In George Eliot's Middlemarch, the idea of marriage and vocation are explored through a small town's community of ordinary people. One of the main characters, Dorothea Brooke, is a kind and good-hearted woman who gives to the poor and helps to rebuild cottages of poor farmers. However, she is also stubborn and very strong-willed.
Despite objections from nearly everyone around her, Brooke still chooses to marry the much older Casaubon. Although she enjoys learning from him, she is ultimately heartbroken when he dies and an unknown stipulation in the will that states that she can't marry Will Ladislaw, Casaubon's cousin, makes Brooke feel betrayed by Casaubon's previously unknown mistrust. Reverting back to her strong-willed personality, Brooke decides to marry Ladislaw and give up the inheritance from Casaubon's will.
One of the other main characters, Tertius Lydgate, also starts the story as a kind-hearted person whose main calling is to help the town by practicing as a medical doctor to the locals. However, when he falls in love with Rosamond Vincy, his marriage to her ends up ruining his finances, and he becomes caught between caring for Rosamond and blaming her for his downfall. The novel includes the intertwined lives of several other townspeople, which includes a murder plot and social politics that make for a very interesting listen.