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Discuss how George Eliot portrays the characters of Godfrey and Dunstan Cass in chapter three of the novel.

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Introduction

Discuss how George Eliot portrays the characters of Godfrey and Dunstan Cass in chapter three of the novel. Chapter three tells the tale of the attitudes and habits of Dunstan, and also the control he has over his brother Godfrey. The two brothers, sons to Squire Cass, both hate one another, this is shown all through the first half of the novel, but is emphasised mostly in chapter three. The Cass family has a long preserved respect from the Raveloe community, but this is in a steady decline because of the behaviour of Squire Cass's son Dunstan. The third chapter is opened with an authorial comment from George Eliot; the comment highlights her own views towards the upper class, "extravagant habits" and "bad husbandry". The idea of the class system is also mentioned and a subject all the way through the chapter. The "Casses" are on the top of the scale with the "Osgoods", and the remainder of the Raveloe community at the bottom. In between these two classes are the Lammeters, a well-respected family - one who has not inherited their status but have earned it. ...read more.

Middle

Dunstan has given himself a bad reputation, one of a "spiteful jeering fellow, who seemed to enjoy his drink the more others went dry" and a man with a "taste for swapping and betting". George Eliot describes Dunstan through the eyes of the Raveloe community as a man who "has turned out rather ill", this comment gives the reader the impression that his behaviour is due to his upbringing. But slowly Godfrey is being polluted into being like his brother as he is "fast becoming a bitter man". The squire is criticised slightly by the Raveloe community for the way he has brought up his three children after the loss of his wife. The lack of a woman in the house shows in the upbringing of the two sons that we hear of " kept all his sons at home in idleness". The sub plot involving the two brothers runs in parallel with the main story of Silas, his money and Eppie. This is done by the two separate story lines crossing in specific points - Godfrey and Molly are linked to Silas through Eppie, Silas is linked to Dunstan by his money. ...read more.

Conclusion

This imagery links back to the main plot of Eppie, adding prophetic irony, as Godfrey is Eppie's father. The description of the " half choked fire" symbolises the spaniel we hear of who is terrified by Dunstan but feels safe in the presence of Godfrey. Throughout the quarrel scene, mannerisms and descriptions of body language are used to highlight the brother's emotions and feelings towards the other. "Godfrey bit his lips and clenched his fist" in anger towards his brother, so much so he was "quivering" with temptation to "knock you down" this is directed to his brother. Dunstan is clearly the confident one "taking the whip...and beating the butt end of it on his palm." He is in control and is enjoying the fact his brother is the one "hesitating" with fear, of his father finding out that he secretly married a lower class, alcoholic opium addict with whom he had a child, Eppie. Dunstan's confidence is shown all the way through the quarrel scene, even though Godfrey is capable of knocking him down. The themes of love are portrayed through the brothers by the wide verity of emotions that they both suffer. The novel could be descried as being a fable, and that the moral is that money dose not necessarily bring happiness. Hywel Morse 10e ...read more.

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