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Characters similarities in The Mayor of Casterbridge

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Introduction

Discuss the similarities between EJ and Donald Farfrae, as well as those between Michael Henchard and Lucetta. What effects does Hardy achieve through these pairings? The Mayor of Casterbridge has stimulated the emotions and perspectives of many of its readers with its relentless tragic atmosphere. In creating a successful tragedy such as this novel, Thomas Hardy has used a score of dualisms. Incorporating two different entities in a novel - traditional values or modern, changing or changeless characters, to name a few; greatly adds intensity to the tragedy of a novel. Furthermore, by pairing distinctive characters Hardy generates a moral value for this novel; though he denied he is a moralist. The model characters are Michael Henchard, Elizabeth-Jane Newson, Donald Farfrae and Lucetta Templeman; and they can be categorized into two parts. Therefore this essay will look into the similarities between Henchard and Lucetta, with those between Elizabeth-Jane and Farfrae and finally the effects of these two pairings towards the value of this novel. Henchard and Lucetta are similar in the sense that they are aggressive in fulfilling their wants or needs, and that they ultimately suffer as the result of their greed. For example, both of these characters act strictly according to their instincts. Henchard is initially presented as an itinerant hay-trusser who feels burdened by his content wife and daughter. However, unlike his wife Susan, he tries to fight back against his fate with his bullish nature, thus he sells her off. This act is greatly regretted by him later. ...read more.

Middle

Once in Casterbridge, however, she undertakes intellectual and social improvement: she begins to dress like a lady, reads voraciously, and does her best to wipe out rustic country dialect from her speech, whilst maintaining her kindness and simplicity. Other distinctive features are the couple's selfless attitude and sense of contentment. When Henchard soon comes to view Farfrae as his rival, the Scotchman's victories are won more in the name of progress than personal satisfaction. His primary motive in taking over Casterbridge's grain trade is to make it more prosperous and prepare the village for the advancing agricultural economy during the Industrial Revolution. He does not intend to dishonor Henchard. Indeed, even during Henchard's fight with him in the barn, or when Henchard is trying to shame him, the Scotchman reminds himself of the fallen mayor's circumstances, taking pains to understand and excuse Henchard's behavior. On Elizabeth-Jane's part, one could easily argue that she has a share equal to that of Henchard or Lucetta in terms of misery. Unlike these characters, however, Elizabeth-Jane suffers in the same way she lives-with a quiet kind of self-possession and resolve. She lacks Lucetta's sense of drama and lacks her stepfather's desire to bend the will of others to her own. Thus, when Henchard cruelly dismisses her or when Lucetta replaces her in Farfrae's heart, Elizabeth-Jane accepts these circumstances and moves on with life. This approach to living stands as a bold counterpoint to Henchard's, for Henchard cannot bring himself to let go of the past and relinquish his failures and unfulfilled desires. ...read more.

Conclusion

In The Mayor of Casterbridge - a novel of a drama of tragedy - the readers are exposed to the hardships of Elizabeth-Jane and Farfrae under the control of Henchard, and Henchard and Lucetta's relentless attempt to gain personal satisfaction which ultimately brings them to doom. The events bringing the end of the latter couple's death is unusual, unexpected and often brutal, as if done by the indestructible Fate. These are far more tragic than what could happen in real life. Tragedy is then a remedy; through watching tragedy the audience learns how to feel these emotions at the proper levels. Some modern interpreters of the work conclude that catharsis is pleasurable because audience members feel astonished from the fact that there existed those who could suffer a worse fate than them was to them a relief. To wrap things up, the traits which are concluded from the similarities of Henchard and Lucetta, and those from Farfrae and Elizabeth-Jane elevate a few moral values of The Mayor of Casterbridge and kindle the emotions of its readers. The readers are taught of the importance of moderation in life, that is extreme-desired personas will never surpass the temperate ones. The readers are also taught to never fight Fate and be content; apart from being given the sense of despair. Ultimately, the novel is given a medical value by which it could reduce the sense of self-pity or fear in the readers. Thomas Hardy is then may be dubbed as a social or heart healer. ?? ?? ?? ?? Maya Irma, AL85 ...read more.

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