• 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 - 'Michael Henchard's life was a series of disasters that led to self-destruction; we can have no sympathy for him.' Discuss.

Extracts from this document...


The Mayor of Casterbridge 'Michael Henchard's life was a series of disasters that led to self-destruction; we can have no sympathy for him.' Discuss. Whilst studying 'The Mayor of Casterbridge' it is noticeable from a fairly early stage that the title statement is ambivalent. We can clearly see that he suffered a great number of disasters, but he also achieved success to a higher level than most. When looking at his position before arriving in Casterbridge and for a while prior to his status boost, it is clear just how much his status has grown. When Michael arrived in Casterbridge he was a 'journeyman hay-trusser.' From this position he managed to work on his status Worth explaining how until he was a churchwarden, magistrate and the town Mayor. The biggest disaster that Michael experienced was when he sold his wife, Susan, in Mrs Goodenough's grand furmity tent at Weydon Fair. He consumed several portions of smuggled rum-laced furmity, each one a little stronger. After three it was said that he was argumentative but still had more and eventually sold his wife to a sailor. What motivated the sale? What frame of mind was he in? Use supporting quotation. ...read more.


However this was not to be the case. Jopp read some of the letters to the people of the town in the pub, Peter's Finger. This lead to Henchard and Lucetta being publicly humiliated as everyone became aware of their previous sexual relationship. This resulted in the death of Lucetta. Another example of something important that only rates a passing mention. No context. No quotation. No analysis. Little credit. This was not Michael's intention; he was simply unlucky that Jopp betrayed his trust. Why did he not avoid this problem by delivering the letters himself? Jopp resented Henchard (say why) so where was the sense in giving emotional dynamite to a man who would be glad of the weapon to use against Henchard? Remember, Jopp did not like Lucetta either (say why). When Mrs Goodenough, the owner of the furmity tent where Henchard sold Susan, arrived in the town, she chose to repeat the tale of that day in Henchard's past. It took place in court in front of many people, some of whom were respected. Detail the circumstances. ...read more.


You need to look a lot harder at his judgements of Farfrae's role in his fate. Michael is told of how people say that he... 'can't hold a candle to Farfrae'. I believe that this is not fair. The town's people seem to have forgotten Henchard's success before Farfrae's arrival. I believe that the statement in the title, 'Henchard's life was a series of disasters,' is true, but he does deserve sympathy. We feel sorry for him because he went from nothing, to achieving so much and then back to having nothing at all. The unfortunate changes in Henchard's life make us feel sympathy for him. When the furmity woman tells his story he could have said it was false and be believed but he did not he came clean to release the weight he had been carrying on his shoulders for so long. This shows that he is a decent man and I can show respect and sympathy for him. Many critical incidents were missed: his treatment of Elizabeth-Jane; lying to Newson; blackmailing Lucetta into marriage. There are more that need to be found, Laura. You have not made enough use of the text. What you've done lacks analysis and you haven't done enough. ?? ?? ?? ?? Laura Pickard 11/1 English Coursework. 07.09.04. ...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. Analyse the change in character of Michael Henchard throughout the novel, the Mayor of ...

    His penitence is genuinely accepted when he pleads for Susan's forgiveness and says: "judge me on my future works." Nonetheless, on the other hand, it appears that Henchard only acts nicely to ease his guilty conscience. Concerning this matter, Henchard's innocence is established when he immediately tells Farfrae the new turns in his life.

  2. How Far Is Michael Henchard Responsible For His Own Ruin? , Do You Feel ...

    after contemplation he wishes to "speak to 'ee on a family matter". This is a mistake as he is really signing for his death. He tells Farfrae the whole story and feels that he can trust him. This again shows a na�ve side of Michael as he is telling his dilemma to someone he met only a few days before.

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

    You find this out when the dentist says 'Now you'll pay for our twenty dead men'. The whole truth is not told in order to mystify the reader and keep them reading on to find out the whole story to the hatred.

  2. The mayor of casterbridge

    When Henchard became the mayor, and has the pressure of being pushed out of business, still Farfrae keeps a cool head. Hardy uses language effectively to get the appropriate mood and atmosphere. He uses sufficient imagery when he wants to give the reader a detailed description of the scene.

  1. What the Mayor of Casterbridge tells us

    Farfrae refuses the opportunity and tells him that he is going to the America. Susan returns to the area and realizes that Henchard made a vow. Henchard believes that Elizabeth Jane is his daughter and becomes attached to her, but really she isn't.

  2. How does Thomas Hardy control the reader's response to Donald Farfrae in 'The Mayor ...

    If Farfrae had obviously plotted to take over Henchard's role than there would be a good reason for the reader to really hate him, but all the praise he receives is from working hard and efficiently. Fuelled by jealousy, Henchard plans a spendthrift day of entertainment for the people of Casterbridge to win back their favour.

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

    When the sound of an auctioneer selling horses interrupts Henchard's musings, he jokes that he would be willing to sell his wife if someone wanted to buy her. Susan begs him to stop his teasing, declaring that "this is getting serious.

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

    Having suffering other similar instances also, Henchard consequently dismisses Farfrae, leading to the set-up of Farfrae's own business. Henchard's low self-esteem is displayed from time to time; when he feels particularly miserable, everyone from Elizabeth-Jane to Abel Whittle is told how worthless he is: "What, Whittle, and can ye really

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