Marriage as Slavery in Middlemarch Essay example

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Marriage as Slavery in Middlemarch One of George Eliot's challenges in Middlemarch is to depict a sexually desirous woman, Dorothea, within the confines of Victorian literary propriety. The critic, Abigail Rischin, identifies the moment that Dorothea's future husband, Ladislaw, and his painter-friend see her alongside an ancient, partially nude statue of the mythic heroine, Ariadne, in a museum in Rome as the key to Eliot's sexualization of this character. Ariadne is, in the sculpture, between her two lovers. Theseus, whom she helped to escape from her father's labyrinth in Crete has already left her, while the jubilant God, Bacchus, her next lover, has yet to arrive. "By invoking the silent visual rhetoric of ancient…show more content…
Unable to fully explain something by itself, Eliot takes advantage of literary devices to displace the content and coat it so that her reader may swallow the meaning. Sir Thomas Browne's definition of "satire," which Eliot includes at the begining of chapter 45, further admits Eliot's awareness of the "displacing" (as Miller says) literary tact she employs in describing ideas that her reader will not otherwise be comfortable with, like her sexual female character or her complex theory on perspective. "Without the borrowed help and satire of times past;" goes the quotation from Browne, "condemning the vices of their own times [passed times], by the expressions of vices in times which they commend [present times]... [Satirists] cannot but argue the community of vice in both" (422). A bit earlier, Eliot puts the definition more subtely in the words of Mr. Brooke, Dorothea's father, "Satire, you know," he states, "should be true up to a certain point" (369). Middlemarch itself is written in the context of having taken place about 40 years prior (1832) to the point in time that the narrator herself occupies (1871). Likely, Eliot frames her criticisms of the town of Middlemarch such that they reflect on the then-current state of things in England. An instance of Eliot's

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