The Mill on the Floss
The Mill on the Floss
by George Eliot
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Foil

Character Role Analysis

Lucy Deane

Lucy functions as a foil to Maggie. The two are opposites in many respects, though they do have a few notable traits in common. Physically, they are extremely different – Lucy is as fair as Maggie is "dark," and Lucy is also physically smaller than Maggie. In terms of personality, the two diverge once again. Lucy is generally quite cheerful, optimistic, and naive. Maggie is much more emotionally turbulent and troubled than Lucy. Their life circumstances are also quite different – Lucy is comfortably wealthy while Maggie must struggle to make a living. Despite all these differences, the two share a close relationship, though there is definite jealousy on Maggie’s part. Guilt also mars, or damages, their relationship. But the two do love one another and they both share a remarkable capacity for forgiveness and compassion, something Lucy demonstrates when she forgives Maggie herself for running away with Stephen.


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