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Examine the Part played by Obsession in Far from the Madding Crowd

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4 Pros (EN2) Examine the Part played by Obsession in Far from the Madding Crowd Obsession is prevalent as a theme in Far from the Madding Crowd. Obsession carries the plot and creates action between the characters. In this essay, I will examine how the characters advance the plot through their obsessive behaviour towards each other. Far from the Madding Crowd is by Thomas Hardy and was first published in a series in the Cornhill Magazine in 1873. This can be seen by the large amount of short chapters, often with titles that make the reader wonder what the chapter contains, such as ?The Following March ? ?Bathsheba Boldwood??. It can also be seen in the cliff-hangers they often end with, encouraging the reader to buy the next magazine to read it. The title comes from ?Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard? a poem by Thomas Gray, a favourite of Hardy?s poets. The complete line seventy-three reads: ?Far from the madding crowd?s ignoble strife?, describing how life in towns is full of petty conflicts, whereas life in the countryside is more simple and therefore, better. Although the novel does often describe the beauty of the countryside, a part of England Hardy believed to be disappearing because of the industrial revolution, it may also be ironic, because the emotional turmoil, often caused by obsession, that the main characters go through is certainly not calm. ...read more.


This is hinted at through the song that Bathsheba sings before Troy comes to Weatherbury: On the banks of Allan Water. It tells of a soldier?s love of a miller?s daughter, which is found to be untrue. Like the soldier in the song, Troy?s love is false too. After marrying Bathsheba, Troy develops an obsession with gambling. Although the one obsession that does not move the plot along, it instead shows the mistake that Bathsheba made by giving in to her obsession to marry him. She calls their marriage a ?mistake? and laments that her once ?independent and spirited? self has ?come to this?. The start of the chapter takes place on ?Yalbury Hill?, a ?steep long ascent?. This may denote the uphill struggle the couple were going through at that point. Troy?s shallow nature is also shown through is lack of care for Fanny, the girl who Troy breaks promise with to marry despite impregnating her. He does not want her when she is alive, but is obsessed with her when she is dead. His lack of care is shown when Fanny asks him ?when shall [they] be married?, and after she is gone, Troy and his fellow soldiers mock her with a ?low peal of laughter?, demonstrating his disregard for Fanny?s wants. This is shown by Fanny being described as a ?little spot?; a mild annoyance to Troy. ...read more.


For example, when Bathsheba demands him to leave her farm. In this situation, Oak does not protest but says ?calmly?: ?Very well?. It may be argued that Oak is obsessed with Bathsheba because he loves her strongly. Hardy describes Oak?s desire of Bathsheba as a ?beautiful thread? that he did not want to break, rather than a ?chain? which was impossible to. However, his ability to control his desires separates him from Boldwood?s obsessive behaviour. This is shown when Bathsheba finally gives in to Boldwood?s harassing and agrees to ?marry [Boldwood] in six years?, despite ?burst[ing] out crying?. Here, Boldwood lets his obsessive love of Bathsheba stop her from being happy, whereas Oak would rather Bathsheba was happy without him rather than her being unhappy and with him. Because of this, he is rewarded by having a ?private, secret, plainest wedding? with Bathsheba. Bathsheba?s character also changes. This is epitomized at the end of the book, when ?Bathsheba [smiles]? rather than ?laughed readily? at one of the villager?s jokes. This shows she has learnt from her experiences that it is not a good idea to get carried away with your emotions, fuelled by obsession. So to conclude, obsession can be found throughout Far from the Madding Crowd, in the characters, the plot and even the landscape. It is a main cause of the drama in the story by impelling the character?s conflicts. Obsession is an essential theme in Far from the Madding Crowd. C ...read more.

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