Who is the Cass family in Silas Marner?

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Gretchen Mussey eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The Cass family is one of the most prominent, wealthy families in Raveloe and are revered throughout their society.

Squire Cass is the head of the household and is considered Raveloe's greatest man. Squire Cass is a wealthy landowner who lives in a massive red house—where he holds dances and extravagant parties. He is portrayed as an authoritative, short-tempered man who has raised two unremarkable sons. Squire Cass is unaware that his son Godfrey is married to Molly Farren and therefore forces him to become engaged to Nancy Lammeter.

Godfrey Cass is the eldest son of Squire Cass and is depicted as a weak, timid man who lives a lie and makes several poor choices. He is Eppie's biological father and refuses to acknowledge this fact until she develops into a young woman. Years after marrying Nancy Lammeter and the discovery of Dunstan's body, Godfrey attempts to adopt Eppie, who chooses to remain with Silas Marner.

Dunstan Cass is the youngest son of Squire Cass and is depicted as an unscrupulous alcoholic who is willing to blackmail his brother; eventually, he dies in the Stone Pits after stealing Silas Marner's gold.

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M.P. Ossa eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The Cass family constitutes the gentry of Raveloe because they are land and business owners as well as people of renowned name and history in the village. 

The head of the family is Squire Cass, a hardworking man that has achieved his successes by his own efforts. He is the richest man in Raveloe, hardened by hard work, and unfortunately, not too good of a father as his children will prove.

The eldest son is Godfrey, a good man but totally weak and dependant on his younger brother. Godfrey lacks motivation and is easily led to do things he should not be doing.

The youngest and last of the Cass clan is Dunstan. He is possibly the most irresponsible, heartless, mean-spirited, abusive man in Raveloe. He is also the man responsible for stealing Silas's gold and he ultimately dies in a freak accident with the gold in hand.