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Women Of The Mayor Of Casterbridge Essay

  • Submitted by: jamesw
  • on November 14, 2010
  • Category: English
  • Length: 778 words

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Below is an essay on "Women Of The Mayor Of Casterbridge" from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

In Thomas Hardy’s “The Mayor of Casterbridge”, Michael Henchard’s character is exposed through his interactions with the three most important women in the novel. Susan, Elizabeth-Jane and Lucetta each bring a quantum of understanding to the “man of character” as each woman brings out different aspects of his personality. We see his vengeful wrath with Lucetta, his loneliness through Elizabeth-Jane as well his uncommon moral courage with Susan. They bring out the best and worst in Michael Henchard and give the reader a clearer view of who he is and to what lengths the depth of his emotion bring him.

The first image of the novel is of Michael Henchard walking with his wife and child. The reader is given a picture of an unhappy couple walking together, this unhappiness that Henchard feels later manifests in a terrible deed that haunts him forever. The young Michael Henchard complains as they walk as Hardy describes: “The ruin of good men by bad wives, and, more particularly, the frustration of many a promising youth’s high aims and hopes, and the extinction of his energies, by an early imprudent marriage, was the theme”. It is clear from this that Henchard was forced into his union with Susan and now feels like she has ruined all his potential as a man. Michael Henchard is an ambitious man who treats his wife with little car in this first chapter. Later in the novel, the polar opposite of the man walking unhappily alongside his wife is seen when Henchard vows to right the wrongs of the past: “He pressed on the preparations for his union, or rather re-union, with this pale creature in a dogged unflinching spirit which did credit to his conscientiousness”. We see from the quote that Henchard feels nothing like love for Susan, but is bound by his need to make amends. This furthers our understanding of him early in the novel as he takes his penance to an extreme.
Henchard is again forced into obligation after an acquaintance from the past, Lucetta Templeman, arrives...

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