Fight for Opportunities or Back to Old Ways: George Eliot's Ambivalent Attitude Towards Female Images in a Patriarchal Society in Adam Bede

  •  Zhang Miao    


The Victorian era in which George Eliot lived was an age of collision between tradition and modernity, an era in which women suffered from craning their necks up to look at men for a long time. Women began to reflect on their own objectification in a patriarchal society, seeking a perspective from which they could stand on equal ground with men. Influenced by bourgeois empirical philosophy, Eliot advocated for harmony and equality of social roles. In this article, it analyzes Dinah, who broke the traditional image of women and chose to preach, but also who finally accepted women's natural occupations and assisted men. Also, there was a character of Hetty, originally created by the author as an object of desire for men, showing a sense of despair. What led the author to create such a contradictory female character - Dinah? And why there was a Hetty with a tragic end? The article aims to respond the novel, Adam Bede, is a product of the limitations and influences of Eliot’s living era, also the realization of Eliot’s willingness to merely reflect people and events in her mind like a mirror, and present images of them flawlessly, mainly through the comparison of two different female roles of Dinah and Hetty, and the comparison of Dinah herself.

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