Adam Bede: by George Eliot - Summary and Analysis

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      Adam Bede (1859) is the second novel of George Eliot, It has the beautiful setting of rural England in the late eighteenth century. The idea of the novel came from the account of her aunt, Elizabeth Evans, a Methodist preacher about a girl waiting at the condemned cell of Nottingham gaol execution for the murder of her child.

      Mrs. Poyser of Hayslope has two nieces pretty Hetty Sorrel, and sober Dinah Morris, a Methodist preacher. The town carpenter, Adam Bede, loves Hetty but she prefers Captain Arthur Donnithorne, the young squire. Adam's brother Seth proposes to Dinah but she refuses. Adam, finding Hetty and Donnithorne embracing, overpowers his rival and compels him to write a farewell note to Hetty. On the eve of her marriage to Adam, Hetty flies to Donnithorne. But his regiment has left for Ireland. Giving birth to Donnithorne's child and then abandoning it she is tried for the murder of the infant. Donnithorne secures her reprieve, but she dies. Adam is drawn towards Dinah.

Adam Bede (1859) is the second novel of George Eliot
Adam Bede

Critical Analysis
      The novel depicts the rural landscape of Hayslope with power and sympathy. The characters are drawn with psychological insight. For the first time characters are analyzed with realism. Hetty is a thoughtless girl; Donnithorne is not a pretty seducer, but a thoughtless strayer. Adam and Dinah display the moral righteousness of the peasants. George Eliot's moral earnestness is, however, evident. Adam Bede proclaims that love without marriage or marriage without love is debasing. The natures and environments determine their fate, and their happiness or misery is the sole of their own making. Mrs. Poyser, talkative but wise is a masterpiece of comic realism. The novel was exceptionally well-received by contemporary reviewers who praised its evocation of English rural life and its character studies, particularly Martin's wife, Mrs. Poyser.

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