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Some men, caught up in domestic problems, comfort themselves with the idea they are great souls trapped in dullness. Lydgate has so much conceit. He was bitter from the awareness, "there was a grand existence in thought and effective action lying around him, while his self was being narrowed into the miserable isolation of egoistic fears and vulgar anxieties."
Rosamond fought him at every turn on the reduction of servants, on reselling some of her jewelry, and finally on selling their large house. Her tactics are always aloofness and silent obstinacy. After Lydgate has asked the auctioneer to sell the house, she goes to him secretly and countermands his instructions. When he refuses to ask his uncle for help, she secretly writes an appeal to the uncle, appealing for a thousand pounds. She no longer feels any interest in Lydgate, or in his profession, which she thinks of "like a morbid vampire’s taste."
Lydgate’s marriage is now in a state, similar to that of Casaubon and Dorothea sometime earlier. Rosamond is not a conscious villain, but an uncommonly petty woman who is capable of utmost stubbornness to get her own way. She sees her husband’s aspirations only as a way to climb the social-financial ladder. George Eliot has little sympathy for her and does not allow her even the near-tragic despair of a Casaubon. Her worldliness leads her into manipulation, deceit, and isolation, with a smugness that she is behaving properly in every way. She is contrasted even with her brother Fred, who is redeemed by his constant love for Mary, and his willingness to struggle out of his faults.