In Silas Marner Eliot's description of Dunstan's mind in Chapter 5. (Explained in box below)Eliot describes: 'Dunstan's mind was as dull as a mind of a felon(criminal) usually is'- to his discovery...

In Silas Marner Eliot's description of Dunstan's mind in Chapter 5. (Explained in box below)

Eliot describes: 'Dunstan's mind was as dull as a mind of a felon(criminal) usually is'- to his discovery of the hiding place. How does Eliot's description of his actions fit with this quote?

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M.P. Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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Dunstan Class is described by Eliot as "dull", but also as shady, unscrupulous, selfish, and unreliable. To describe him as "dull" fits Dunstan's actions because, as was seen when he tries to do business with the horse, a lot of his dynamics were unfinished and silly at that.

It did occur to Dunsey that it might be wise for him to give up the day's hunting, proceed at once to Batherley, and, having waited for Bryce's return, hire a horse to carry him

Right as he gets the idea of the business with the horse, Dunstan is too dull of mind to continue with the original plan and, instead (like a child), shifts his attention to the possibility of drink and other nonsensical things that at the end of the bargain. As a result, Dunstan's lack of brightness and sophistication lead him to make one mistake after another. However Eliot insists in that Dunstan's dullness is equal to his inherent malice; he is like a child that cannot do anything right because his mind is consistently planning on how to cheat, rob, or cause some form of harm in others. Equally like a child, he is too immature to take responsibility.

Dunstan, whose nature it was to care more for immediate annoyances than for remote consequences, no sooner recovered his legs and saw that it was all over with Wildfire than he felt a satisfaction at the absence of witnesses to a position which no swaggering could make enviable.

Yet, it is true that Dunstan's motivation to get Silas's money does put into question whether he is as dull as the author intends him to be. The swift manner in which Dunstan planned and executed his plan demonstrates that he can be skilled when there is enough motivation at hand. However, that does not make him more intellectually gifted; it simply shows that the more is at stake for him to get, the more effective his plans can be carried out. It is basically the same with any other kind of criminal: the bigger the loot, the swifter the process. It just goes to show that Dunstan is, indeed, a true, mean, and evil criminal, and that the origin of his horrible behavior is this dull and immature need to cause pain. What is worse, he gets away with it; that ultimately seals his character as "the bad person" who gets away with his mean ways.

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