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Silas Marner

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Silas Marner Essay
Fulfill duties or neglect them
Concept of duty
Statements of “duty” in Silas

* Silas had a duty as a future husband to Sarah that he could not fulfill - betray * Sarah had a duty to stand by Silas however she didn’t think twice about the false information she obtained and turned her back on silas - betray * William had a duty as a best friend to fulfill however he didn’t believe Silas and even worse, he turned on him and took away the love of his life - betray * Silas’ community in Lantern yard had a duty of support to fulfill in silas’ life but they turned on him - betray * Silas had a duty to fulfill in ravelo, try to engage – self * Godfrey had a duty as a strong man to fulfill but he gave in and didn’t stand up for himself and married Molly- strength * Godfrey had a duty as a husband - strength * Duty as a father - strength * Molly had duty as mother – self absorption * Godfrey had a duty as husband self * Even though Silas did not need to take care of Eppie he took initiative - love * Fulfilled his duty above and beyond – love * Dunsey did not fulfill they duty he had as a family member – self absorption * Nancy fulfilled hers as a wife, she did not need to stand by Godfrey – love * Dolly and aaron helped when they ddint need to – love * Eppie had no obligation to stay with Silas she fulfilled her duty as a daughter, while , rightfully so, neglecting her duties to her true father – love * Godfrey loved nancy caused him to neglect duty to molly

The concept of duty in this novel, is a point of focus that resulted in numerous times of self preoccupation, betrayal, lack of strength, and love that lead to the defining of characters.

The concept of duty in Silas Marner displays the genuine characteristics of each character in the novel.
Issues to do with betrayal, self-preoccupation, love, and lack of strength.

George Elliot wrote the novel, Silas Marner, in 2014. It is

Intro * facts about the book author, date * brief summery * lead to thesis * thesis

- betrayal

In life, everyone is given a certain form of responsibility. It is part of a person’s duty to fulfill what he or she commits himself or herself to. In the novel Silas Marner, many duties are assigned to characters because of personal desires or the situation that they are placed in. Fulfilling or neglecting duty either occurs because of a choice or because of a circumstance. As a result of particular situations, certain attributes of characters are revealed. These occurrences then have a direct effect upon the concept of duty that is assigned to each character in the novel.

In Silas Marner, Betrayal is a circumstance that causes characters to neglect their duties. Earlier in the novel, Sarah makes a commitment to support Silas Marner and stand by his side in marriage. Shortly after this commitment is made, without considering that the accusation made against her fiancée could have been false, she leaves him during a time when he needs her support most. On the other hand, Silas has a duty to fulfill as a future husband to Sarah. However, He did not get the chance to fulfill this duty because of Sarah’s neglect to fulfill her own. Also, William Dane was Silas’ best friend; however, he did not support Silas. To he contrary, he betrayed him and ended up marrying Silas’ fiancée. Also, In Lantern Yard, Silas has built a strong relationship with his community. When the people of Lantern Yard hear that he has been convicted of a crime, like Sarah and William, they do not think to question the legitimacy of the crime or listen to what Silas has to say regarding the issue. “Sarah was married to William Dane; and not long afterwards it was known to the brethren in Lantern Yard that Silas Marner had departed from the town” (Eliot 10). The events that occur in Lantern Yard prove that the feelings and situations that root from betrayal cause neglect of duty.

Self-absorption is an issue in Silas Marner that causes characters to focus on their needs and wants instead of considering others before themselves. This is also an issue that affects a characters ability to either neglect or fulfill his or her duties. When Silas arrives in Raveloe he has a duty to engage with the community. Since Silas is unhappy with his life, he does not put any effort into migrating into his new town. This causes the people in his town to think inaccurately of him and judge him based upon the information they know, which is an inaccurate portrayal of his true personality. Also, Molly and Godfrey have duties as parents that are not fulfilled. Because of Molly’s lack of happiness, she turns to drugs and unintelligent thinking. In doing so, she is putting the wants of herself in front of the needs of her child. This is a perfect example of neglecting the crucial duty that Molly has as a mother to her daughter, Eppie. Godfrey also has neglected his duty as a father. When his wife, Molly, gives birth, he does not put any effort into being a part of his family’s lives because of the way he thinks the community will view him. As a result of this, Molly kills herself with Eppie in her dying arms. Also, he does not try to become a part of Eppie’s life, even after her mother dies. All Godfrey thinks about is marrying Nancy. “Is she dead? If she is, I may marry Nancy and then I shall be a good fellow in the future, and have no secrets, and the child shall be taken care of somehow” (Eliot 98). This situation displays how Godfrey’s self-focus has a toll on the lives of his family members. Also, Dunsey has a duty as Godfrey’s brother to support and aid him to the best of his ability. Dunsey does not do what is in Godfrey’s best interest. To the contrary, he causes Godfrey many problems that could have easily been avoided. If not for self- absorption in Silas Marner, many problems could have been sidestepped and many duties would still be accomplished.

Affection can cause people to do things that put others before themselves. However, it can also ignite unfair situations. Also, the feelings that are associated with love can cause a person to either accomplish or disregard his or her responsibilities. When Eppie comes to Silas’ door on a cold winter evening, Silas decides to let her stay and to care for her. This new burden upon Silas’ life causes Silas to change his motives and put the needs of his new daughter, Eppie, in front of his own. "As the child’s mind was growing into knowledge, his mind was growing into memory: as her life unfolded, his soul, long stupefied in a cold narrow prison, was unfolding too, and trembling gradually into full consciousness" (Eliot 106). The love that Silas has for Eppie is a good example of the fulfillment of duty above and beyond what is required. Eppie also completes her obligation as a daughter because of her love for Silas. When Eppie comes across the opportunity to live with her real father, Godfrey, she refuses to do so. By living with Godfrey, Eppie would be able to live an abundant, money-oriented life; however, she chooses to stay with the man who can only offer her love. This situation displays the strength behind Eppie and Silas’ relationship and the accomplishment of her duties. Dolly Winthrop and her son, Aaron, also go out of their way to care for Silas and Eppie. “Among the notable mothers, Dolly Winthrop was the one whose neighborly offices were the most acceptable to Marner” (Eliot 101). They are not obliged to help Eppie and Silas; however, they show their love for them through these actions. Also, Nancy shows grace towards Godfrey when he shares the secret he had been keeping from her about his first wife. However, Godfrey lived in fear of someone figuring out his secret, after Molly had died. When Godfrey found Molly “there was one terror in his mind at that moment: it was, that the woman might not be dead. That was an evil terror" (Eliot 96). It is expected that anyone hearing this news would not be very understanding; however, Nancy forgives Godfrey and would rather have had him inform her of this news beforehand so they could have considered adoption earlier on in their relationship.

Situations that root from disloyalty, self- focus, and compassion, as analyzed, are common occurrences in a human’s life that can easily have an effect on how a person deals with the duties that are placed in his or her life. These feelings can result in the occurrence of a certain circumstance or can trigger a decision, which can easily end positively or negatively. Depending on the results from the situation, they can either cause characters to fulfill or neglect their duties.

Works Cited

Eliot, George. Silas Marner. New York: Dover Publications, 1996. Print.

The Concept of Duty in Silas Marner

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