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.

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. You need to explain events, Laura, not just mention that they happened. Analysis is the key to success. The day after, realising what he had done, he made a vow not to drink for as many years as he had lived to that day -

  • Word count: 1010
  • Level: GCSE
  • Subject: English
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The Mayor of Casterbridge - By reference to some half a dozen incidents, show the many different characteristics of Michael Henchard.

The Mayor of Casterbridge By reference to some half a dozen incidents, show the many different characteristics of Michael Henchard. Michael Henchard has a very complex character and this is shown throughout the novel. At the beginning of the novel Henchard shows that he can be heartless, impulsive and bad-tempered at times. At arriving at Weydon-Priors, Henchard, Susan and their daughter, Elizabeth-Jane enter the furmity tent and Henchard takes his furmity laced with rum and in a drunken state he sells his wife to a passing sailor, Newson. This incident shows his impetuosity and quick temper. 'I'll sell her for five guineas to any man that will pay me the money,' After the sale of his wife to Newson, Henchard feels regretful. 'A stolid look of concern filled the husband's face, as if, after all, he had not quite anticipated this ending;' The next day as Henchard woke up he was filled with remorse and his repentance is shown when he goes looking for Susan and Elizabeth-Jane. Henchard tries to find out what happened to them but he is too ashamed and proud to let everyone know what he had done. Henchard did not mean to sell his wife and daughter and he blames Susan which is seen as selfish of him. "Yet she knows I am not in my senses when I do that!...Seize her, why didn't she know better than bring me into this disgrace!...Tis like Susan to show some idiotic simplicity."

  • Word count: 776
  • Level: GCSE
  • Subject: English
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The Mayor of Casterbridge - Short Critique.

Rachel Moss L204 Short Critique 3/3/04 At different points throughout The Mayor of Casterbridge, Michael Henchard is portrayed as both a successful man admired by his peers and also as a complete failure whose internal guilt rips away at his self-esteem. As the story progresses, Henchard follows a tragic plot line as he rises from a hay-trusser with a shameful past to mayor of a small agricultural town, and falls back to a farm-hand with a shameful present. At the end of the novel, the reader is left wondering if she should feel sympathy for Henchard or if he got precisely what he deserved. Rather consistently during The Mayor of Casterbridge, Henchard seems to be making poor decisions based on his own selfishness. Early, in Chapter I, Henchard sells his wife and child to a sailor while drunk. He claims that they are nothing but a burden to him. Later, in Chapter XVII, he demands that Elizabeth-Jane and Farfrae cease contact because he sees Farfrae's new, quickly growing business as a kind of "coup." Yet again, in Chapter XLI, Henchard makes a hasty, egocentric decision. Newson comes to his home to inquire about Elizabeth-Jane, but since Henchard has recently had a swell of love for her, he tells Newson that she is dead. However, he continually feels the need to try to right his past wrongs. In Chapter V, an upset mob of peasants demands an explanation from Henchard, who

  • Word count: 740
  • Level: GCSE
  • Subject: English
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What Features of Henchard’s character cause him trouble in the first half of the book?

What Features of Henchard's character cause him trouble in the first half of the book? Michel Henchard is very dominating all through the book and this may be clearly seen in the first half. At the beginning, we can see that Henchard hates women, for example, when he sells his wife to the sailor when he is drunk. He depicts himself as 'something of a woman hater' (page 78), he feels no need for a partner and when he gets back with Susan he treats her and Elizabeth-Jane badly. He also treats Lucetta badly in the way that he leaves her and goes back to Susan without telling Lucetta. Later on he says 'these cursed women - there's not an inch of straight grain in them' (page 151), but while he is cursing them he is always complaining about being lonely. This causes him to get Farfrae to stay in Casterbridge by offering him a job. Henchard is a very impulsive person and is very superstitious, for example, he goes to see a fortune teller who tells him that there is going to be a bad harvest and that he should hold onto the grain and sell it at an inflated price, without asking any questions. The town of Casterbridge then blames him for selling bad grain when the harvest was good. Henchard then has to sell his grain at a lower price. After he has sold his wife he goes to Casterbridge and becomes very successful, but in his business he has a very bad temper and in one case

  • Word count: 730
  • Level: GCSE
  • Subject: English
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Michael Henchard brought his troubles upon himself. How far do you agree with this statement?

Michael Henchard brought his troubles upon himself. How far do you agree with this statement? Michael Henchard is a character with traits that have both a positive and negative traits effect on his life. I believe the characteristics that allowed Henchard to rise to social respectability and fall into destitution where the same. "Character is fate"(Plato) For example Henchard stubbornness and pride allowed him to keep his 21-year vow not to drink. This shows his stubbornness brought an aspect forbearance. However the same character traits also made him rely on a prediction from a fortuneteller becoming his financial downfall. This is same aspect of Henchard that made him so forbearing and committed to his wedding vows with Susan. This characteristic allowed him to be reliable, something that greatly assisted him to being respected in the town. However, if he would have not been so honourable and turned Susan away, it may have all worked out better. I can speculate, he could have married Lucetta and her money would have been a great asset to him and his business, not to mention depriving Farfrae of the money. This is an example of how Henchard's passions obstructs his goals. There is also evidence to suggest Henchard is impulsive: for example, Henchard, without taking the time to consider his decision, dismisses Farfrae after the party. Hardy is saying this is

  • Word count: 616
  • Level: GCSE
  • Subject: English
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To what extent is Michael Henchard to blame for his own fate?

English Coursework To what extent is Michael Henchard to blame for his own fate? Its human nature to blame someone for your own actions, especially the bad ones. It's more like a defence mechanism; but in Henchard's case it's different: At the beginning of the story we see Henchard and his wife walking to the nearby village of Weydon-Priors in the search of employment. From the minor dialogue they have we can see that this is not the perfect marriage: "What was really peculiar however, in this couple's progress, and would have attracted the attention of any casual observer otherwise disposed to overlook them, was the perfect silence they preserved". Already from the beginning of the novel we see that Henchard doesn't seem to be having the of best life's. Later on at the fair, under the influence of alcohol he auctions his wife; this moment had changed his whole life. Now it would have been easier for him to say something like: "I'm sorry I had too much to drink..." but he didn't; because he is aware of his mistake. At the end of the day, selling his wife was his fault. After which he takes a vow never to touch alcohol again for the next twenty years. This proves he is conscious of his mistake and how he can prevent repeating it one way or another. Later on in the novel we have new tragedies that occur, and unfortunately they are all for the worst and they all

  • Word count: 591
  • Level: GCSE
  • Subject: English
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The Mayor of Casterbridge

Kate Alexander The Mayor of Casterbridge Essay The novel is set in about 1830 "before the nineteenth century had reached one third of its span." The events I am studying take place in the large village of Weydon-Priors in Upper Wessex in a tent at the fair; where furmity is sold. There are two main characters called Michael and Susan Henchard, they have a baby daughter called Elizabeth Jane who is about six months old. Michael Henchard is a poor man; you can tell this because him and his family are walking everywhere and they're plainly dressed in working clothes "They were plainly but not ill clad." His relationship with his wife, Susan, appears to be a quiet one, with neither of them showing obvious signs of affection towards each other "Sometimes the man's bent elbow almost touched her shoulder, for she kept as close to his side as possible without actual contact." There seems to be complete silence between the couple, the only noise from the family was the whisper of Susan to her daughter "If any word at all were uttered it was an occasional whisper of the woman to the child." Once at the fair Michael Henchard and his family go into a tent where furmity is sold. It is whilst in this tent that Michael sells his wife. The family have furmity, Michael has his furmity laced with rum to add flavour to the mixture "He winked to her, and passed up his basin in reply to

  • Word count: 523
  • Level: GCSE
  • Subject: English
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