When we next see Henchard his hastiness is shown again when he hires Farfrae on the spare of the moment because he has ‘taken’ to him. By hiring Farfrae Henchard ignores his promise to Jop and when Jop later arrives for the job Henchard is flippant in the manner he tells Jop that there is now job left. This is a prime example of how Henchard’s hastiness becomes his undoing as later both Jop and Farfrae become an instrument of Henchard’s downfall.
We next see the combination of women and Henchard’s hastiness when he proposes marriage to Susan and forgets about his promise and duty to lucetta. This comes back to haunt him when Lucetta comes back and he then wants to marry her but cannot because she loves Farfrae and when he later relies on her to lie to a creditor but she cannot because the creditor was a witness to her marriage to Farfrae.
Henchard shows his hastiness and the role of women in his downfall when he reads Susan’s letter before, as Susan wished, Elizabeth Jane is ‘married’. The letter tells Henchard that Elizabeth Jane ‘is not your child’. This again how women play a major role in Henchard’s downfall because Henchard has already told Elizabeth Jane that she is his child and when she finds out the truth she hates him for lying to her. His hastiness in reading the letter before he was meant to helped in his downfall because after knowing that Elizabeth Jane is not his daughter her pushes her away which looses him a good ally.
Once again Henchard falls foul to his anger and hastiness when he drags Abel Whittle into work without trousers. This begins Henchard’s feud with Farfrae when Farfrae goes against Henchard and sends Whittle home. This showed Henchard up public ally and Henchard could not leave it at that. It is also ironic that Henchard later comes to rely on Whittle.
This feud comes to head when Farfrae shows his organisation skills when he sets up a rival to Henchard’s fair and because of the weather it is a far greater success. Henchard cannot bear this defeat and publicly fires Farfrae. As we see later in the book this is the biggest mistake Henchard makes and is the biggest contributor to his financial and personal downfall. This is all because of Henchard’s hastiness and his pride, which does not allow Henchard to back down.
When Farfrae sets up a rival business in Casterbridge Henchard rages that his former manager is taking his customers. In his anger he once again makes a hasty decision to put all his wealth into a gamble on the harvest based on the word of a soothsayer. As we see this ruins him and he looses everything. If Henchard had kept only a little in reserve he could have rebuilt his fortunes but because of his personality he does not.
Henchard’s personality again helps ruin him when he starts drinking as some as his promise is done and the alcohol again helps ruin him. His pride also means that he refuses the help offered him by Elizabeth Jane and lets himself die in poverty, friendless.