Middlemarch intertwines three courtship and marriage plots. The courtships of two couples, Dorothea and Casaubon and Rosamond and Lydgate, illustrate how the illusions, impressions, and expectations reached during courtship are shattered by the day-to-day familiarity and difficulties of married life. The initial misconceptions these characters have regarding their partners lead them to project onto their partners the qualities they seek in marriage. Dorothea wants entry into the world of male knowledge, and she sees Casaubon's book project as a worthy cause to serve in her hunger for action that will improve the world. Casaubon seeks a nurse, secretary, and reader, all menial jobs he believes Dorothea can handle. Rosamond seeks wealth and prestige through aristocratic alliance and believes that Lydgate offers the means by which she can be lifted out of the embarrassingly unrefined society of her family and social circle. Lydgate thinks Rosamond's physical charms and musical skills will create a perfect haven in which he can rest after a long day of medical practice and scientific research. In his eyes, Rosamond's submissive manner indicates that she is a woman who knows the man is boss in marriage and will rely on his good judgment. Once married, each person learns much more about the partner and sees that person more accurately. Sadly, for these couples, that subsequent clearer vision proves the marriage union cannot fulfill...
(The entire section is 1331 words.)
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