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MonkeyNotes-Middlemarch by George Eliot
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Chapter 65

Summary

The Lydgates simmer in their own private hell. Lydgate even considers meeting his rich uncle to ask for a loan. While he hesitates, a letter from the same uncle arrives. Rosamond is thrilled, anticipating a positive reply to her request of which her husband is ignorant. The letter is an insulting reply to Rosamond’s appeal accusing Lydgate of getting his wife to do his dirty work.

Lydgate’s sense of being betrayed by his wife is too strong for him to be tactful. He accuses her of secrecy and deceit. He feels a complete sense of alienation from her. She breaks into tears and self-pity. She is shown to be incapable of admitting to any mistakes. He tries to console her, giving in to avoid anything which will destroy their emotional tie. She considers only that they are "disgraced" before the people they know, and wishes to go away to the city.


Notes

Rosamond’s deceit brings the Lydgate marriage close to breaking point. Lydgate is himself aware of it and gives in to avoid total hostility. As a kind-hearted man, he cannot bear to feel that he cannot love her even more than to feel she does not care for him. Thus, he submits to her will, and brings the relationship back form the brink. The chapter ends with the telling line, "Nevertheless, she had mastered him." The symbols used to describe his thoughts-"checkmate," "pincers," "fettering of domestic hate" are all suggestive of struggle and defeat.

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