Wide Sargasso Sea

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Daniel Cosway Character Analysis

Possibly the half brother of Antoinette through an illicit affair between her father Old Cosway and one of his slaves, Daniel Cosway is deeply embittered by his exclusion from the Cosway fortune. He writes to the husband, informing him of the madness that runs in Antoinette’s family, and attempts to blackmail him. Daniel Cosway is obsessed with gaining vengeance for his disenfranchised and marginalized existence, for which he holds Antoinette and her family responsible.

Daniel Cosway Quotes in Wide Sargasso Sea

The Wide Sargasso Sea quotes below are all either spoken by Daniel Cosway or refer to Daniel Cosway . 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:
Otherness and Alienation Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the W.W. Norton & Company edition of Wide Sargasso Sea published in 1992.
Part 2 Quotes

I take up my pen after long thought and meditation but in the end the truth is better than a lie...you have been shamefully deceived by the Mason family...That girl she look you straight in the eye and talk sweet talk and it’s lies she tell you. Lies.

Related Characters: Daniel Cosway (speaker), Antoinette Cosway, The Husband
Page Number: 95
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, the Husband receives a mysterious letter from Daniel Cosway, one of the illegitimate children of "Old Cosway," Antoinette's father. Daniel claims that the Husband has been deceived in marrying Antoinette: she is not, in fact, a virtuous young woman, but rather the product of an evil family with madness in their blood. Daniel will go on to explain that Antoinette's family was hated in Jamaica for trafficking in slaves, and that Old Cosway had sex with many of his slaves. Furthermore, Daniel claims that there's a history of insanity in the Cosway family.

Notice that Daniel never actually levels any criticisms at Antoinette as an individual, and yet because of her genetic relationship to Old Cosway, Daniel is saying she's somehow "guilty" of her family's evils.

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But they are white, I am coloured. They are rich, I am poor.

Related Characters: Daniel Cosway (speaker), Antoinette Cosway, Annette , Old Cosway
Page Number: 97
Explanation and Analysis:

Daniel Cosway's reasons for writing the letter to the Husband are clear enough: he's justly upset about being mistreated by Old Cosway and all of society for so long (because he's alienated even from the Cosway family itself because of his mixed race), and having no other avenue that would allow him to get justice, he writes the Husband a letter just to "getting even."

Daniel's complaints about the Cosway family may be well-founded, but Daniel is also clearly an unreliable source, biased by his bitterness and anger. He seems to think of the Husband as a tolerant, understanding man--hence, his decision to write to him and reveal the "truth." As we know by now, the Husband is hardly tolerant to black people at all--on the contrary, he's constantly dismissing them or misunderstanding them.

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Daniel Cosway Character Timeline in Wide Sargasso Sea

The timeline below shows where the character Daniel Cosway appears in Wide Sargasso Sea. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 2
Otherness and Alienation Theme Icon
Slavery and Freedom Theme Icon
Women and Power Theme Icon
Truth Theme Icon
One day, Amélie delivers a letter to the husband, from someone who identifies himself as Daniel Cosway , the “most unfortunate and poverty stricken” of Old Cosway’s many illegitimate children, the product... (full context)
Otherness and Alienation Theme Icon
Slavery and Freedom Theme Icon
Women and Power Theme Icon
Truth Theme Icon
...during this time, that many can attest to seeing her laughing and talking to herself. Daniel Cosway claims that Annette’s madness became worse after her marriage to Mr. Mason, whom she tried... (full context)
Otherness and Alienation Theme Icon
Slavery and Freedom Theme Icon
Truth Theme Icon
Daniel Cosway then explains that when he heard that the Masons were planning on marrying Antoinette off... (full context)
Otherness and Alienation Theme Icon
Slavery and Freedom Theme Icon
Truth Theme Icon
...consciousness. On the day that Antoinette goes to see Christophine, Amélie delivers another letter from Daniel Cosway to the husband. The letter begins by asking the husband why he hasn’t written back,... (full context)
Otherness and Alienation Theme Icon
Slavery and Freedom Theme Icon
Truth Theme Icon
When Amélie arrives, the husband asks her if Daniel Cosway is a friend of hers. She says no, but she knows him. He instructs her... (full context)
Otherness and Alienation Theme Icon
Slavery and Freedom Theme Icon
Truth Theme Icon
Amélie goes on to describe Daniel Cosway as a “very superior man,” who read the Bible and lived like a white man.... (full context)
Otherness and Alienation Theme Icon
Slavery and Freedom Theme Icon
Truth Theme Icon
Amélie warns the husband that he should go and visit Daniel Cosway before he comes to the house to make trouble for him, that he is a... (full context)
Otherness and Alienation Theme Icon
Slavery and Freedom Theme Icon
The narration now jumps to the husband in Daniel Cosway ’s sitting room. It is very hot, and there is no breeze, because his house... (full context)
Otherness and Alienation Theme Icon
Truth Theme Icon
...one people know about.” The husband then tells her that he’s been in contact with Daniel Cosway . Antoinette quickly tells him that the man who calls himself Daniel Cosway has no... (full context)
Slavery and Freedom Theme Icon
Women and Power Theme Icon
...in the husband’s head, as she accuses him of pretending to believe the lies that Daniel Cosway has told him, so that he can have an excuse to leave her. He accuses... (full context)
Truth Theme Icon
When he shakes his head, Christophine repeats that everything Daniel Cosway told him is a lie, and that she would have warned him but there was... (full context)