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

"His equilibrium disturbed he was in extremity at once." Discuss this view of Farmer Boldwood throughout the novel

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

"His equilibrium disturbed he was in extremity at once." Discuss this view of Farmer Boldwood throughout the novel. Throughout "Far From the Madding Crowd we see profound changes in Far Boldwood's character. At the start he is a quiet, aloof, gentlemanly man, yet by the end of the novel he is a crazed, obsessed shadow of his former self. It is Bathsheba Everdene who causes these changes in him. I think the statement "His equilibrium disturbed he was in extremity at once" is an accurate description of what happens to Boldwood. We are first introduced to Boldwood in chapter 9 through second hand information, but then he knocks on Bathsheba's door, at this moment in the book seeming very formal and stern. When he knocks on the door, Mrs Coggan answers it, making excuse about Bathsheba being busy. Boldwood says, "Oh very well, all I wanted to ask was, if anything had been heard of Fanny Robin?". It is obvious that Boldwood shows no interest in Bathsheba at that moment. In chapter twelve Bathsheba goes to the corn exchange, when she arrives every single man turns round to look at her - except Boldwood. He is, as the author describes, a "black sheep". This annoys Bathsheba, as she loves attention and is not used to being ignored by men. It seems at this point that Boldwood has no interest in women. It is in chapter fourteen when Boldwood's "equilibrium" becomes disturbed. As a joke in chapter thirteen, Bathsheba and her servant Liddy sent a Valentine's card with a small poem and the message "Marry Me" written on it to Boldwood. They are completely oblivious to the repercussions this will have. Boldwood becomes transfixed with this valentine, he is always thinking about it despite not wanting to and he starts to become obsessed. This signifies the start of his descent into madness. For most of the night he remains awake, constantly thinking about the valentine and who wrote it. ...read more.

Middle

Because of the lateness of the time, and the fact that Boldwood seems an imposing figure with his "stalwart frame" and the "thick cudgel he carried in his hand", Troy decides to oblige him. Boldwood proceeds to offer a business transaction where he will pay Troy fifty pounds if he will marry Fanny Robin. Shortly before this we can see that Boldwood is completely delusional when he says to Troy "If you had not come I should certainly-yes, certainly- have been accepted by this time". Boldwood truly believes it is Troy's fault that he is not married to Bathsheba, and not that fact that Bathsheba does not love or even like him. Troy then plays Boldwood, pretending to accept his proposal until Bathsheba comes out of the house. Their conversation makes it obvious to Boldwood that they are a couple and when Troy returns to him under the pretence of gathering his things, Boldwood becomes angry and grabs Troy by the throat. After a brief conversation Troy manages to change Boldwood's view on the matter, and suddenly Boldwood says "Troy, make her your wife, and don't act on what I arranged just now". From this we can tell Boldwood is not seeing things clearly at all, his opinion changes instantly. Troy teases Boldwood and when he implies he wants more money, the author writes "Boldwood, more like a somnambulist than a wakeful man, pulled out the large canvas bag he carried by way of a purse". This shows that it's almost as if Boldwood is walking around in a dream, when he is awake he seems as if he is sleepwalking. At this point in the novel it is certain that Boldwood is mentally unwell. Troy then shows Boldwood a piece of paper on which it is written that he and Bathsheba married that day. Boldwood is speechless, and Troy condescends to him about him being a hypocrite, and then throws his money back at him. ...read more.

Conclusion

It is in chapter fifty-three that Boldwood is finally pushed over the edge. After being verbally beaten into submission, Bathsheba gives her word to marry Boldwood in six years if Troy does not return. Still, this is not quite enough for Boldwood and he requests that she wear a ring he bought for her. The demonic force that appears to be gripping Boldwood as he almost forces the ring onto her finger is too much for Bathsheba, and she begins to cry. Soon after this, Troy arrives at the house and tries to take Bathsheba away and it is at that moment that Boldwood simply erupts - he shoots troy with one of the guns on his gun rack. The old Boldwood is now completely gone - replaced by a hysterical madman. "When Bathsheba had cried out in her husband's grasp, Boldwood's face of gnashing despair had changed. The veins had swollen, and a frenzied look had gleamed in his eye." Able to take no more, Boldwood readies himself to commit suicide with the same gun, but is prevented by Samway. In chapter fifty-five the true extent of Boldwood's obsession with Bathsheba is revealed. He had bought a large number of gifts for he labelled "Bathsheba Boldwood" and dated six years in advance. His very soul was completely consumed with the idea of marrying her. Boldwood is sentenced to life imprisonment. This novel describes the degeneration of a quiet, reserved and proud man into a crazed, violent and obsessive maniac. Throughout Boldwood's life a certain equilibrium was preserved, and Bathsheba's arrival and sending of the valentine disturbed it. He truly was "in extremity at once". His mental state became more and more unstable until he finally exploded and shot Sergeant Troy. I believe this was the end of Boldwood's equilibrium, and he would remain mentally ill and preoccupied with the woman he would never have. ...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. Trace the development of Bathsheba Everdene

    This leads her to marry Troy. This shows how much attention she requires. Bathsheba returns back to the farm with Troy. Troy throws a party to celebrate his and Bathsheba's wedding and meanwhile the farmers get drunk. Oak has warned Troy about the heavy rain that is to come, but

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

    They soon after meet again on the hill after Oak had been to Bathsheda's aunts house, she follows him to put things right. After talking for a while Oak suddenly proposes to her. He begins by saying how much of a commitment the wedding is going to be and what his dream is.

  1. Using chapters 7, 11 & 40, Discuss how Hardy Presents Fanny Robin as the ...

    It is then revealed that a "man" has "stoned away" the dog symbolising mans attitude towards Fanny as it was a man who reduced her to poverty, left her ruined and then chased away the dog; the only thing that has ever shown her true kindness and compassion.

  2. In The Withered Arm how does Thomas Hardy present the characters of Rhoda and ...

    The prevalence of this kind of description whenever her character appears encourages the reader to feel as if s\he is constantly watching her. This concentration on the physical appearance of his more attractive female characters is a common feature in Hardy's work and has been termed 'the gaze'.

  1. In Far from the Madding Crowd the major characters act out against a background ...

    Again and again, Thomas Hardy has emphasised the merits of country folks over the city folks to the reader. And he does the same in this instance. Boldwood and Gabriel are both written about in a fashion which causes us to: in Boldwood's case pity and forgive his mistakes; and in Gabriel case, admire his virtues.

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

    However, despite all of Gabriel's good qualities, Bathsheba rejects his offer of marriage, because of several reasons. A major factor for Bathsheba rejecting Gabriel is that she does not love him: "I don't love you a bit." Bathsheba desires an exciting relationship where she is courted and seduced by the opposing sex.

  1. Consider the validity of the statement 'Bathsheba Everdene is an effective feminist'.

    Whilst sitting talking to Bathsheba's aunt he mentions that he had come to ask for her hand in marriage, and her aunt tells him that she has many sweethearts. This of course is not true and Gabriel sets to leave, but Bathsheba comes running after him.

  2. How do you account for Bathsheba's choice of husband when she could have married ...

    Hardy's Aunt Martha was in fact one of the victims of "Scarlet fever". She ran off with a cavalryman, John Breton Sharpe. This may have been his inspiration for the character of Troy: attractive and exciting on the outside but fickle and insecure on the inside.

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