• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The untimely demise of Michael Henchard

Extracts from this document...


Sunday, 14 October 2001 Henchard can never escape the events of his past. What do you think drives Henchard to his end? All page references are for the new windmill classics version. There are many factors which lead to the untimely demise of Michael Henchard "the Mayor of Casterbridge". Some of these factors are partly down to bad luck whereas some of the more important ones are down to the bad decisions that he makes. To find out why Henchard actually does make such devastating mistakes one has to look closely at his character. Henchard is a proud man with a short temper. This is probably the worst combination of traits possible in any man. This is because once he makes a decision he cannot possibly go back on it as this will impinge, or so he thinks, on his majestic reputation. This unforgiving nature also leads to the finalising of the deal to sell Susan and Elizabeth-Jane for five guineas. Even when Susan gives him the chance to back down when she says "Before you go further Michael, listen to me. If you touch that money, I and this girl go with the man. Mind, it is a joke no longer." ...read more.


I think that Henchard hires Farfrae for two main reasons. First and foremost he is hired because he knows a way to restore "growed wheat" back to almost its original state and secondly and more subtly he hires Farfrae so that he may make a friend. Henchard can never escape the events of his past mainly because the mistakes that he makes are long-term ones. For example when he sells his wife and child they don't instantly stop having anything to do with him and cease to exist, instead they just move out of sight and out of mind. This allows Henchard to continue his life as a corn factor with the two burdens of his conscience and his vow. Henchard's bad temper is also a major contributing factor in his downfall. When Henchard holds the revelries, Farfrae, unknown to Henchard at the time, organises another venue in case the original plans were rained off. In fact it did rain and whilst Henchard's revelries were cancelled, at massive loss of face for him, Farfrae's were a roaring success. Henchard, being the type of person that he was, took this as a personal insult and fired Farfrae on the spot. ...read more.


Henchard willingly agrees but, being to depressed to go to her himself, sends Jopp, whom he is staying with, to her with the package. On the way Jopp stops at an inn called Peter's Finger and opens the package. The customers learn of the affair and organise a skimmity-ride outside Farfrae and Lucetta's house when Donald is out of town. This has two disastrous effects. Firstly it leads to the untimely death of Lucetta and secondly Michael sees the effigy of himself floating face down, which was tossed into the river when the police arrived and broke up the skimmity-ride. This causes him to dwell on thoughts of death and suicide. It is this, I think, which finally makes Henchard want to drown himself. All of these reasons made Henchard incredibly depressed. So depressed in fact that he finally drowns himself. Looking back on his life Henchard was mainly unlucky with his decisions and whenever something could go wrong for him it usually did. I think that Henchard could not possibly escape from the events of his past because each one started a multitude of other events which all intertwined. None of this would have happened, or indeed been possible, if Henchard had not sold his wife on that fateful day at the Weydon Fair. James Kay 5r ...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. Comparison of Michael Henchard and Okonkwo.

    Although Henchard was once poor himself, he had always been a strong and capable worker and therefore he has a low opinion on people that are less able than him. This is shown when Henchard is preparing to fight with Farfrae and ties one hand behind his back to make the contest fair.

  2. Analyse the change in character of Michael Henchard throughout the novel, the Mayor of ...

    Henchard was also able to make the deadly misconception of being "able" to judge the weather. Michael Henchard is often linked to Shakespeare's Lear, due to the fact that they both are inevitably deprived of the one's they loved in their later life and dying days.

  1. the mayor of casterbridge

    By mentioning or hinting the industrial revolution, Hardy sets the time and setting of the anecdote well, making it more realistic. Hardy uses the theme of nature in The Mayor of Casterbridge, but only occasionally in the first two chapters.

  2. The Mayor of Casterbridge | Characters

    place that appears not to serve alcohol only to find that the proprietor in fact sells rum on the sly. When Michael sells her to a sailor, Susan assumes that the transaction is valid and that she must stay with him.

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

    Henchard feels he will never fall out with Farfrae but within a few weeks they are having disagreements and start the build up to what becomes a fierce rivalry. The disagreement over Abel Whittle's punishment drives a wedge between Michael and Farfrae, which signals the beginning of the end of their relationship.

  2. Comparison between Michael Henchard and Okonkwo

    So with great perseverance Okonkwo provided for his family. At this moment in the book, the present, Henchard seems to be in a stable situation in both his business matters and position in the town. There is, however, the lurking problem of his past, with history looking set to repeat itself.

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

    a young boy in search of Farfrae; Henchard with the fixed look of thought. "Why do people always want Mr. Farfrae?" "I suppose because they like him so - that's what they say." "Oh - I see - that's what they say - hey?

  2. What the Mayor of Casterbridge tells us About 19th Century Wessex - Discuss

    Henchards quality of life rapidly decreases and soon the election for mayor has arrived and Henchard isn't even a candidate. Casterbridge was a relatively small Town; the layout of Casterbridge is rather simple as it is like that of today's towns which are not complex; also this is another reason for my suggestion that Casterbridge is a fairly modern Town.

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