Middlemarch

Middlemarch

by

George Eliot

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Middlemarch: Book 5, Chapter 47 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
The debate with Lydgate has a great effect on Will, who suddenly worries that he is “making a fool of himself” through his work with Brooke. Surprisingly, he does not spend time dreaming of becoming Dorothea’s husband in the event of Casaubon’s death. Due to his romantic nature, the feelings he has  are enough to satisfy him for now. At the same time he is determined to remain close to her at any cost. He debates whether he should go to Lowick Church on Sunday, worrying that Casaubon will interpret it as a transparent attempt to see Dorothea.
Will is the classic tortured hero who is content to wallow in self-pity over the woman he cannot have. This arguably makes it unfair that he is willing to cause so much disruption in Dorothea’s life by attempting to see her despite Casaubon’s feelings against it. He doesn’t think about Dorothea suffering from the consequences of Casaubon’s jealousy. 
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Will heads to church, humming a tune he has made up himself. When Dorothea enters the church she does not acknowledge him, and Will suddenly feels awkward. He does not join in the singing of hymns. As the congregation leaves, Will attempts to catch Casaubon’s eye, but Casaubon ignores him. He and Dorothea exchange a glance and she bows, but looks like “she [is] repressing tears.” He watches them walk away with a deep sense of melancholy.
Dorothea is arguably behaving in a more mature way than Will here. It is unclear what Will was hoping to achieve by coming to Lowick Church, but he could only have reasonably expected a brief, wordless exchange considering Casaubon is there. His disappointment is thus his own fault.
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