• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month
  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 6
  7. 7
  8. 8
  9. 9

Compare and contrast Oak and Troyas representations of 'The Victorian Man'.

Extracts from this document...


Compare and contrast Oak and Troy as representations of 'The Victorian Man' 44 out of 54: A Before publishing 'Far from the Madding Crowd' in 1874, Thomas Hardy's novels were known, by readers at the time, to be rather vulgar because of their concentration on country folk and not members of high society. This was an unusual choice for an author at the time, whilst other classics by Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters focused their attentions to tales of the aristocracy. Hardy's many Biblical and Romantic allusions added a new dimension to the novel, and his often profound comments show there is more to this tale than just a simple love story. In Victorian England, farm workers were seen to be poor people who accumulated large families and were generally less presentable in appearance and often had a lower standard of living. However, Hardy attempted to alter feelings of city folk towards the countryside and its rustics by writing his pastoral tragedy with an aim to help educate the literate people of the city. The novel is an authentic depiction of people living in rural society during the nineteenth century. Each of the main characters represents the different personalities that existed in the social climate at the time. The story takes place in a rustic part of England in the late Victorian period and follows three suitors in pursuit of the female character whom, they feel, would be their ideal wife. The lady at the centre of attention in the village is Bathsheba Everdene. Being a wealthy, independent young lady, she is highly sought after. She is the protagonist, propelling the plot through her interaction with her various suitors. At the beginning of the novel she is a penniless young lady but she quickly inherits and learns to run a farm, from her uncle, in Weatherbury, where most of the novel takes place. ...read more.


" ... I feel like new wine in an old bottle here. My notion is that sash-windows should be put throughout, and these old wainscoated walls brightened up a bit; or the oak cleared quite away, and the walls papered ... I am for making this place modern." (P224 Ch 35) Here, Troy shows his desire to change the atmosphere in his home, and he admits that the old house urgently needs renovation. The "new wine in an old bottle" suggests that the decoration is not approved of by Troy and implies that the bottle needs a new appearance. Troy's condescending and arrogant approach causes Hardy to portray Troy as a snob. Hardy opposed change and modernisation, which is what Troy was recommending in the quotation. Troy, being a well-educated, handsome young man would appeal to women as he complies to the Victorian ideals. Gabriel Oak is portrayed as an honest farmer, who has a divine love for nature. Hardy uses him as a mouthpiece to perhaps convey his own enduring love of the countryside. But Oak's characteristics do not fully comply to the Victorian ideals. His occupation of a shepherd would not provide the satisfactory wealth that women expected from the 'ideal man'. His appearance is not one of an attractive, middle-class man who would attract women, but of a rustic who lacks confidence in his appearance and approach to women, like Bathsheba. Oak cares for Bathsheba, but does not succeed in marrying her until the end of the novel (when Troy is dead and Boldwood is imprisonment), as he feels she is a woman who would prefer handsome men with considerable wealth as her 'ideal husband'. Oak does not have the academic intelligence or education of the 'ideal husband' which may explain why he is occupied on a farm and does not work in a higher-paid job, or in Boldwood's case, a yeoman farmer. ...read more.


as identifiable, with flaws and strengths in personality. As Hardy was a man with respect for nature, he represents Oak as the more admirable and likeable of the two men, and the one who conforms best to the ideal man of the 1870s. The name 'Gabriel' gives the reader an insight into his character, a 'good angel' who is the hero of the novel, whilst 'Oak' suggest his character is a strong individual, and has associations with nature. Hardy admires Oak for his devotion to Bathsheba, and his respect for her. "I will help to my last effort the woman I have loved so dearly" (p231 Ch 36) Oak's clear devotion to Bathsheba is evident here, and his caring attitude impresses Bathsheba who feels slightly shy to praise his actions. Oak's attitude towards women is like that of a stereotypical man in the Victorian age; protecting his loved one, caring for her, whilst being brave and heroic. Unlike his image of Oak he gives to the reader, Hardy portrays Troy as the more detestable of the two characters as he was not a fond lover of nature. Hardy feels it is appropriate to give the reader a villain, and therefore characterizes him as a person who is opposed to Hardy's own feelings and attitude of respect. "... it is foolish of you to take away my money so ..." "Humbug about cruel. Now there 'tis again - turn on the water-works; that's just like you." Here Troy shows his cruelty towards his wife, and tries to deflate her, claiming she is weak and cries when she feels defeated, showing his disrespect for her. Hardy's moral message to the reader is that one should not judge an individual on their appearance. He feels that because Troy is attractive and young, he would appear as a likeable character, whereas in contrast Oak's character is not as lively as Troy. However, Oak is portrayed as a polite gentleman and his respect for women is genuine and is the novel's hero, whereas Troy is manipulative and disrespectful, proving his moral message. Sean Flynn 10 KO 1 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Far From the Madding Crowd 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 GCSE Far From the Madding Crowd essays

  1. Explore the Relationship between Bathsheba and Troy. What do we learn of Bathsheba's ...

    look, word and deed, that the want of likeness was perceptible even to his own consciousness...He waywardly wished for something, and he sat about to obtain it like a child in a nursery." Troy was not used to buying items from merchants or shop-keepers, yet he still tried for Fanny's sake (guilt).

  2. How does Thomas Hardy Present Gabriel Oak as a Hero?

    In chapter 36, Gabriel realises that there is lots of Bathsheba's produce exposed to rain.

  1. Trace the development of Bathsheba Everdene throughout the course of the novel.

    She also stood up for herself, as she was the only woman there. She can control herself around men to a certain extent. Bathsheba enjoys attention from Mr Boldwood who is slowly falling in love with her, as he was the only man not to look at Bathsheba in the corn market.

  2. Thomas Hardy wrote the characters of Bathsheba Everdene and Fanny Robin with specific attributes ...

    Whereas Fanny seems to be desperate just to survive. She was "picking up a living of seampstering". By saying "picking up" I feel that Hardy is trying to express her need to simply get by. Also in the time that this book was written, seampstering was known to be a tough trade, which was very poorly paid, and not

  1. The strengths and weaknesses of Bathsheba.

    Vanity also gets Bathsheba into an unstable matrimony with Troy. After Troy pampers her vanity by continually complimenting her beauty and youthful looks, Bathsheba believes herself to be in love with him, 'her heart erratically flitting hither and thither from perplexed excitement'.

  2. An Analysis of Bathsheba’s Character

    The way Bathsheba leads Gabriel on and treats it as a game when he is proposing to her and answering his offerings by saying "Yes: I should like that" and "Dearly I should like that" shows how she is vain and unintentionally cold hearted.

  1. 'Far from the Maddening Crowd.' Why does Bathsheba choose Troy when she could have ...

    Another motive for Bathsheba's rebuff of Gabriel is because of her fierce independence. Bathsheba conveys this to Gabriel by telling him that she does not want to be thought of as men's property. "I hate to be thought of as men's property in that way."

  2. The Development of Bathsheba Everdene Throughout the Course of the Novel Far From The ...

    She is feeling sympathetic towards Boldwood as she calls herself wicked for sending the valentines card. At this point Bathsheba is frightened by Boldwood's love. At the beginning she only wanted some attention from the bachelor - but now she is overwhelmed.

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