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Silas Marner is a naturally affectionate, unselfish character. Betrayal by his friend leads him to two major sins: despair and usury. He is ultimately saved by his love for Eppie. Antagonist: Silas' antagonist is his own self-imposed isolation and his sinful obsession with gold, which are responsible for the fossilization of his heart and his misery.
The climax occurs with the theft of Silas' gold and the arrival of Eppie. From this point forward, his dormant springs of love are rejuvenated and his world changes for the better.
Outcome: The novel ends in comedy. Silas is blessed with happiness through his compassion for an orphaned child. In the novel, George Eliot aims at showing the invigorating influence of "pure, natural human relationships."
The conflict can also be viewed in terms of the sub-plot: Godfrey is the protagonist who is a kindly, well-meaning man. His antagonist is his lack of moral courage, which is responsible for his undoing. The climatic moment for him is the discovery of Dunstan's dead body, which leads him to confession, but his daughter turns down his fatherly overtures. Godfrey is left remorseful and learns the lesson that repentance, though it may wipe out guilt, can never wipe out the results of sin.