What are the major themes and concerns that run through Middlemarch?

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coachingcorner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the novel 'Middlemarch' by george Eliot, the author examines the themes and ideas of status, society, social climbing and the risks of all these motives in provincial life. many risks with home and security are taken by people on financial gambles - many are trying to 'keep up with the joneses' trying to go one better than their neighbours and risking all that they have already achieved. True love was often sacrificed in the last century to drive working hours harder and harder to make money for material things - so couple/family life was often damaged. Love and social ambition clash. These are the threads and themes to look for in the narrative and the dalog. Good luck.

scottangus | Student

I would say an incredibly large theme within the novel is feminism. It is obvious that Eliot uses societies conventions to criticise patriarchy. Serveral themes to consider are:

  1. The relationship between Dorothea and Casaudon and the reasons they marry.
  2. Lydgate and Rosamond.

Are these marriages just? Are they fair to women? It would be interesting to consider these relationships.

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