The Mill on the Floss By George Eliot Character Analysis Philip Wakem

He is drawn in more intricate detail than are Stephen and Lucy; he is treated almost as fully as Maggie and Tom. He is perhaps more complex than either of those two. From the first Philip is seen to be talented, kind-hearted, and sensitive. He draws well without lessons; although Tom insults him, he has sympathy for Tom's injury and understands his fear of being crippled; he alone shares Maggie's intense desire for a full life. Indeed, in most ways he appears to be a good match for Maggie. Yet there is something always wrong with Philip. That something is not exactly his deformity, but it is connected with it. The real problem is that Philip is so completely unmanly. There can be no doubt that the author intends this effect; she frequently contrasts Philip's weakness to Stephen's strength and remarks on his feminine sensitiveness. It is this which makes Maggie's temporary love for Philip such an uneasy relationship.

Philip's virtues should not be overlooked. In the end he displays true nobility of character. He makes a sacrifice as great as Maggie's, although less dramatic. And his depth of understanding of other persons is unmatched in the novel: his remarks throw light on many of the other characters. Yet his virtues remain inseparable from his one great weakness.

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