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Monday, 15 June 2015

Characters in Middlemarch and associations

I wonder if it's me, or George Eliot always makes me think of something else. 
Again, about Tertius Lydgate: 
"He was an ardent fellow, but at present his ardour was absorbed in love of his work and in the ambition of making his life recognised as a factor in the better life of mankind..." 
Again he sounds like Frankenstein (I've written about the repetition of the words "ardent" and "ardour" in Mary Shelley's book). 
"Poor Lydgate! or shall I say, Poor Rosamond! Each lived in a world of which the other knew nothing." 
There is, I'm sure, a similar sentence in Daniel Deronda about Deronda and Gwendolen. 
"While her aunt Bulstrode, who had a sisterly faithfulness towards her brother's family, had 2 sincere wishes for Rosamond- that she might show a more serious turn of mind, and that she might meet with a husband whose wealth correspond to her habits."
Rosamond sounds like Gwendolen. Also shallow. Also frivolous, carefree. Also beautiful, charming. Also used to having people in love with her. She sings too, and doesn't like the men around her ("I shall not marry any Middlemarch young man"), almost like Gwendolen, though the latter has a harsh opinion on men in general. In other words, there seem to be 2 Gwendolens in Middlemarch, the other is Celia, but Rosamond's more like her.
Another character she slightly resembles is Hélène in War and Peace. At least Lydgate coming from a new place and having ambitions and falling in love with a sexually alluring but superficial woman does sound like Pierre. 
If Rosamond's similar to Gwendolen, Dorothea's to be contrasted with her, and she's reminiscent of Mirah in Daniel Deronda, or, in some ways, Dinah in Adam Bede, except that she's less perfect and more human. In the way she takes pleasure in self-deprivation, there's something like she's insincere to herself. I'm referring to the jewels dividing scene. 
"'They are lovely', said Dorothea, slipping the ring and bracelet on her finely-turned finger and wrist, and holding them towards the window on a level with her eyes. All the while her thought was trying to justify her delight in the colours by merging them in her mystic religious joy." 
Besides, as I've said before, Dorothea's naive and hasty. George Eliot should have created more characters like that. What do we need Dinah and Mirah for. 
If there's a kind of Mirah in Middlemarch, there's a Daniel Deronda. That's Will Ladislaw. Too early to say anything about him, the guy appears for several pages, draws a bit, talks a bit, laughs a bit, and gets out of the plot. But there are similarities- Will's also idealistic, with no fixed profession. He wanders. 
The old, fox-cunning, eagle-sharp Featherstone, who is fooled by nobody, is like the old prince Bolkonsky in War and Peace. And he bullies Mary Garth like Bolkonsky bullies Marya. Another similarity between Mary and Marya is their plain appearance. Other than that, they're different. Marya's pious, gentle, generally quite passive, Mary's independent and can be quite cynical sometimes. 
To match Middlemarch's Marya, there's a Nikolay, and that's Fred Vincy. At least, they're both spendthrifts who get into debts. 
The emotionless, cold-as-a-machine, duty-bound Casaubon of course sounds like Karenin in Anna Karenina (I know, Karenin has emotions, but he's such a stoic that he has difficulty expressing and articulating his feelings, and thus appears emotionless). 

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