Examine the role of chance and coincidence in the novel Silas Marner.

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Coincidence, or chance, is a key driver of the plot in this novel. Some instances of chance are outlined below:

It is chance that sends the good-hearted Silas into exile from his religious community. Although he is a generous man who has done no wrong, he is accused by a...

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Coincidence, or chance, is a key driver of the plot in this novel. Some instances of chance are outlined below:

It is chance that sends the good-hearted Silas into exile from his religious community. Although he is a generous man who has done no wrong, he is accused by a false friend, William Dane, of a theft the friend committed. The community subjects Silas to chance through a superstitious ritual in which he has to draw lots. This shows him to be a thief when, in fact, he is not:

Silas knelt with his brethren, relying on his own innocence being certified by immediate divine interference, but feeling that there was sorrow and mourning behind for him even then—that his trust in man had been cruelly bruised. The lots declared that Silas Marner was guilty.

It is by chance that the embittered Silas ends up in Raveloe, a small, isolated village. It is by chance that Dunstan sees Silas's door open and manages to find and steal his hoard of gold⁠—Dunstan has no premeditated idea of robbing Silas but simply acts opportunistically.

It is by chance or coincidence that the destitute Molly dies just outside Silas's door in the lane in the snow, and also that his door happens to be open so that the tiny golden-haired Eppie wanders in, having a transformative effect on Silas's life and softening his hard heart.

It is by chance, too, that Dunstan's skeleton is found along with Silas's stolen gold.

All of these instance are improbable, but they illuminate the larger theme of poetic justice. All works out for the best for good characters like Silas, even when fate seems to be working against them, and all works out for ill for evil characters. The strange and perhaps startlingly coincidental way events work out is typical of a Victorian novel and suggests that there is a divine providence at work, pulling strings to reward those with pure and good hearts.

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