Characters Discussed (Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, Revised Third Edition)
Silas Marner, a weaver of Raveloe. As a resident of Lantern Yard, he had been simple, trusting, and religious until falsely accused of theft. He then lost his faith in religion and people. Turning away from humanity, he directs his stunted affections toward his steadily increasing pile of coins. When Eppie enters his life, he regains his belief in the fundamental goodness of humanity. In his bewildered fashion, he accepts help from his Raveloe neighbors and decides to rear the motherless child who has captured his heart; under her influence, he no longer despairs because of the stolen money.
Eppie (Hephzibah), Marner’s adopted daughter. Fair-haired and blue-eyed, she captivates everyone who meets her, including young Aaron Winthrop, her future husband. After years of loneliness, Silas is sustained and his spirit nurtured by having her constantly near him. Even after she marries Aaron, she is determined to care for Marner, now frail and bent from years of unremitting toil at the loom.
Godfrey Cass, Eppie’s real father and the weak son of Squire Cass, a prominent Raveloe landowner. Blackmailed by his brother Dunstan, he lacks the moral courage to acknowledge to the public that Eppie is his daughter. Instead, fearing disinheritance, he keeps silent for many years, with his guilt gnawing at his soul. Later, however, when Dunstan’s skeleton is found in...
(The entire section is 611 words.)
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Dunstan Cass is Godfrey’s younger brother. He is a disreputable, dishonest, spiteful young man who uses his knowledge of Godfrey’s secret marriage to blackmail him. Godfrey agrees to let Dunsey sell Godfrey’s horse, Wildfire, to raise money, but Dunsey rides the horse foolishly and is responsible for the horse’s death. As he walks home, Dunsey robs Marner of his gold and then disappears. No one is concerned by his absence, since he has left home for long periods before. His remains are discovered sixteen years later in a stone-pit that has gone dry. It is concluded that he drowned.
Godfrey Cass is the eldest son of Squire Cass and heir to the estate. He is a good-natured man, but he lacks strength of character and does not like to face up to difficult situations. In a fit of drunkenness he made the mistake of marrying beneath his station, and he has kept his wife and child a secret. He lives in fear that his ill-willed younger brother Dunsey will tell their father about his secret, which would probably result in his being turned out of the family home and cut off from his inheritance. He is also bitterly frustrated by the fact that because he is already married, he cannot marry the girl of his choice, Nancy Lammeter. When his wife dies and Dunsey disappears, Godfrey’s worries appear to be over, and he duly marries Nancy. But he is tormented by the fact that his unacknowledged daughter Eppie is...
(The entire section is 1438 words.)