Characters Discussed (Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, Revised Third Edition)
Daniel Deronda, the ward of Sir Hugo Mallinger and a noble, well-educated gentleman. At Cambridge University, he helps a poor student, Hans Meyrick, to pass a scholarship examination. He rescues a young Jewish woman, Mirah Lapidoth, from drowning in the Thames, helps to start her on a singing career, and later marries her. He spends a great deal of time wondering about his parentage and searching for some knowledge of his past in the Jewish East End of London. At the end of the novel, before his marriage, he is pleased to learn that he is Jewish.
Gwendolen Harleth, an impoverished beauty who feels that she must marry a wealthy man in order to live the elegant life she desires. After rejecting several dull suitors, she marries Henleigh Mallinger Grandcourt, a wealthy heir, despite the fact that she knows Grandcourt has deserted the mistress who has borne him four children. She marries him after her widowed mother has lost all their money in a stock failure. The marriage is unhappy because Gwendolen is secretly in love with Daniel Deronda. After Grandcourt drowns in a yachting accident, Gwendolen feels guilty because she might have done much more to save him and had previously wished him dead. She confesses as much to Daniel, who has always disapproved of her gambling, recklessness, and love of finery. Hoping to marry Daniel, she is disappointed when he tells her about Mirah. She...
(The entire section is 1216 words.)
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