Character Sketch of Mr.Slope In “Barcherster Towers” is one of the central figures of this novel. A deep analysis or study of this novel shows that there are some certain main issues or disputes or affairs with which the novel takes its start. If we throw light on the history of the Govt. of England then we come to know that the church in England is fully kept separate from the states. Round about all the major and chief ecclesiastical appointments are kept in the hands of the government.
Political influences and powers play an important role in getting such a high and influential post in the church. That’s why, every government or administration tries its best to choose such a candidate or a man who should not have a least contradictory or opposite outlook or views from the views of the present government or administration. There had also been practice in England that those who contradicted from the policies and outlooks or views of contemporary government or administration, were penalized by discharging them from their posts. Same was the case of Dr. Grantly, he was in favour with one administration but not with the next and so, he lost his chance at the appointment. The people of the High Church were conservative and always believed in church privileges; wanted no interference of the state in the affairs of the church such as practices of catholic character, church discipline and dogma.
As the history shows that the parties of High -Church were more strengthened, became in power and expanded through the influential efforts of the Oxford Movement in the 1830s and 1840s. The Low Church parties were opposite to the High Church in many respects and these parties became in power and grew larger in the Methodist movement of the late eighteenth century. The parties or followers of Low Church gave more stress on fulfilling the spiritual and physical needs of the people.
They were not of the view that human beings are somewhat detached intermediaries between God and man The men of the Evangelical Movement had their outlook and views which were about half-way in between Anglicanism and Methodism. They worked with the state to correct such absurdities, vices, follies foible and abuses which they found within the social system. These men and their followers were the low church party, and the readers of Barchester Towers must regard Dr. Proudie and Mr. Slope as representing the views of this party.
The very striking achievement or landmark of this movement was the termination or end of the slave trade in 1807. The Low Church groups also insisted that the Bible would be the primary and basic authority in ecclesiastical affairs and moral questions but not on tradition. Another hallmark of the Low Church parties was the establishment of Sunday schools through which they imparted the education to the people and urged Sunday observance, philanthropy in addition to these they also promoted or made many schemes of social reformations.
Further, they also condemned and made many elaborate rituals invalid which were being practiced or tainted with Catholicism. From the very outset of the novel, we come to know a tussle which in going on between Low Church and High Church and which also gives birth to the main action (plot), of this novel As both the parties of Low Church and High Church are at conflict or dispute as to whether the appointment of the new bishop would be made by a conservative or liberal administration.
It is worthy to note here that Trollope has presented Dr. Grantly, Revered Harding and Mr. Arabin as the clergies of High Church in Barchester. While Mr. Proudie, Mrs Proudie and Mr. Slope are the representatives of low church. These are Dr. Grantly’s failure and Dr. Proudie’s success which serve as raising a conflict or dispute within local church. From the new appointment of Mr. Proudie, Trollope creates a situation in which the plot of the novel takes birth which further leads to main plot in the rest of the novel. After the death of old Dr. Grântly, his son Dr. Grantly junior was fully qualifying for the post of bishop and was also ambitious for getting this post but all his hopes and wishes could not come true when MR. Proudie was appointed to that post. Being indifferent to religion, the new could not withstand the resistance but he had bold and aggressive wife and secondly shrewd and intriguing family chaplain Mr. Slope.
So, we see that bishop was in safe hands. Though in the coming developments, we see Mr. Slope went out of favour and Mrs. Proudie got the Bishop all to herself. Mrs. Proudie was excessively a woman of aggressive nature who always kept the Bishop’s chaplain Obadiah Slope in permanent quarrel or dispute. There was delivered a sermon by Mr. Slope, on the first Sunday in which there was given stress or emphasis on the importance of simplicity, humility and nobility in the church services. He also wanted to exclude the element of chanting from the outward ceremony, His sermon also proves that the Low church reformers considered themselves as crusaders who wanted to purify the church of its pagan emphasis on outward ceremony which was related to the use of music and tuning and chanting in the formal rituals.
As there had been practice of chanting, music and tuning in the services of the cathedral for the last many generations; so, the chapter could find no proper, apt and solid reason for the discontinuity of the practice. Later, in the counsel, an action was taken against him and it was decided that Mr. Slope should never be given permission to preach again. Mr. Slope who always remains in launching his unscrupulous and worldly movements; makes another effort by keeping. Rev. Septimus Harding from holding the position of warden in Hiram’s Hospital. He informs Mr. Harding said that as he would be expected to hold or perform or conduct many services a week and he would also be expected to manage Sunday schools in relation to asylum. The issue of appointing a new man on the seat of warden in the Hospital was going on and there seemed no solution of the controversy in the near future. But the controversy over the hospital was settled when Dr. Proudie and Mr. Slope became agree to offer the post to Mr. Quiverful. But this cause of conflict moved towards other direction.
As deanship was a post of influence and it had a great deal of power because the dean used to control the Cathedral services and staff. So, the appointment became a matter of serious concern for both the parties of High Church and Low Church. It was very obvious that if Mr. Şlope had become dean then the High church party would have lost one of their primary seats of influences in the diocese. Because it was the dean who terminated Mr. Slope from spreading his preachings, teachings and doctrines from the cathedral pulpit after his insulting sermon made by him on the first Sunday.
With the passage of time, there occurred another change of policy which was also affected in the diocese It was declared by bishop through Mr. Slope that absen clergymen should return to their duties as soon as possible and start helping in the administration of the clergymen of different districts. At this bishop’s announcement, Dr. Grantly introduced Mr. Arabin as a champion of High Church Mr. Slope who plays a very important role in the plot construction of the novel and who always makes any kind of unscrupulous and worldly affair or movement.
This time, Mr. Slope falls in love with Eleanor and wants to marry her. He asks Mr. Quiverful to assume the duties of Hospital but when feeling himself in fix and in order to please Eleanor he makes Mr. Quiverful to surrender in the favour of Mr. Harding. Though he had made Mr. Proudie agree with him yet it was Mr. Harding who made a crucial decision that he could simply not take the responsibilities of new duties at his age. So on the other hand, luckily Mr. Quiverful a low church man was. given promotion. At another occasion in the novel, we see whether it may be termed as Mr. Slope‘s sensibility or wisdom or tricky nature as it is known that the dean of Barchester has been attacked by the stroke of apoplexy and now his condition is beyond recovery.
Now it was being thought that Dr. Grantly would accept this post of deanship but Mr. Slope was also interested in getting such kind of influential post so that he could get same power and authority at high level, Mrs. Proudie who was not in favour of granting or assigning this post to Mr. Slope after the death of the dean. Mr. Slope who had become in great confusion but his confusion was solved when he felt encouraged and satisfied by the newspaper, in which it was said that younger people would be given preference in appointing the posts or places of influence in the church.
A little later, he was sent off to another diocese by the bishop on Mrs. Proudie’s allegations of his having illegal and non priestly behaviour and relation with Signora Neroni because he often used to have silly and worthless flirtation with her: By using the influential authorities of Oxford, Mr. Arabin got the post of deanship which symbolises or highlights a victory for the High churchmen. The very hallmark of Low Church parties was the insistence of the Bible to be the primary authority in all the moral questions and they also promoted or spread education of the people through establishing the “Sunday Schools.” They uplifted the standard or esteem of “Sunday schools” which were actually considered Sabbathday School as holidays. There were the major points with Low Church divines on the basis of which Mr. Slope and Mrs. Proudie attached on Dr. Grantly first time.
To sum up this above mentioned discussion; we can analyse that these are chief causes of conflict or dispute between the High Church and Low Church on which the novel is based. Actually and eventually the forthcoming action of the novel resolves itself into a “conflict between good people and bad people rather than between clerical faction”. This is the very issue which Trollope presents and concludes in Barchester Towers. As we know that Mr. Slope’s involvement in the plot.construction is very much and from the very beginning of his presentation on the stage; he proves to be a very disturbing and trouble creating factor for the lives of most of the major characters in the novel. After his departure from Barchester, the high and low Church parties became on a permanent truce.
We also see that their actual battle or disputes also come to an end and finally the novel takes its satisfactory ending. Though they remain opposed in principle but continue to live side by side without creating any other trouble. At the end of the novel, we see that all the major characters meet with their satisfactory ends and each side of the church whether low or high has its own victory. As Mr. Quiverful has got his seat in the hospital and Mr. Arabin wins the deaner Mr. Harding, being a man of noble nature, accompanies Mil Quiverful to the hospital and happily and willingly introduces him to his old fellows of the hospital.
Here Trollope also conveys a moral message to his readers, as well as the viewers! that tolerance, forbearance and self-respect are those virtues which always reward in virtue and on the other hand these virtues also terminate the vices. The satisfactory ending of the novel also emphasizes on the pleasant quality of Trollope’s art of writing that he never ever wanted to give preference for one religious sect over the other. To conclude this above mentioned discussion, we can say openly and vehemently that the elements of tolerance and forbearance also serve a very key role in developing the relations of the characters in a very pleasant way.
Though Mrs. Proudie defeats Mr. Slope yet it does not mean one character’s victory over the other socially. In the course of the action of the novel, though the people of the High Church are presented better than the low church people in some chapters only. . But it is very crystal clear proof that their success is not only due to their own efforts. Dr. Grantly, the mouthpiece of High *Church and the leader of his sect, does not succeed in securing the hospital for Mr. Harding, he creates hindrances rather than help the romantic pair of Eleanor and Mr. Arabin.
As influential powers and authorities play very vital role in dismissing and appointing a person at any post or seat of influence; so, he also depends on Dr. Guynne to influence the appointment to the deanship. Mr. Arabin, being å champion of the High Church, never opposes or degrades Mr. Slope or the Proudies who are the representatives of Low Church -The deanship which is the post or seat of influential authority and by which the High Church Parties carry on or maintain its authority, superiority and power; in Barchester, is “simply” handed to him From the very beginning to the end of the novel, it seems that Trollope has no willing mood or he does not want to develop or create any kind of dreadful, painful and, troublesome conflicts in the novel; sometimes he also seeks from superficiality in order to maintain the peace of coherence, flow, and harmony of the events, incidents and happenings of the story of the novel.