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How do you account for Bathsheba's choice of husband when she could have married either Gabriel Oak or William Boldwood?

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Introduction

Laura Horgan How do you account for Bathsheba's choice of husband when she could have married either Gabriel Oak or William Boldwood? Bathsheba married Troy because he offered her an exciting lifestyle full of lust and venture. On the other hand, she rejected Oak and Boldwood because they offered her a secluded life of security in a traditional living. The book was written in episodes for a Victorian magazine. People of the times expected a happy ending, Hardy wanted to please his readers but incorporate the hardships of life at the same time. He structures the book so that Bathsheba is dragged through her misfortunes and undeserving men, whilst throughout the duration of the book the readers still feel that Bathsheba should ultimately be in wedlock with Gabriel. This is clever of Hardy because despite the tragedy of death there is love to sooth the mind. In the time in which the book was written, men and women were only allowed to be together if the Lady has a chaperone, this was the socially accepted thing. Therefore, if a man got a woman pregnant it would be unacceptable of him not to marry her. Hardy felt that women were treated badly in the eyes of society. He felt that when women were married, the behaviour and character of the man they were married to shaped their lifestyles. In the Victorian period, women who did not marry found it very hard in society. ...read more.

Middle

I saw, at last, when it was too late that scandal might seize hold of me for meeting alone him in that way.... I was coming away when he suddenly said he had that day seen a woman more beautiful than I, and that his constancy could not be counted on unless I at once became his... And then between jealousy and distraction I married him." Here we see one of the main reasons that Bathsheba married Troy - he made her desperately jealous by manipulating her emotions. William Boldwood loves Bathsheba with an intense and suffocating love that was sparked by a meaningless Valentine prank that came about only by chance. Bathsheba writes the card in jest and humour but Boldwood takes it completely the wrong way. In chapter fifteen we see how the joke has affected him deeply; "He was conscious of its presence even when his back was turned... Her unrevealed eyes had watched every curve as she formed it; her brain had seen him in imagination the while. Why should she had imagined him?" It affects Boldwood so much that he dreams about the unknown woman who wrote the card; "Whenever Boldwood dozed she took form, and comparatively ceased to be a vision: when he awoke there was the letter justifying the dream." Before Boldwood falls in love with Bathsheba, he is known throughout the town as a secluded bachelor leading a quiet life, he had no interest in women whatsoever. ...read more.

Conclusion

These acts show that Gabriel's love has always been pure, consistent and always growing, maybe this is why Hardy used the name Oak (Oak tree) as an appropriate fit for his guardian Angel (Gabriel) character. After Bathsheba's tragic ordeal being witness to Troy's death, she decides to marry Gabriel. She decides to do this because Gabriel suggests to her that he is going to leave, '"I shall not be your mistress much longer shall I, Gabriel?" "Well no."' She realises that Gabriel is her best friend and after the tribulation she has been through, she finds out that he is the one she really wants along with the life he has to offer her. In conclusion, I believe that one can account for Bathsheba's choice of husband in Troy because his superficial appearance of gallantry complimented her vain and naive nature at that point in her life. However, as the book lengthens we watch Bathsheba grow into the mature and graceful woman who is ready for a steady relationship. I feel that Bathsheba and Gabriel should have a happy life together, appreciating love and each other. Bathsheba has changed a lot since his first proposal of marriage because the many effects love can have on the heart have tamed her wild shrew-life spirit. She has grown to know that lust, appearance and excitement are not everything. She has developed into a wise woman who knows the hardships of life and no longer wants the fantasy life she once expected from a man. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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