Casterbridge Essays

The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy Essay

1509 Words7 Pages

The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy

Thomas Hardy wrote the novel 'The Mayor of Casterbridge' in 1886. Two of the main characters, Donald Farfrae and Michael Henchard have a contrast in luck and Hardy uses characterisation, language, historical and social background and a craft in the structure of his novel to help bring across this point. During this essay I am going to comment upon how Hardy does this and further consider the view that, Farfrae's good fortune is a result of Henchard's ill luck.

Throughout the novel there are many examples of Farfrae's good fortune resulting in Henchard's ill luck. One of the most important examples in the book is when Henchard and Farfrae both gamble on…show more content…

Both of these types of characterisation link in with Farfrae's good fortune and Henchard's ill luck.

Hardy creates Henchard not as an evil man but more of tragic hero. This is a person with a fatal flaw. Henchard's main flaw is his temper. This first adds to his ill luck right at the start of the novel when he sells Susan and his daughter in a drunken angry state. Even though this does not directly link in with Farfrae's good fortune (as he is not present in the start of the novel) it does later on in the novel when the furmity seller arrives back and tells the court of Henchard's secret. When Henchard admits to what is being said by the old women all respect is lost for him and he looses his role of town mayor. When Farfrae finally becomes mayor near the end of the novel (after the mayor after Henchard dies) his good fortune is a result of Henchard's ill luck which is the result of his fatal flaw. Hardy also uses fate against Henchard throughout the whole novel. An example of this is when Henchard and Farfrae both hold a dance for the townspeople. Farfrae has his in a barn whereas Henchard's is out in the open. When it rains on the night of the dance everyone turns out to Farfrae's even Susan and Elizabeth-Jane. This leads to Farfrae's popularity rising and Henchard's to carry on decreasing (as the dance was a hope to regain some

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Henchard in The Mayor of Casterbridge Essay

1042 Words5 Pages

Is Henchard a sympathetic character? Should we pity him at the end of the novel, or does he get what he deserves?

“The Mayor of Casterbridge” – The title refers to the main character in the book, Michael Henchard, who is the key figure in the novel. The whole story rotates around his life, and how he and the other characters change. Many criticise Thomas Hardy for this book due to the unlikely coincidences that occur many times through the book. The book takes place in rural England, in Wessex, Hardy’s made up county.

It starts off with Michael Henchard and his wife Susan, both young, with their baby daughter Elizabeth Jane looking for employment in the small town of Weydon-Priors. The Michael Henchard Hardy first
introduces…show more content…

He vows never to drink again for 21 years. “ I, Michael Henchard, on this morning of the sixteenth of September, do take an oath before God here in this solemn place that I will avoid all strong liquors fir the space of 21 years to come, being a year for every year that I have lived.”Hardy now shows Henchard as a character with a dark exterior but lots of hidden feeling waiting to get out. Hardy makes the reader feel sympathetic for Henchard although he has nobody but himself to blame.

The story then skips to 18 years later with Susan and Elizabeth Jane making there way back to Casterbridge after Susan hears that Newson had died. Susan has not changed much but Elizabeth Jane turned into a fine young lady. They decide to meet and Henchard and Susan decide remarry as a couple that just met to prevent Elizabeth Jane from finding out about the disgraceful event that happened 18 years ago.
This shows that Henchard has become more mature because he is thinking out his actions before going ahead with them and is able to control his behaviour and to have become a mayor he has earned respect and wealth. Meanwhile Henchard has hired Donald Farfrae who at first gets along with Henchard very well. When Farfrae takes a liking to
Elizabeth Jane, they become very close and Henchard suddenly begins to despise him. However Farfrae outdoes him in every aspect and out

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