What kind of a person is the Squire?

lit24 | Student

George Eliot introduces Squire Cass to her readers in Ch.9 in a very unflattering manner:

"a tall, stout man of sixty, with a face in which the knit brow and rather hard glance seemed contradicted by the slack and feeble mouth. His person showed marks of habitual neglect, his dress was slovenly."

He is the wealthiest man in Raveloe  and lives in the Red House. He is a very vain person, conscious of and complacent about his superior status in that small village. Although a man of high renown in Raveloe, Squire Cass is respected for his money and influence, rather than for his character:

The Squire had been used to parish homage all his life, used to the presupposition that his family, his tankards, and everything that was his, were the oldest and best; and as he never associated with any gentry higher than himself, his opinion was not disturbed by comparison. Ch.9.

He is the representative of the 'idle rich' who do not have to work for a living but spend their lives in idle luxury:

"The squire was always in higher spirits than we have seen him in at the breakfast table, and felt it quite pleasant to fulfill  the hereditary duty of being noisily jovial and patronising: the large silver snuff box was in active service and was offered without fail to all the neighbours from time to time however often they might have declined the favour." Ch.11

He is the father of four sons, including Godfrey and Dunstan. He is intent on keeping his family legacy intact and therefore is very demanding on his sons, who never seem to live up to his expectations. He is not affectionate towards his sons and is often prone to fits of anger towards them:

"The Squire was purple with anger before his son had done speaking, and found utterance difficult" Ch.9.

Further during this same conversation, Squire Cass speaks to Godfrey while

"frowning and casting an angry glance at his son" Ch.9.

Such outbursts and glowering betray the Squire's lack of self-control and easy loss of composure.

For the most part, however, Squire Cass is not one to be vigorously involved in much of anything. Aside from his ranting and raving at his son Godfrey, he is rather inclined to simply spend his days in easy luxury. And while he puts on a pretense of being somehow occupied, at least in his mind, Eliot reveals,

"The Squire's life was quite as idle as his sons" Ch.9.