Given the time in which George Eliot wrote this novel, one would immediately think of typical Bronte-Jane Austen heavings and a battle of the sexes and morality. However, in this book, it is morality and a sort of inner turmoil that is developed along with a clear glimpse of English country life at the beginning of the Nineteenth Century. While most people would choose to follow the "courtship" of Adam Bede, it is worthwhile to follow, instead, his brother, Seth: "his hair is not thick and straight, like Adam's, but thin and wavyàThe idle tramps always felt sure they could get a copper from Seth. They hardly ever spoke to Adam" (Eliot, 1994, 6). Immediately you get a picture of someone far less volatile and more caring.
Perhaps one should therefore suspect that Seth would not put up a struggle when his brother "takes over" the girl of his affections. But, still, one has to wonder - Why not? Was it brotherly love? Timidity? Perhaps knowing that he could never succeed with a headstrong preacher to whom religion, rather than marriage and bearing children, was a priority.
Seth seems too mild-mannered, but not resentful that Adam, the eldest, is the apple of their mother's eye, with a rather irresponsible father. But, unlike a harsh and sometimes impetuous and angry Adam, "Seth had never in his life spoken a harsh word to his mother, and timid people always wreak their peevishness on the gentle" (p. 33). In this scene one can see how their mother favors Adam, when Seth admits he has not had his supper, Lisbeth promises to fix him something, but for him not to eat the potatoes and gravy she had fixed for her eldest son.
Seth, of course, is the more religious one, and it is up to him to comfort his mother, who seems afraid that Adam is going to get up one day and leave to live on his own. It is obvious that this will happen, and that Seth, out of the goodness of his heart and his family obligations, will rema