During his time in Raveloe, Silas Marner builds up his money in an iron pot but when this becomes too small, he makes two leather bags to put the money into. Marner always “thought fondly of the guineas” and he liked them the most of all his coins. This shows that after the Lantern Yard scandal he replaces the need for human contact with that of his gold. His dependence on seeing his gold is so great that he finds himself running “his hands in the bright coins” every night and even looking forward to doing so. Unlike Godfrey Cass, who thinks of money as a thing to be used to get people to like him, Marner’ dependence is what keeps him through the day. After the theft of the gold Marner is shocked and desolated, for the gold had been keeping him through the day and he had now no person or object to focus his affections on. When Marner discovers that his gold has been stolen he desperately scrambles about the hole where his gold was hidden. This shows just how much he loved the gold.
Godfrey Cass, on the other hand, is in debt to his Father at this time and Dunstan Cass, his no-good little brother, has a few suggestions to repay this debt because he spent the money that Godfrey Cass gave to him and so is responsible for his brother’s debt. Also, Dunstan Cass has his brother ‘wrapped around his little finger’. This is due to Godfrey Cass being extremely weak willed, due to the detail that when he was brought up without a mother and so his life lacked moral teaching and discipline, therefore, he became very weak willed and was not qualified for anything. This is the reason why he uses gold to try to keep people close to him, if he did not and his father found out about his secret marriage then he would be disinherited, a thing that Godfrey was very afraid of due to his lack of skill at anything that could earn him money. Dunstan’s suggestions to Godfrey regarding the debt include selling Godfrey Cass’s horse, his only one and a symbol that he is one of the richer people in town. Another of Dunstan Cass’s suggestions was to rob Silas Marner and cover it up. Dunstan believes this to be a good idea because he has heard that Marner has enough money to “buy up bigger men than himself” and that he is very blind and so won’t be able to see their faces. Eventually Godfrey gives in to his brother’s suggestion and agrees for Dunstan to sell his horse in the next town. Dunstan’s exploits are successful in that he sells the horse to Bryce, for a hundred and twenty, presumably pounds. Unfortunately, Dunstan Cass manages to ‘stake’ the horse while catching up to the hunt. This is the end of Wildfire, the horse and Godfrey’s easy way out of debt. However when walking past Marner’s cottage Dunstan sees that the door is slightly ajar and he enters for warmth, Marner is nowhere to be seen. Looking around the cottage looks normal but Dunstan Cass remembers the rumour that Silas Marner has lots of gold piled up in his house. Dunstan does find the money and sneaks away, but not before putting the bricks and sand, under which the gold lay, back in position. He then disappears into the night. The word disappears could simply suggest that he is swallowed by the darkness but the events that occur later suggest that he falls into the stone pit, which he does without the aid of his brother’s whip to guide him along the dark lane, due to both his hands being full.
On the eve of the New Year there is a party up at the Red House, the residence of the Cass family. At this time the woman that Godfrey Cass is married to, who is also addicted to opium, is walking through the snow with Godfrey Cass’s child who, apparently, looks similar to him. At one point she takes a vial of opium mixed with brandy, a common pain killer at the time, and passes out in the snow. The little child is used to being left on its own and so wanders off, the child discovers Marner’s cottage, the door of which is ajar due to Marner being in a fit of catalepsy whilst looking out of the door, probably in the vain hope that his gold will come back to him.
When the child is discovered Marner believes it to be, first his gold and then his dead sister. After this Marner takes in the child because no one else will, not even Godfrey Cass the child’s own father, and Marner feels that the child will help him. She is named Eppie, after Marner’s sister and her hair has golden curls. This is what let Marner to believe that she was his gold that had come back.
Marner much prefers the golden curls of Eppie’s hair to his original gold and Eppie is what brings Marner into the community. This is because she needed to go to school and church. This also rekindled Marner’s faith somewhat. Eppie also teaches him to love other people and not his gold. Cass, however, still thinks that money is the answer to everything and even tries to tempt Eppie, his daughter, to come and live with him when Eppie is eighteen. This shows that Cass still just uses it to try and make people do what he wants due to his weak willed nature.
Finally, gold plays a great part in the life of Silas Marner, he firstly depends on it and when it is stolen he is very grieved but he finds Eppie to focus his affection on and soon he is no longer a miser and prefers the gold of Eppie’s hair to money. Gold also plays a big part in the life of Godfrey Cass; he needs the money for his horse to pay off his father, in the early part of the story, but he never receives it. After this gold is only in Godfrey’s life to be used make people serve his wants. That is until the finding of Dunstan Cass’s skeleton, and Marner’s money, in the stone pits close to Silas Marner’s cottage. Of course the money is returned to Marner but Godfrey Cass can’t help but think that the money was stolen for him and it cost his brother a greater price, his life. This is also the time when Godfrey tells Nancy, his wife, about his daughter and tries to buy Eppie back. In the end of the novel, Eppie gets married to Aaron Winthrop, the gardener at the Red House, and Godfrey Cass pays for the reception but does not attend, the final sign that he uses his money to maintain his reputation within the community.