Silas Marner

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Squire Cass Character Analysis

The head of the most prominent family in Raveloe, Squire Cass gives himself airs in claiming the title of “Squire” in the small village. His home and management of the estate is extravagant at times, lacking the presence and guidance of his wife who passed away. He enjoys throwing dances and parties for the neighbors. He is slovenly, yet authoritative. He lords over his sons and is a brusque man who does not like to be disagreed with. Godfrey believes his father would disown him for his choice to marry Molly Farren. Unaware of the real situation, Squire Cass tries to force Godfrey into becoming engaged to Nancy Lammeter.

Squire Cass Quotes in Silas Marner

The Silas Marner quotes below are all either spoken by Squire Cass or refer to Squire Cass. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Faith Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Dover Publications edition of Silas Marner published in 1996.
Chapter 3 Quotes

“I might tell the Squire how his handsome son was married to that nice young woman, Molly Farren, and was very unhappy because he couldn't live with his drunken wife, and I should slip into your place as comfortable as could be.”

Related Characters: Dunstan Cass (speaker), Godfrey Cass, Squire Cass
Page Number: 20
Explanation and Analysis:

Godfrey’s younger brother Dunstan is aware of Godfrey’s secret: Godfrey is married to an unsuitable woman from a low social class, and the two have a little daughter. Dunstan holds this information over Godfrey’s head and repeatedly threatens to reveal his secret. In this way, he is able to blackmail Godfrey and control Godfrey’s actions. In this passage, Dunstan points out that if he were to reveal Godfrey’s secret, he would “slip into” Godfrey’s “place as comfortable as could be.” Dunstan, as the younger brother, is not the primary heir of his father’s estate and fortune. Social class and societal traditions have strongly influenced Dunstan and Godfrey’s relationship, because of the legal and cultural practice of making the firstborn child the primary heir. Dunstan’s power over Godfrey is not only social, but financial. Godfrey be shamed and embarrassed if Dunstan revealed his secret (and prevented from marrying Nancy, who he loves), and he would also lose his source of income and inheritance.

This power dynamic between the brothers shows how society impacts the lives of individuals. Losing the good opinion of society could change Godfrey’s life. One reason why Godfrey would lose the respect of others and his inheritance from his father if his secret were revealed is that he has married an "unsuitable" woman. Molly Farren’s unsuitability for Godfrey is defined by the expectations of society, who assumes Godfrey will marry a rich and fashionable woman of his class. Molly is unsuitable because of her low social class and “drunken” behavior.

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Chapter 9 Quotes

He [Godfrey Cass] was not likely to be very penetrating in his judgments, but he had always had a sense that his father's indulgence had not been kindness, and had had a vague longing for some discipline that would have checked his own errant weakness and helped his better will.

Related Characters: Godfrey Cass, Squire Cass
Page Number: 59
Explanation and Analysis:

Godfrey Cass reflects on his father's indulgent treatment of him, and the fact that it's difficult for Godfrey to imagine confessing the truth about his marriage because of this upbringing. The Squire won’t hesitate to punish his son if he learns the truth, but his treatment of his older son has always been without regular discipline and according to the anger and whims of the father.

In this passage, Godfrey’s character, one of “weakness,” is attributed to the failings of his father in raising him without discipline. The narrator assigns blame to Squire Cass as a poor parent. A good parent understands that indulgence is not kindness, and that discipline is required for healthy development. This idea of parenting is considered and reworked later in the novel when Marner and Dolly Winthrop discuss Eppie’s upbringing. Notably, Godfrey is also blaming his father. Godfrey, because of his weak character, always looks outside himself for solutions to his problems. He blames his father, rather than taking responsibility for his actions. He wants to marry Nancy because she will keep him on the right track in life through her focus and goodness. His weakness of character is key in bringing about his unfortunate marriage, which continues to impact him for years.

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Squire Cass Character Timeline in Silas Marner

The timeline below shows where the character Squire Cass appears in Silas Marner. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 3
Morality Theme Icon
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
The most prominent family in Raveloe is that of Squire Cass. Squire Cass is one of several occupants of Raveloe who own land, but he... (full context)
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
Squire Cass’s wife died years earlier, and the Red House has lacked a woman’s touch. Likewise,... (full context)
Morality Theme Icon
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
...November afternoon. Dunstan is drunk, but has appeared at his older brother’s summons. One of Squire Cass’s tenants, Fowler, paid his rent to Godfrey, and Godfrey loaned this money to Dunstan.... (full context)
Morality Theme Icon
...of losing Nancy Lammeter’s affections, should his secret become known, have stopped him from telling Squire Cass everything. He argues to himself that while telling the Squire would have a certain... (full context)
Chapter 8
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
Fear of the Unknown Theme Icon
At the Rainbow, Mr. Crackenthorp (the rector). Squire Cass, and several others carry out an investigation of the tinderbox. The landlord Mr. Snell,... (full context)
Chapter 9
Morality Theme Icon
Squire Cass declares that it’s time Godfrey outgrew any foolishness. He has been a good father,... (full context)
Morality Theme Icon
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
Squire Cass says he’ll ask for Mr. Lammeter’s daughter’s hand for his son himself, if only... (full context)
Chapter 10
Morality Theme Icon
Fear of the Unknown Theme Icon
In Raveloe, the bells ring merrily on Christmas and the villagers celebrate. At Squire Cass’s family party, no one remarks on Dunstan’s absence. The affair is quiet with only... (full context)
Chapter 11
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
Mrs. Kimble, the Squire’s sister and the doctor’s wife, greets Nancy. In nearly every bedroom in the house, women... (full context)
Morality Theme Icon
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
...Mr. Crackenthorp teases her that he saw the roses blooming on New Year’s eve. The Squire also compliments Nancy, and Mr. Lammeter is flattered, but reluctant at the thought of a... (full context)
Morality Theme Icon
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
Hearing the fiddle beginning in the hall, Squire Cass calls the fiddler into the dining room as the young people wish impatiently for... (full context)
Morality Theme Icon
The Limits of Human Knowledge Theme Icon
In the middle of the dance, Nancy’s skirt is caught under the Squire’s foot and stitches are torn out at the waist of her dress. Godfrey leads her... (full context)
Chapter 12
Morality Theme Icon
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
...the village to the Red House. Molly, his wife, has decided to appear at the Squire’s party with her child in her arms and reveal, once and for all, the secret... (full context)