in Last Chronicle of Barset

Chapter 57 – A Double Pledge

A place where three roads meet

This phrase recalls the description (in Sophocles’ Oedipus) of the location where Oedipus unwittingly killed his own father.  At such a crossroads in the novel, Archdeacon Grantly sees the card advertising the sale at Cosby Lodge where his son, Major Grantly, lives. It is at this point in Archdeacon Grantly’s journey that he realizes that it is imperative that he speak harshly with Grace Crawley to ask her not to marry his son, for if she does, his son will suffer ruin.  This allusion to Sophocles’ play in the narrative may show how physical places mark turning points in the plot.  [AM 2006]

Archdeacon Grantly is hurt and angered by the sign for the sale at Cosby Lodge.  Through the sign, his son has “attacked” him at “a place where three roads meet”–but unlike Oedipus, Major Grantly’s attack does not prove fatal for his father.  [RR 2011]

Sources:  Sophocles, Oedipus 715-716, 729-730, 800-801.