in Doctor Thorne

A general thought about Doctor Thorne

Although there is no specific allusion to make an explicit link, part of the plot of Doctor Thorne seems to follow the pattern of a Roman comedy.  Roman comedy deals in stock characters, one of whom is often a young boy in love, and another of whom is the boy’s beloved of questionable social status.  By the end of comedies using this device, the girl’s heritage is revealed to be respectable, and an impossible marriage becomes possible.  In Doctor Thorne, nothing changes about Mary’s being an illegitimate child, but her inheritance of a fortune allows for a happy ending:  her economic status substitutes for her social status by birth.