© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
Silas Marner

Silas Marner


by George Eliot

Silas Marner Greed Quotes

How we cite our quotes: (Book.Chapter.Paragraph)

Quote #4

It was Godfrey's whip, which he had chosen to take without leave because it had a gold handle; of course no one could see, when Dunstan held it, that the name Godfrey Cass was cut in deep letters on that gold handle—they could only see that it was a very handsome whip. (1.4.9)

Dunstan is a nasty fellow. More than anyone else in the novel, he embodies thoughtless greed. If he wants something, he takes it, whether it's a horse, a whip, or some poor weaver's stash of coins. His greed is entirely selfish, as we see in this example—he holds the whip so no one can see that Godfrey's name is on the handle.

Quote #5

Dunstan's first act, after a train of thought made rapid by the stimulus of cupidity, was to go up to the bed; but while he did so, his eyes travelled eagerly over the floor, where the bricks, distinct in the fire-light, were discernible under the sprinkling of sand. (1.4.11)

Dustan's "eager" eyes show how superficial and thoughtless greed can be. It's almost as though his body acts without his mind—his train of thought is quick, suggesting that he's not really thinking it through. Spurred on by "cupidity," or "desire," his eye moves without any real purpose behind it. He's almost like a machine, driven by greed rather than by human emotions.

Quote #6

The inhabitants of Raveloe were not severely regular in their church-going, and perhaps there was hardly a person in the parish who would not have held that to go to church every Sunday in the calendar would have shown a greedy desire to stand well with Heaven, and get an undue advantage over their neighbours—a wish to be better than the 'common run,' that would have implied a reflection on those who had had godfathers and godmothers as well as themselves, and had an equal right to the burying-service. (1.10.20)

This passage suggests that greed is antisocial. Wanting to be different in any way from your neighbors is, according to the villagers, being "greedy." In other words, if everyone on your block has a Toyota, you'd better have a Toyota, too, and leave the BMWs to the guys up at the Red House.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...