Introduction: GEORGE ELIOT’s novels are all dramas of moral conflict. She didn’t believe in art for art’s sake, but in art for morality’s sake. According to Leslie Stephen, “GEORGE ELIOT believed that a work of art not only may, but must exercise also an ethical influence. She believed that our deeds determine us as much as we determine our deeds.” If we yield to temptation and sin, suffering and nemesis are sure to follow. We have to reap the consequences of our actions. Her characters suffer because they violate some moral code, because they yield to temptation consciously or unconsciously. Both Hetty and Arthur are unable to resist temptation so they suffer. This moral weakness results in sin which is followed by punishment and intense suffering. Arthur-Hetty story traces the movement from weakness to sin and from sin to nemesis.
Hetty – intensely human figure: The central character, Hetty is sketched neither as a temptress nor as an innocent virgin ruined by a profligate young man, but simply as a village girl who has romantic dreams of life with a handsome and rich lover and she pays full price for her follies. In the beginning, we find her happy and living a sheltered life without problems and troubles. But she is vain, frivolous and emotional. Hetty is loved by Adam Bede, a skilled carpenter, hardworking and widely respected for his qualities. He is a man of whose love every woman would be proud. (the character of Hetty and story outline).
Arthur’s responsibility in Hetty’s tragedy: as Arthur James points out, “A weak woman is, indeed, weaker than a weak man.” So Arthur’s responsibility is much greater for the suffering and tragedy of poor Hetty. (Write Arthur’s character and his good and bad qualities).
Their suffering and punishment: (state analysis of the after-effects of the temptation – moral and spiritual)