Notes on Characters from Silas Marner

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Silas Marner Major Characters

Silas Marner: The protagonist of the novel, a linen-weaver. As a young man in his hometown of Lantern Yard, Silas is accused of killing a town deacon by not being by his side on his deathbed and accused of robbing the deacon's money. When his knife, purposely placed by William Dane, his most trusted friend, in the drawer of the money, is found instead of the money, William wrongly accuses him of stealing the money and killing the deacon. Having been hurt and betrayed by his faith in his religion, Silas leaves his hometown and settles in Raveloe. For fifteen years, he is feared by the townspeople, as he has a reputation of being connected with the devil. He is isolated from the rest of the village, living at the edge of town, working as a weaver, and not attending church. The money he earns from weaving fills him with happiness and satisfaction that is lacking from his lack of human companionship and communication. When his money is stolen, the villagers feel sorry for him. What changes his life is the child that he finds sitting in front of his fireplace, the child he believes is sent from above. Eppie brings him more happiness and joy than he ever received from the gold. He finally experiences reciprocated companionship and affection. Having the girl in his life makes him love and trust. At the end, the villagers agree that he brought a blessing to his life when he took Eppie in as his child. With Eppie in his life, Silas is able to unite his old faith with his new one, and believe that there is goodness and justice in this world.

William Dane: Silas's so-called dear friend in Lantern Yard whom he admired and revered so much. William frames Silas for a robbery he did not commit and is the reason the drawing lots declared Silas guilty of all charges. William deliberately places Silas's knife in the drawer when he steals the money. When Silas is accused of killing the ill deacon for not being by his side on his deathbed, Silas is framed for stealing the money. When Silas leaves Lantern Yard, William marries Silas's former fiancée, Sarah.

Sarah: Silas's fiancée who breaks off their engagement when Silas is declared guilty. She later marries William Dane.

Squire Cass: The most respected and wealthiest man in Raveloe, but a selfish, self-centered man. Known for his temper and his condescending attitude, the Squire does not seem to care very much for his sons, only for his money. He allows his sons to do pretty much whatever they please, because he does not care what happens to them as long as his tenants are not involved.

Dunstan (Dunsey) Cass: The Squire's younger son, a reckless, manipulative man who will do anything or say anything to get what he wants. He is attracted to greed and wealth, and has no conscience whatsoever. Dunsey blackmails Godfrey with the secret of Godfrey's marriage to the drunk Molly and steals poor Silas Marner's money. He is thought to have disappeared somewhere, but his dead body is found drowned in the Stone-pits when drained. Dunsey is found with Silas's money.

Godfrey Cass: The Squire's eldest son, a weak, spineless man. He is Molly's husband and Eppie's father, but refuses to acknowledge them, lest he lose the love of Nancy Lammeter, the woman he truly loves. Only does Godfrey confess his past marriage to Nancy when Dunsey's dead body is found sixteen years later. He and Nancy ask Eppie if she wants to be their daughter and live with them as a lady. Godfrey angrily tells Silas and Eppie that he has a natural claim to Eppie as her father. Eppie's refusal to leave Silas makes Godfrey very angry, but he realizes that her refusal to be with him is his punishment for not taking Eppie in as his daughter sixteen years before. On Eppie's wedding day, Godfrey is conveniently out of town on business. He gives Silas and Eppie more land for Eppie's garden.

Nancy Lammeter: The beautiful younger daughter of Mr. Lammeter and niece to Mrs. Osgood. Godfrey Cass loves her, but she will not marry him until he can prove that he is the man she wants him to be. Nancy is unlike Raveloe women - she actually does chores herself. She tries to make him happy when they are married, but she feels that she somehow is lacking in her duties as a wife. She had adamantly refused to adopt a child after their one child dies in infancy. When Godfrey tells her that Eppie is his child, Nancy willingly agrees to take Eppie in as their own. Nancy tries to persuade Eppie to come live with them at the Red House, but Eppie does not care to be a lady. Nancy buys Eppie her wedding gown.

Molly Farren: The miserable, vengeful wife of Godfrey Cass, who is addicted to opium. Molly is determined to reveal herself to the Squire with her and Godfrey's child in her arms, but she freezes to death before she can expose herself to all of Raveloe high society. The wedding ring she wears is kept by Silas and given to Eppie.

Priscilla Lammeter: Nancy's older sister, a cheerful and wise spinster. She is practical and smart, for she manages their father's farm and dairy. At the end of the novel, Priscilla wishes that Nancy might have had a child to raise as Silas had raised Eppie.

Dolly Winthrop: The kind, patient woman who aids Silas greatly. She first visits him, bringing him a plate of cakes with the initials I.H.S. on them and begging him to at least give up weaving on Sunday. When Silas starts caring for Eppie, Dolly advises him how to care for a child. Later, she is Eppie's godmother and Silas's trusted advisor in religion and life. Silas goes to seek her advice whenever he has a problem, whether it concerns Eppie's welfare or his past. Dolly makes him see that he should trust the world.

Aaron Winthrop: The Winthrops' youngest son. At age seven, he visits Silas Marner with his mother and sings a Christmas carol for him at his mother's request. Later, as a twenty-four-year-old, Aaron is Eppie's suitor. He offers to help her and Silas make a garden. He and Eppie marry.

Eppie: The biological daughter of Molly Farren and Godfrey Cass, but raised as Silas Marner's daughter. She enters Silas's life when she follows a bright light to the door of his cottage and straight in front of the fireplace. Silas and the townspeople think she has been sent to Silas from Him above. Her full name is 'Hephzibah,' after Silas's mother and sister. She is very beautiful, with blond hair and fair skin. Eppie brings so much goodness, warmth, and joy to Silas's life that he finally sees what Dolly has been telling him all along - to trust and to love. Eppie dearly loves Silas, the only family she has ever known, and will not leave him when Godfrey and Nancy ask her to live with them. Eppie does not care to be a lady; she tells them that she wants to live with Silas and marry a workingman, Aaron Winthrop. A married Eppie declares that she is perfectly happy with Silas at her side.

Minor Characters

Jem Rodney: The Raveloe poacher. Silas at first suspects him of stealing his gold.

Sally Oates: The wife of the town cobbler. Silas passes by their house and sees that Sally is suffering from heart-ache and dropsy. He gives her medicine made from herbs. Silas's knowledge of herbs lead to the villagers' suspicion that he knows charms and curses.

Bryce: Dursey sells Wildfire to him. Bryce tells Godfrey of the news that Dunsey killed the horse before he paid for it.

Mrs. Osgood: The sister of Mr. Lammeter and aunt to Nancy and Priscilla.

Mr. Lammeter: Nancy and Priscilla's father.

Mr. Macey: A respected working-class man. He visits Silas soon after the gold is stolen and tells him that his money will turn up. Later, an elderly Mr. Macey witnesses the bridal party and is glad to see that his words came true. Mr. Macey also has a brother, Solomon, who is a fiddler and lives in another village.

Mr. Snell: The landlord of the Rainbow. He recalls that a peddler had come to Raveloe carrying a tinderbox like the one found outside Silas's cottage.

the peddler: A suspect in the mystery of the stolen gold because of his tinderbox.

Fowler: Squire Cass's tenant. He had paid his dues to Godfrey, who'd given the money to Dunsey.

Ben Winthrop: The town wheelwright. He is husband to Dolly, and father to Aaron. He is a jovial, happy man.

the Gunn sisters: The unmarried, plain Gunn sisters find Nancy to be very pretty and charming despite her rough hands. They are offended by Priscilla's blunt words that they are ugly.

Mr. Crackenthorp: The town minister.

Dr. Kimble: The town apothecary, although not a real doctor. He is Godfrey's uncle.

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