in American Senator

Chapter 51 – The Senator’s Second Letter

demigod and hero

Senator Gotobed is here contrasting his own treatment in England with the treatment of Englishmen in the United States, stating that they are viewed like demigods, and that even the least among them is like a hero.  Trollope uses these words in close proximity to one another to activate their Classical associations, as heroes and demigods in Classical mythology were by definition extraordinary individuals or descended from the gods themselves.  This elevation of Englishmen in the United States to a single step below the gods is in stark contrast to Mr. Gotobed’s experiences in England.  [CMC 2012]


question Porson and Be-Bentley Bentley

Richard Bentley (1662-1742) and Richard Porson (1759-1808) were famous British Classicists renowned for editing Latin and Greek texts in order to free them from centuries of textual corruption.  The Senator, prior to his speech, is compared to a student who believes that after scrupulous study he will be able to outwit masters of the Classics.  This reference is humorous as Trollope is essentially stating that the Senator studies the British the way that the British study Classics.  Contained within this comparison is an inherent criticism of the Senator, as no student could realistically expect to best Porson or Bentley in matters of Classical scholarship. [CMC & RR 2012]

Source:  Encyclopedia Britannica, electronic edition.



Senator Gotobed, in writing to his American friend, calls Lord Rufford a tyrant, clearly in the Classical sense of the word as someone who is above the law.  Indeed, the fact that such men exist in England forms a major part of Gotobed’s critique of English society and is one of the roots of his troubles while in England.  [CMC 2012]