Theme Of Gender Roles In Middlemarch

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Housewives & Husbands: The Story of Gender Roles in Middlemarch Gender roles play a significant role in forming the way we think about others in society. Stereotypically, the definition of women as being ‘weak’ has controlled many aspects of a woman’s life while a man is defined as ‘strong’ throughout his entire life. For example, women are portrayed a being weak, they are mainly perceived as being physically weaker, submissive and delicate while men are portrayed as stable, independent, and hard-working. In Middlemarch by George Eliot, we see gender roles portrayed in different characters. The relationships we will examine are Casaubon and Dorthea, Mary and Fred, Rosamond and Lydgate and Mrs. Cadwallader. Throughout this essay, we will examine …show more content…
“She was enamored of intensity and greatness” (Eliot,11), still Dorthea had to conduct herself through Sir James to begin her plan for the cottages. Dorthea’s marriage to Casaubon end up as a disappointment. Dorthea wanted to be part of her husband’s work, “The Key to all Mythologies” but Casaubon wanted a wife that was submissive and obedient. Dorthea defies her gender role by being educated. She was an intellectual, theoretical, and philosophical thinker. Dorthea’s education makes her think she was made for something uniquely significant and great. Gender roles are affected even after Casaubon’s death. Casaubon still has control over Dorothea’s future by preventing her to marry Will Ladislaw and sacrifice Casaubon’s estate and money. In the end, Dorthea defies her gender role and her late husband by marrying Will. We all aspire to be our own Dorthea Brooke of this generation to be able to think for ourselves, make choices, and chose for ourselves the one person we want to end up with even if our sacrifice is …show more content…
Gender roles are shaped by a stereotypical society and both sexes have to act and behave in such a way that is appropriate. The characters mentioned are those who have stepped out of the stereotypical circle and became the modern representation of gender in today’s society. The thing that I take from Middlemarch is a women do not have to conform to society. They are allowed to be their unique individual selves and defy the role that society gives them. In the end, Middlemarch wouldn’t have been the same without Dorthea and Casaubon, Lydgate and Rosamond, Fred Vincy, and Mrs. Cadwallader. We need these characters to help us realize that society does not define gender roles; we define society. Although, gender roles still exist Middlemarch teaches us that it is possible to be the one who changes or redefines what it means to be a man or a woman in

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