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

How Far Is Michael Henchard Responsible For His Own Ruin? , Do You Feel He Can Usefully Be Described As A Tragic Hero?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

How Far Is Michael Henchard Responsible For His Own Ruin? , Do You Feel He Can Usefully Be Described As A Tragic Hero? Aristotle described a tragic hero as someone who has a fatal flaw that bring about ruin along with matters that are out of their own control. An example of this is Macbeth in the play written by Shakespeare where he gets himself into a position of eminence through sins but cannot stop his fate as it is left out of his control. The same can be said for Michael Henchard. We meet Michael Henchard first as a young hay trusser walking along the road leading to Weydon Priors with his wife and daughter. It soon occurs to the reader that there is some tension between husband and wife, underlined when Hardy describes, "she had no idea of taking his arm, nor he offering it". I believe that this shows that Michael Henchard sees his wife as obligatory and is holding him back from making something of his life. The next significant part in the story is in the ferimity tent of the village fare. This helps underline a drink problem with Henchard that later in life helps catapult Henchard to his downfall. Michael Henchard believes if he did not have to look after his wife and child he would be "worth a thousand pound". This is merely an observation and many at this part in the story would not have believed him, but as we later find out this observation turns into the truth. Henchard sells his wife to a complete stranger from the back of the tent proving Henchard has no respect for his wife and child. Henchard is so selfish that he will just let his wife and child walk off with a man he has never met in his life before, ironically he did not even believe the stranger would pay the money for his wife and child. ...read more.

Middle

In this invincibility he feels he does not have to see Lucettta and can just neglect her until she comes running, this proves to be a mistake and a fatal flaw in his invincibility. This leaves the door open for Donald and he takes his chance with open arms by dropping hints like "maybe you'll be very lonely". When eventually Michael does turn up he expects Lucetta to drop everything and run to his call "I've called to say that I am ready". When she does not he gets rude, arrogant and impatient with statements like "This stint of reciprocal feeling". This is a horrible side of Henchard's character and the invincibility he feels he had at that point in the story has just drained away. The meeting with all four of them for afternoon tea again brings out the inferior side of Henchard as he is determined to drive Lucetta into an early grave by dropping a variety of remarks about their time together in Jersey. The employment of Jopp again is another major mistake and a catapult for Henchard's downfall as Jopp still has the way he was treated before by Henchard at the forefront of his mind. This was again na�ve on Henchard's part as he should have realised that Jopp would have wanted revenge. Determined too get the better of Donald, Henchard visits the weatherman, this is again is an elementary mistake to make, as it is in the cycle of life that if you want something to happen so badly, it won't. Henchard believes the weatherman and shows hastiness as he stakes his whole business on it, also showing a hint of desperation that getting the better of Farfrae is some obsession. Henchard after selling in a depressed market gets the feeling that nothing can go right for him after it turns out to be a good harvest after all. ...read more.

Conclusion

The discussion between Henchard and the market trader proves to be a demoralising experience as he is told of the marriage "Surely they said there was a wedding coming off soon." This proving Henchard's suspicions. The arrival of Henchard back in Casterbridge proves that Henchard feels he has been left out. He is greeted only to be insulted by Elizabeth Jane when she refers to him as "Mr Henchard" proving that she has no real feelings for him after the way he has treated her in the past and it is understandable that she refers to him the way she did. Although it must have annoyed Henchard as he replies, "Call me worthless old Henchard" underlining that he does not believe he should be treated in that way. The fact that Donald and Elizabeth show that they still have some feelings for him even though he has treated the pair of them so badly in the past. The will that Henchard leaves proves to the reader that he realises what an appalling live he has lived especially the way he has treated his friends, members of his family, and workforce as he writes "may no man remember me". This underlines the fact that he just wants to be forgotten and makes sure that everyone leaves him in the past. This is the one thing Michael can actually see and realise that he has not treated people with respect and he deserved to die alone with "no mourners ......at my funeral". I feel Henchard can be described as a tragic hero as he fits the frame for my description earlier on. He have two vital flaws in his character, hastiness and naivete, which eventually lead to his downfall from prominence. The other factor is hastiness for example when things are out of the person's control and in this case when the bad weather occurred around the harvest time. By showing no self-control and being so hasty it turned out to be obvious that Henchard's fall was going to be fast and dramatic making him the perfect character to base a story around. ...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 The Mayor of Casterbridge 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 The Mayor of Casterbridge essays

  1. 'Short stories can be remarkably effective' this statement is proved very successful by the ...

    one of the most important parts of 'One of These Days' as you come to understand the relationship between the dentist and the mayor. When the dentist refuses to see the mayor the reader gets the impression that something has happened between the two in the past and a sense of tension builds up.

  2. The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy. Henchard - Well -Meaning Villain or ...

    One would think you worked upon a farm! I'm burned, if it goes on, this house can't hold us two." Henchard can be spiteful - his vindictiveness is shown after Farfrae's marriage to Lucetta, when he reads the former letters the latter wrote him while he was courting her.

  1. the mayor of casterbridge

    Henchard lets his heart rule his head by the vow of twenty one years. After the time gap of eighteen years, Hardy doesn't find it necessary to show how Henchard progressed as he used Farfrae (Henchards political rival) to show how he did it.

  2. Analyse the change in character of Michael Henchard throughout the novel, the Mayor of ...

    Henchard is capable of showing extremes of emotion in both directions. Nevertheless, his ruthless and insensitive connections with Jopp, only increases the hate I feel against Henchard. I personally believe that Henchard finds people to use, and when he no longer needs them, he discards them like rubbish.

  1. What the Mayor of Casterbridge tells us About 19th Century Wessex - Discuss

    royalty visits which required preparation for the town indicating the importance of the role of the Mayor. Also there were social gatherings where people met up in the inns to drink and watch/participate in entertainment which included singing and playing.

  2. Comparison of Michael Henchard and Okonkwo.

    An example of this is that Henchard had bought grown wheat, resulting in bread that was tough and did not rise. Henchard has come under much criticism for this mistake from both ends of society; Christopher Coney (a peasant) and some of the wealthy men at his dinner party.

  1. The Mayor of Casterbridge | Characters

    His final wish is, in effect, to be obliterated for his sins, which a lifetime of penance was insufficient to obliterate in his own mind. His will asks that Elizabeth-Jane not be informed of his death, that no ceremony mark his passing, that no flowers mark his grave, and "that no man remember me."

  2. In ‘The mayor of Casterbridge’ Henchard is presented as atypical tragic hero. How far ...

    They decide to get re-married as no-one else in Casterbridge knows about their past, not even their own daughter, Elizabeth-Jane. "I meet you, court you, and marry you," Susan accepts Henchards proposal as she believes that it is the correct thing to do.

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