r  t a k e s deep i n t e r e s t  o f a s u p e r i o r i n d i v i d u a l who  understood,  because h i s motives  lives.  Maggie i s an the  Middlemarch—M,  M,  c h s . 4-5  try  ch.  ?4.  Mrs. an  k i n d and  to discourage Dorothea and  follow  by  "'That  I've  got a  . . .'"  have l e d h e r below t h e i r  (M,  t o be own  signifies clear ch.  intention"  when n e a r l y e v e r y o n e is  no  sorrow  is  g r e a t , and  has  But  t r y to reach  Lydgate—  i n point. exacts  Caleb  nothing—what  Her  and  recent painful  now  i n a l l who  ( c h . 50).  i t , and  than  because  shall  experiences  had  she  would  that I  slipped  Talking with  more a b o u t  so  Garth's  o t h e r men  i n s i d e me,  some  Farebrother  they f a i l  t u r n e d a g a i n s t him,  I have thought  counterpart  i n this position  h e r s e l f by  "interested  her  attempting anything  feeling  56).  her  extreme case  he  "world's  S i r James a n d Mr.  from  guides  The  on  D o l l o p ' s views of  ( c h . 72).  so h a z a r d o u s  i n effect,  principle: think.  and  mis-  judged  especially  ch. 2 — f i n d s  ?,  t h e f i n e s t human q u a l i t i e s .  Dorothea,  suffering  a c t i o n s are  example,  71—illustrate  and  someone o f t h i s  delicate  substantially  is cruelly  ''elopement" w i t h S t e p h e n .  in  of  earlier  i n S t . O g g ' s — M F , bk.  Helping  and  were  are  common d e n o m i n a t o r o f t h e c o m m u n i t y i n w h i c h  r e t u r n from wife"  proves  w o u l d become  i n the  predicament  lowest  of  r e l a t i o n s with Lydgate  s u s p i c i o n s a g a i n s t him  George E l i o t  level alone  r  right.  the  the  Lydgate  says:  "'There  t h a t - - t o l o v e what  yet to f a i l ' "  (ch.  76).  - 158 Lydgate's  "spots  vulnerable,  o f commonness"  but they  ( c h . 15)  render  do n o t I n t h e m s e l v e s make  him failure  inevitable. The failure  immediate, p r e c i p i t a t i n g  i s "this  p e t t y medium  more s p e c i f i c a l l y B u l s t r o d e , who positive  he  lives  ch.  14),  t o him r e p r e s e n t  h a v e made,-*--*  evil  blended  spreads  Rosamond a n d the negative  A s Mr. I r w i n e with  each  insists  says,  w o u l d be l e s s  that Esther  potent  Bulstrode  purposes,  "'may  10).  a g a i n s t us i f  H i s experience  a theme t h a t , w i t h apropos  to support  If  tried,  and encourage  and t o p r o t e c t him a g a i n s t h i s  instead of e x p l o i t i n g  do.  illustrate  (AB,  t o a l a r g e e x t e n t , make t h e c i r c u m s t a n c e s .  admirable  weaknesses,  "'Men's  or stronger; but our  D o r o t h e a a n d Mr. F a r e b r o t h e r ,  Lydgate's  they  other as the a i r  o t h e r s had been b e t t e r o r g r e a t e r , they would have like  and  speaking,  t o many'" ( F H , c h .  o u r s e l v e s Were b e t t e r o r w i s e r  fellow-men,  ( c h . 18), and  as n e c e s s a r i l y as d i s e a s e ' "  e i t h e r a b l e s s i n g or a curse circumstances  Lydgate's  s o c i e t y of the valuable c o n t r i b u t i o n  I n t h e same v e i n , F e l i x  Obviously, we  of Middlemarch"  B e t w e e n them, b r o a d l y  and deprive  a r e as thoroughly  they breathe:  be  i n relation  would p r o b a b l y  of  two o f t h e M i d d l e m a r c h e r s :  side of e v i l .  ruin his life  cause  them, a s Rosamond a n d  and a c t i o n s conform variations,  of Dorothea,  t o and  permeates a l l of  the  novels;  the author  stresses i t i n  she had  15cf. "He o n c e c a l l e d h e r h i s b a s i l p l a n t ; a n d when a s k e d f o r a n e x p l a n a t i o n , s a i d t h a t b a s i l was a p l a n t w h i c h f l o u r i s h e d w o n d e r f u l l y on a m u r d e r e d man's b r a i n s " ( " F i n a l e " ) .  - 159 her  "Finale"i  was  incalculably  "The  effect  of her b e i n g  diffusive."  The  i n t e g r a l p a r t o f George E l i o t ' s Lydgate not  i n the  him.  The  sense titles  t h a t he  ch.  15).  to suggest  They are c a n be  (2),  would  juxtaposed  simply  for a  as  s u c c e s s : w o u l d h a v e made h i m  he  " B o t h men  (p. 6l).  role  George E l i o t ' s  as a f o i l  evinces  analogous  drawing  (3)  and  than  were  this  quite intended  failure  resist  as  p o i n t when here  on M i d d l e m a r c h Farebrother  to Bulstrode.  examples.  that- t h e y  r e f u s e t h e money, misses  the  experience  h a v e made h i m  limited  to  the  t h e number o f  I f Lydgate  r e f e r e n c e t o Mr. and  foil  for  the purpose,  His  but  Bed-Chambers"  o f human  Daiches  f o r though h i s b o o k l e t  i s a p e r c e p t i v e one  the v i c a r ' s  Mr.  yield"  single, brief  Two  she w o u l d p r o b a b l y  (ch. 6l).  does  it  obvious  r e a s o n more c o g e n t  with  only a  an  enumerate  temptee a t a l l ,  surprising,  as  love problems  i s mutual i l l u m i n a t i o n .  Ladislaw  an  Bulstrode,  t h a t George E l i o t ,  as a  says,  from  1  g r o u p e d u n d e r a common l a b e l :  clearly,  forms  c o n t r a s t s , ^ somewhat  to c e r t a i n areas such  her  i n t e r e s t in.Lydgate.  D i n a h i n "The  I t i s unlikely  i n her novel,  temptations  around  o f the books i n Middlemarch a r e  reader's attention canvassed  those  theme c e r t a i n l y  i s developed  t h a t between H e t t y and  (AB,  on  i s a v e r y d i f f e r e n t man  most p a r t i n t e n d e d to  -  is  contains 60),  (p.  r e c o g n i t i o n of Commenting  d i s c u s s i o n of Bulstrode'smoral  on  consciousness,  ^ B a r b a r a Hardy a l s o r e c o g n i z e s t h i s (p. 108); she s a y s " p a r a l l e l s and c o n t r a s t s . " And y e t , s u r p r i s i n g l y , f a i l s to d i s c e r n F a r e b r o t h e r as a f o i l to B u l s t r o d e i n "Two Temptations."  she  - 16 o he  says:  rather  "The  further  than d o c t r i n e  implication,  that  i s what produces  r e i n f o r c e s what i s s u g g e s t e d  state  true morality, also  elsewhere  i n the n o v e l —  the c h a r a c t e r of F a r e b r o t h e r f o r example." had  a c t e d on  character of  this  insight  i s subjecting  contrasted personalities  Farebrother passes His  t e c h n i q u e and  Chapter  conduct  he  this  to  she  has  Evidence  t o the  that also  be  test  of  test with f l y i n g  success.  in  temptation. colors.  partly  the most  There  for this belief  "Worldiness  Y o u n g , " w h i c h may  that,  context  "true m o r a l i t y " of  special predilection  i n Middlemarch,  great essay  views  a  "the  i n the f u l l  i s t h e most i n s t r u c t i v e — n o t  Bulstrode,  partly her  that  the  Daiches  I n the pantheon of George  exemplar of r e s i s t a n c e and think  examined  by  a r e d i s c u s s e d a t some l e n g t h i n  3 of the t h e s i s .  temptees,  I f Mr.  would p r o b a b l y have r e a l i z e d  B o o k ?, G e o r g e E l i o t two  carefully  of F a r e b r o t h e r " i n a c t i o n and  t h e n o v e l , he  these  and  of mind  histrionic—  i s good r e a s o n f o r him  i s t o be  as a  Other-Worldiness:  to  foil  found  i n o t h e r n o v e l s , and  and  Eliot's  partly the  in  Poet  r e g a r d e d as a c o n v e n i e n t nexus f o r  permeate  other essays  o r articles-*-? and  many  18 of  her  letters.  The  c o n c l u d i n g paragraph  of t h i s  essay  i ^ F o r e x a m p l e , " E v a n g e l i c a l T e a c h i n g : D r . Cummlng" ( W e s t m i n s t e r R e v i e w , O c t . 1855), i n E s s a y s o f G e o r g e E l i o t , e d . Thomas P i n n e y (New Y o r k : C o l u m b i a U n i v . P r e s s , 1963),  pp.  158-189.  H a r v e y comments on i t a s f o l l o w s : " T h i s i s one of t h e g r e a t c r i t i c a l e s s a y s o f t h e n i n e t e e n t h c e n t u r y and i t c o n t a i n s i n embryo n e a r l y a l l we n e e d t o know a b o u t t h e m o r a l and a e s t h e t i c b a s e s o f George E l i o t ' s n o v e l s . " The Art o f G e o r g e E l i o t ( L o n d o n : C h a t t o & W i n d u s , I 9 6 I ) , p. 37.  - 161 summarizes  these views  -  s u c c i n c t l y and  memorably:  The sum o f o u r c o m p a r i s o n i s t h i s : I n Y o u n g we h a v e t h e t y p e o f t h a t d e f i c i e n t human sympathy, t h a t i m p i e t y towards the p r e s e n t and the v i s i b l e , Which f l i e s f o r i t s m o t i v e s , i t s s a n c t i t i e s , and i t s r e l i g i o n , t o the r e m o t e , t h e v a g u e , a n d t h e unknown; i n Cowper we h a v e t h e t y p e o f t h a t g e n u i n e l o v e which c h e r i s h e s t h i n g s i n p r o p o r t i o n to t h e i r n e a r n e s s , a n d f e e l s i t s r e v e r e n c e grow i n p r o p o r t i o n to the i n t i m a c y of i t s k n o w l e d g e . " 1  I  cannot  take  space  to defend  fully  speaking, Bulstrode r e f l e c t s t h a t a n y o n e who concur, Two  items  the  of the  o f e v i d e n c e may,  cant.  Vincy i n their  (in a less  i t s opposite as  s p a r r i n g about  combative  Fred  v e i n ) b e t w e e n him  earlier  accountableness" differ  from him  p r o t e g e , Mr. The  i n Chapter with  (in this  Tyke, as other item  e s t a b l i s h e d abhorrence two  the  13  t  he  key  of  ( c h . 13), and  them  terms i n  and  h i s wife  and also  when  Talking  c o n t r a s t s h i s own  with  "sacred  " w o r l d l y o p p o s i t i o n " of those case about  the appointment  c h a p l a i n a t the of evidence and  a n t i p o d a l approaches  One  between him  ( c h , 36).  t h e y d i s c u s s Rosamond's e n g a g e m e n t Lydgate  i s debatable.  cited.  about  old  i s George E l i o t ' s  that  she  who  of h i s  infirmary).  admiration, respectively,  to l i f e  me  the n o v e l must  resemblance  They are bandied  broadly  I t seems t o  e s s a y and  however, be  i n " w o r l d l i n e s s " and  Bulstrode*s  opinion that,  E d w a r d Young.  read both  though the degree  consists  Mr,  has  the  here  amply of  the  identifies  l 9 " W o r l d l i n e s s a n d O t h e r - W o r l d l i n e s s : t h e P o e t Young' ( W e s t m i n s t e r R e v i e w , J a n . 1857), i n P i n n e y , E s s a y s .  PP. 335-385.  - 162 (whether and  rightly  Cowper.  or wrongly  F o r example,  13, 1857),  (November  she  does  n o t m a t t e r ) w i t h Young  in a letter  to Charles  Bray  remarks:  I d i s l i k e extremely a passage . . . [ i n h i s b o o k The P h i l o s o p h y o f N e c e s s i t y ] i n w h i c h y o u appear to c o n s i d e r the d i s r e g a r d of i n d i v i d u a l s as a l o f t y c o n d i t i o n of mind. My own e x p e r i e n c e a n d d e v e l o p m e n t d e e p e n e v e r y d a y my c o n v i c t i o n t h a t o u r m o r a l p r o g r e s s may be m e a s u r e d b y t h e d e g r e e i n w h i c h we s y m p a t h i z e w i t h i n d i v i d u a l s u f f e r i n g and i n d i v i d u a l j o y . ( L e t t e r s , I I , 403) Thomas A.  Noble  sympathy" and  speaks  rightly  moral philosophy."20 Life,  a s he p o i n t s  I n Middlemarch p a s t and  calls  Eliot's  out, i t a l s o permeates  she comments a s f o l l o w s  i t to himself:  the deep-seated h a b i t (ch. 6l).  fellow-men" "Metaphors  "There  i s no  Earlier  contemptuous  outburst:  "Oh  . . . "  o f h e r age  and Hare  ( J R , c h . 22)  Eliot, a  who  felt  shadow a s  was  that  One  yes!  to e c l i p s e  the b l i s s  says,  i s reminded me  undertake  The  tendency  repugnant  " t h e m i s e r y o f one  by  individual  f o r complacency  particularly  which  , . . give  and I ' l l  ( F H , c h . 16).  (and o u r s ) " t o see a ground  statistics"  tremendous  i f unchecked  i n t h e same c h a p t e r she  to  Burke  evil  he  f e l l o w - f e e l i n g with  and a n a l o g i e s ,  justify  novels.  general doctrine  out our m o r a l i t y  of d i r e c t  Clerical  on B u l s t r o d e ' s  a handful of generalities  and  of  her l a t e r  a n d p r e c e d e n t s were n o t w a n t i n g . "  of F e l i x H o l t ' s  of  i t "the c e n t r a l concept of [ h e r ]  Most conspicuous i n Scenes  not capable of eating  George  "doctrine  on t h e c u r i o u s m e n t a l p r o c e s s e s b y w h i c h  justifies is  o f George  in  to  casts  so  o f n i n e t y - n i n e " (Ibid.)  20George E l i o t ' s Scenes of C l e r i c a l L i f e L o n d o n : Y a l e U n i v . P r e s s , 1965), c h . 3 .  (New  Haven  - 163 It  would be  unfounded  and  bluntness  that Farebrother  may  j u s t l y be  claimed  to a s s e r t with  equal  confidence  r e f l e c t s W i l l i a m Cowper.  i s that i n relation  What  to Bulstrode,  Farebrother parallels  G e o r g e E l i o t ' s v i e w o f Cowper more  closely  other  than  does any  v e r y name i s s u g g e s t i v e brotherhood.21  affection. I  e q u a t e s him  with  f o r whom m o s t r e a d e r s  L y d g a t e c a l l s him  e v e r knew'" ( c h . 50).  lax  f a i r r a i n d e d n e s s and  Mary Garth  ( c h . 57)»  Wakefield  of  character i n Middlemarch.  "'one  L i k e Mr.  of  human  the V i c a r of  cherish  Irwine  i n Adam B e d e , he even p l a y s  f o r money ( c h . 50).  He  which  Company" h o l d a g a i n s t h i m  though if  a l s o smokes a p i p e , a n  c a n be  called  spirit.  In  essentials  l i k e Mr,  Irwine—as  which h i s care generosity  moralizing  he  is a  ( c h . 13)  conspicuous.  about  with  are  Poyser's  s u c c e s s o r , Mr.  conversation with  faults, the  man—again  as  chs.  quoted by  h i s creators  his  does f o r F r e d pompous  17,  just  63,  70)  a convenience.  p i t h y c o m p a r i s o n b e t w e e n Mr.  Ryde, a s  of  s i s t e r , and  What he  (e.g.^  o f him  17), His  t h a t a v e r a g e y o u n g man,  B u l s t r o d e * s use  cards  (ch.  g l o s s on B u l s t r o d e ' s p r e t e n t i o u s a n d  r e c a l l s Mrs.  direct  good  is  i n many s m a l l ways, among  f o r h i s mother, a u n t , and  genuine f r i e n d s h i p f o r Lydgate  his  theirs  thoroughly  i s manifested  to Fred are  serves as a  that, are v e n i a l ;  men  indulgence  i t i s r e a l l y a mote a s a g a i n s t t h e i r beam.  they  trasts  an  the most b l a m e l e s s  i n h i s s t r i c t l y p a r o c h i a l d u t i e s and  " B u l s t r o d e and  His  as  his  conOne  Irwine  and  t h e a g e d Adam Bede i n "'Mr.  Irwine  was  like  2 1 S i n c e G e o r g e E l i o t , u n l i k e D i c k e n s , s e l d o m u s e s names i n t h i s way ( e x c e p t i n some o f h e r e s s a y s ) , t h e e x c e p t i o n with Farebrother i s worth noting.  a  s  g o o d m e a l o' v i c t u a l , thinking he  on  g r i p e d you  much t h e but deal  I n the of  and  and  same'"  Mr.  [Mr.  worreted  (AB,  (M,  agrees  and  tells  We  w i t h Mr.  may  Dorothea  sort  (M,  be  w h i c h he sure  you  t h a t "*a  ch.  good  what B u l s t r o d e  As so  calls  opinions  t h a t George E l i o t tells  to  contrasted  means h i s own  F a r e b r o t h e r when he  50).  Irwine,  Tyke, i s u n f a v o u r a b l y  by  left  of p i n c h i n g hard  c o n t r a s t e d w i t h Mr.  Tyke teaches  religion,"  physic,  a f t e r a l l he  aware o f him"'  Mr.  Farebrother.  a d o s e o*  without  I n more c o n v e n t i o n a l E n g l i s h ,  Lydgate  uncomfortably  17).  ch.  like  Tyke's] doctrine i s a  Bulstrode's protege,  "spiritual  you,  17).  ch.  Ryde i s u n f a v o u r a b l y  w i t h Mr.  were the b e t t e r f o r him  Ryde was  same s p i r i t ,  make p e o p l e Mr.  it,  you  164  essentially  Lydgate»  " I am o p p o s e d t o B u l s t r o d e i n many w a y s . I d o n ' t l i k e t h e s e t he b e l o n g s t o i t h e y a r e a n a r r o w i g n o r a n t s e t , a n d do more t o make t h e i r neighbours uncomfortable t h a n t o make them b e t t e r . T h e i r system i s a s o r t of w o r l d l y - s p i r i t u a l c l i q u e i s m : they r e a l l y l o o k on t h e r e s t o f m a n k i n d a s a doomed c a r c a s e w h i c h i s t o n o u r i s h them f o r heaven." (M, c h . 17) The  vicar's  sentiments  s e v e r a l passages from the Poet  Young,"  Bulstrode  calls  contemplate'" herself,  one  fall'"—and  earlier  Farebrother  ( c h . 1.3).  "We'll  expression are here  " W o r l d l i n e s s and  I n an  put  fact  t h i n g t o be i n the  One  them  our a t t e n t i o n to the "'•Tis  and  deeply  can h e a r George E l i o t test."  She  7--"Two  to saying  d o e s , and  the motto f o r c h a p t e r  o f Book  to  Lydgate,  painful  tempted, E s c a l u s , / A n o t h e r  title  close  Other-Worldlinessj  conversation with  " ' a man  to the In  very  draws  66—  thing  Temptations."  to  to  Chapter THE  FUSION OF TWO  7  CONCEPTS: AESTHETIC TEACHING AND TEMPTATION  Long b e f o r e Henry James, George E l i o t worked out and h e l d d e c i d e d views on the t h e o r y of the n o v e l i n g e n e r a l , and expressed  on h e r own  art i n particular.  them I n many p e r t i n e n t and  nouncements. 1 quote a few  familiar  She pro-  Because of t h e i r h i g h r e l e v a n c e , I  of them h e r e .  On J u l y 5$  1859* about f i v e  months a f t e r the p u b l i c a t i o n of Adam Bede, she wrote i n a l e t t e r t o h e r f r i e n d , C h a r l e s Brayt I f A r t does not e n l a r g e men's sympathies, i t does n o t h i n g m o r a l l y . . . . the o n l y e f f e c t I a r d e n t l y l o n g t o produce by my w r i t i n g s , i s t h a t those who read them should be b e t t e r a b l e t o imagine and t o f e e l the p a i n s and the j o y s of those who d i f f e r from themselves i n e v e r y t h i n g b u t the broad f a c t o f b e i n g s t r u g g l i n g e r r i n g human c r e a t u r e s . ( L e t t e r s , I I I , 111) And  some seven y e a r s l a t e r (August  15»  1866), i n a  l e t t e r t o h e r young C o m t i s t f r i e n d , F r e d e r i c H a r r i s o n , !See, e s p e c i a l l y , George E l i o t ' s two a r t i c l e s , "The N a t u r a l H i s t o r y of German L i f e " and " S i l l y Novels by Lady N o v e l i s t s . " Both appeared i n v o l . 66, 1856, o f the Westminster Revlewt the f i r s t i n the J u l y i s s u e , pp. 51-79? the second i n the October i s s u e , pp. 442-461. Both a r e r e p r i n t e d i n Thomas Pinney, ed., E s s a y s of George E l i o t (New York* Columbia U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , 1963), pp. 266-299 and 300-324. On September 23 of t h a t same y e a r — 1 8 5 6 — George E l i o t began h e r own w r i t i n g of f i c t i o n w i t h "Amos Barton." See a l s o these two booksi R i c h a r d Stang, The Theory of the Novel i n Englandi 1850-1870 (New Yorkj Columbia U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , 1959) and Kenneth Graham, E n g l i s h C r i t i c i s m of the Novelt 1865-1900 (Oxford* Clarendon P r e s s , 1965).  - 166  -  she remarkedi I think aesthetic teaching i s the highest of a l l teaching because i t deals with l i f e i n i t s highest complexity. But i f i t ceases to be purely a e s t h e t i c — i f i t lapses anywhere from the picture to the d i a g r a m — i t becomes the most offensive of a l l teaching. (Letters, IV, 300) In her l a t e r years, e s p e c i a l l y , she emphasized that her s o c i a l contribution must be made through the medium of Thus on January 25,  art.  I876, she commented i n a  l e t t e r to Dr. Joseph Frank Paynet But my w r i t i n g i s simply a set of experiments i n l i f e L J . . , , I become more and more t i m i d — w i t h less daring to adopt any formula which does not get i t s e l f clothed f o r me i n some human f i g u r e and i n d i v i d u a l experience, and perhaps t h a t i s a s i g n that i f I help others to see at a l l i t must be through that medium of a r t . (Letters, VI, 216-217) 2  Like the r e s t of us, George E l i o t often f e l l a long  way  below her own idealt her work c e r t a i n l y e x h i b i t s serious lapses from the picture to the diagramj and i n a l e t t e r (dated October 29,  I876) to Mrs. H a r r i e t Beecher Stowe—.  author of Uncle Tom's Cabin—she defends the Z i o n i s t part of Daniel Deronda on b l a t a n t l y d i d a c t i c grounds.3  Her  best work, however, does achieve a close approach to the presentation of l i f e i n i t s highest complexityt p a r t l y f o r that reason, i t succeeds i n enlarging the Bernard J . P a r i s adopts those three words—experiments i n l i f e — a s the main t i t l e of h i s book (Detroiti Wayne State U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1965) on George E l i o t . 2  3Letters, V I , 301-302.  - 167 reader's  sympathies.  And  h e r b e s t work, c e r t a i n l y ,  Includes  the s t r u g g l e s of h e r g r e a t  temptees.  These s t r u g g l e s are presented  so  convincingly,  so p e r c e p t i v e l y , so d r a m a t i c a l l y , t h a t a c r e a t i v e r e a d e r , p a r t i c i p a t i n g i m a g i n a t i v e l y , may s e l f w i t h the temptee, experience of r e c o g n i t i o n , and  i d e n t i f y him-  the t h r i l l  o r shock  i n consequence amend h i s own  P o s s i b l y a l i e n to us (though I f a i l t o see why  conduct.  i t should  b e ) , such a response appeared n a t u r a l t o the a u t h o r ' s contemporaries.  F o r t u n a t e l y , we  of i t s occurrence.  Readers  9  possess someevidence  r e a c t i o n s t o two  g r e a t e s t t e m p t e e s — B u l s t r o d e and  the  Gwendolen—included  the f o l l o w i n g i n s t a n c e s ! i n November, 1872, march, Book 7. had  of  when M i d d l e -  J u s t been p u b l i s h e d , a M i n i s t e r ,  preaching  a sermon on the prophet Hosea, r e f e r r e d to  Bulstrode  i n these termsj "Many o f you no doubt have read the work which t h a t g r e a t t e a c h e r George E l i o t i s now p u b l i s h i n g and have shuddered as I shuddered a t the a w f u l d i s s e c t i o n o f a g u i l t y conscience. W e l l , t h a t I s what I mean by the p r o p h e t i c s p i r i t . " 4  S i m i l a r l y , a young l a d y i n New  York g r a t e f u l l y a s c r i b e d  h e r rescue from probable d i s a s t e r t o b e h o l d i n g experience  i n the  of Gwendolen an ominous semblance o f the doom  she h e r s e l f had been u n c o n s c i o u s l y much g r a t i t u d e f o r b e i n g  c o u r t i n g ! "•  saved, by r e a d i n g  Deronda, from m a r r y i n g a man  . , .  Daniel  whom [ i ] c o u l d not  love,  ^From a l e t t e r by George Henry Lewes t o John Blackwood, dated November 25, 1872. L e t t e r s . V, 333; quoted i n Haight, George E l i o t , p. 445.  - 168 but whom [ I ] was disposed to accept f o r the sake of h i s wealth . . . .•"5  Precisely.  A number of the temptees  conclude one phase of t h e i r tussle i n doing what at the outset appeared as abhorrent and as impossible to them as i t does to the reader, who perhaps murmurs something l i k e , "Here but f o r the grace of God go I , " on r e a l i z i n g that, despite equal revulsion and equally good intentions, he too may  ( i n Pope's words) " . . .  p i t y , then embrace."  f i r s t endure, then  Hence he cannot but be driven to  take precautions against himself, and to t r y to.learn through the medium of George E l i o t ' s a r t what the temptees there portrayed l e a m only i n consequence of harrowing s u f f e r i n g , both f o r themselves and others, and generally not u n t i l i t i s too latet not too l a t e , indeed, for  p r o f i t i n g from t h e i r experience by doing b e t t e r i n  future, but too l a t e to undo the harm to others, and i n part to themselves, that has already arisen from t h e i r past conduct.  Thus, simply by the outstanding success  with which she depicts the struggles of her great temptees, George E l i o t f u l f i l l s i n ample measure one of her main functions as an aesthetic teacher of morals. Her aesthetic and her d i d a c t i c impulses triumphantly fuse i n t o a single, powerful, and salutary e f f e c t on the reader. George E l i o t thinks of l i f e p r i m a r i l y as conduct, 5According to a l e t t e r from George E l i o t to William Blackwood, written i n J u l y 1877. L e t t e r s . VI, 396-397i quoted i n Haight, George E l i o t , p. 491.  -  defined I n i t s widest r o u g h l y speaking,  1 6 9  -  sense t o I n c l u d e  corresponds  the p a r t t h a t ,  to Arnold's " c u l t u r e . "  Viewed i n t h i s way, the problems o f human c h o i c e and a c t i o n f i n d neat e x p r e s s i o n i n one o f B i s h o p Thomas W i l s o n ' s maxims, r e p e a t e d l y quoted by A r n o l d throughout C u l t u r e and Anarchyt l i g h t you havei not d a r k n e s s . ' " 6 is  " ' F i r s t , never go a g a i n s t t h e b e s t  secondly,  take care t h a t your l i g h t be  As e x a c t i n g i n i t s a p p l i c a t i o n as i t  concise, this c r u c i a l i n j u n c t i o n ( o r i t s equivalent)  s h i n e s as a g u i d i n g s t a r from the s k y above George E l i o t ' s f i c t i o n a l world.  Apt t o be metamorphosed i n t o  m a n i f o l d , b a f f l i n g impediments upon c o n t a c t w i t h an a c t u a l s e t o f circumstances, to  i t c o n s t r a i n s each i n d i v i d u a l  a l i f e - l o n g , ceaseless struggle.  H i s performance i n  t h a t s t r u g g l e determines h i s worth and ( i n human as d i s t i n c t from t h e o l o g i c a l terms) h i s s a l v a t i o n .  I t also  e n t a i l s f a r - r e a c h i n g consequences f o r a l l those who come i n c o n t a c t w i t h him, and i n d e e d f o r human l i f e i n g e n e r a l . Each one o f t h e n o v e l s abounds i n c o n f i r m a t i o n o f these l a s t two statements.  By way o f obvious  may c i t e p a r t o f the author's  i l l u s t r a t i o n , we  comment on Maggie's  culmin-  a t i n g dilemma, one o f F e l i x ' s e x h o r t a t i o n s t o E s t h e r , and a few o f the famous c l o s i n g words o f Middlemarch. 6The q u o t a t i o n i s found, among o t h e r p l a c e s , n e a r the opening o f c h a p t e r 4, e n t i t l e d "Hebraism and H e l l e n i s m . " I n the "Notes" t o h i s e d i t i o n o f C u l t u r e and Anarchy (Cambridge, 1932), p. 213, J o h n Dover W i l s o n t e l l s us t h a t A r n o l d f i r s t found a copy o f the Maxims i n h i s f a t h e r ' s study a t Fox How i n I867. The Bishop's dates a r e 1663-1755.  170  -  "Moral judgments must remain f a l s e and hollow,  unless  they are checked and e n l i g h t e n e d by a p e r p e t u a l r e f e r ence to the s p e c i a l circumstances lot"  (MP,  bk.  7,  ch. 2)?  " Y o u may 9  or a curse t o many*" (FH, ch. 10)j  t h a t mark the  individual  be e i t h e r a b l e s s i n g "The  growing good of  the world i s p a r t l y dependent on u n h i s t o r i c a c t s "  (M,  "Finale"). Once we a c c e p t Bishop Wilson's maxim as  an  adequate f o r m u l a t i o n of George E l i o t ' s b a s i c approach to human l i f e , we must be understood  r e c o g n i z e t h a t the word i n two  senses—with  "temptation"  the u s u a l p r o -  v i s o t h a t the d i s t i n c t i o n i s not a b s o l u t e — w h e n e v e r are d i s c u s s i n g her novels.  we  I n i t s wider sense i t  encompasses e v e r y t h i n g t h a t h i n d e r s us from f o l l o w i n g one p a r t o r both p a r t s of the Bishop's from d o i n g the b e s t we c o u l d be.  injunctioni  c o u l d do and b e i n g the b e s t  I t includes—borrowing Arnold's  terms—our  " o r d i n a r y s e l f " as d i s t i n c t from our " b e s t s e l f " ? the " s p o t s ^ of commoness" (M, ch. 15)  we  and  i n a Lydgate.  In  i t s more l i m i t e d and s e m i - t e c h n i c a l sense, i t r e f e r s t o a major c h a r a c t e r s t r u g g l i n g w i t h a s p e c i f i c  temptation,  and t o the e l a b o r a t e p r e s e n t a t i o n o f t h a t s t r u g g l e and i t s consequences.  O b v i o u s l y , every temptee i n the  second sense i s a l s o a temptee i n the f i r s t ;  and o b v i o u s l y ,  7The d i s t i n c t i o n between our " o r d i n a r y s e l f " and our " b e s t s e l f " i s emphasized throughout C u l t u r e and Anarchy, and e s p e c i a l l y i n the l a s t few pages of c h a p t e r 2, e n t i t l e d "Doing as One L i k e s . "  -  171 -  too, most human beings ( i n l i t e r a t u r e as i n l i f e ) a r e concerned w i t h t e m p t a t i o n i f we d e f i n e the word i n the first  sense.  The common and m i s t a k e n b e l i e f  that  L y d g a t e s i s one o f the "Two Temptations" i n Book 7 9  of Middlemarch  d e r i v e s from f a i l u r e t o d i s t i n g u i s h  between these two senses*  ., ; r  :.  Why i s the charge " T e m p t a t i o n — n o t h i n g  else"  more a p p l i c a b l e t o George E l i o t ' s f i c t i o n than t o most o t h e r works o f l i t e r a t u r e ?  P a r t l y because  of the i n -  c l u s i o n i n every n o v e l o f a major c h a r a c t e r g r a p p l i n g w i t h t e m p t a t i o n i n the l i m i t e d and s e m i - t e c h n i c a l sense, but p r i m a r i l y because  she views, p r e s e n t s , and judges  h e r c h a r a c t e r s — a n d a l s o encourages  the c h a r a c t e r s t o  judge themselves and o t h e r s — i n terms o f t h e i r  endeavour  to a p p l y Bishop Wilson's i n j u n c t i o n or i t s equivalent. These e f f o r t s a r e o f course b e s e t w i t h e n d l e s s d i f f i c u l t i e s and p r o b l e m s — p s y c h o l o g i c a l , s o c i a l ,  intellectual.  The p a t t e r n o f t e m p t a t i o n p r o v i d e s a l o c a l h a b i t a t i o n and a name f o r the s t r u g g l e and f o r the h i n d r a n c e s ! i t i s t h e i r embodiment. L e t us b r i e f l y r e c a p i t u l a t e the p a t t e r n . c e n t e r o f the c o n f l i c t stands the p r i n c i p a l  At the  temptee,  p l a n t e d ( m e t a p h o r i c a l l y speaking) w i t h one f o o t on each s i d e o f the moral boundary f i c t i o n a l world.  t h a t d i v i d e s George E l i o t ' s  His struggle to r e s i s t i s described  a t l e n g t h and w i t h g r e a t p e n e t r a t i o n , and u s u a l l y minates i n d e f e a t .  cul-  The d e f e a t r e s u l t s i n a c u t e and  p r o t r a c t e d nemesis, both f o r h i m s e l f and f o r most o f  -  172 -  those with whom he has been a s s o c i a t e d .  Nemesis may-  even be p r e s e n t when a p r i n c i p a l temptee r e s i s t s f u l l y , as E s t h e r Lyon doesi Mrs.  success-  the a p p a l l i n g s p e c t a c l e o f  Transome's nemesis h e l p s h e r t o make t h e r i g h t  choice.  The a s s o c i a t e s p a r t i c i p a t e i n the c o n f l i c t , n o t  o n l y through t h e s u f f e r i n g t h a t the p r i n c i p a l temptee u n w i t t i n g l y i n f l i c t s on them, b u t a l s o through animated d i s c u s s i o n i n v a r i o u s forms o f the m o r a l i s s u e s i n v o l v e d . T h e i r own problems and cases o f t e n p r e s e n t p a r a l l e l o r c o n t r a s t i n g s i t u a t i o n s t h a t serve t o i l l u m i n a t e , and e n r i c h the c e n t r a l c o n f l i c t .  The a u t h o r ' s v o i c e , used  w i t h i n c r e a s i n g s u b t l e t y a s we pass from the e a r l y t o the l a t e r n o v e l s , hovers over the scene, commenting, g u i d i n g , a n a l y z i n g ; and i n g e n e r a l h e l p i n g us t o keep h o l d o f the c e n t r a l moral c l u e i n t h e m i d s t o f much complexity. The  rhythm o f l i f e , upset by the temptee*s  wrongdoing, i s tsstially r e s t o r e d i n some degree  before  the n o v e l ends, and the temptee h i m s e l f d e r i v e s the well-known p u r g a t o r y he  b e n e f i t from h i s s u f f e r i n g ( u n l e s s  s i n k s deeper and deeper, as T i t o d o e s ) .  sadder and a w i s e r mam  He ends a  w i s e r because he would know  b e t t e r i f he c o u l d r e l i v e the span o f h i s l i f e  t h a t we  have w i t n e s s e d ; sadder because he knows t h a t he cannot. The  wrong t h a t he has i n f l i c t e d on o t h e r s i s i n a l a r g e  measure i r r e t r i e v a b l e ! and t h e o p p o r t u n i t y higher l i f e  f o r a morally  t h a t had beckoned t o him i s gone and may  - 173 never recur.  We r e c a l l Arthur Donnithorne*s belated  r e a l i z a t i o n that "'There i s a sort of wrong that can never be made up f o r * " (AB, "Epilogue"), and Gwendolen*s f e e l i n g that "She [ i s ] a banished s o u l — b e h o l d i n g a possible l i f e which she had sinned h e r s e l f away from" (DD,  ch.  57).  Moral continuity r e s u l t i n g from singleness of v i s i o n i s the c e n t r a l clue, I believe, to an understanding of George E l i o t * s novels.  I t i s also the hallmark of  her pattern of temptation and a major source of i t s scope and power.  Many excellences and some weaknesses  that c r i t i c s have e i t h e r noted i n i s o l a t i o n or p a r t i a l l y missed f a l l i n l i n e and cohere once we recognize her f i c t i o n a l world as the emanation of a mind that sees, guides, and judges i n terms of the struggle to apply Bishop Wilson's injunction, and that i s able to present the struggle with unusual breadth and power.  Singleness  of v i s i o n does not, of course, mean narrowness of v i s i o n . The two parts of the i n j u n c t i o n give equal weight to the conscience and to the mind (or consciousness)—roughly equivalent to Arnold*s "Hebraism and Hellenism"*- —and 1  the standards that George E l i o t brings to bear upon both are  of the highest.  A l l men must f i g h t the b a t t l e to  walk staunchly by the best l i g h t they have and to take 8cf. Culture and Anarchy, ch. 4. U.C. KnoepfImacher stresses the a f f i n i t i e s between George E l i o t and Arnold (Religious Humanism and the V i c t o r i a n Novel [Princeton, 1965J), e s p e c i a l l y pp. 60-71.  - 174 c a r e t h a t t h e i r l i g h t be not darkness.  Thus the  prin-  c i p a l temptee, s t r a d d l i n g the two moral worlds i n t o which the n o v e l i s d i v i d e d ( b r o a d l y speaking) and f i g h t i n g h i s b a t t l e w i t h a s p e c i f i c temptation,  i s seen  i n p e r s p e c t i v e as p a r t of the g r e a t b a t t l e w i t h  temptation  i n the wider s e n s e — t h e b a t t l e from which none can i n which a l l men,  w i t h i n the n o v e l and w i t h o u t ,  escapei  must  participate. By and i n t o two  l a r g e , George E l i o t does d i v i d e h e r  world  camps, w i t h a boundary between them, but moral  c o n t i n u i t y i s maintained standards  because she a p p l i e s the same  of'judgment t o both s i d e s , and p e r c e i v e s  e x h i b i t s the grades of goodness and badness w i t h usual penetration.  She  and  un-  never f o r g e t s t h a t a s m a l l g l a s s  and a l a r g e g l a s s cannot h o l d the same amount of water, though they may recognizes from one  be e q u a l l y f u l l .  A t her b e s t she  t h a t t h e r e i s no a b s o l u t e b r e a k as we  pass  s i d e of the d i v i d i n g l i n e t o the o t h e r .  In  F e l i x H o l t , f o r example, the two  contrasted poles  the world  the world  of the p r o t a g o n i s t and  C o u r t , where H a r o l d and h i s p a r e n t s — t h a t  even  are  of Transome i s , his  mother and h i s n a t u r a l f a t h e r , the unsavoury lawyer Matthew J e r m y n — a r e the p r i n c i p a l f i g u r e s .  Between  them stands E s t h e r Lyon, l e g a l h e i r to Transome Court, and wooed by both F e l i x and H a r o l d . l i m i t e d and  A temptee i n the  s e m i - t e c h n i c a l sense, she I s , i n e v i t a b l y ,  a l s o a temptee i n the f i r s t and wider sensei  she i s  p a r t of the spectrum o r h i e r a r c h y of i n d i v i d u a l  and  - 175 unfolding moral values that extends from pole to pole, cutting across any boundary between moral camps, as climate and vegetation ignore p o l i t i c a l boundaries. E a r l y In the novel, before the influence of F e l i x Holt has begun i t s fermenting work within her, Esther might be rated lower than two good women of very l i m i t e d scope—Mrs. Transome*s f a i t h f u l attendant, Denner, and F e l i x ' s mother, Mrs, Holt.  They a t l e a s t  are u s e f u l , devoted, a c t i v e , and f r u g a l , while the unregenerate Esther i s vain, i d l e , f r i v o l o u s , and luxury-loving.  But her p o t e n t i a l as a human being i s  greater than t h e i r s , and once the best that l i e s l a t e n t within her has been s t i r r e d , she reaches moral heights that are c e r t a i n l y beyond the ken of Mrs. Holt.  With  Denner one hesitates to make a dogmatic pronouncement. More I n t e l l i g e n t than Mrs. Holt, she might i n propitious circumstances have developed, a long way beyond her a c t u a l l e v e l i n the novel.  As f o r Mrs. Transome, the contrast  between what she i s and what we are constantly made aware that she might have been i s so poignant that i t hurts. Those most intimately associated with her a t Transome C o u r t — h e r son Harold and Harold's natural father, Matthew Jermyn—are discriminated with equal s k i l l and insight.  A long way below F e l i x Holt, Harold  nevertheless  towers above Jermyn, whose own standards are higher than those of h i s electioneering agent, Mr. Johnson,  As  Shakespeare can have three murderers on the stage f o r  - 176 t e n minutes and make each speak d i f f e r e n t l y , so George E l i o t d i s c e r n s and p r e s e n t s the v a r i e t i e s o f moral I n consequence  scope.9  o f such discernment, the r e s u l t o f  an o u t l o o k a s homogeneous a s i t i s wide and p e n e t r a t i n g , an atmosphere  o f m o r a l c o n t i n u i t y pervades the n o v e l s .  Even the minor c h a r a c t e r s c o n t r i b u t e s i g n i f i c a n t l y t o the c e n t r a l theme.  F o r example, n e a r l y everyone i n  The M i l l on the F l o s s s t r u g g l e s t e n a c i o u s l y t o remain f a i t h f u l t o the b e s t l i g h t he h a s — t h a t i s , i n e f f e c t , to guide h i m s e l f by the f i r s t p a r t o f the B i s h o p ' s twin i n j u n c t i o n .  The p r i n c i p a l t e m p t e e — M a g g i e — t r i e s  v e r y h a r d j b u t so does Tom, and much more s u c c e s s f u l l y ! so does Mrs. Glegg, e s p e c i a l l y i n the c h a p t e r e n t i t l e d "Showing t h a t O l d A c q u a i n t a n c e s a r e Capable o f S u r p r i s i n g us" (Bk. 7, ch. 3 ) i so does b e n i g h t e d Mrs. T u l l i v e r i so ( i r o n i c a l l y and t o h i s own r u i n ) does the headstrong and Impetuous father»  so does P h i l i p Wakem.  The a u t h o r ' s  moral v i s i o n extends e q u a l l y t o the p r i n c i p a l  temptee,  t o minor temptees o f the s e m i - t e c h n i c a l k i n d , and t o the o t h e r c h a r a c t e r s , most o f whom a r e a l s o i n the wider and l o o s e r sense.  temptees—  A p p l y i n g the same m o r a l  standards t o a l l , a s George E l i o t h e r s e l f does, the r e a d e r p e r c e i v e s t h a t t h e i r judgments often grossly astray.  o f each o t h e r a r e  Shocked by sudden r e c o g n i t i o n o f  the c l o s e correspondence i n t h i s r e s p e c t between the  9The d i s c u s s i o n o f F e l i x H o l t i n t h i s paragraph and. the p r e c e d i n g one owes something t o J o a n B e n n e t t ' s George E l i o t t Her Mind and H e r A r t (Cambridge, 1948), ch. 9.  - 177 novel  and  actual l i f e ,  toward g r e a t e r reaching  of  the twin  injunctions*  darkness."  technical  "Take c a r e  Confronted  circumstances,  with  Whenever  i s , the  agitated  w o r k as  support  "simply  216).  of  that your l i g h t  be  temptees i n the  and  conception  scope to her  never d i s t r e s s a bewildering obvious believe.  the  c l u s i o n s , or  reader  by  she  novels, of her  for  complexity—social Her  clue  can be  novels  l e a d to  has,  and  what  certain  seeing  as  V/.ithin  found.  t h e y were d e v i s e d  A n x i o u s t o g i v e a l l t h a t she  (letters,  r e p r e s e n t i n g human l i f e  " e x p e r i m e n t s " do  own  character  knows what t o t h i n k and  confirm those  to  the  talent  moral confusion.  maze t o w h i c h no  limits, Her  without  a  his  amounting  a set of experiments i n l i f e "  f o r presenting moral  looser  guiding stars,  c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of the  t o George E l i o t ' s  intellectual—  semi-  i n t h e w i d e r and  p s y c h o l o g i c a l a n a l y s i s , f o r s h o w i n g how develops,  crisis,  revelations of  jolt—often  I t also gives f u l l  aim  triumphantly.  wrench, a d i s l o c a t i o n — t h a t o c c a s i o n s m o r a l d e b a t e s so  lends  her  second  unforeseen  It i s this  the  challenge,  sense, as w e l l as those  "light,"  a violent  and  sympathy i n  i n t h i s way,  f o r c e d to re-examine h i s p r e v i o u s  previous  VI,  and  i m p i n g e s p r i m a r i l y on  character, everyone—that  and  orient himself  about h i s fellow-men\  influences a reader  plot  exceptional  is  henceforth  moral teaching through a r t i s v i n d i c a t e d The  not  may  caution, understanding,  conclusions  George E l i o t  he  -  to  con-  to the  confirm. only  - 178 p r a c t i c a b l e way  i n the  she  to  i s prepared  w i t h the  fullest  j u d i c i o u s use  o f her  develops,  so  remarkably  principal  temptee, extends  a s s o c i a t e d , and  Tulliver,  from  indeed  staunchly  previous takes few  to  show how  the  form  had  the n o v e l s .  figure  of  the  w i t h whom he  and  Adam Bede  discover before been p a r t l y  and  self-righteous,  respective novels  walk  the b e s t  the  end  darkness.  o f a sudden f l a s h  minutes of h i s  character  t o most o f t h e m a j o r c h a r a c t e r s .  (and w i t h g r e a t s u c c e s s ) by  light  a  e q u a l l y to those  of t h e i r  they have, but both  characters  own.  for instance, r i g i d  the b e g i n n i n g  voice of her  d i s p l a y e d i n the  E x a m p l e s abound t h r o u g h o u t Tom  p o s s i b l e communication,  complement t h e  G e o r g e E l i o t *s a b i l i t y  is  -  light  that  their  Tom's change  of insight  i n the  last  life:  It [j'the f u l l m e a n i n g o f what h a d happened"7 came w i t h so o v e r p o w e r i n g a f o r c e — i t was s u c h a new r e v e l a t i o n t o h i s s p i r i t , o f t h e depths i n l i f e t h a t had l a i n beyond h i s v i s i o n , w h i c h he h a d f a n c i e d so k e e n and clear. (MF, "bk. 7, c h . 5) Adam's i s much more g r a d u a l and e a s i l y be beyond the prior ing  imagined  to  (under  c l o s e of the n o v e l .  to t h e i r  final  i n t h e Wood (AB,  cularly  continue  p r o t r a c t e d , and  striking  George E l i o t  may  his wife's influence)  H i s words t o A r t h u r  (except  f o r the  c h . 48)  may  illustrations.  i s questionable, but  be  just  "Epilogue") p a r t cited  as  parti-  E e v a Stump's b o o k she  on  does h a v e a p o i n t  - 179 in  emphasizing  the importance o f v i s i o n . 1 °  A t times one  i s reminded o f Shakespeare's " L i g h t , s e e k i n g l i g h t , l i g h t of l i g h t beguile."11 intellectual  doth  I t i s not s u r p r i s i n g t h a t so  an author as George E l i o t s h o u l d do f u l l  j u s t i c e t o t h a t p a r t o f the B i s h o p ' s  twin i n j u n c t i o n .  T a l k i n g about Lydgate a f t e r B u l s t r o d e ' s exposure, F a r e b r o t h e r and Dorothea exchange these words* "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 u n a l t e r a b l e . I t i s something l i v i n g and changing, and may become d i s e a s e d as our b o d i e s do." "Then i t may be rescued and h e a l e d , " s a i d Dorothea. (M, ch. 72) The  t r u t h expressed  i n t h i s d i a l o g u e i s demonstrated  a g a i n and a g a i n i n George E l i o t ' s w r i t i n g s . w i l l immediately  come t o mind as an obvious  S i l a s Marner example.  But  the person r e f e r r e d t o i n the d i a l o g u e i s h i m s e l f a memorable i l l u s t r a t i o n .  The c o m p l e t e l y  convincing pre-  s e n t a t i o n o f Lydgate's t r a g i c t r a n s f o r m a t i o n from a r d e n t scientist  and m e d i c a l reformer t o f a s h i o n a b l e p h y s i c i a n  ranks among George E l i o t ' s  g r e a t achievements.  The author l e a d s us t o t h i n k t h a t Lydgate's  fall  Is due t o h i s own "spots o f commonness"(M, c h . 15) combined w i t h " t h i s p e t t y medium o f Middlemarch" ( c h . 18). lOMovement and V i s i o n i n George E l i o t ' s Novels ( S e a t t l e , 1959). A l s o t o the p o i n t a r e the p r o t a g o n i s t • s words on v i s i o n d u r i n g h i s walk with E s t h e r i n c h a p t e r 27 of F e l i x H o l t . l l L o v e ' s Labour's L o s t , I , i , 77.  - 180 Her s p e c i a l aptitude f o r presenting l i f e as a moral struggle i s i n large measure dependent on her a b i l i t y to show how  the inner and outer f a c t i n t e r a c t , and to do  f u l l j u s t i c e to both.  Ever mindful that "there i s no  creature whose inward being i s so strong that i t i s not greatly determined by what l i e s outside i t " (M, " F i n a l e " ) , she d e l i b e r a t e l y involves her temptees i n  circumstances  calculated to expose and act on t h e i r weakest spots. Emphasis on the "medium" i s very strong throughout the novels, so much so that a f i n e anthology  entitled  Scenes of English Town and V i l l a g e L i f e i n the E a r l y Nineteenth fiction.  Century might be compiled  from George E l i o t ' s  The worlds of Milby, Hayslope, St. Ogg's,  Raveloe, Treby Magna, and Middlemarch are memorable cases i n p o i n t .  1 2  They should not, however, be  regarded  as "background," except i n the sense that they constitute the outer f a c t f o r each of t h e i r inhabitants.  I t i s much  more h e l p f u l to think of them as arenas i n the struggle to apply Bishop Wilson's twin i n j u n c t i o n . This view emphasizes moral c o n t i n u i t y r e s u l t i n g from the  author's  singleness of v i s i o n and judgment, and reminds us that p r a c t i c a l l y a l l of her characters are temptees i n the Much less f e l i c i t o u s l y , George E l i o t adheres to the same p r i n c i p l e i n her presentation of Florence at the close of the f i f t e e n t h century ( c f . Romola. ch. 21, second paragraph, and L e t t e r s . IV, 97). The only i n t e n t i o n a l exception—the exception that proves the r u l e i s Daniel Deronda, where the protagonist's and Gwendolen's rootlessness forms part of the author's conception (cf. DD, ch. 3, opening). 12  -  -  181  f i r s t and wider sense of the word.  The  arenas become  not o n l y the p h y s i c a l but the moral s e t t i n g f o r the concentrated  s t r u g g l e t h a t i s f o c u s e d on the  principal  temptees--on the temptees i n the more l i m i t e d and  semi-  t e c h n i c a l sense. A comparison of Middlemarch with Aldous Huxley's P o i n t Counter P o i n t may in  be i l l u m i n a t i n g .  They a r e  some respectss both, emphasize d i s c u s s i o n , both  many v a r i e d p o i n t s of view, both a r e p r e o c c u p i e d  alike present  with  moral problems, both a r e remarkable f o r t h e i r p l a y of Ideas.  But Huxley's n o v e l i s t a l k y i n a way  E l i o t ' s i s d e c i d e d l y not.  t h a t George  Her c l o s e s t e q u i v a l e n t , perhaps  i s a long p h i l o s o p h i c a l d i s c u s s i o n i n blank verse, "A C o l l e g e B r e a k f a s t P a r t y . "  F a r l e s s would be l o s t i f  a l l the c h a r a c t e r s i n P o i n t Counter P o i n t were s i t t i n g round a t a b l e and  entitled  simply  d i s c u s s i n g t h e i r s u b j e c t s than  would be l o s t i f the c h a r a c t e r s i n Middlemarch were t o do the same. talent,  P a r t l y t h i s i s simply due  Huxley may  to a d i f f e r e n c e i n  be George E l i o t ' s e q u a l i n i n t e l l i g e n c  but she i s by f a r the more g i f t e d n o v e l i s t .  To a much  g r e a t e r extent than Huxley can she embody h e r i d e a s i n l i v i n g , r e c o g n i z a b l e c h a r a c t e r s and  situations.  Mark  Rampion, f o r example, i s e v e r l a s t i n g l y a d v o c a t i n g  the  "whole l i f e , " but we  contrast  never see him  living i t .  By  Lydgate's i n t e l l e c t u a l p a s s i o n i s s p l e n d i d l y a c t u a l i z e d (as i s Klesmer's m u s i c a l genius i n D a n i e l Deronda)t  the  r e a d e r i s not asked t o b e l i e v e — h e  Her  b e s t c h a r a c t e r s assume a l i f e  sees and  o f t h e i r own,  feels.  f a r beyond  any  -  182  -  r e q u i r e m e n t s o f t h e m o r a l scheme; o r r a t h e r , t h e scheme i t s e l f characters but  becomes more complex i n p r o p o r t i o n a s  develop.  i t i s f a r out  of  One  may  suspect  t r u t h " can best  Her  novels  (at  times g r e a t ) , not  in  the  are  be  d i s t i n g u i s h e d , powerful, because of any  from e x t r a o r d i n a r y  presentation of a o f human l i f e .  original  diagram,  seems t o f i n d  done " t h e  p a t t e r n of temptation,  resulted  an  the  sight.^  L i k e Browning, George E l i o t "speaking  moral  single,  but  artistic and  qualities  W r i t i n g i n the  1930*s,  1  inherent pattern  t a l e n t s used i n the and  way." ^  absorbing  because the  coherent,  that  intense Huxley  artistic vision  lacked  ^cf. "I t h i n k a e s t h e t i c t e a c h i n g i s the h i g h e s t of a l l t e a c h i n g because i t d e a l s with l i f e i n i t s h i g h e s t complexity. B u t i f i t c e a s e s t o be p u r e l y a e s t h e t i c — i f l t l a p s e s anywhere f r o m the p i c t u r e t o t h e d i a g r a m i t becomes t h e m o s t o f f e n s i v e o f a l l t e a c h i n g s ( L e t t e r s , I V , 300). P a r t i a l l a p s e s do o c c u r j t h e y i n c l u d e H o m o l a , F e l i x H o l t , and ( e s p e c i a l l y ) M o r d e c a i i n D a n i e l Deronda. T h e i r r e l a t i v e i n f r e q u e n c y i s one m e a s u r e o f G e o r g e E l i o t ' s g r e a t n e s s and i n s p i r a t i o n .  *Cf. The R i n g a n d t h e B o o k . X I I , 841-844; a l s o , George E l i o t ' s remarkt " I f I h e l p o t h e r s t o see a t a l l , i t m u s t be t h r o u g h t h a t medium o f a r t " ( L e t t e r s , V I , 217). B e r n a r d J . P a r i s d e r i v e s t h e t i t l e o f h i s book ( D e t r o i t , 1965) f r o m w o r d s i n t h e same letter« "My w r i t i n g i s s i m p l y a s e t o f E x p e r i m e n t s i n L i f e " [ c a p i t a l s and i t a l i c s addedJ.. The i n t o l e r a n c e , s a r c a s m , a n d dogmatism o f h e r e s s a y s on D r . J o h n Cumming ( " E v a n g e l i c a l T e a c h i n g . . .") a n d on E d w a r d Young ( " W o r l d l l n e s s a n d Other-Worldliness . . . " ) , b o t h i n Thomas P i n n e y , e d . , E s s a y s o f G e o r g e E l i o t (New Y o r k , 1963), may b e ' c o n t r a s t e d w i t h t h e p i t y , u n d e r s t a n d i n g , a n d e v e n sympathy s h e shows t o w a r d B u l s t r o d e , whom she endows w i t h m o s t o f t h e c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s t h a t she f l a y s i n these gentlemen. ll  - 183 the v i s i o n  -  ( o r any e q u i v a l e n t ) 1 5 t h a t c o n s t i t u t e s so  v i t a l a source of George E l i o t ' s c r e a t i v e energy,  and  imparts so c h a r a c t e r i s t i o and memorable a stamp to the image of human l i f e  she has l e f t us.  i n M i l t o n ' s words, one would not  I t i s an image t h a t ,  w i l l i n g l y l e t die.  Based on a s e c u l a r f a i t h i n the p o t e n t i a l n o b i l i t y g r a d u a l p e r f e c t i b i l i t y of human n a t u r e — G e o r g e  and  Eliot  c a l l e d h e r s e l f a " m e l i o r i s t " — i t appeals t o the modern r e a d e r , f o r i t emphasizes p s y c h o l o g i c a l a n a l y s i s  and  development, s o c i a l background, and i n t e l l e c t u a l complexity.  F r e e d from t h e o l o g i c a l o r o t h e r dogma, 1°*  George E l i o t s t e e r s c l e a r (except f o r o c c a s i o n a l l a p s e s ) of the o v e r s i m p l i f i c a t i o n and r i g i d i t y t h a t , by t w e n t i e t h - c e n t u r y s t a n d a r d s , v i t i a t e the approach t e m p t a t i o n i n many o l d e r works of l i t e r a t u r e .  to  Her  humanism has found wide r e c o g n i t i o n and a d m i r a t i o n i n 1 5 i f one had t o f i n d a motto f o r P o i n t Counter P o i n t ( o t h e r than Huxley's own), one might choose two l i n e s from Macbeth ( I , i , 11-12) t h a t George E l i o t c i t e s and s p e c i f i c a l l y d e p r e c a t e s i n h e r essay "Moral S w i n d l e r s " (Impressions of Theophrastus Such [Edinburgh! W i l l i a m Blackwood and Sons, 1901J), ch. 16, p. 158: " ' F a i r i s f o u l , and f o u l i s f a i n / H o v e r through the f o g and f i l t h y air. , M  l^Auguste Comte's, f o r example. R i c h a r d Congreve, founder of the P o s i t i v i s t community i n London, and a c l o s e f r i e n d of George E l i o t and Lewes s i n c e 1859» wrote i n 1880i "She i s n o t nor ever has been more than by h e r acceptance o f the g e n e r a l i d e a of Humanity a P o s i t i v i s t . . . [ s h e ] never a c c e p t e d the d e t a i l s of the system, never went beyond the c e n t r a l i d e a " (quoted by Gordon S. H a i g h t i n Letters. I, l x i i ) .  - 184 t h e 1960's, e v e n f r o m c r i t i c s whose i n t e r e s t d o e s n o t c e n t e r on h e r . ' ' 1  A t t h e same t i m e she d o e s  follow certain guiding stars  of conduct;  c o n v i c t i o n s and regards i t as p a r t  d e s c r y and  she does  have  of a novelist's  r e s p o n s i b i l i t y t o make t h e r e a d e r aware o f t h e f a c t . We a r e n e v e r p e r m i t t e d t o t h r o w up o u r h a n d s i n m o r a l despair.  She a b h o r s  the tendency—so  c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of  o u r t i m e — t o s e e a c o n f u s i o n t h a t makes n o n s e n s e ethical be  C o m p l e x i t y must i n a l l c i r c u m s t a n c e s  g r a p p l e d w i t h , a s a dog g r a p p l e s w i t h a bone.  always be  judgments.  of  remains  " t h e l e a s t p a r t i a l good"  (M, c h . 20)  s o u g h t b y means o f " t h e c o n d u c t w h i c h ,  r e l a t i o n , would the f u l l e s t  f o l l o w from the f u l l e s t  There to  i n e v e r y human  knowledge a n d  sympathy." ^  •^Major p a r t s G e o r g e E l i o t : C.B. L i b e r a l Humanism . R e l i g i o u s Humanism ( P r i n c e t o n , 1965)% ( L o n d o n , 1967).  1  o f the f o l l o w i n g books a r e d e v o t e d t o C o x , The F r e e S p i r i t : a S t u d y o f . . ( L o n d o n , 1963); U.C. K n o e p f l m a c h e r , and the V i c t o r i a n Novel . . . L a u r e n c e L e r n e r , The T r u t h t e l l e r s . . .  8"Moral Swindlers," i n Impressions of Theophrastus S u c h . . ., L i b r a r y e d i t i o n ( E d i n b u r g h a n d L o n d o n : W i l l i a m B l a c k w o o d a n d S o n s , 1901), p . 158. Omitted f r o m Thomas P i n n e y ' s c o l l e c t i o n , t h i s e s s a y i s a t present out of p r i n t . — I n c h a p t e r 50 o f Adam B e d e , G e o r g e E l i o t r e f e r s t o sympathy a s ? t h e one p o o r w o r d w h i c h i n c l u d e s a l l o u r "best i n s i g h t a n d o u r b e s t l o v e . " 1  - 185 BIBLIOGRAPHY PRIMARY SOURCES C r o s s , J.W. George E l i o t ' s L i f e as R e l a t e d In Her L e t t e r s and J o u r n a l s . New Ed. Edinburgh and London* W i l l i a m Blackwood and Sons, [n.d.3.  E l i o t , George. The Works o f George E l i o t . E d i t i o n de Luxe. 8 v o l s . New Yorkt The Nottingham S o c i e t y , [ n . d . ] . «,«,_«,—.. The George E l i o t L e t t e r s , ed. Gordon S. H a l g h t . 7 vols. New Haven: Y a l e U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , 195^-55.  . E s s a y s o f George E l i o t , ed. Thomas P i n n e y . New Yorkt Columbia U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , 1963. — I m p r e s s i o n s o f Theophrastus Such [and] E s s a y s and Leaves from a Note-book. Works o f George E l i o t . V o l . X. L i b r a r y ed. Edinburgh and London: William Blackwood and Sons, 1901. —. The Legend o f J u b a l and Other Poems Old and" New. The Works o f George E l i o t . V o l . X. C a b i n e t ed. Edinburgh and London W i l l i a m Blackwood and Sons, [ n . d . ] . •——. The Spanish Gypsy. The Works o f George E l i o t . V o l . IX. C a b i n e t ed. Edinburgh and London: W i l l i a m Blackwood and Sons, [ n . d . ] . • . 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A H i s t o r y o f E n g l a n d i n Ten V o l s . London; Longmans, Green & Co., 1967. C l a r k , G, K l t s o n , A n E x p a n d i n g S o c i e t y : B r i t a i n 1830-1900. Cambridge; University Press, . 1967. —*• The M a k i n g o f V i c t o r i a n E n g l a n d . The F o r d L e c t u r e s D e l i v e r e d b e f o r e t h e U n i v e r s i t y o f O x f o r d . Cambridge, Mass.: H a r v a r d U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , 1962, Croce, Benedetto.  H i s t o r y of Europe i n the  N i n e t e e n t h Century. T r , f r o i i the I t a l i a n by Henry Fu'rst. A H a r b i n g e r Book. New York: H a r c o u r t , Brace & W o r l d , I963, c 1 9  3 3 .  - 202 Deane, P h y l l i s . The F i r s t I n d u s t r i a l R e v o l u t i o n . Cambridgei U n i v e r s i t y Press7 1967. Ensor, S i r Robert C h a r l e s Kirkwood. England; 1870-1914. O x f o r d : C l a r e n d o n P r e s s , 1936". E v a n s , R . J . The V i c t o r i a n Age: 1815-1914. London* Edward A r n o l d , 1950. P r e s t , J o h n . The I n d u s t r i a l R e v o l u t i o n I n C o v e n t r y . London and New Y o r k t Oxford U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , i960. S m e l l i e , K.B. G r e a t B r i t a i n s i n c e l688t A Modern H i s t o r y . The U n i v e r s i t y o f M i c h i g a n H i s t o r y o f t h e Modern W o r l d . Ann A r b o r : U n i v e r s i t y o f M i c h i g a n P r e s s , 1962. Thomson, D a v i d . E n g l a n d i n t h e N i n e t e e n t h C e n t u r y 1 1815-1914. The P e l i c a n H i s t o r y o f E n g l a n d , B. Harmondsworth: P e n g u i n Books,  1950.  Wood, Anthony. Nineteenth Century B r l t a i n t 1815-1914. Londont Longmans, I960. Woodward, S i r L l e w e l l y n . The Age o f Reformt 1815-1870. 2nd ed. O x f o r d : C l a r e n d o n P r e s s , 1962. Young, George M a l c o l m . V i c t o r i a n E n g l a n d : P o r t r a i t o f a n Age. 2nd ed. A G a l a x y Book. 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