Middlemarch

by: George Eliot

Tertius Lydgate

Characters Tertius Lydgate

Lydgate enters Middlemarch as the bright, cutting-edge handsome new doctor. Although he is of high birth, Lydgate wants to be a country doctor. Lydgate’s desire is not entirely selfless, but he is genuinely interested in helping others. He is motivated by the desire to reform medical practices, and he symbolizes change and reform coming to Middlemarch. At first, things go well for Lydgate. His practice grows, he starts a new hospital, and he gains a reputation as a good doctor with patients of high social and financial standing. But when he abruptly falls in love with Rosamond, things begin to go downhill rapidly. Marriage ruins Lydgate, both financially and idealistically. As he gets further and further into debt, his personality changes, vacillating between coddling and soothing Rosamond and feeling intense bitterness toward her. The financial burden of marriage comes between him and his desire to reform the provincial medical practices of the neighborhood. In addition to his debts, the scandal of Raffles death marks him as an accomplice to murder.