Silas Marner

Silas Marner Character Analysis

A weaver by occupation, Silas Marner’s move from Lantern Yard to Raveloe creates the back-story for the novel. In Lantern Yard, Marner was a devoted participant in the local church. He is near sighted and prone to strange fits in which he becomes still for a portion of time, after which he can never remember what has occurred. He was seen as a young man of great promise, but after being framed for a crime of thievery actually committed by his friend William Dane, Marner moves to Raveloe. Marner’s betrayal causes him to become withdrawn and socially awkward, focused solely on the gold he earns. He does not seek out others’ company, but commits himself fully to his weaving work. The villagers perceive him as strange due to his isolation, his fits, and his pale and quiet appearance. Marner is transformed from a miserly recluse into a loving and thoughtful father after he adopts Eppie, a young girl who appears on his hearth one night. He finds friends in Dolly Winthrop and her son Aaron, and regains interest in life and community through his love for Eppie.

Silas Marner Quotes in Silas Marner

The Silas Marner quotes below are all either spoken by Silas Marner or refer to Silas Marner. 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 numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Dover Publications edition of Silas Marner published in 1996.
Chapter 1 Quotes

“…there is no just God that governs the earth righteously, but a God of lies, that bears witness against the innocent.”

Related Characters: Silas Marner (speaker)
Page Number: 9
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 2 Quotes

His life had reduced itself to the functions of weaving and hoarding, without any contemplation of an end towards which the functions tended. The same sort of process has perhaps been undergone by wiser men, when they have been cut off from faith and love—only, instead of a loom and a heap of guineas, they have had some erudite research, some ingenious project, or some well-knit theory.

Related Characters: Silas Marner
Page Number: 15
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 4 Quotes

If the weaver was dead, who had a right to his money? Who would know where his money was hidden? Who would know that anybody had come to take it away? He [Dunstan] went no farther into the subtleties of evidence: the pressing question, "Where is the money?" now took such entire possession of him as to make him quite forget that the weaver's death was not a certainty. A dull mind, once arriving at an inference that flatters a desire, is rarely able to retain the impression that the notion from which the inference started was purely problematic. And Dunstan's mind was as dull as the mind of a possible felon usually is.

Related Characters: Dunstan Cass (speaker), Silas Marner
Related Symbols: Gold
Page Number: 30-31
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 5 Quotes

Was it a thief who had taken the bags? Or was it a cruel power that no hands could reach, which had delighted in making him [Silas Marner] a second time desolate?

Related Characters: Silas Marner
Related Symbols: Gold
Page Number: 35
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 10 Quotes

Formerly, his [Silas Marner’s] heart had been as a locked casket with its treasure inside; but now the casket was empty, and the lock was broken. Left groping in darkness, with his prop utterly gone, Silas had inevitably a sense, though a dull and half-despairing one, that if any help came to him it must come from without; and there was a slight stirring of expectation at the sight of his fellow-men, a faint consciousness of dependence on their goodwill.

Related Characters: Silas Marner
Related Symbols: Gold
Page Number: 67
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 12 Quotes

[Silas Marner] was stooping to push his logs together, when, to his blurred vision, it seemed as if there were gold on the floor in front of the hearth. Gold!—his own gold—brought back to him as mysteriously as it had been taken away!

Related Characters: Silas Marner
Related Symbols: Gold, The Hearth
Page Number: 93
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 13 Quotes

Godfrey felt a great throb: there was one terror in his mind at that moment: it was, that the woman might not be dead. That was an evil terror—an ugly inmate to have found a nestling-place in Godfrey's kindly disposition; but no disposition is a security from evil wishes to a man whose happiness hangs on duplicity.

Related Characters: Silas Marner, Molly Farren
Page Number: 96
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 14 Quotes

Thought and feeling were so confused within him [Silas Marner], that if he had tried to give them utterance, he could only have said that the child was come instead of the gold—that the gold had turned into the child.

Related Characters: Silas Marner, Eppie
Related Symbols: Gold
Page Number: 103
Explanation and Analysis:

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“…the little child had come to link him [Silas Marner] once more with the whole world.”

Related Characters: Silas Marner, Eppie
Page Number: 110
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 16 Quotes

By seeking what was needful for Eppie, by sharing the effect that everything produced on her, he [Silas Marner] had himself come to appropriate the forms of custom and belief which were the mould of Raveloe life; and as, with reawakening sensibilities, memory also reawakened, he had begun to ponder over the elements of his old faith, and blend them with his new impressions, till he recovered a consciousness of unity between his past and present.

Related Characters: Silas Marner, Eppie
Related Symbols: Raveloe
Page Number: 118
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 19 Quotes

“…then, sir, why didn't you say so sixteen year ago, and claim her before I'd come to love her, i'stead o' coming to take her from me now, when you might as well take the heart out o' my body? God gave her to me because you turned your back upon her, and He looks upon her as mine: you've no right to her! When a man turns a blessing from his door, it falls to them as take it in.”

Related Characters: Silas Marner (speaker), Godfrey Cass
Page Number: 141
Explanation and Analysis:

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“…but repentance doesn't alter what's been going on for sixteen year.”

Related Characters: Silas Marner (speaker)
Page Number: 141
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 21 Quotes

“It's gone, child," he [Silas Marner] said, at last, in strong agitation—“Lantern Yard's gone. It must ha' been here, because here's the house with the o'erhanging window—I know that—it's just the same; but they've made this new opening; and see that big factory! It's all gone—chapel and all.”

Related Characters: Silas Marner (speaker), Eppie
Related Symbols: Lantern Yard
Page Number: 148
Explanation and Analysis:

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“It's the will o' Them above as a many things should be dark to us; but there's some things as I've never felt i' the dark about, and they're mostly what comes i' the day's work. You were hard done by that once, Master Marner, and it seems as you'll never know the rights of it; but that doesn't hinder there being a rights, Master Marner, for all it's dark to you and me.”

Related Characters: Dolly Winthrop (speaker), Silas Marner
Page Number: 149
Explanation and Analysis:

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“Since the time the child was sent to me and I've come to love her as myself, I've had light enough to trusten by; and now she says she'll never leave me, I think I shall trusten till I die.”

Related Characters: Silas Marner (speaker), Eppie
Page Number: 149
Explanation and Analysis:

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Part 2, Conclusion Quotes

“…he [Silas Marner had brought a blessing on himself by acting like a father to a lone motherless child.”

Related Characters: Silas Marner
Page Number: 151
Explanation and Analysis:

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Silas Marner Character Timeline in Silas Marner

The timeline below shows where the character Silas Marner appears in Silas Marner. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
Fear of the Unknown Theme Icon
One linen weaver, named Silas Marner, resides in a cottage near the village of Raveloe, beside a Stone Pit. Local boys... (full context)
Faith Theme Icon
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
Fear of the Unknown Theme Icon
The Limits of Human Knowledge Theme Icon
At the beginning of the story, Silas Marner has lived in Raveloe for fifteen years. His appearance and lifestyle, fifteen years earlier, had... (full context)
Faith Theme Icon
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
The Limits of Human Knowledge Theme Icon
Despite the suspicions of his neighbors, Marner’s weaving services continue to be popular in Raveloe, and little changes in public opinion of... (full context)
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
Fear of the Unknown Theme Icon
In Lantern Yard, young Marner had a close friend named William Dane, another promising young man who was somewhat severe... (full context)
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
Fear of the Unknown Theme Icon
...ill, the young men and women of the community took turns sitting by his bedside. Marner and William Dane often traded off around two in the morning, splitting a night shift... (full context)
Faith Theme Icon
Morality Theme Icon
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
At the meeting, the minister brought out Marner’s pocketknife, which had been found in the deacon’s bureau, where the church money was stored... (full context)
Faith Theme Icon
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
The Limits of Human Knowledge Theme Icon
To determine Marner’s fate, the church community drew lots: an ancient practice used in The Bible of casting... (full context)
Chapter 2
Faith Theme Icon
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
Silas Marner discovers that his new home in Raveloe is vastly different than Lantern Yard. The familiar... (full context)
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
Marner’s first response to his shock at his false accusation had been to commit himself fully... (full context)
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
One day, Marner sees the cobbler’s wife, Sally Oates, suffering from heart disease and dropsy, which had also... (full context)
Faith Theme Icon
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
Marner’s stash of money grows, and, with it, his desire for more gold. He stashes his... (full context)
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
Marner’s life has withered to the solitary practices of weaving and hoarding his gold. After twelve... (full context)
Chapter 4
Morality Theme Icon
...Wildfire to the hunt the next morning, and, on his way, he passes by Silas Marner’s cottage. Dunstan realizes that the weaver must have saved a large sum of money and... (full context)
Morality Theme Icon
...as he plans to suggest his earlier idea to Godfrey: taking a loan from Silas Marner. Dunstan walks toward Raveloe through the misty evening, all the while tapping Godfrey’s inscribed gold... (full context)
Faith Theme Icon
Morality Theme Icon
...the mist as he nears the Stone Pits and realizes it is the light from Marner’s cottage. As he walks, Dunstan fantasizes about the bribing and threatening necessary to secure a... (full context)
Morality Theme Icon
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
Dunstan knocks loudly at Marner’s door only to be met with silence. He intends to shake the door, but it... (full context)
Morality Theme Icon
Dunstan wonders, where is the money? He does not stop to consider that Marner might not, in fact, be dead, but quickly notes the one spot on the floor... (full context)
Chapter 5
Faith Theme Icon
Just as Dunstan is leaving the cottage, Silas Marner is about to return. While he had left his home and his money defenseless, Marner... (full context)
Morality Theme Icon
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
Marner had ventured out earlier because he recalled he needed to purchase a fine twine for... (full context)
Faith Theme Icon
Morality Theme Icon
Silas Marner has lost all his faith, and his isolation has turned his power of loving onto... (full context)
Faith Theme Icon
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
The Limits of Human Knowledge Theme Icon
Marner wonders suddenly if he has been robbed, but it had appeared to him as if... (full context)
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
Marner runs to the Rainbow, which he thinks of as a place where the most prominent... (full context)
Chapter 6
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
The conversation is lively when Silas Marner enters, having reached a pitch after a slow and quiet start to the evening. Earlier... (full context)
Chapter 7
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
Fear of the Unknown Theme Icon
The Limits of Human Knowledge Theme Icon
Just as the farrier is scoffing again at ghosts, Silas Marner appears like an apparition in the midst of the group. Everyone is startled and Mr.... (full context)
Faith Theme Icon
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
The landlord calls to Jem Rodney to calm Marner down, but the young man has no interest in approaching Marner, still apprehensive of his... (full context)
Morality Theme Icon
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
The Limits of Human Knowledge Theme Icon
...human thief must have completed the crime of robbery because of its perfect timing with Marner’s brief and unique absence from home and the appearance that nothing else had been touched... (full context)
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
The farrier proposes going with Marner to the constable’s home, where he is ill, and asking him to appointment another man... (full context)
Chapter 8
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
...absence. The next day, the whole of Raveloe is fascinated by the story of Silas Marner’s robbery. A close examination of the area near Marner’s cottage produces a tinderbox found in... (full context)
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
Fear of the Unknown Theme Icon
Silas Marner’s memory of the peddler is generally disappointing: he recalls the man turning away at once... (full context)
Chapter 10
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
When Justice Malam is notified of Silas Marner’s robbery and the tinderbox, an inquiry is sent out about the peddler in question. But... (full context)
Faith Theme Icon
The Individual and Society Theme Icon
Fear of the Unknown Theme Icon
...was a man or a supernatural force. As interest in the case falls away, Silas Marner’s grief continues. The basis for his continued work and existence has been removed, and often,... (full context)
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Neighbors share gifts of pork and black puddings with Silas Marner, as well as kind words. Mr. Macey encourages Marner to get a Sunday suit and... (full context)
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...cakes and her little son Aaron along with her as she goes to visit Silas Marner. Marner receives them without impatience. Before the loss of his gold, any interruption would cause... (full context)
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Mrs. Winthrop gives Silas Marner the cakes, which she has inscribed with letters she’s seen in church: I.H.S. Neither of... (full context)
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...in which she refers to the divine “They” or “Them,” has little impact on Silas Marner because it does not resemble the faith he had known in Lantern Yard. Flustered by... (full context)
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Silas Marner tries again to respond to her kindness in the only way he knows, by offering... (full context)
Chapter 12
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...snow catches the child’s eye and she follows it to the open door of Silas Marner’s cottage. She wanders inside and falls asleep on an old sack near the warm hearth. (full context)
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In the weeks since the loss of his money, Silas Marner has formed the habit of opening his door from time to time and looking out... (full context)
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Stretching his hand out to his returned gold, Silas Marner touches curly hair. Marner examines the sleeping child. Is this a dream? He wonders. He... (full context)
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The child awakens, crying, and Silas Marner is kept busy feeding her porridge and following her tottering steps about his house. He... (full context)
Chapter 13
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...attempting to avoid his father’s jokes about his and Nancy's relationship. At that moment, Silas Marner appears in the doorway carrying Godfrey’s own child. Marner says he’s looking for the doctor... (full context)
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The ladies encourage Silas Marner to leave the child there, but he finds he cannot part with it. Godfrey offers... (full context)
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...to see his secret wife’s body, but casts her only one glance. He asks Silas Marner if he’ll take the child to the parish the next day. Marner says he wishes... (full context)
Chapter 14
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...any tears, but her death has redirected the lives of several individuals in Raveloe. Silas Marner’s decision to raise the child is met with surprise, and women throughout the village advise... (full context)
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While Silas Marner appreciates Dolly’s advice, he prefers to do everything he can himself to care for the... (full context)
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Silas Marner decides to do whatever he can that is best for the girl, and to have... (full context)
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Silas Marner’s gold, when it had been the center of his attention, needed nothing, and could be... (full context)
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Eppie grows into a troublesome toddler, but Marner finds he never has the heart to punish her despite Dolly Winthrop’s insistence that some... (full context)
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One day, however, Eppie causes more mischief than usual. Using Marner’s scissors, she cuts herself free of the linen strip and runs outside. When next Marner... (full context)
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The failure of the coal hole punishment discourages Marner from ever again attempting to discipline Eppie. Marner carries the little girl with him on... (full context)
Chapter 15
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From a distance, Godfrey watches Eppie grow up in Silas Marner’s care. Occasionally he does what he can to help the weaver, but he does not... (full context)
Chapter 16
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Sixteen years have passed since Silas Marner discovered Eppie asleep on his hearth. The villagers of Raveloe are leaving their Sunday morning... (full context)
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Aaron Winthrop, now a good-looking young fellow, follows Marner and Eppie from the church. Eppie expresses to her father how much she wishes they... (full context)
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Marner watches Eppie as she prepares their Sunday meal at the hearth. He has kept the... (full context)
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Marner has opened up his heart so fully that he has even been able to share... (full context)
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One day, Dolly arrives at Marner’s with the pronouncement that she has had a sudden realization about his story. She says... (full context)
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Marner has been able to talk of his past with Eppie too as she has grown... (full context)
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Eppie and Marner sit outside discussing their garden and the stones they could gather to build a wall... (full context)
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...never take her away from her father, but that they could all live together, so Marner wouldn’t need to work at all. Eppie intends to marry Aaron, someday. But at the... (full context)
Chapter 18
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...body, with his watch and seals, Godfrey’s hunting crop, and, most horrifyingly, all of Silas Marner’s stolen money. Nancy is surprised and ashamed for herself and Godfrey, having been raised to... (full context)
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...he married her he kept his past a secret: the dead woman found by Silas Marner was his wife and Eppie is his child. Nancy is silent as Godfrey tells her... (full context)
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...her and provide for her, so they decide to go that very evening to see Marner and Eppie. (full context)
Chapter 19
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That evening, Silas Marner and Eppie are sitting alone in the cottage. Marner is exhausted by the events of... (full context)
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...when she opens the door to admit Mr. and Mrs. Cass. Godfrey first apologizes to Marner for the loss of his money, hoping that he can make it up to him,... (full context)
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...like to adopt Eppie as their own. As Godfrey speaks, Eppie puts her arm around Marner and feels him trembling. Marner is clearly distressed, but says only that he will not... (full context)
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...Eppie because she is his child and her mother was his wife. Eppie is startled. Marner speaks with new fierceness, asking Godfrey why he didn’t claim his daughter sixteen years earlier.... (full context)
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Godfrey urges rationality. Such a change wouldn’t tear Marner and Eppie apart forever, he argues. He says that he feels it’s his duty to... (full context)
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...she would never again be happy if she were forced to leave her father, Silas Marner. He had no one to love or care for him before she appeared in his... (full context)
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...his past wrongs has been thwarted. He leaves abruptly, unable to say anything else to Marner and Eppie, and Nancy follows more gracefully. (full context)
Chapter 21
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The next morning, as Silas Marner and Eppie are eating breakfast, Marner tells Eppie that there’s something he’s been meaning to... (full context)
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Silas Marner and Eppie arrive in Lantern Yard only to find a great manufacturing town, altered to... (full context)
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...people leaving the Yard, as if they’d gone to chapel at noon on a weekday, Marner exclaims, and then stops in amazement. They are in front of a large factory where... (full context)
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Upon their return to Raveloe, Marner reports to Dolly Winthrop that the old Lantern Yard has completely vanished. He realizes that... (full context)
Part 2, Conclusion
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...his door. Mr. Macey says he always insisted that there was no harm in Master Marner and that he’d live to see him get his money back. Guests are already assembled... (full context)
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...than Eppie ever dreamed of. Other alterations were made by Godfrey Cass to accommodate Silas Marner’s growing family in the home where they preferred to stay. As their beautiful home comes... (full context)