The paper describes Rosamond’s decision to write a letter to Godwin Lydgate without the consent of her husband. In chapter 65 of Middlemarch, Lydgate clearly ignores to reply to Rosamond letter, which she was eagerly waiting for at the start of the New Year of 1832. The slowed correspondence was eating into Rosamond’s heart and she was hopeless after three weeks with no reply. Lydgate was agitated that Rosamond had not informed him about writing a letter to his uncle, which he ought to have been informed of. The argument based on the reasons for Rosamond writing a letter to Uncle Lydgate will reflect Kant’s ethical formation theory through applying first and second formulations, justifying that Rosamond’s decision was morally permissible and Lydgate had an obligatory duty to send that letter.
Rosamond decided it the high time she wrote a letter to old Sir Godwin Lydgate after self-insight. She knew that writing a letter would never be welcomed by his husband, thus she did not inform him. It would be a surprise to her husband to receive a letter of her own making; this became evident when she eagerly presented the letter to Tertius as soon as it arrived: “Tertius come in here— here is a letter for you”. She was expecting good news from Mr. Godwin as she had been waiting for her appeal that was winning. The core reason Rosamond wrote to Godwin was to win his heart and be granted a thousand pounds to boost family business. The mere reason was to ensure that she overcame the poverty that lingered in the marriage; Rosamond knew her husband would never allow her to send a letter, therefore, she wrote a letter directly to Sir Godwin.
In such a situation, one would first consent with one’s spouse because the issue directly affected both of the partners. Lydgate’s had no problem with being informed of any decisions that would be prevalent in the marriage; he despised secrecy saying: “If you will always be acting secretly [secrecy] – acting in opposition to me and hiding your actions”. Pre-theoretically, sharing of information assists in the growth of trust and communication between the married partners. Either way, Lydgate would know about the secret information due to his family relations with Godwin.
Using Kant’s first formulation, Rosamond maxim for writing a letter is ethically essential to establish if contradiction maxim will arise. Will she adhere to the maxim through writing the letter without the permission of the husband? The clauses are stipulating that it is morally permissible to write a letter according to Kant’s first formulation centering the agent’s maxim. One would be tempted to find means to get money for the survival of his or her family if there was a chance. Through various people accepting to be part of this agent’s maxim, it assisted to illustrate Kant’s theory in terms of the presence of contradictions. Since Rosamond’s maxim demonstrated the formulation of first clauses of Kant’s theory, the action to send a letter is permissible moral.
If Rosamond did not send a letter, according to Kant’s first formulation, it would be impermissible as she had an obligation not to send the letter given that her husband had no intention of doing so. Did Lydgate have a duty to send the letter instead of Rosamond to his uncle? Yes, he did. He was expected to feed the family and provide the required money. Lydgate needed a plan to ensure the marriage was financially stable, so he contemplated on getting a job somewhere; he said: “had nearly resolved on going to Quallingham”. It is the duty of her husband Lydgate to ask the uncle for money if he had a chance.
Under Kant’s second formation, humanity should always be treated as an end, not as a means. To use one as a means portrays the consent to the decision one is making that would affect him or her directly. Rosamond implied on getting money through his husband’s uncle, but indirectly. She justified her behavior namely by the aspect of being associated with her husband; this would most likely result in winning the appeal of Sir Godwin. She was acting for herself and her family; she implied that she needed to avert the family’s low income and hardships, which she accused Lydgate of. Finances were needed!
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By not sitting down and suffer, she honored herself by being caring and considerate, which would preferably change her husband’s attitude by being more accompanying and understanding. The action of Rosamond to send a letter and try her luck is morally permissible since it qualifies under the second formation of Kant’s as it meets both clauses of maxim and contradiction. Mr. Godwin is the only means that Rosamond is trying to get a thousand pounds from, making her action permissible. If Lydgate would send a letter, he would have received a much more sensitive reply and recognition, but he did not send a letter leaving her to decide secretly. If Rosamond did not send the letter, it would have been morally impermissible, thus making the decision of sending a letter was a duty of Rosamond.
Making a comparison of the theory’s steps and results, it can be argued that Rosamond’s decision to send the letter qualifies both Kant’s first and second formulations. Reason being the agent’s maxim to the decision lied in contradictions involved and the usage of Mr. Godwin as a means of getting financial stability. In the actual reasoning, the act of informing the partner about the letter would lead to the action of sending a message to Mr. Godwin; it would create a sense of openness and trust.
In this application of Kant’s theory, the outcome was the same where it was morally permissible for Rosamond to send a letter and also the duty of Lydgate to send a letter to his uncle. In this light, Kant’s theory would be in agreement with Rosamond that it was her right to send a letter to Mr. Godwin to try and stabilize her marriage financially. In this case, considerations of formalities are necessary for this idea’s deductive relationships.
In conclusion, Kant’s theory implies Rosamond’s decision of sending a letter to Mr. Godwin to be the right choice, as she is the end of the subject.
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