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Analysis Of Henchard In Thomas Hardy's The Mayor Of Casterbridge

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In Thomas Hardy’s novel, The Mayor of Casterbridge: The Life and Death of a Man of Character Michael Henchard’s mistreatment of those around his seem to categorize him as an immoral man; however, his perseverance and desire to make amends reconcile him to the reader and make him seem more human.
The first and possible most immoral decision Henchard makes involves his wife Susan. Within the first few chapters of this novel, Michael Henchard, in a drunken state, auctions his wife and child off to a passing sailor for five guineas. This action has an immediate impact on the reader: not only is Henchard selling two human beings, he is selling the entirety of his immediate family. By introducing a character by having him commit such a heinous act, Hardy sets readers up to immediately dislike Henchard and label him as unethical. However, even with this unscrupulous act, Henchard’s subsequent actions help to soften the reader’s view of him. Upon waking the next morning and realizing his actions,
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After ruining Miss Templeman’s reputation, Henchard tries to make amends by marrying her. However, rather than being kind, Henchard proposes to Lucetta by threatening her until she accepts him. In this situation, Henchard is displaying his hostile nature and his complete disregard for the feelings of others. In spite of this hostility, the reader does recognize that Henchard is doing his best to make amends. Later on when Lucetta thoroughly refuses him, Henchard tries to return the evidence of their affair to her; however, instead their letters get revealed and Lucetta is again ridiculed. Despite Henchard’s best efforts to make things right, his actions continue to fall short. In this way, Henchard has a distinctly human quality about him. Even when he tries his hardest, his continuous mistakes allow the reader to relate to him and sympathize with him on a certain
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