In Chapter 15 of Silas Marner, how does Eliot evaluate Godfrey's relationship with his daughter?
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This short chapter accurately describes the change in fortune that Godfrey has experienced. With the death of his wife, and the removal of his brother, Dunstan, his secret is truly a secret and the way has been opened for him to marry Nancy legally without anybody discovering about his former marriage. The presence of his daughter in the Raveloe community means that he is able to keep an eye on her, but this chapter makes it clear that he has no intention of revealing his relationship with her, as he reasons that his daughter is being taken care of and he has much to lose if his relationship with her is revealed:
The child was being taken care of, and would very likely be happy, as people in humble stations often were--happier, perhaps, than those brought up in luxury.
Godfrey therefore has no intention of publicly acknowledging his daughter, but at the same time he determines to use his position as Squire of the community to ensure that his daughter is provided for and looked after, as the final sentence of the chapter demonstrates: "That was a father's duty." Godfrey's relationship with his daughter in this chapter is best described therefore as being characterised by limited attachment: Godfrey does feel responsible for his daughter, but at the same time he is not going to allow her existence to rob him of achieving his own goals. Because she has been adopted by Silas, Godfrey is able to both marry Nancy without revealing his former marriage, but also keep an eye on his daughter from a distance, which he feels fulfills his responsibilities as a father.
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