The role of chance and coincidence in Silas Marner

Question: Discuss The role of chance and coincidence in Silas Marner.


Chance and coincidence play a vital role in the novel “Silas Marner” by George Eliot (1819-1880). They influence the plot of the Novel and contribute much to the development of the protagonist, Silas Marner, and in the lives of some other characters too. A number of chances and coincidences happen in the novel.

The term change and coincidence

The term chance and coincidence’ is a superb literary technique used by George Eliot. Chance means scope and coincidence means the fact of two things happening at the same time by chance in a strange way. By this term, the novelist means to say that a coincidence comes to the actional life of human beings with a chance or luck.

Significance of chance and coincidence

If there is no chance and coincidence, there is no regeneration in the life of the protagonist and other characters as well. The protagonist faces a huge number of bitter situations in his life but he has been regenerated at the same time by dint of coincidences which are as follow:

Betrayed by beloved and friend

The first and foremost chance and coincidence happen at the very out of Silas’ life at his native town Lantern Yard. At his youth, Silas was a pious man and was engaged with Sarah for marriage. But his fraud best friend William Dane plotted against him and Silas was accused of theft for stealing the minister’s money. When he was proved thief by draw of lots, Sarah decided that she could not marry a thief. Having been betrayed by his beloved and friend, he lost his faith in love and religion. This betrayal coincidence brought a chance in his life and he started a new journey of life as a lonely waver at Raveloe.

Robbery of Silas’ cottage and Eppie’s appearance

This coincidence is really the center of the plot of the novel. It has at least two significances. Safety for Godfrey Cass: Godfrey Cass is one of the vital characters of the novel who has to suffer a lot for marriage with a coquette Molly Farren. Molly wants to come to the house of Godfrey Cass with a two years little girl at the function of the new year to claim that she is his wife and the baby is the evidence but at the way she dies accidentally and at the same time Dunstan Cass dies while fleeing with Silas’ gold coins. Thus, Godfrey is saved from the blackmail of Molly and Dunstan and a chance comes to his life to start a happy married life with Nancy.

Regeneration of the Protagonist

Silas believes that work is the best form of restrain. He works lonely separating himself from the community and accumulates gold coins which are the only company in his life. One day he goes out for collecting water from the nearby cataract or waterfall ad his daily routine. He returns home and becomes frustrated and because all his savings have been robbed by someone unknown to him. But he is decompensated with two years little girl with golden hair. From this onward, Silas is totally a changed and regenerated man.

Discovery of Dunstan’s skeleton and Godfrey’s confess

This is another coincidence of the novel that is no less significant at all as it brings a chance for Godfrey and Nancy to have a daughter in their conjugal life and for Silas’ economic recovery at the same time. After a long few years, the dead body of Dunstan is discovered suddenly by the power of Omnipotent basically with Silas’ stolen or robbed guineas. At the very moment, Godfrey confesses to his wife Molly that he married before marrying her and has a daughter named Eppie who has been brought up by Silas. Hearing this, Nancy and Godfrey go to Silas’ cottage and claim that Eppie is their asset. Eppie unequivocally asserts that she never leaves Silas. Thus, Silas is decompensated doubly with his gold coins and Eppie permanently of forever.


Now, it can be said that the plot of the novel must get stopped without having chance and coincidence and the novelist has shown mastery on this very term.

Ruhul Huda
Ruhul Huda

You can call me Mr. Huda. I am a researcher and doing this work for years. I like to learn everywhere. So, feel free to share your experience with me.

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