Henchard's many misdeeds finally catch up with him - such as giving Lucetta's letters to Jopp to read aloud at the tavern, or his lie to Newson that Elizabeth-Jane is dead - and he dies miserable and alone as Farfrae and Elizabeth-Jane get married. However morally, ethically and religiously wrong his act may have been, he seems to be pardonable for the intense misery he suffers and the desolation that surrounds his life. This reads somewhat different to previous Hardy novels that had become slightly repetitive for me. Henchard tries to force Lucetta to marry him, but she is unwilling. If only people would be more open and honest with each other, if only they do not let secrets fester in their lives.
The book is set in Victorian England, a time where the industrial revolution was taking place. Lucetta asks him to have pity on her and allow her to enjoy her new-found happiness with Farfrae. He has a dark complexion, with dark hair and eyes, and he flushes easily when he's angry or upset. Music would have been a good, healthy outlet for Henchard's pent-up emotions, but he's not like Farfrae, who is able to express every passing mood by singing, whistling, humming, or dancing. His repentance, his misery at being left alone and his shame at his actions is genuine and the readers begin to believe that there are positive shades in his character. .
I'd say this story has a few morals: 1. When the couple are reunited, Henchard proposes remarrying Susan after a sham courtship, this in his view being the simplest and most discreet way to remedy matters and to prevent Elizabeth-Jane learning of their disgrace. Henchard's financial difficulties persuade him that he should marry Lucetta quickly. My teacher gave me detention for falling asleep in class, I pointed to The Mayor of Casterbridge, he hit me on the back of the head with a wooden ruler. Henchard has lost because he made poor calculations and depended on outdated ideas in his business. When Henchard learns that his family has returned, he is determined to right his old wrong.
Because of Henchard's pride and ego, he loses his fame and fortune and becomes a part of the lowest working class. I am not sure why. When he challenges Farfrae to a wrestling match, he binds his left arm, for he knows he has the superiority in build and strength over his rival, and he wants a fair fight. When she meets Farfrae, she falls head-over-heels in love with him and forgets about her promise to Henchard. When Henchard wants to ruin Farfrae financially, he instructs Jopp that it should be done by fair competition. Well, for a long time, many English people associated French tastes and French fashions — and especially French women — with sexiness and loose morals. Henchard is a very complex character, he is moody, and temperamental at times and if it is in his emotion he is feeling at the moment he shows care.
And watch out for a scene involving a skimmington-ride what the Victorians - and those before them - used to do to humiliate people, particularly adulterous women or women who beat their husbands which involved a very rowdy and public parade with effigies of the persons concerned being ridden through town on the back of donkeys which has extremely tragic consequences. He agrees to re-courting Susan before remarrying her so that Elizabeth may non hold any intuitions about their apparitional yesteryear. When I finished I believed that one of the things Hardy wanted to show was that Henchard never really changes. The fact that he has decided to make a religious vow shows that he is very committed in rectifying his mistakes. At first, the onlookers assume he is only joking, but Richard Newson takes him up on his offer. And I ached for Henchard, a man who desperately wants to find redemption, even when pride, arrogance, temper and impulsiveness undo him at every turn.
Henchard is now a lonely man as Susan dies of illness, Farfrae marries Lucetta and the town people are against him after learning of his gory past. Farfrae is out of town when the skimmity-ride takes place, but Lucetta witnesses it. Perhaps the best characterization is that of Casterbridge itself and the surrounding farm country. Henchard's envy of Farfrae's rise to popularity in Casterbridge causes him to end their friendship, and his desire to triumph over Farfrae in their competition as rival merchants causes him to take foolish risks that precipitate his financial downfall. Thus Henchard is left alone and deserted by all and sundry after all his attempts to make relationships he had broken in the distant past and he himself dies forsaken. As stated in the definition of structure, it is all constructed with a plan in mind. He doesn't sing and never learned a musical instrument.
This book has an intertwined and flawless plot that is never overcomplicated; it is full of wonderful language, rich with regional variation, for instance the tenor of Donald Farfrae's Scottish is exceptionally musical and not like the speech of his peers. This was my first Hardy novel, reading it last July. The Mayor of Casterbridge is a human tragedy which gives a deep moral message regarding the evil consequences of alcoholism. Henchard's attempt to right the long-ago wrong sets in motion a series of events that spell his destruction. Henchard's impulsiveness, aggressive attitude, childishness and selfish nature made failure and misery inevitable in his life. If Thomas Hardy's Wessex region was a real place the British government would probably have to nuke it as nothing but misery seems to go on there, as recounted in , , and other bleak-fests I am excluding here because I find it quite cheerful by his melancholic standard only a few tissue papers required instead of a whole box of Kleenex.
Newson tells Henchard that he has heard that Susan has died, but he wants to reclaim Elizabeth-Jane as his daughter. He financially provides for Susan by buying her a cottage and informally courts her, as he presumes this will rectify his past. She has known him well and his weaknesses too. Reading this Hardy novel was like watching an old mournful elephant skilfully pick up three peas and juggle them expertly with his one enormous trunk and then turn round and plod massively back into the trackless jungle smashing bamboo plants and ripping creepers apart as he went, one large tear trickling down his cheek. As well as women, men also were affected. When Farfrae overshadows him in influence, business, and love, his earlier respect and affection for the man turn to hatred. This extract is from the beginning of the book and the family seem to be in a bit of financial strain.
He is too perfect a person to excite pity or sympathy. The writing's quite good, the story held my interest, but jeez louise, this is bleak stuff! Unlike several Hardy's novels, The Mayor of Casterbridge is set against the background of a town, Casterbridge, which has seen much scientific advancement in the agricultural and other fields. Henchard is shown to be deliberately exploitative by Hardy in his situation with Lucetta. Michael, I am dying, and I might have held my tongue; but I could not. With Hardy, one should remember Murphy's Law: What can go wrong, will go wrong.