By the writing of such letters, and by the making of speeches in the same strain, he had become Bishop of Barchester
This statement is made when Bishop Proudie is writing with courteous word choice and deep regret to Dr. Tempest to come over to the palace to discuss the proceedings against Mr. Crawley. Bishop Proudie is capable of writing with great rhetorical merit, and this statement reveals that his rhetorical capabilities helped him rise to the seat of bishop. This description of Bishop Proudie’s rhetoric echoes how Cicero, a Roman statesman, also ascended to power in the Rome by virtue of his rhetorical mastery of language. This empowering parallel to Cicero contrasts with Bishop Proudie’s emasculating acquiescence to his overbearing wife, Mrs. Proudie. This reference is meant to show readers that there is a powerful dimension to Bishop Proudie, that his wife does not control his rhetorical skills. Like Cicero, Bishop Proudie’s power and capabilities lie in his words, written and spoken. [AM 2006]
Full panoply of female armour
The idea of female clothing and adornment being equivalent to armor goes back at least to the Iliad. This phrase hearkens back to book 14 of Homer’s Iliad, where Hera adorns herself in order to seduce and distract Zeus so she can subvert his plans. Hera’s toilette is presented as a parallel to male armoring scenes in the epic. Trollope describes Mrs. Proudie and her daughters as “arrayed in a full panoply of female armor,” referring to their adornment and dress. The intention behind Mrs. Proudie’s adornment parallels Hera’s. This statement symbolizes that Mrs. Proudie, like Hera, intends on interfering with her husband’s affairs. [AM & RR 2006]
Sources: Homer, Iliad 14.166-186.
To risk his laurels
This statement is made when Dr. Tempest wishes to avoid Mrs. Proudie as he leaves the Bishop’s palace. The “laurels” refer to Dr. Tempest’s prior victory in an argument he had with Mrs. Proudie, and by encountering her again on his departure from the palace he would risk another confrontation with her and thus lose his victorious upperhand. The laurel in ancient Rome symbolized victory, and laurel wreaths were worn by victorious emperors and generals during commemorative ceremonies. [AM 2006]
From the Latin verb studeo, studēre, meaning “to desire” or “to be eager for.” Trollope uses “studied” to mean that Mrs. Proudie desired or was eager to promote the welfare of clergymen whose ideas were in line with her own. [AM & RR 2006]