Fanny Robin is compared to Bathsheba. They were both poor and beautiful. But as from general knowledge of Hardy, he has a theory that they both are on a line of decision. They are both going through life but Bathsheba gets the good luck by gaining the farm. However Fanny loses and in the end dies. Fanny becomes a servant and Bathsheba becomes the new owner of a farm. It may be because of Fannys early life stages (being an orphan), that she is very sensitive and secretive in the way she expresses her self. Fanny Robin is a contrast throughout the novel. This is called Juxtaposition; it’s used by Hardy to show the strengths of Bathsheba’s character and the effects of fate, (good/bad luck).
In the central chapters Bathsheba is faced with a disaster. Her sheep had run into a clover field and could have died if not treated. She becomes quickly angry and suggests her men are fools. This shows us that when something bad happens she instantaneously blames someone else. She does not stop and think whether it could be her wrong doing that has caused such a thing. She becomes helpless and quickly relies on someone else who suggests a way to save them. However when she finds out how, her selfishness kicks in, as she did not want Gabriel near her even if her sheep were to die. After all the fuss Gabriel saves them and Bathshebas attitude changes to him.
Yet a second time Bathsheba was faced with another disaster that could ruin her fortunes. A storm started and while the other workers were drinking. Gabriel was the only one who noticed it and helped. He got in and covered up the Richs. When Bathsheba found out, she sacked the other workers and employed Gabriel and said she will run the farm herself.
The day Farmer Boldwood stepped in the farm, Bathsheba found that he was wealthy and unmarried. She skilfully took her place in the trading market, which showed her bravery, and soon everyone became impressed.
After Bathsheba’s failure in attempting to impress Boldwood she prepared a valentine for Boldwood. Impetuously, she used a seal on the envelope that read “Marry Me”. This was obviously too far. Even Bathsheba could hardly imagine “that the dark and silent shape upon which so carelessly thrown a seed was a hotbed of tropic intensity”. This quote meant that the seed being the imprint could hardly grow into anything. But the hotbed, which is a place of breeding, is Boldwood. However he took it seriously and in the fields proposed marriage to her. Although she did not agree to anything, Gabriel and the rest of the villagers considered them as good as married. Bathshebas character is shown here as childish and her immaturity
Bathsheba met Sergeant Troy one evening; in by which he was full of flattery gifts. Also one more danger sign was that Sergeant Troy who was a soldier who lied to women like a Cretin but was moderately truthful to men. She fell for him as described by the narrator “in the way that only self-reliant women love when the abandon their self-reliance.” She becomes infatuated by his looks and charm and falls passionately in love with him.
Troy planned to marry Bathsheba but Boldwood got very jealous. He offered Troy some money to give up Bathsheba. He accepted the money although they were already married. This shows us that Troy is a bad guy, as he only wanted to marry Bathsheba for the money. When the easy money came along he took it, picking money instead of his “True love”. It also sows us that Bathsheba has no idea in the choice of good and bad men. Eventually she learns that he is an unreliable, spendthrift and a gambler. Bathsheba is a person who believes in love at first sight. She does not get to know the person before stepping further. This mistake could cost her her happiness and the farm.
The reader would, to a certain extent have some sympathy for Bathsheba as Mrs Troy because Mr Troy is a low life loser. His qualities are superficial charming and attractive but underneath selfish and thoughtless. Troy could disappoint her in many ways. For example he could commit adultery, gamble away the farm and ruin both of them.
In the final chapters Bathsheba starts to realise who she is and who she wants. When Troy is shot, Fanny is dead and Boldwood is put into a mental institute she realises that Gabriel is the one for her. He has done right. Her maturity finally comes to her and she takes life seriously and gets it sorted out.
There is a clear contrast between Fanny and Bathsheba’s lives on page 189. Bathsheba says, “I wonder sometimes if I am doomed to die in the union. I am friendless enough, God knows!” This is basically predicting the future for Bathsheba. But in fact it happens to Fanny as she dies. This is called prophetic irony.
When it comes to the death of Fanny, Bathsheba takes the funeral very well. She hardly knows Fanny and she compassionately had the encoffined body brought to Weatherbury farm for burial. This shows Bathsheba’s compassionate native, and her desire to do the right thing.
Troy fled the village in anguish after finding Fanny’s coffin. When he reached the seaboard he disrobed to take a swim. The strong current nearly overwhelmed him, but fortunately a boat came to his rescue. A passer-by noticed his clothes on the beach as if they had been drawn in and a conclusion was made that he had drowned. Troy did not hesitate to take the opportunity of this conclusion and he moved to America so everyone believed he was dead. However Bathsheba relieved by his disappearance was not convinced a slightest bit that he had drowned. This shows that she has intelligence and sticks with her own ideas.
Now Boldwood believing in the theory was overwhelmed and urged over and over again for Bathsheba to marry him. She decided that if Troy did not return, she would marry Boldwood. After this Troy burst into the doors to take Bathsheba. At the same time she fainted, then an annoyed Boldwood shot Troy killing him instantly. Bathsheba was under so much pressure that she had had enough of trouble. Boldwood after trying to commit suicide but failed handed himself into the institution later to be confirmed that it was life in there.
Oak was now the only lover left. He was not forgotten but had dwindled in the novel into the background. He nursed Bathsheba until she was well, he then declared that he was going to move to America for a better life. On that account Bathsheba realised that she needed and loved him. Then later they had the most secretive and quietist wedding there could be. Bathsheba finally found the man she wanted. By this experience she realised that faithfulness, honesty and devotion were precious emotions too.
The Victorians reading this would look upon Bathsheba. They would say that her behaviour with men was immature and dangerous. They would totally approve of her character in that she is intelligent not led by someone else, will stand up to any harassment, hardworking, moral and will admit when she is wrong.
They may be amazed at how much she wants to be independent. Most women in these times used to rely on their husband or if they didn’t have one, charities. All the income that came in would be long to the husband. However she worked alone and did not require help. She was a woman in a man's world.
One more point to consider, she did not let men take control over her. A quote that said “________________________________” This shows us that she wants to be herself and not by someone else property.
To conclude my essay I will discuss my own personal opinion. Bathsheba as a character does not appeal to me at all. She, in the beginning and middle chapters seemed to be a girl who was out looking for men with money. I admire her faithfulness in people. Also I do not like immaturity in anyone. Bathsheba shows her immaturity very clear here1. She really needs to grow up. If it were in real life I would not attempt Bathsheba in a relationship.
Coursework completed by
Simon John Farrugia
19th March 2003
Minimum words: 500
Actual words: 1770