In this way, Eliot makes Casaubon a figure of sympathy, even stating "I am very sorry for him." He remains the same ungenerous and paranoid man he has been since his introduction but with the addition of "melancholy embitterment." He is embittered by his futile attempts to gain traction in academia. Years of hard work have produced nothing by which his name will be remembered. Despite the tough exterior, Casaubon is truly sensitive to ridicule from critics. All he wants is to be accepted as a serious scholar. His rejection by his colleagues causes him to feel inadequate and insubstantial:
Casaubon has visions of greatness that have never been realized.
However, in drawing the reader's sympathy, a sympathy that Casaubon would be too proud to acknowledge but would desperately want to embrace, Eliot does not try to hide his flaws. Casaubon lacks the passion needed to research and write a work of the magnitude he desires. He cares more deeply about making a reputation for himself while proving people wrong than the subject he is studying. He has an "egoistic scrupulosity" that fails to provide the motivation to complete the work. He self-centered perspective causes him to suspect even his wife of not believing in him, despite her help. Still, the reader pities this man whose insecurities are partly to blame for his lack of success.