• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

'How successfully does George Elliot balance sympathy and criticism in Godfrey Cass?'

Extracts from this document...


H.Crawford Page 1 07/11/'04 English EW 'How successfully does George Elliot balance sympathy and criticism in Godfrey Cass?' Before I answer this question, I will first ask what we think of Godfrey Cass himself; is he unlucky? Or are his problems his own fault and he deserves what he gets? Well, I think that most readers feel both because whilst we can see they are his problems, at the same type Eliot helps evoke our pity for him and makes us think that they are not necessarily his fault. I think the main word to describe Godfrey is 'coward', for although he is not evil and has no desire to harm anyone, he is not willing to neither take responsibility for his own actions nor give up his desires when they conflict with duty. In fact, his general character seems to be summed up by Elliot's words on page 26 where she says he is full of 'irresolution and moral cowardice'. This idea continues throughout the book, where he will not admit the truth to Nancy, thereby making the situation worse, although Godfrey believes he is making it better because he is not hurting anyone and furthermore nothing is hurting him. ...read more.


Another contrast is between the two brothers, Dunstan and Godfrey; this contrast helps us feel sympathy for Godfrey, because although it is clear his love affair with Molly was a mistake that he seems to be paying for, his evil brother seems to be doing what he can to unveil his brother's secret; not because he thinks everyone should know his brother's wrongdoing, but because Dunstan merely wants to make some money out of it and to get Godfrey into trouble. As Godfrey says in their conversation about money, 'It's my belief you'd sell yourself, if it was only for the pleasure of making somebody feel he'd got a bad bargain.' (Page 24) On the other hand, a comparison can be drawn between the two brothers which brings out the readers criticism of Godfrey, for the two brothers could be said to be much the same; they are both extremely selfish, and only do things that either help themselves or hinder each other. This may not seem true but if we look at the quote on page 23, it seems that although Dunstan threatens to tell their father about Godfrey's secret marriage to Molly, Godfrey is just as harsh in his reply when he says, 'It's all one. ...read more.


I would therefore sum up his dilemma with this quote from chapter three of the book, 'The yoke a man creates for himself by wrong-doing will breed hate in the kindliest nature; and the good-humoured, affectionate-hearted Godfrey Cass, was fast becoming a bitter man, visited by cruel wishes, that seemed to enter and depart, and enter again, like demons who had found in him a ready-garnished home.' Therefore to conclude I would say that George Elliot successfully achieves a balanced mix of sympathy and criticism in Godfrey Cass, and furthermore leaves the reader to make up their own opinion about Godfrey's character; in my opinion I would say that he is not an evil man but is too much of a coward to ever end up with a guilt free, true life, and I would therefore say that the ending of the book is just because although he marries Nancy, he is not able to claim his child from Silas and therefore our main character gets a happy ending and we feel that Godfrey's punishment is just. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level George Eliot section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level George Eliot essays

  1. "Silas Marner is nothing more than a fairy story." Do you think this is ...

    Dunsey is a one dimensional fairy tale villain in this book. He is a character that enjoys making others suffer and be miserable. William Dane is a similar character to Godfrey's brother Dunstan, although he not involved a lot throughout the book.

  2. George Eliots Middlemarch is a novel embroidered by social relations, marriages, gender roles and ...

    Dorothea blames herself for his illness for not being able to take care of her husband in proper terms. Drawing parallel lines between Saint Theresa and Dorothea's self-sacrificing act, Masako Hirai, in his book titled, Sisters in Literature-Female Sexuality

  1. Examine Eliot's Presentation of Parenthood in Silas Marner

    Dolly is a devoted mother to her son Aaron and is proud of her son. She admits to Silas that "he's my youngest, and we spoil him sadly, for either me or the father must allays hev him in our sight" (P103).

  2. What is Your Response to the Suggestion that Raveloe is the Main Character Of ...

    She helps him with the upbringing of Eppie, offering clothes and her own time. She fulfils her found role in the community. Although she can be seen as the prime example of the village's moral capability, such sentiments are seen universally.

  1. The Importance of Belonging in 'Silas Marner'

    in the warmth of a hearth not his own and feeling the presence of faces and voices which were his nearest promise of help, had doubtless its influence on Marner' (page 48)

  2. Introduces her four major concerns illustrated in Silas Marner - namely village life

    The creation of this illusion is intentional. As mentioned above, Elliot aims to compare Raveloe and such villages with the towns that emerged due to the industrial revolution. The purpose of this is to actually examine the effects of the revolution on society.

  1. 'How does George Elliot account for the changes that occur over the course of ...

    This really helps add suspense and tension as we know that rightfully the child is Godfrey Cass' but on the other hand, Silas has looked after Eppie since she was just a baby and, as he says, 'should I not be thought upon as the father, seeing as I am

  2. Discuss the recurring theme of sympathy, forgiveness and compassion in The Mill on the ...

    This shows the audience how she was willing to look past their family problems and be friends with Philip, something her brother could never do. Similarly, Philip portrays his sympathetic and compassionate side in his relationship with Maggie, for example when Maggie tries to deprive herself from everything that makes

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work