the gentleman of the statue
“. . . that’s better than the hounds being mad about him, like the poor gentleman they’ve put into a statue.” Miss Dunstable says this to Frank when they chat at Gatherum Castle. She has asked how his father is doing, to which he replies that he is still “mad about the hounds,” prompting Miss Dunstable to make this comment. She is referring to the myth of Actaeon, a hunter whom Artemis turned into a deer with the result that his dogs chased and killed him. There are various reasons given for why Artemis was angry with the young man, but the most well-known is that he accidentally saw her bathing naked. After killing him, his dogs were distraught at the fact that they couldn’t find their master, so the centaur Cheiron made a statue of him which was able to calm them. [JC 2005]
The dogs’ attack on Actaeon was also a popular subject for post-antique art and statuary. [RR 2011]
Sources: Cassell’s Dictionary of Classical Mythology.
Ovid, Metamorphoses 3.131-252.
wheel of Fortune
“When a man has nailed fortune to his chariot-wheels he is apt to travel about in rather a proud fashion.” Trollope says this of the Head of Affairs whose resignation the Gatherum Castle set is about to force. The image here is a reversal of the traditional image of the goddess Fortuna with a wheel, which symbolizes her fickleness. The Head of Affairs has had a series of lucky accidents which has caused him to think that he’s got control of Fortune. Unfortunately, he is about to find that his luck will run out due to the fickleness of his colleagues. [JC 2005]
throw in our shells
“Had we not better throw in our shells against him?” Mr. Harold Smith says this in the discussion of the Head of Affairs’ fate. The phrase “to throw in one’s shells” comes from a mistranslation of the Greek word ostrakon which did mean “oyster-shell,” but not in this context. The word was also used for the shards of pottery the Athenians used to temporarily banish (or “ostracize”) a person from the polis. When Athenians had an opportunity to vote for a person to be banished, they would do so by writing his name on a shard of pottery. [JC 2005]
Juno’s despised charms
“. . .Mr. Supplehouse [was] mindful as Juno of his despised charms.” This is said of Mr. Supplehouse, who is compared to Juno who was passed over for Venus in the Judgement of Paris. Trollope has used allusions to the Judgement of Paris in Barchester Towers and brings them back in this novel. He often uses the metaphor to describe men’s rivalries, which is a slight insult as they are being compared to goddesses rather than gods. Trollope takes the Juno metaphor a little further in the next sentence when he remarks that “when Mr. Supplehouse declares himself an enemy, men know how much it means.” The same is true of Juno, who often declared herself the enemy of her husband’s paramours to the great disadvantage of the ladies (and nymphs) who were usually unknowing or unwilling to participate in the affairs. This is not to say, however, that she can’t be a bane to men as well. Aeneas’ trip from Troy to Italy would have been much less difficult if he hadn’t been suffering Juno’s wrath during the journey. [JC 2005]
Has not Greece as noble sons as him?
Though this looks like a Classical allusion, it actually seems to be inspired by a line from Byron’s Childe Harold: “Sparta hath many a worthier son than he.” [JC 2005]
Sources: Byron, Childe Harold 4.10.5.
Trollope, Framley Parsonage. Eds. David Skilton and Peter Miles. London: Penguin, 2004. See the note on page 565.
vox populi vox Dei
“The voice of the people is the voice of God.” This sentiment is expressed in a letter sent by Alcuin to Charlemagne (though Alcuin mentions it to argue against it). Trollope quotes this as Mr. Supplehouse’s belief when he begins to think that “the public voice calls for him,” noting that one’s belief in the public’s wisdom grows when one thinks that the public wishes for one to be in power. [JC 2005]
Sources: Alcuin, Letter 132.
Et tu, Brute!
Another Julius Caesar reference; for an earlier reference, see commentary for Chapter 4. Shakespeare gives this Latin phrase to Julius Caesar in the play, just after he has been betrayed by Brutus. [JC 2005]
Sources: Shakespeare, Julius Caesar 3.1.77.
all credit to the Jupiter
“All the credit was due to the Jupiter–in that, as in everything else.” Here the power of The Jupiter is reaffirmed. Because the press becomes a strong force in this novel, it is important that Trollope establish its power early on. Thus The Jupiter is given the status that its name (the same as the Roman king of the gods) suggests. [JC 2005]