Inconsistency In Adam Bede By George Eliot

1885 words - 8 pages

Inconsistency in Adam Bede

   In George Eliot's Adam Bede, an inconsistency can be found between Dinah's firmly held convictions and her decision to

marry. Throughout the story, Eliot presents Dinah as a symbol of divine love who persistently shuns all earthly pleasures of her

own for the benefit of those in need. Several passages in the text show that Dinah insists she must follow the path God has

chosen for her and prevent her own needs and desires from rising to the surface. Despite her moral protestations, however,

Dinah marries Adam in the last few pages of the book. This marriage is disappointing in another sense as well. Dinah was not

only created as a symbol of divine love, but also as a figure who transcended the boundaries of the sexes. It is impossible to

believe that it is this same strong-willed, independent woman who breaks down at the end and turns her back on the life to

which she was so dedicated in order to accept the role all too commonly accepted by women of the time period. For these

reasons I would like to argue that there is a flaw in the characterization of Dinah. Eliot created an unrealistically good character

and then destroyed her credibility in an attempt to have a rosy conclusion.



We are first introduced to Dinah on the green hills of Hayslope. Dinah is preaching on the grass, and Eliot provides us with a

physical description of her that gives us clues about the nature of her personality:


There was no keenness in the eyes; they seemed rather to be shedding love than making observations; they had the liquid look

which tells that the mind is full of what it has to give out, rather than impressed by external objects. (33)


The description of Dinah's eyes in this passage gives the reader several clues about the nature of her character. We see here

that Dinah is not one to be caught up in the external world. Her mind is occupied with thoughts of "what it has to give out,"

indicating not only that she is charitable, but also that she is not in the process of observing and making judgements. Her eyes

do not even appear to be "making observations," but are instead simply "shedding love." She is so entirely absorbed in her

spirituality that in her mind the outer world is insignificant. This is evident in the way she dresses as well. We are told that she

wears no adornments; she is always plainly dressed in a Quaker bonnet and a black dress. She does not try to put on a false

front by embellishing her appearance. She is described as "simple" and "candid" (34).


Following this initial physical description of Dinah is a series of occurrences in which the reader discovers that Dinah is so

selfless and devout that she denies herself a life of her own. On the very first night that we are introduced to her we find that she

is resolved " live and die without husband or children..." (45). Seth accompanies...

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