Saturday, March 15, 2014

ADAM BEDE by George Elliot: An outline

George Elliot
  Adam Bede is the first novel by George Elliot (1819-1880), the pen name of Mary Ann (or Marian ) Evans. It was pseudonymously published in 1859. It is a story of four characters in the fictional community of Hayslope -- a rural and pastoral community. The story revolves around a love triangle among Hetty Sorrel, Arthur Donnithorne, Adam Bede and Dinah Morris.

  Adam is a local carpenter who is in love with Hetty. But she is attracted to Arthur, the charming local squire's grandson and falls in love with him. They meet secretly with each other. When Adam finds Arthur guilty, he fights with him. Arthur agrees to go away from Hetty and leaves Hayslope to return to his militia. After his leaving, Hetty Sorrel agrees to marry Adam but shockingly discovers that she is pregnant. She looks for Arthur everywhere but cannot find him. Instead of returning to the village for shame, she delivers her baby with the assistance of a friendly woman. Hetty disgustedly abandons the infant in a field but could not bear the child's cries. She tries to rescue the infant. But she is too late. The infant has already died of exposure. Hetty is caught and tried for murdering her own child. She is found guilty and sentenced to hang. Dinah comes to the prison and stays with Hetty till the end. Her care brings about Hetty's confession. When Arthur Donnithorne comes to his village on leave from the militia for his grandfather's funeral, he hears of her impending execution. He races to the court at once and has the sentence commuted to transportation. Finally, Adam and Dinah, who gradually come closer to each other, marry and live happily with his family.

 So the novel is a tale of seduction, betrayal, love and deception. In 1918, a silent film was made on the story. The film was directed by Maurice Elvey and starrer by Bransby Williams and Ivy Close. In 1991, the BBC also produced a television version of the story starring Iain Glen, Patsy Kensit, Susannah Harker, James Wilby and Julia McKenzie.

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