How true is it that in Silas Marner money is the root to all evil
- Pages: 13
- Word count: 3188
- Category: Money
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Romanticism: Lantern yard is more of a world of artificial man made world of religion and industrialization and Raveloe would be more of a countryside figure where it produced more good. The author has used this in the book because Silas was misunderstood and punished wrongly at the Lantern Yard and was accepted by Raveloe. Regardless of the fact Silas had a bad start at Raveloe everything soon came together as a happy ending. In some cases in Silas Marner, money is the root to all evil, but there are also other causes of evil.
For example; William Dane, a young weaver, sins by taking the church money and accuses Silas of theft. He brings forward evidence which strongly proves Silas guilty of the crime he did not commit. The narrator tells us that the linen-weaver, Silas was accused of theft through the quotation ‘the knife had been found in the bureau by the departed deacon’s bedside – found in the place where the little bag of church money had lain, which the minister himself had seen the day before. Some hand had removed that bag; and whose hand could it be; if not that of the man to whom the knife belonged? ‘ [Chapter 1 – Page 10].
I have taken an extract from the quote above; ‘Some hand had removed that bag’. This is a figure of speech, meaning ‘someone has removed that bag’. Silas was set up by his so called best friend William Dane, who had become jealous of Silas for two reasons; He had feelings for Sarah – the servant to whom Silas was engaged and because Silas is highly respected by other members of their religious group because of his good life and the fits he suffered which seemed to their simple minds to have some sort of religious significance. Silas lost his fiance, friendship and faith, let alone lost his home and money.
Dunstan Cass takes advantage of his brother Godfrey, since he knows of a secret which would shatter his brother’s chances of getting their father’s inheritance. Godfrey liked Molly but his father wouldn’t allow them to marry. Without his consent, they married and then kept it as a secret. No one else except Dustan Cass, Godfrey’s brother knew about this matrimony. Godfrey describes the secret marriage as ‘an ugly story of low passion, delusion’ [Chapter 3 – Page 26]. This quotation is also a figure of speech which refers the relationship between Molly and Godfrey as a ‘delusion’, which is a more insulting way of saying bad.
George Eliot used this type of language to represent how much Godfrey hates the relationship or ‘situation’ he is in with Molly. Dunstan threatens to make this known and holds this over him. Dunstan has spent money owed his father by a tenant, Mr. Fowler and Godfrey reluctantly agrees to allow Dunstan to sell Godfrey’s horse Wildfire to raise the funds. Dunstan set out to sell Wildfire and ‘Bryce and Keating were there, as Dunstan was quite sure they would be’ [Chapter 4 – Page 29]. Dunstan was sure he would have a buyer for the horse but told Bryce he owned Wildfire now as he swopped with his brother and does not want to sell.
The narrator tells us that ‘Bryce of course divined that Dunstan wanted to sell the horse, and Dunstan knew that he divined it’ [Chapter 4 – Page 29]. ‘It ended in the purchase of the horse by Bryce for a hundred and twenty, to be paid on the delivery of Wildfire, safe and sound, at the Batherley stables’ [Chapter 4 – Page 30]. Dunstan thought it would be wise for him to not go hunting for the day and proceed at once to Batherley, wait for Bryce’s return, hire a horse to carry him home with the money in his pocket.
But he was tempted to go hunting with such an amazing horse as the author tells us through the quotation ‘with a horse under him that would take the fences to the admiration of the field’ [Chapter 4 – Page 30]. Dunstan took one fence too many and ‘staked’ his horse and that was the end of Wildfire. To raise money he is tempted to steal Silas’ gold coins. Dunstan saw that Silas’ supper was being prepared and Silas had left his house without fastening the door, Dunstan thought maybe Silas had fallen into the stone pit and thinks ‘Who would know where his money was hidden?
Who would know that anybody had come to take it away? ‘ [Chapter 4 – Page 33]. Dunstan though where is the money? Then he remembered ‘there were only three hiding-places where he had ever heard of cottagers’ hoards being found: the thatch, the bed and a hole in the floor’ [Chapter 4 – Page 33]. Silas’s cottage had no thatch so Dunstan walked towards the bed but on the way there he concentrated on the floor and saw sand over the floor, in the sand it showed that fingers had gently spread it over a given space. He found the bricks to be loose.
He found leather bags and what else could be in there but money; he took the bags and disappeared into the night. At this stage of reading the book, the reader knows that the type of atmosphere is a heart pounding environment as Dunstan has just sinned and wants to get out of the area as soon as he can as he wouldn’t want to get caught with the money he jus stole from Silas. Godfrey Cass was secretly married to a young woman called Molly Farren, and Dunstan, Godfrey’s brother was the only person to know of this relationship. Dunstan has to pay back Mr. Farrow’s rent to Squire Cass.
Since you was so kind as to hand it over to me, you’ll not refuse me the kindness to pay it back for me: it was your brotherly love made you do it, you know’ [Chapter 3 – Page 22]. Dunstan puts his brother in yet another difficult situation. Godfrey doesn’t want to be taken for a fool by his brother so he refuses and threatens to knock him down. The narrator introduces Godfrey’s secret wife Molly through the quotation ‘I might tell the Squire how his handsome son was married to that nice young woman, Molly Farren, and was very unhappy because he couldn’t live with his drunken wife’ [Chapter 3 – Page 22].
Dunstan has control over his brother and as the narrator tells us ‘he would sooner die than acknowledge her as his wife’ [Chapter 12 – Page 93]. So Godfrey does as Dunstan asks and sells his horse, Wildfire, to raise the funds. Due to money, Silas is an outsider that nobody understands. Silas makes a lot of money but hardly spends much. Money is all he has to live for as he was betrayed by his friend, fiance and faith. When Dunstan Cass stole Silas’ money, Silas was falling apart.
The narrator reveals that Silas has discovered he has been robbed, and builds up tension through the quotation ‘he rose and placed the candle unsuspectingly on the floor near his loom, swept away the sand without noticing any change, and removed the bricks’ [Chapter 5 – Page 36]. He felt he must go and proclaim his loss, so ‘he rushed out in the rain, under the stimulus of this hope, forgetting to cover his head, not caring to fasten his door; for he felt as if he had nothing left to lose’ [Chapter 5 – Page 38]. At this point in Silas Marner, George Eliot clearly tells the reader that Silas’ money is all that Silas feels he lives for.
Godfrey is the son of the richest man in Raveloe, Squire Cass. He is the heir of the entire Cass fortune. Yet, Godfrey has a terrible secret. He is courting the beautiful Nancy Lammeter, the daughter of another prominent Raveloe citizen, and at the same time that he is unhappily married to Molly Farren, a drug addict. Godfrey has a young child with Molly. He fears that his father will disown him if he knows of his secret life with the opium addict. Godfrey wants to marry Nancy and live happily ever after but his wife is like a cancer in his relationship with Nancy.
Further on in the story, Godfrey confronts Nancy about Molly and Eppie. Nancy is disappointed, but only because she didn’t like being lied to, she was very understanding and told him ‘if we’d had her from the first, if you’d taken to her as you ought, she’d have loved me for her mother – and you’d have been happier with me’ [Chapter 18 – Page 142]. I believe that Godfrey kept his fatherhood with Eppie a secret as he didn’t want to disappoint his father, Squire Cass. As then the Squire would not grant his inheritance to him.
Another reason he kept Eppie in the dark was because he didn’t want to risk his relationship with Nancy Lammeter when Eppie turned up at Raveloe. The relationship was at the time friendship, but they both intended on more. Godfrey Cass is the father of Eppie; her mother is Molly Farren, the drug addict that Godfrey was secretly married to. Godfrey kept Eppie and her mother a secret from his family and friends because he wanted his father’s inheritance and his father didn’t approve of Molly. When Silas found Eppie at his house, he bought Eppie to Squire Cass and the others which were dancing.
Godfrey recognized the baby as his own but didn’t come forward to claim his daughter. Mrs. Kimble told Silas to leave the child at the Red House and told one of the girls to get some nice clothes for her. ‘No – no – I can’t part with it, I can’t let it go,’ said Silas, abruptly. ‘Its come to me – I’ve a right to keep it. ‘ [Chapter 13 – Page 99]. Silas wanted to keep the child. The child didn’t have a name in the story until Silas named her Eppie. Godfrey was relieved that Molly was out of his life but didn’t claim his child. He left her to Silas Marner as he knew he would care for her well.
Godfrey helped Eppie through her childhood, as he gave money to Silas to extend his cottage, gave money towards Eppie’s marriage and clothes. My opinion on Godfrey’s kindness towards Silas and Eppie is that Godfrey feels guilty, and is grateful that his daughter is happy and well looked after by Silas. The narrator describes how Silas saw Eppie at first sight through this quotation ‘to his blurred vision, it seemed as if there were gold on the floor in front of his hearth’ [Chapter 12 – Page 96]. This type of language gives me, the reader, an image of what is going on.
I can just imagine Silas looking at Eppie’s hair which appears to him as his gold coins. Silas reached out to touch the gold coins but instead of feeling hard gold coins he felt soft warm curls. He thought to himself ‘could this be his little sister come back to him in a dream – his little sister whom he had carried about in his arms for a year before she died’ [Chapter 12 – Page 96]. He thought it was a dream, lit a fire but the child was still there. Silas soon adopted her and named her Eppie as his mother’s name was Hephzibah, and Silas’ little sister was named after her.
Silas’ spiritual love was replaced by material love and when Eppie arrived she replaced the material love. Money can produce some good Sixteen years on since the last anybody had heard of Dunstan, a skeleton is found in the stone pits. Godfrey knew it was Dunstan because with him was his watch and seals, and Godfrey’s gold-handled hunting whip with his name on it, that Dunstan took from him without asking. Also with him ‘There was the money in the pit,’, ‘all the weaver’s money’ [Chapter 18 – Page 141]. Silas’ money was found and Godfrey was relieved that his brother cannot bribe him anymore and his dark secret will stay undisturbed.
Godfrey felt that now Silas has his money, Godfrey and Nancy can take Eppie from him as she is Godfrey’s daughter and they have rights to keep her. Godfrey and Nancy ask Silas and Eppie for permission to love and care for Eppie and take her from Silas. Godfrey speaks the following statement. ‘Mrs. Cass and I, you know, have no children – nobody to benefit by our good home and everything else we have – more than enough for ourselves. And we should like to have somebody in the place of a daughter to us – we should like to have Eppie’ [Chapter 19 – Page 146].
Silas didn’t want to let Eppie go, but he let her make her own decision. ‘I’ll say no more. Let it be as you will. Speak to the child. I’ll hinder nothing’ [Chapter 19 – Page 149]. Eppie appreciates the offer but refuses it as she wouldn’t have any delight in her life if she was forced to go away from her father and knew he was sitting at home thinking of her and feeling lonely. Eppie loves Silas too much to leave him for anybody, however much she is offered such as; being loved and cared for by the richest and most respected family in Raveloe, living in a very big house, being treated almost like a princess.
None of that can come close to the happiness she feels when she is with Silas. Silas’ recovered gold helps him support himself in his old age and help Eppie in her married life. Godfrey Cass, the father of Eppie, supports his daughter and Silas by giving them money to extend their house and cares a lot about Eppie. He has confronted his wife Nancy about his past and that he is Eppie’s father, Eppie refuses to go with her father and Miss Nancy as she loves Silas too much to leave him knowing he would only sit at home thinking of her and feeling lonely.
Godfrey didn’t claim his daughter when Silas bought her to the Red House after finding her, he left Silas to love and care for her but then, he and Nancy Lammeter are unable to have children of their own. When they want to take Eppie back from Silas, Eppie appreciates the offer but refuses it. Maybe Nancy and Godfrey not being able to have children could be considered as a punishment from God. Godfrey does all he can from afar to love and care for Eppie, but not fatherly things, only by giving money and extending Silas’ cottage.
Godfrey’s love from afar is like material love for Eppie, as he cannot love her like a father. As Silas and Eppie do not know yet that Godfrey is her father. Later on in the story, Godfrey gives money towards Eppie’s wedding, when she marries Aaron. Things other than money can produce evil The Lantern Yard is where Silas Marner was falsely accused of stealing the church money. Silas felt and was betrayed by his so called best friend, William Dane, his fiance Sarah and also God. Silas was banished from the local community and left town known as a thief.
Although he didn’t commit the crime, William Dane did a good job of making him look guilty. Silas felt that God would guide him and prove his innocence. The narrator shows that Silas has a lot of faith in God through the quotation ‘I am sore stricken; I can say nothing. God will clear me’ [Chapter 1 – Page 11]. Silas lost faith in god when he was banished from the local community and lost everything he lived for. I think that at the time when Silas Marner was written, most people believed strongly in God and would rely on God to keep them happy.
In this case Silas relied on God to prove his innocence. I feel that the way Silas was proven ‘guilty’ at the Lantern Yard was not fair as placing counters on a table out of a bag cannot prove anyone to be innocent or guilty, like in this case Silas was innocent but the counters showed different. All present at the court case believed Silas was guilty. That’s why he felt betrayed by God, friendship and love. Godfrey Cass let Silas Marner bring up his daughter, Eppie. As he didn’t want Nancy to know of his previous relationship with Molly Farren and that he is the father of Eppie.
After fifteen years of neglecting his daughter, Godfrey wanted to claim Eppie’s love as him and his wife Nancy were unable to have children of their own. But Eppie chose to live with Silas as Silas and Eppie have been together for fifteen years and love each other. Godfrey felt that now Silas’ gold has been recovered, he can ask Silas to have Eppie for himself and his wife Nancy. But Eppie refuses the offer kindly. Elliot, the author of Silas Marner, based the moral of this on the Christian Old Testament; Revenge principle eye for eye, bad for bad and the New Testament of Punishment, forgiveness and rehabilitation.
Godfrey was punished when Eppie denied his love, forgiveness and rehabilitation when Nancy accepted and reformed Godfrey. Dunstan stole Silas’ money and stole his purpose for living, which was money. Dunstan had his life stolen when he drowned in the quarry. Silas had his purpose given back to him by replacing the money with Eppie. Bad parenting causes evil; Bad children Squire Cass was loveless as he had lost his wife so there was nobody to influence some good in the house. He was also a bully as he showed no affection or guidance to Godfrey or Dunstan.
He only wanted Godfrey to get married and carry on the family name, never did he think about Dunstan, unless he was in trouble. Godfrey Cass disowned Eppie and was later on punished when he was not able to have children with Nancy, his wife and when Eppie refused his demands of love. Yet Godfrey was not all bad as he supported Eppie as she grew and in marriage. ‘Eppie had a larger garden than she had ever expected there now; and in other ways there had been alterations at the expense of Mr. Cass, the landlord, the suit Silas’ larger family’ [Conclusion – Page 157].
In a way I feel that Godfrey has tried his best to try and make up for his past by giving money towards making her childhood better by supporting her and Silas by extending their cottage and paying for her marriage. My conclusion is that there are many causes of evil throughout the book Silas Marner. In some cases it is money but there are also other causes of evil such as; jealousy and bad parenting. So it is not so true that money is the root to all evil in Silas Marner. The cause of evil is equally shared between money, jealousy and bad parenting.