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Compare and contrast the importance of the description of the Amphitheatre in "The Mayor of Casterbridge" and the description of the death of Candy's dog in "Of Mice and Men" - In particular deal with their implications as omens.

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Introduction

OMENS IN THE NOVELS "OF MICE AND MEN" AND "THE MAYOR OF CASTERBRIDGE * Compare and contrast the importance of the description of the Amphitheatre in "The Mayor of Casterbridge" and the description of the death of Candy's dog in "Of Mice and Men". In particular deal with their implications as omens. Throughout these two novels we come across certain parts of the book that almost give you an insight to the ending of the story. In the case of Mice and Men we come across the death of Candy's dog that marks a major omen in the story. In the case of the Mayor of Casterbridge we come across chapter eleven where Michael Henchard and Susan Henchard have secret meeting in the Amphitheatre, which again is another Omen. Although these two events are similar in that they both serve as bad omens, they each have a different meanings and importance for the characters in the books. In the Mayor of Casterbridge, the author has his story based primarily upon the life of one character, Michael Henchard. We start the story off mainly with descriptions of Henchards actions, and from this we get an almost instant impression of him as being a bad person, when we find out that he sold his wife to a sailor while being drunk. ...read more.

Middle

" It looked Roman, bespoke the art of Rome, concealed dead men of Rome. "... in 1705 a woman who had murdered her husband was half-strangled and then burnt there in the presence of ten thousand spectators. Tradition reports that at a certain stage of the burning her heart burst and leapt out of her body, to the terror of them all..." " The arena was still smooth and circular, as if used for its original purpose not so very long ago." From analysing the descriptions, the author at times seems to ridicule Henchard of his bad future. He almost makes him seem as if he is blind to the surroundings he is in. For example, the author describes, "...the historic circle was the frequent spot for appointments of a furtive kind. Intrigues were arranged there; tentative meetings were there experimented after divisions and feuds. But one kind of appointment - in itself the most common of any - seldom had place in the Amphitheatre: that of happy lovers." This is very strange in that although the author goes to great length to describe the terrible aspects of the amphitheatre and its bad luck, Henchard doesn't at any point realise his surrounding, worse is that he believes that the amphitheatre is the best place to meet. I think the importance of this is the whole idea of a bad omen. ...read more.

Conclusion

I found that after reading the story in of mice and men it was blatantly obvious that the dog was an omen for Lennie's end and George's sad days to follow. This was only because after reading the book I had the benefit of hindsight which gave me a more sharp and specific idea of what the omen was implicating. I think this is the same situation that I am in with the omen in the mayor of casterbridge. I think to understand the more specific implications of this omen you simply have to read the book fully, so that you have the benefits of hindsight. From further reading I soon cam to realise a much more deeper meaning to the amphitheatre. For Michael and Susan the one thing keeping the positive experiences away are the ghosts of the past, the gladiator killed in battle or in a sporting contest, and the woman who was strangled and burned. I think that these past ghosts serve as "metaphors" for Michael and Susan, who have their own past problems haunting them. Although the meeting seems to bring the couple together, they, out of their arrogance are blinded to their surroundings and most of all, their true fate that they are actually being led to their destruction as those in the past were. Michael will fall in a "battle" (like the gladiator) for his pride, while Susan is being "strangled" (like the executed woman) by Michael's control. By Sayfur Rahman 10B ...read more.

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