in Warden

Chapter 01 – Hiram’s Hospital

personification of Scandal

Within the first few paragraphs of the novel, Trollope employs a very Classical technique: the personification of intangible forces.  Very much like Vergil’s personification of Rumor in the Aeneid, Trollope personifies Scandal in his description of the rumors about Mr. Harding’s preferment.  [JC 2005]

In the Aeneid, the personified Rumor (or Fama) not only spreads the news of Aeneas and Dido’s affair, but she also focuses her tale on how the two lovers are neglecting their duties, which elevates Rumor to a position of quasi-judge of these authority figures.  Similarly, in The Warden, Scandal “had reprobated” the bishop for favoring Mr. Harding and, before that, had “blamed” him for not favoring him.  Though Trollope’s personification of Scandal only occurs at the beginning of the novel, it highlights what will become a theme for the novel and a major impetus for the characters’ actions.  In the Aeneid, Rumor also acts as a driving force for Dido, informing her of Aeneas’ plan to leave her, which causes her descent into madness and her eventual suicide.  [JE 2014]

Source:  Vergil, Aeneid 4.173-197 and 4.298.299.



In his presentation of the hospital, Trollope describes the portal “through which the more happy portion of the Barchester elite pass into the Elysium of Mr. Harding’s dwelling.”  Elysium, in Classical mythology, is the place where the blessed dead reside in the Underworld.  This image helps not only to create an image of how peaceful and happy a place the hospital is, but also to strengthen the sense of Mr. Harding’s holiness and his good luck in getting the wardenship.  [JC 2005]