In the fictional town of Middlemarch, selflessness, social reform, and
romantic love struggle to survive against human foolishness, economic
missteps, and societal ideals. Young and intelligent, Dorothea Brooke
hastily marries Edward Casaubon, a middle-aged scholar working tirelessly on
his “masterpiece,” The Key to All Mythologies. Their union soon
sours, and Dorothea becomes trapped in a difficult situation that
worsens upon the death of her husband. Elsewhere in town, Tertius
Lydgate, an idealistic young doctor, is caught in an ill-fated union
with the sweet but superficial Rosamond Vincy. Intertwined within the
lives of these two unfortunate couples is the handsome artist Will
Ladislaw, who is sympathetic to Lydgate’s ideas about science and
medicine, and who develops feelings for his uncle’s wife—Dorthea Brooke.
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