• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Chance, Accident and Coincidence in The Mayor of Casterbridge

Extracts from this document...


In The Mayor of Casterbridge, Hardy presents chance, accident and coincidence. Illustrate their significance to the novel as a whole. Enthusiasts of Thomas Hardy's novels know him with his distinctive philosophy of life. That is, the indestructible unseen force, Fate, exists to alter the happiness of a human's life. Fate resides in nature and may appear as a natural force. Thus, The Mayor of Casterbridge falls under the category of novels of character and environment. Furthermore, Hardy believes that there are different manifestations of Fate. Apart from its guise as nature, it also appears in the apparition of Chance, Accident and Coincidence. Ramji Lall mentioned that there has been an excessive use of chance and coincidence in this novel's course of events. Hardy has been blamed for this, and no doubt he does sometimes overdo it. But to condemn his use of chance altogether is to misunderstand his view of life. Therefore, this essay attempts to illustrate the usefulness of chance, accident and coincidence to the novel. Chance exists in love, a weather-forecast and the goldfinch in the novel. Michael Henchard, the main character whose life is deeply succumbed into the hands of Fate, seeks love through Elizabeth-Jane Newson. Love is a chance whether one will give the affections or sympathy to the other and it depends on the other to appreciate the chance given to lead a fulfilling life. In Casterbridge, Elizabeth apparently gives her utmost devotion and care to Henchard when he discloses the transaction at Weydon-Fair to her and that she is her real daughter. ...read more.


But this accident has led the two victims to a heated argument. This therefore represents conflict between Henchard and Farfrae thus bringing in the concept of drama. In addition, Hardy incorporated this unexpected event so as to add the surprising effect of the novel, apart from firing up conflict between the characters of the novel; and thus fulfilling the novel's criterion as a drama. To take the meaning of this collision of waggons to another perspective is that it symbolizes the clash of rustic and industrialization. Henchard, on one hand, practices traditional methods in handling his hay and corn business whilst Farfrae uses modern technology in his. Hardy has a knack for pairing two distinctive features in one novel, such as modernism and traditionalism itself, and he is well credited for it. By using dualism in this novel it creates the theme of the novel - the clash of two lifestyles and that the rustic life giving way to modernism. It highlights the outlook of English evolution during the reign of Industrialism in the 1840s. All in all, "The Mayor of Casterbridge" is a wholesome book in my opinion because it merely not describing the scuffles in a hamlet, it presents us the bigger picture of a human's life. Accident may also be considered as a misfortune; unfortunate for Henchard to meddle with such occult activity as weather-forecasting. The act of Henchard seeking 'Wide-oh' to get a glimpse of future, that is to know whether the weather will be fine or not, metaphorically means that he seeks his own misfortune for meddling with uncertainty and possibilities. ...read more.


The characters narrowly miss bumping to each other; with Susan and Elizabeth had gone for the Three Mariners just when 'Henchard emerges from the King's Arm'. The readers have probably been wondering when Henchard will meet his former family again, and how they will react to each other. From this the suspense builds. Hardy wants to make his readers wait a little longer before they can see this confrontation. Another instance is that the rooms for Farfrae and the woman and her daughter in the Three Mariners are allotted next to each other. Hardy makes his readers wait to find out more about the mysterious stranger Farfrae. As the novel progresses, all these characters intertwined, entangled and the readers are served with the struggles by each individual character trying to win or outdo the others. Readers are made to think and predict who will prevail. All in all, the role of coincidence in this novel is to show the battle between the odds, the disappointment in hope and to aggravate suspense. They also emphasize Hardy's belief that man is not in control of his own destiny, but is ruled by Fate. To put it briefly, it is inevitable to think that chance, accident and coincidence in 'The Mayor of Casterbridge' are merely the agents of Fate. Evidently, Henchard, the main character, is surrounded by an environment which seems to be against him - the weather, the people, and the situations. These invisible features are apparently indestructible no matter how hard Henchard tries. Hence, Hardy's excessive use of chance and coincidence does effectively make the story tragic, by means of the merciless damnation towards a character. ?? ?? ?? ?? Maya Irma, AL85 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Other Criticism & Comparison section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Other Criticism & Comparison essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    The English Patient

    5 star(s)

    At some point, Geoffrey somehow found out about the affair. World War II broke out in 1939, and Almasy decided to close up their camp and arranged for Geoffrey to pick him up in the desert. Geoffrey arrived in his plane with Katharine.

  2. Symbolism in The Joy Luck Club

    when Ying-Ying discovers the wobbly table. "Not too sturdy" can be applied to Lena's marriage as well as the table; the vase, as well as Lena, is in an unstable position. Lena's marriage is in danger of falling into ruin. Lena describes the table as "a poorly designed piece that Harold made in his student days" (163).

  1. Characters similarities in The Mayor of Casterbridge

    His jealousy of Farfrae causes "him to lose both a faithful employee and a good friend" (Kramer 86). Henchard's pride cannot accept the fact that Farfrae has become more popular then he among the townspeople of Casterbridge. Furthermore, he feels threatened by Farfrae's sudden success; thus, he dismisses Farfrae.

  2. comparsion of jane eyre and wuthering heights

    is for us to be at once as free as solitude, as gay as in company." 'Wuthering Heights' is written from the perspectives of different characters and this allows us to know the protagonist's inner thoughts and feelings whereas in 'Jane Eyre', we do not have access to Mr Rochester's

  1. Comparison between The Tell-tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe and Misery by Stephen King.

    In all these occasions, the writer could've used simple, non-death associated words, but instead he used the words "dead", "guts" and "killed". All these words inspire the thought of death in the reader's brain, and although it is not directly mentioned it subconsciously arouses the idea of Paul's death in the reader's mind.

  2. Existentialism seen in The Thief and the Dogs by Naguib Mahfouz and The Stranger ...

    Nur stood by him. The blame for losing all of these relationships and people in his life must be placed on Said himself. He never thought a plan out thoroughly; he only planned out what it would take to get him what he wanted, but he never thought of the consequences or the impact it would have on others.

  1. Trying To Find No Place

    He loves his criminal lifestyle simply because it feels good. It is not for the money that he does these horrible things, it is simply for the pleasure it gives him. Anything that gives somebody that much freedom, and that much pleasure is clearly a perfect world to them.

  2. Structure of the Novel The Mayor of the Casterbridge

    At the time that Lucetta first flirts with Farfrae, Elizabeth-Jane is seeing him. Lucetta is well aware of that fact, because Elizabeth-Jane stays with her. Elizabeth-Jane, of course, is Henchard's stepdaughter, and Farfrae is his rival. The closeness of all the main characters helps to strengthen the conflict within and between Henchard and the people around him.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work