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Silas Marner Character Analysis Essay

Silas Marner’s character develops throughout the novel and passes through several different stages. The first sign we see of Silas’ character is that he has a delicate personality, and this characteristic is demonstrated after he has been accused of the theft of a bag of money, in chapter one. He is tried and found guilty by the unfair jury that is drawing lots. He is disregarded by his church, and will only be accepted back into the community upon his confession and repentance of this sin: “The lots declared that Silas Marner was guilty… There is no God that governs the earth righteously, But a God of lies, who bears witness against the innocent.”

This quotation, taken from page 61 shows that Silas’s faith and trust in God have been severely tested, to the brink of destruction. Understandably, Silas is distraught at the discovery that he has been exiled from his church because the drawing of the lots declared him to be guilty. This is not a fair way to decide a person’s face, and as such Silas leaves the community, seeking a life with fairer policies regarding divine interference, and the justice system. Silas is a relatively simple person in some aspects of his life, and religion is one of such areas. He is happy to lead a life with simple beliefs, but when this religious community makes him an outcast, he is deeply hurt, mainly because he knows that he is innocent, but has no way of proving it.

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After Silas has moved to the village of Raveloe, he chooses against involving himself in village affairs, but to almost become a recluse; refusing to become a real part of the neighbourhood. Instead, he comforts himself by hoarding almost all of the profits from his weaving business and using this money as his only companionship in life, which replaces human contact. In Lantern Yard, he was engaged to be married, but due to the aforementioned unfortunate circumstances, the wedding was cancelled, and his fianc�e left him for another man. This money replaces her, regardless of its inanimate value, as his companion: “His gold, as he hung over it and saw it grow, gathered his power of loving together into a hard isolation like its own.”

This extract from page 92 demonstrates the probably fake love he feels for the gold. It cannot replace the feeling of true companionship and love that two humans can feel for each other, but as Silas has chosen to hide away, this is a replacement, and he begins to change the way he feels because he has no other option. When Silas begins to care for Eppie however, these feelings that he has experienced for his Gold change, and for the first time in a very long while, Silas feels unquestionable love for a person. Silas is loving and caring but has never had a real chance to show this affection. He craves a person to share his life with, and this comes in the form of his adopted daughter: “Until anybody shows they have a right to take her away. The mother’s dead, and I reckon she’s got no father. I’m an alone thing, as is she. My money’s gone…” Finally, Silas shows his caring feelings for a human being, albeit not wanted by Godfrey, and puts something more important between him and his money. He admits to both himself and the rest of the community that he has nothing else, and so they allow Silas to keep the girl, whom he later names Eppie.

Silas Marner goes through many stages of personality change during the novel, be they for better or worse, but finally, he ends up happy, with a daughter to raise, educate and socialize, and who can support him in later life. He no longer feels any need for the money, and also raising Eppie brings him into closer contact with the community, because he requires some help from good people like Dolly Winthrop, and also because he has a reason to socialize with them, like going to church, and to village gatherings. This unity is also demonstrated with a change in the attitude of the villagers. They realize that Silas is no longer a miser, but is a kind and a considerate, good father. They become sure of their feelings towards him, and he feels greater acceptance in the community.

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Silas Marner Character Analysis Essay. (2021, May 16). Retrieved June 23, 2021, from