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kev67
01-24-2014, 07:21 PM
SPOILERS

There have been three or four points so far (chap 49) where I have wondered whether Lydgate was doing the right thing:


I am not quite sure what the controversy is with his not dispensing medicines. I thought what he was objecting to was that most doctors had cosy arrangements with certain chemists (I suppose apothecaries in them days). An apothecary would pay a cut to the doctor for every patient sent to him to buy medicine. I thought Lydgate viewed this sort of arrangement as unethical, and that patients should be able to buy their medicines from whoever was cheapest. However, I am not sure I understood that correctly. Now I wonder whether the problem is that he thinks most of the medicine that his colleagues sell is snake oil. The problem is that the patients expect to get something for their money, and don't expect to pay just for taking up the doctor's time. Alright, most the medicine is snake oil, but this is how the doctors get paid. By taking a stand, Lydgate is alienating all his colleagues.
The meeting at which the trustees of the new hospital appointed a chaplain was rather contrived. First, the vote was a dead heat until Lydgate arrived late, so not only was his the casting vote, but everyone knew which way he voted. If it were not for Mr Bulstrode's patronage, Lydgate would have voted for his friend Mr Farebrother rather than the other curate. Mr Bulstrode is powerful but unpopular.This was unfortunate. If Lydgate had arrived late to find that one or other of the two candidates had won by two votes or more, he could perhaps have spared himself from voting, or could have voted for the other curate without hurting Farebrother. At first, I thought that Lydgate probably made the right decision in voting for Mr Bulstrode's favoured candidate, because he wanted a position at the new hospital. However, several chapters back it said it was an unpaid position. There can not have been too many doctors in Middlemarch prepared to work for nothing, so it seems to me that Lydgate could have voted for his friend Farebrother after all.
When Mr Casaubon had his heart attack, Lydgate told his wife Dorothea, but did not tell Mr Casaubon because he did not want to distress him. I wondered about that. Even if the news would distress him, Mr Casaubon had a right to know. These days, a doctor would tell a patient straight, even if the news was very distressing. I wondered whether practice was different then. However, I think this may have been a plot device, because later Mr Casaubon demands of Lydgate to tell him the worst, and also whether he had let Dorothea know.
Lydgate did not tell Mr Casaubon about his heart attack, but he also did not tell his wife, Rosamund, about the letter demanding payment for some furniture he had bought. Rosamund is buying some pretty things, but she cannot be criticized too much for spending money if she is not made aware that they are in financial trouble.






The impression I get is that Lydgate is good with the science, but not so good with people.

Prince Smiles
01-25-2014, 01:09 AM
I have wondered whether Lydgate was doing the right thing

The motives for marriage of the four central characters, Dorothea, Casaubon, Rosamond, and Lydgate all have the reader convinced of folly from the word go.

Dorothea marries Casaubon hoping to find, (chap 20) 'large vistas and wide fresh air in her husband's mind.' Being later 'replaced with ante-rooms and winding passages leading nowither.'

Casaubon snags Dorothea looking for a secretary and someone to dote on him.

Lydgate, in the parlance of our times, is after a young trophy wife.

Rosamond in such juvenile fashion is bored with the local people and finds Lydgate attractive chiefly because he is not from Middlemarch, hoping also to mold him to suit her ideal man.

Two ill-fated marriages full of expectations unfulfilled, and in the case of the two women who are both childless, asking the question of what the role of women is in society.

The whole scenario just re-enforces the modern view of one needing to get a good divorce under one's belt before one can be qualified enough to choose the right partner in life.

kev67
01-25-2014, 07:19 AM
The motives for marriage of the four central characters, Dorothea, Casaubon, Rosamond, and Lydgate all have the reader convinced of folly from the word go.

Dorothea marries Casaubon hoping to find, (chap 20) 'large vistas and wide fresh air in her husband's mind.' Being later 'replaced with ante-rooms and winding passages leading nowither.'

Lydgate, in the parlance of our times, is after a young trophy wife.


Lydgate was about 27 while Rosamund was 22 so I would not say Lydgate was after a young trophy wife. Lydgate was not originally planning on marrying for a few years until he was established in his practice and had made a name for himself. He spent about a week avoiding the Vincy house, but when they did meet again, Rosamund started crying and half an hour later they were engaged to marry. I was worried that Lydgate would let Rosamund get away. The marriage might have worked, but there is not much drama in that, I suppose.

Gladys
01-27-2014, 01:05 AM
...Rosamund started crying and half an hour later they were engaged to marry. I was worried that Lydgate would let Rosamund get away. The marriage might have worked, but there is not much drama in that, I suppose.

The marriage might have worked? How well does any marriage work when a spouse, like Rosamund, has borderline personality disorder.


The problem is that the patients expect to get something for their money, and don't expect to pay just for taking up the doctor's time. Alright, most the medicine is snake oil, but this is how the doctors get paid.

Lydgate feels the doctors' vested interest in pharmaceuticals conflicts with their duty to patients. It's not so different today!


However, several chapters back it said it was an unpaid position. There can not have been too many doctors in Middlemarch prepared to work for nothing, so it seems to me that Lydgate could have voted for his friend Farebrother after all.

Poor Lydgate indulges in a number of moral compromises, none of which turn out well.


When Mr Casaubon had his heart attack, Lydgate told his wife Dorothea, but did not tell Mr Casaubon because he did not want to distress him ... However, I think this may have been a plot device, because later Mr Casaubon demands of Lydgate to tell him the worst, and also whether he had let Dorothea know.

Casaubon, who share much of Rosamund's psychopathology, is upset by many truths. He only comes to want prognostic truth from Lydgate when Casaubon maliciously fantasises his wife's fickleness. He is pitiable.


Lydgate did not tell Mr Casaubon about his heart attack, but he also did not tell his wife, Rosamund, about the letter demanding payment for some furniture he had bought. Rosamund is buying some pretty things, but she cannot be criticized too much for spending money if she is not made aware that they are in financial trouble.

Lydgate is generous and accommodating to a fault. Were Rosamund the least intuitive, she would have been well aware of the need for financial restraint, long before the crisis. She does not care to know, either before or after. The world orbits Rosamund!

kelby_lake
01-27-2014, 06:33 AM
I would say that Lydgate was after a trophy wife in the sense that he wanted someone beautiful, accomplished...a doll, basically.

Gladys
01-28-2014, 03:25 AM
I would say that Lydgate was after a trophy wife in the sense that he wanted someone beautiful, accomplished...a doll, basically.

Rather, he wanted someone as captivating and alluring as his teenage girl friend. Remember her? :ack2:

kev67
02-04-2014, 06:08 AM
Rosamund is not being very supportive, although I can understand her unwillingness to undergo public humiliation in the town she grew up in. She has a point about her uncle Bulstrode not paying a salary for Lydgate's work at the hospital. It is odd that the hospital directors are willing to pay 40 a year for a chaplain, but that the doctors are expected to work for free.

mal4mac
02-04-2014, 07:48 AM
The chaplain is part of the old boy's network, but Lydgate is a disliked newcomer. Why expect the directors pay the doctors? The directors aren't motivated to help the poor, or pushy doctors, they are motivated to look good in the eyes of other old boys.

I'm not sure Rosalind can be called a trophy bride, only old boys are likely to seek a trophy bride, i.e., some one to wave in front of the eyes of other old boys, something to say, "I might look like a bat, but I can still get beautiful young women".

mal4mac
02-04-2014, 07:52 AM
The chaplain is part of the old boy's network, but Lydgate is a disliked newcomer. Why expect the directors pay the doctors? The directors aren't motivated to help the poor, or pushy doctors, they are motivated to look good in the eyes of other old boys.

I'm not sure Rosamund can be called a trophy bride, only old boys are likely to seek a trophy bride, i.e., some one to wave in front of the eyes of other old boys, something to say, "I might look like a bat, but I can still get beautiful young women".

kev67
02-08-2014, 03:15 PM
What a Nurse Ratchet type villainess Rosamund is turning out to be. There's a determined, calculating mind behind that cool, controlled exterior. I suppose the biggest hint was when she thought how nice it would be in Dorothea's position: living in the big house in Lowick with a husband likely to die soon. I expect she would have married Mr Casaubon too, but would not have wasted any money on hospitals. I was surprised Rosamund thought Tertius's uncle would be prepared to give them hundreds of pounds. Presumably Rosamund had a dowry, so how much more could she expect from her father? In any case, unless their spending comes down in line with their income, the reprieve would only be temporary. It is not as if they are poor anyway. Lydgate's practice has diminished, but he is still making 400 a year. This has to be more than at least 95% of the population back then.

It puts Tertius Lydgate in a difficult situation. He is not single any more. He should consider his wife's wishes. He cannot go around blaming his wife, and he would get little sympathy if he did. I wondered why if it was common knowledge he was in debt, traders still extended him credit. At one time, husbands and wives were considered legally the same person, at least in financial affairs. I saw a historian on the television say that occasionally husbands put notices in the local paper telling shopkeepers not to sell expensive things to their wives.

Jackson Richardson
02-08-2014, 05:18 PM
Lydgate may want a trophy wife. Rosamund sure as hell wants a trophy husband and makes sure that's all he can be.

kev67
02-14-2014, 05:01 PM
Lydgate was about 27 while Rosamund was 22 so I would not say Lydgate was after a young trophy wife. Lydgate was not originally planning on marrying for a few years until he was established in his practice and had made a name for himself. He spent about a week avoiding the Vincy house, but when they did meet again, Rosamund started crying and half an hour later they were engaged to marry. I was worried that Lydgate would let Rosamund get away. The marriage might have worked, but there is not much drama in that, I suppose.

Well, I was wrong about that. He should have let Ned Plymdale have her. Lydgate suffered a harsh lesson and had to abandon his idealistic ambitions. What else could he do?

Jackson Richardson
02-22-2014, 05:53 AM
It's a few years since I read Middlemarch so I can't remember the details, but I was irritated at the "trophy wife" comment. I was sure, as kev has confirmed, Lydgate tried to avoid the marriage. Rosamund gets her way.