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Chapter 13 Summary
The dance at Red House was underway. Godfrey is standing off in a corner staring at Nancy when he felt shocked.
It was almost he had seen a ghost. It was Silas Marner carrying what seems to Godfrey his own daughter. Silas quickly explained that he just wanted the doctor, because there was a woman, probably dead, in the snow near his house. Godfrey’s first thought was what if she were alive. The women try to take the child away from Silas, but he unexpectedly refused. She had come to him and he wanted to keep her.
Mr Kimble grudgingly left his card game and prepared to check on the woman. The child cried and clung on to Silas. Godfrey volunteered to fetch Dolly Winthrop, who was a good nurse, and the two of them rushed to Silas’s cottage. Dolly praised Godfrey’s, good heart. The truth was that Godfrey was worried that Molly would harm him were she alive. Mr Kimble confirmed that Molly was dead. Godfrey was relieved and cast a quick look to be certain.
At the hearth, Silas rocked the little girl. She’s had big blue eyes. She had no idea that Godfrey was her father. She had taken to Silas. Godfrey handed Silas some money and headed home relieved that his secret was safe, and he was free to marry Nancy.
Q1. What were Godfrey’s thoughts when he saw Silas with his daughter?
Ans. Godfrey felt that he had seen a ghost when and saw his daughter with Silas. He pretended not to know his child and his dead wife. Eliot portrays Godfrey as not an evil character but a weak one. He is “half-smothered by passionate desire and dread,” yet he had the sense that “he ought to accept the consequences of his deeds, own the miserable wife, and fulfil the claims of the helpless child.
Godfrey did not have the moral courage to own up. He had only “conscience and heart enough to make him forever uneasy under the weakness.
” When he first heard of the woman’s death, his first emotion was the “evil terror” that she might not be dead. He also felt uneasy that the child seemed happy with Silas and showed no response to his own “half-jealous yearning.” Molly was addicted to opium and was of a lower social class than Godfrey and he was ashamed of her. Her existence prevented Godfrey’s marriage to Nancy Lammeter, which everyone was expecting. Godfrey was uneasy about his wrongdoing. He wanted to help the child, but he did not dare to admit it was his. “As for the child, he would see that it was cared for.” Godfrey handed Silas some money and headed home relieved that his secret was safe.
Q2. George Eliot has portrayed Godfrey as a morally weak character. Comment. [Delhi 2017]
Ans. Godfrey’s character displays irresolution and moral cowardice, a state in which he continues until almost the end. Godfrey is not evil in any way. But he does not have the courage to take responsibility for his acts nor to give up his desires when he conflicts with duty. His early marriage was not really his fault; he has good intentions about caring for Eppie; he really wants to lead a better life. There is no true test of his character except his failure to own Eppie as his daughter. This shows that Godfrey is unchanged – he wants to do the right things, but not badly enough to risk his happiness. Godfrey, at last, comes to some self-realization. He takes the easy way out, deciding to own Eppie only in his will. But at least once he does it from nobler motives- from consideration for others rather than for himself.