Middlemarch

by: George Eliot

Important Quotations Explained

Quotes Important Quotations Explained

Quote 2

“It was wicked to let a young girl blindly decide her fate in that way, without any effort to save her.”

Sir James makes this remark in Chapter 29, when he learns that Mr. Casaubon has fallen ill. Sir James finds it morally deplorable that Dorothea was allowed to choose her own husband. While he is somewhat motivated by his own jealousy that Dorothea didn’t marry him, he is more distressed that she was not better advised as to the ramifications of marrying an older and not very desirable man. That it was wicked to not interfere in the affairs of another shows how important community interference and interaction is to the novel.

This quotation also draws attention to the novel’s tension between self-determination and chance. The contradiction in the phrase “decide her fate” shows that Sir James (and by extension the novel) believes that the individual has a part in deciding his or her own fate, even if, at times, a person’s life seems to move forward of its own accord, for better or for worse.