George Eliot's masterpiece, Middlemarch is an epic novel in every sense of the word. Dealing with English middle-class life in a provincial town, it is socially and politically relevant. Eliot set the novel forty years earlier, in 1830 – just before the First Reform Bill was passed. Eliot believed that it takes time to understand historical events – it's impossible to understand all the consequences of something right after it takes place. The politics and societal changes were much more interesting in the book . We find ourselves imagining in the book about medicine or building a railroad, Parliament and etc. It make sensible to me as well to see it played out by words rather than just reading about it in social history book.
The story centers round Dorothea who is a kind hearted and honest woman. She longs to find some way to improve the world. She thinks Casaubon is a great intellectual, but after she marries him, she quickly discovers that he is not passionate enough to make her happy. She also learns that she is not as submissive and sacrificing as she had previously thought. She draws plans for comfortable cottages to replace the ramshackle buildings on large estates. She helps Lydgate when he suffers for his connections with Bulstrode. She falls in love with Casaubon’s young cousin, Will Ladislaw. She defies Casubon’s machinations and marries Will even though it means losing her inheritance as Casubon’s widow. Sure, the scandal was tame compared to today, but these people were hapless. Whether it was Dorothea marrying that stick-in-the-mud, Casaubon or Rosamund and her spendthrifty ways, we were consistently flabbergasted, bored, and entertained through this epic novel.
In the whirlpool of incidents we find many immortal characters and incidents in the novel. To cite few examples we find Brooke, Dorothea and Celia’s bachelor uncle. He is humbling man who can never stick to an opinion, always wanting to please everyone. He hires Will Ladislaw to write for his paper. He runs for a seat in Parliament on the Reform platform, but he let his own tenants live in poverty and squalor. The scandal resulting from his hypocrisy prompts him to improve conditions on his own estate, Tipton Grange. While Nicholas Bulstrode is a wealth Middlemarch banker. He is married to Walter Vincy’s sister, Bulstrode professes to be a deeply religious Evangelical Protestant, but he has dark past: he made his fortune as a pawnbroker selling stolen goods. He married Will Ladislaw’s grandmother after her first husband died. Her daughter had run away years before, and she insisted that Bulstrode find her daughter before she re-married, because she wanted to leave her wealth to her only surviving child. Bulstrode protected the daughter and her child. Will Ladislaw, but he kept her existence a secret. He bribed the man he hired to find her, John raffles, to keep quiet. John raffles blackmails him with this information. When Raffles becomes ill, Bulstrode cares for him. However, he disobeys Lydgate’s medical advice, and Raffles dies as a result. When the scandal about his past and the circumstances of Raffle’s death become known, Bulstrode leaves Middlemarch is shame. He purchases Stone Court from Joshua Rigg Featherstone.