From 11:00PM PDT on Friday, July 1 until 5:00AM PDT on Saturday, July 2, the Shmoop engineering elves will be making tweaks and improvements to the site. That means Shmoop will be unavailable for use during that time. Thanks for your patience!
We have changed our privacy policy. In addition, we use cookies on our website for various purposes. By continuing on our website, you consent to our use of cookies. You can learn about our practices by reading our privacy policy.
© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
Middlemarch

Middlemarch

  

by George Eliot

Middlemarch Book 2, Chapter 15 Summary

  • The chapter gives some background info on Mr. Lydgate. Even though no one in Middlemarch believes that he's really a better doctor than Dr. Sprague and Dr. Minchin, the two physicians, they can see that there's something uncommon about him.
  • He was orphaned when he was just out of high school, and had been studying medicine practically since he could read.
  • He's a surgeon, rather than a physician.
  • (Being a surgeon didn't require an advanced degree, which is why he's "Mr. Lydgate" instead of "Dr. Lydgate.")
  • Surgeons weren't looked up to as much as physicians, so Lydgate has to fight through his own lack of social standing, as well as traditional notions about medicine, if he wants to change anything about the medical practice in Middlemarch.
  • We also learn that Lydgate fell in love with an actress while he was studying medicine in Paris.
  • He went night after night to go see her play, in which she murders her husband (who was played by her actual husband).
  • One night, she "accidentally" stabbed him for real, and Lydgate went to comfort her.
  • Turns out, though, that she had done it on purpose, because he was starting to bore her.
  • Lydgate was totally depressed by the news, and resolved never to fall in love again.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...

Advertisement