Middlemarch

Middlemarch

by

George Eliot

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Fred Vincy Character Analysis

Fred is the eldest son of the Vincy family. When the novel begins he is lazy, irresponsible, and obnoxious. He has failed his university exam and has thus returned home. He expects to inherit land from Mr. Featherstone, which causes him to be overconfident and reckless with money; he gets into debt through gambling and causes the Garth family significant financial trouble after Caleb Garth cosigns his debt. Fred feels guilty about how his actions affect the Garths, but he remains self-centered, ultimately caring most about his own feelings. After Featherstone’s land goes to Featherstone’s illegitimate son, Joshua Rigg, Mr. Vincy forces Fred to go back to university and finish his theology degree. Fred does so but then refuses to enter the church, mostly because his childhood sweetheart, Mary Garth, says she will never marry him if he becomes a clergyman. Fred eventually becomes an apprentice to Caleb, becoming more mature and responsible in the process. He and Mary get married, have three children, and Fred becomes a prosperous farmer.
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Fred Vincy Character Timeline in Middlemarch

The timeline below shows where the character Fred Vincy appears in Middlemarch. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Book 1, Chapter 11
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...doing embroidery by the fire while Mrs. Vincy asks their servant to wake Rosamond’s brother, Fred, who is still asleep at 10:30 am. Rosamond asks her mother to forbid Fred from... (full context)
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Fred enters, and he, Mrs. Vincy, and Rosamond discuss manners of speech and how these betray... (full context)
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...her uncle and his “ugly relatives.” Mrs. Vincy replies that Featherstone will likely die soon. Fred sees Rosamond going to the piano and asks if he can play with her; she... (full context)
Book 1, Chapter 12
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Fred and Rosamond are out riding when they see a gig belonging to Mrs. Waule, one... (full context)
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Featherstone insists that Mr. Vincy must not give Fred money to pay his debts, and says that he’s heard Mr. Bulstrode criticize Mrs. Vincy’s... (full context)
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Rosamond enters and Mrs. Waule greets her coldly. Rosamond says Fred will be in shortly, and Mr. Featherstone tells his sister she should leave. Mrs. Waule... (full context)
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Once they are alone, Featherstone accuses Fred of using the promise of his inheritance to borrow money. Fred denies it, but Featherstone... (full context)
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Despite his anger, Fred still feels pity for Featherstone, who is neither loved nor respected. Featherstone asks Fred to... (full context)
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Rosamond exclaims that Fred is “horrid,” adding that he is lazy, disobedient, and makes Mr. Vincy angry. When Mary... (full context)
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...encounter with Featherstone, whom he imagines will have backwards views about doctors. Rosamond insists to Fred that they leave, and as they are going Lydgate asks if Rosamond is a musician.... (full context)
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...a perfect match: he also comes from a “good family” and is talented. She and Fred ride home in silence, each consumed by their own thoughts. Rosamond dreams of impressing Lydgate’s... (full context)
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Fred’s debt is small, but it is causing him a lot of misery. He feels annoyed... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 13
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Having heard Fred’s story, Mr. Vincy goes straight to the bank to speak with Bulstrode. People in Middlemarch... (full context)
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Just as Lydgate disagrees, Mr. Vincy enters. Lydgate leaves, and Vincy immediately brings up Fred, saying that someone has been spreading rumors about him. Vincy goes on to say that... (full context)
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Vincy explains that someone has been saying Fred has been borrowing money, a story that is clearly “nonsense,” but that Featherstone wants a... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 14
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The letter from Bulstrode arrives the next day. Fred takes it to Mr. Featherstone, who reads it aloud while making angry comments. When he... (full context)
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Fred is an optimistic person, always confident that everything will ultimately work out. He doesn’t see... (full context)
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On his way out, Fred speaks with Mary. She mentions that John Waule was there yesterday, and Fred teases that... (full context)
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They continue flirting, and eventually Fred exclaims hat he will never be “good for anything” unless Mary loves him and marries... (full context)
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At home, Fred gives the banknotes from Featherstone to Mrs. Vincy, telling her to keep them safe so... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 16
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...so in front of Lydgate. She admits that she feels like “a raw country girl.” Fred begins to play the piano, and Rosamond goes to stop him. Finally Rosamond herself begins... (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 23
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Fred remains troubled by his debt. His creditor is Mr. Bambridge, a horse-dealer who often lends... (full context)
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The Garths have always felt great affection for Fred and Rosamond. Before marrying Mrs. Vincy’s sister, Mr. Featherstone had been married to Caleb Garth’s... (full context)
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While all this is going on, Fred fails his exam, which makes it even worse that he racked up such serious debts... (full context)
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Years ago Featherstone gave Fred a horse, and in his desperation to pay his debt Fred tries to sell the... (full context)
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...a farmer who knows Bambridge explains that he is selling a hunting horse named Diamond. Fred decides to persuade the farmer to swap horses with him, with Fred throwing in an... (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 24
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...couple of days after this transaction Diamond has a violent kicking fit and lames himself. Fred is despondent. He decides to confess everything to Mary, and worries that this means he... (full context)
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Fred feels worried and guilty. At that moment Mr. Garth arrives, and Fred immediately confesses that... (full context)
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For the first time Fred feels genuine sorrow. He had only been worried about the Garths thinking badly of him,... (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 25
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Fred goes to Mr. Featherstone’s house, Stone Court, and dramatically announces to Mary that from now... (full context)
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...selfish people always prioritize their own feelings over the harm they’ve caused others, just as Fred is doing now. Fred attempts to defend himself, but Mary will not hear it. Fred... (full context)
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...already knows it. She has already set aside the £24 she has saved, explaining that Fred came to see her that morning. Mr. Garth is overwhelmed with emotion and assures her... (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 26
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After selling Diamond as meat for a small price, Fred begins to feel very ill and asks Mrs. Vincy to call Mr. Wrench. Wrench concludes... (full context)
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Lydgate says Fred must go to bed straight away and be given a nurse; he then gives very... (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 27
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...that occur around them (the scratches). For example, Rosamond feels that the whole incident of Fred’s illness was actually a way for her and Lydgate to be brought closer together.  (full context)
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Under Lydgate’s care, Fred gradually gets better, which means that each of Lydgate’s visits gets more pleasant and enjoyable... (full context)
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...another young Middlemarch bachelor. Rosamond explains that Lydgate has been the family’s “guardian angel” during Fred’s illness. Lydgate makes several rude, obnoxious comments, leaving Plymdale horrified. Rosamond pretends to be offended,... (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 33
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...continues to refuse to help, Featherstone begins to cry. He then asks her to call Fred instead and, panicked, she says she’ll only do that if she can get the other... (full context)
Book 4, Chapter 35
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...Most of the relatives are furiously jealous of the Vincys, as it is expected that Fred will inherit the majority of the land. However, all the speculation is confused by the... (full context)
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...Vincy and Mrs. Vincy learn they will receive £100 each. It is then announced that Fred will receive £10,000; he is so happy that he has to bite his cheeks to... (full context)
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...malicious comments circulating among the relatives. Rigg has a high-pitched voice and “a vile accent.” Fred laments that he will have to train as a clergyman after all, and asks Mary... (full context)
Book 4, Chapter 36
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...the world has been drastically transformed by the reading of Featherstone’s will. He furiously tells Fred that he’d better retake his college exam and pass this time. Mrs. Vincy tells her... (full context)
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...that the engagement will go ahead despite her family’s change in circumstances. She notes that Fred’s lack of inheritance is not her problem, and that her brother should start working. Meanwhile,... (full context)
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...that Rosamond has been crying, and after some prompting she explains that Mr. Vincy and Fred have been fighting and that Mr. Vincy no longer supports their engagement. Lydgate assures her... (full context)
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...once again expresses disapproval on the grounds that Lydgate is poor. He says that between Fred’s bad luck and parliament on the brink of being dissolved, it feels like the world... (full context)
Book 4, Chapter 40
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...comes to the Garths’ house, announcing that he is there to deliver a message from Fred Vincy, who has just returned to Middlemarch after a few months away. Fred will soon... (full context)
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Farebrother congratulates Mr. Garth. They discuss Fred and whether he should indeed enter the clergy, or whether, as Mary suggests, this would... (full context)
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...nothing Mary could have done differently, but that Mary still feels guilty, blaming herself for Fred’s misfortune. They swear Farebrother to secrecy; he says goodbye and leaves. On his way out,... (full context)
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Farebrother leaves and walks to Lowick, speculating that Fred and Mary have feelings for each other. Meanwhile, Mr. Garth tells his wife that he... (full context)
Book 5, Chapter 45
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...by far the best doctor in the area. All of this happens before Lydgate cures Fred’s fever. Farebrother is a vocal defender of Lydgate but, paradoxically, is also known as “a... (full context)
Book 5, Chapter 52
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...well, even though this will be a lot of work. However, at just that point Fred Vincy returns from college having finally gained his degree. He tells Farebrother that though he... (full context)
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Fred thinks that life as a clergyman will be too “serious” for him, but he feels... (full context)
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...will would have made the other one legally void. Her actions therefore did not ruin Fred’s future in the way she feared. Mary is happy to hear this. Farebrother then mentions... (full context)
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Mary confesses that she isn’t sure if she will marry Fred at all, but that she certainly couldn’t marry him if he entered the church. She... (full context)
Book 6, Chapter 56
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Fred Vincy rides past on his horse. He is stressed: Mr. Vincy is adamant that he... (full context)
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Fred puts the injured Tom on his horse and tells him to ride it to the... (full context)
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...the workers declare that they were only having fun, and that they won’t interfere again. Fred helps Caleb with his work, feeling joyful. He admits that he wishes he had started... (full context)
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Later, Caleb tells Mrs. Garth that Mary and Fred like each other and that he intends to take Fred on and “make a man... (full context)
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The next day Caleb assigns Fred office work. He is disappointed with Fred’s penmanship, saying he is shocked that Fred’s expensive... (full context)
Book 6, Chapter 57
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Fred goes to the Garths’ house. They are outside celebrating the brief return of the family’s... (full context)
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Alone with Mrs. Garth, Fred comments that she must think badly of him. Mrs. Garth admits that she was “surprised”... (full context)
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Once Fred gets to Lowick Parsonage, he, Mary, Mrs. Farebrother, Miss Winifred, and Miss Noble discuss clergymen.... (full context)
Book 6, Chapter 59
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Fred hears from Farebrother’s female relatives about the stipulation in Casaubon’s will forbidding Dorothea from marrying... (full context)
Book 7, Chapter 63
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...her while pretending he is just absorbed in the story. Farebrother has recently realized that Fred is jealous of him—and that his feelings for Mary haven’t gone away.  (full context)
Book 7, Chapter 66
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...hope in the future. Young Hawley, who is studying to be a lawyer, arrives with Fred Vincy. Fred is shocked to see Lydgate gambling. Fred has been working hard and wants... (full context)
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However, before long Fred is tempted to bet the £10 he has brought with him. At this point Lydgate... (full context)
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Farebrother says that he was disappointed to hear that Fred has been going to the Green Dragon every night, though Fred assures him that he... (full context)
Book 7, Chapter 68
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...asks Caleb Garth to help him find a tenant for Stone Court, and Caleb suggests Fred Vincy, on the grounds that he could be trusted because Caleb himself would be watching... (full context)
Book 8, Chapter 85
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...from him. He then suggests that instead they could resurrect the old plan of installing Fred in Stone Court. He tells Mrs. Bulstrode that she must propose it to Caleb Garth... (full context)
Book 8, Chapter 86
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...is happy and doesn’t mind waiting, then asks if Caleb is okay with her marrying Fred. Caleb says he won’t try to change Mary’s mind if her decision has been made,... (full context)
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Mary embraces Caleb, saying he is “the best man in the world.” Fred arrives at the house, and while talking with Mary he mentions that he hopes they... (full context)
Finale
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...of them. They note the frequency with which marriages can become disappointments after wonderful beginnings. Fred and Mary’s marriage is not a disappointment. Fred impresses the community by becoming a “theoretic... (full context)
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Fred and Mary have three sons. They are never wealthy, but they are able to buy... (full context)