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Mayor of CasterBridge Essay

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Introduction

In the MAYOR OF CASTERBRIDGE, to what extent does Hardy represent Henchard as a character who deserves his fate? In the novel "The mayor of Casterbridge" by Thomas Hardy, Michael Henchard is a character that all of the main events revolve around, often in the book bad things happen to Henchard and some of the time it is as a consequence of his rash or unjust actions. The book is set in Victorian England, a time where the industrial revolution was taking place. The last signs of Feudalism were fading away and the toil and struggle of Capitalism was just beginning to be unearthed. Henchard starts in the novel as a hay- trusser travelling in need of some business at a fare. He has too much alcohol to drink and sells his wife and daughter. The morning after, he regrets his actions and vows an oath another bible that he will not drink for another 21 year. His wife and daughter look for him and track him in Casterbridge where he has become mayor, however as time goes by he loses all his prosperity and status to a mixture of bad luck and business incompetence. He blames his misfortunes on Farfrae; a young Scottish wheat merchant who started off as an employee of Henchard but later became his rival. Henchard ironically becomes a hay-trusser again eventually dies a lonely and unhappy death. This essay will give an in-depth analysis of what Henchard did to deserve this fate and also analyse the appropriate use of language by Hardy in this novel. ...read more.

Middle

Furthermore, Susan told Henchard never to tell Elizabeth Jane. If Henchard was ever sincere about seeking forgiveness for the things he did to Susan, he should have kept their secret even after her death. In addition, "The Mayor of Casterbridge" is a play from Victorian England. Women at that time were treated much worse than at the present time. As well as treatment they were also considered as second class citizens. The whole society was very patriarchal which was quite ironic as the head of the whole British Empire was Queen Victoria (a woman!). As well as women, men also were affected. Industrialisation meant that machines and automated apparatus were taking the places of men. An example of a man losing his job in the book is Jopp who had applied for a place in Henchard's office. In the mayor of Casterbridge there are many examples of patriarchy. Henchard is shown to be deliberately exploitative by Hardy in his situation with Lucetta. "There arose a scandal which did me no harm but was of course ruin to her," this quotation shows that Henchard knows that something that they both participated in was only to affect Lucetta. The whole Victorian world was like this but Henchard states the fact so carelessly as if it was a fact of life instead of a prevention of basic human rights. The words "was of course ruin to her" show how trivial the whole ordeal is to Henchard. The word "ruin" shows the severity of the consequences if Lucetta was ever found out. ...read more.

Conclusion

Henchard is very impulsive as he speaks his mind and also acts without thinking things out. As well as that, Henchard is very selfish he wants the love of Elizabeth Jane for himself and doesn't care about her feelings towards Newson but just what he thinks she should feel for him. On the other hand, there are many examples when Henchard doesn't deserve his fate, he is remorseful and tries to make up for his mistakes in the best way possible. Also, he is very sincere and treats his friends and loved ones with the utmost care. Henchard has many characteristics that contradict each other. He does things that he regrets. Henchard was in many cases a human; prone to mistakes but hastened to repentance. In my opinion, Michael Henchard does deserve his fate; this is because although he made many mistakes and he repented many of them I think that sometimes it was a case of 'out of the frying pan and into the fire'. When Henchard finally told the truth to Elizabeth Jane after letting her live a lie and also punishing her for his agony that she wasn't his daughter, he then told Newson the last thing that a father would want to hear which was that his daughter was dead. I think that after Henchard went through all that he did and he knew how Newson would feel, that this was blatant disregard to any humane feeling and was the most rash and unexplainable thing in the novel. Although he died the loneliest and most forlorn death, I think that he was the crafter of his demise. ?? ?? ?? ?? Ali Issa The Mayor of Casterbridge Coursework Ms Jones ...read more.

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