What are the motives of Harding and Grantly in Barchester Towers? Who is more moral and why?

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In Anthony Trollope’s Barchester Towers, religious convictions and family concerns motivate both Reverend Harding and Reverend Grantly. They aim to influence the direction of church practices in Barchester as well as influence the romantic life of a female relative.

The simmering conflict between High Church and Low Church comes to a head following the death of Rev. Theophilus Grantly’s father, who had been the bishop at Barchester. Theophilus, who is the archdeacon of Barchester, and Septimus Harding are connected by Grantly’s marriage to Harding’s daughter, Susan. Grantly supports Harding in resuming his former position as the hospital’s warden, a plan that puts them in opposition to Dr. Proudie when he becomes the late bishop’s successor. Their agreement is based in part on their opposition to Proudie’s chaplain, Mr. Slope, who is Low Church and tries to add an unreasonable number of professional duties to Harding’s responsibilities. They are further united in concern for Harding’s widowed daughter Eleanor, as it seems likely that she will marry Mr. Slope. Grantly also influences that development when he brings Rev. Arabin, who is High Church, into an available living; Eleanor soon rejects the disagreeable Slope and later marries Arabin.

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