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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.

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Introduction

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.

Middle

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.

Conclusion

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.

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