Silas Marner is the protagonist of the novel of the same name by George Eliot. He lived in the town of Lantern Yard and led a pious life possessing an ardent religious faith. He was engaged to a servantwoman by the name of Sarah. But his friend, William Dane, felt jealous of him. He developed a liking for the girl and wanted to marry her. He plotted against Silas to disgrace him in the community. As a result of Dane’s conspiracy, Silas was charged with stealing the money of a dying deacon. Silas Marner denied the crime. The members of Lantern Yard drew lots to be certain of Marner’s guilt. The lots declared him guilty. At this, Silas’s faith in God and man was shaken and he declared that there was no just God. Sarah had renounced her betrothal to him and within a month she married William Dane. Marner departed from Lantern Yard in despair for good and went to the village of Raveloe.
At Raveloe, Silas began to live as an alienated man. Being isolated from others, Silas becomes obsessed with money. He began to work for as long as sixteen hours a day in order to make him richer. He began to earn gold and silver coins which became his only friends. After finishing his work at night, he would take out all his money in order to enjoy the companionship of his gold and silver coins. But his money is stolen by Dunstan. When he faces the truth that his gold is gone, he cries out in anguish. But his loss of gold has been compensated by the arrival of a child with golden hair. The name of the child is Eppie.
Silas brings up Eppie who is the biological child of Godfrey. As Eppie grows up, Silas’s life improves dramatically. Eppie grows up with all the neighbours as her friends. As everyone loves Eppie, they start to love Silas. There is love between Silas and Eppie and this love is mingled with people’s love for the child. There is also love between Eppie and the world — other men and women. Eppie makes Silas seem human to his neighbours. She represents the beginning of human contacts for Silas. She creates fresh links between his life and the lives of his neighbours.
Silas’s regeneration becomes complete when he returns to the village of Raveloe after visiting Lantern Yard. When Eppie is a blonde girl of eighteen, Godfrey comes to Marner’s cottage and offers to take the charge of Eppie. He even reveals that he is her biological father. But Eppie declines the offer and decides never to part from Silas. Silas visits Lantern Yard to discover whether anything happened in the years since he left Lantern Yard to prove his innocence in the theft of the deacon’s money. But he fails to do so. Returning from his native place, he tells Dolly that he will never be able to know the truth about his past. Dolly replies that it is the will of the unknown supernatural powers that certain things remain a mystery to human beings and that human being should accept the will of those powers. He says that he has enough reason to trust in powers when Eppie has sent to him and when he has begun to love her. He also adds that as Eppie has decided never to leave him, he will continue trust those powers till he dies. Thus, Silas who becomes sceptical turns into a pious man at the end of the novel.