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

The Mayor of Casterbridge - Discussing Henchard's personality, and the reasons for his success and his deterioration in life.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

The Mayor of Casterbridge Tahsin Pak 26th June 2004 Introduction Michael Henchard begins the novel by entering Casterbridge 'with the walk of a skilled countryman'. He starts his life at badly, as he sells his wife to a young gentle sailor called Newson. His impression changes, as he becomes a wealthy corn merchant and the Mayor of Casterbridge. 25 years later, he ends up with his life in tatters, and eventually dying alone. In this coursework, I will be discussing Henchard's personality, and the reasons for his success and his deterioration in life. Also, I will describe the society which the people live in, emphasising the main reason why the society of 'Weydon-Priors and 'Casterbridge' are so quite and money driven. Main Body The society in 'The Mayor of Casterbridge' is very old-fashioned and stereotypical in certain aspects of the book. The Mayor of Casterbridge begins with Henchard, auctioning off his wife to a sailor. This verifies that in early nineteenth-century England, women of her class in rural districts were regarded as little more than stock to be disposed of at their owners' liking, such sales were not uncommon. ...read more.

Middle

The sell of Henchard's wife is highlight of the story, determining Henchard as the central character in events. He stands out in many ways apart from the sale of his wife. Henchard is rejected as an observer in many ways. His harsh personality, his crude arrogance and rudeness collaborate to his rejection in society. Donald Farfrae compensates for his unpopularity and his rejection as he another antagonist to Henchard. His arrival in town changes everything for the protagonist. The two men have many conflicts and clashes, and the competitiveness within their personal lives, both in business and in love, creates the outward conflict in the novel. Farfrae, who outdoes Henchard in everything, does much to hasten Henchard's downfall. This starts when he becomes unpopular among his own work colleagues when he forces Whittle to work in his underpants when he over sleeps, but Farfrae gives an ultimatum to Henchard saying "He either go home, or I leave this yard for good". For once, Farfrae shows authority, making him more popular than Henchard. The peasants show their hatred towards Henchard by organizing a 'skimmity-ride', because of Henchard and Lucetta's love involvement, resulting in Lucetta becoming very shocked, and soon die. ...read more.

Conclusion

The wagons colliding represent an abstract image of the tension in the relationship between Henchard and Farfrae. It also symbolizes the clash between tradition, which Henchard embodies, and the new modern era, which Farfrae personifies. The auctioning of Henchard's wife relates to the horses being sold there, representing Susan as horse who has no worth. I believe Henchard was both, credible and interesting. His believability was mainly in his personality. His harsh mentality, his old-fashioned ways and jealousy made him a central character. Yet, he pitied himself on many occasions, leading him to become more insecure and vulnerable, but at first he wasn't, he was a very strong liable character, but as the accusations built up, and the general public loosing his favour, he lost his reputation and his strong personality. Henchard's caring, loving and good natured side isn't presented as much as his harsh side. I believe, this helps to draw an audience, and keep the audience fixated on the novel. Although Henchard loses even the ability to explain himself-"he did not sufficiently value himself to lessen his sufferings by strenuous appeal or elaborate argument"-he never relinquishes his talent of endurance. Whatever the pain, Henchard bears it. It is this resilience that elevates him to the level of a hero-a man, ironically, whose name deserves to be remembered. ...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. Peer reviewed

    "Discuss how the passage of time is presented in the first chapters of The ...

    3 star(s)

    As the book approaches the fair we learn that its trade has continued to dwindle and this is demonstrated by the once successful furmity lady. There is no tent and now she sat on the floor with only her pot for company grovelling for every halfpenny.

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

    It also implies that Henchard has a strong belief in God and that fact that he swears on the bible suggests that he is moral and religious. Moreover, the point that he kept his oath for exactly twenty years displays a determined and resolute character.

  1. Comparison between Michael Henchard and Okonkwo

    Another problem that looms ahead may be the problem of growing wheat and managing a business that seems to be out growing the control on Henchard. He is already the biggest and most successful wheat dealer in Casterbridge, but his business may grow so big that he is unable to run it economically and this could potentially ruin him.

  2. Comparison of Michael Henchard and Okonkwo.

    him, is trying to explain to an angry Henchard that he has difficulty waking up in the morning, resulting in him being late for work. Henchard ignores his pleas and threatens that if he arrives late again "I'll mortify thy flesh for thee!"

  1. The mayor of casterbridge

    The furmity lady represents the working-class of Weydon-Priors. Especially as she is part of the fair, she seems to have a nomadic life; always moving around to different locations. As she is reacquainted with Susan later on, Hardy skilfully relates the furmity lady to the downfall of rural life, ' At the scene of the auction, the only

  2. Mayor of Casterbridge

    In addition, it shows the contrast between some of the two main characters such as Farfrae and Elizabeth-Jane and their reactions to the new horse drill. "It will revolutionise sowing herabout." This illustrates and reflects the personality of the characters concerned.

  1. the mayor of casterbridge

    'Good Furmity Sold Here' tent at the fair, instead of the 'Good Home-brewed Beer, Ale and Cyder 'tent. His disinclination to go to the furmity tent is shown when he says, "I've never tasted it.' At this point, he finally shows some responsibility as he 'gave way to the representations...'

  2. The Mayor of Casterbridge | Characters

    She thinks that her mother and Newson were legally married and that now Susan is in search of a distant relative by marriage who may be of some help to them. Early in the novel, both Elizabeth-Jane's natural beauty and her innate intelligence have been compromised by her poverty.

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