The Melancholy Hussar of the German Legion

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The Melancholy Hussar of the German Legion is a social romantic tragedy. Phyllis lives in her secluded world and becomes so happy when loved by a young German soldier of 22 years called Tina Mattthäus who serves in the British York Hussars. As it is against the rules of the society at that time to marry such a fellow, Mattthäus asks Phyllis to fly with him to Germany. He makes all preparations and she even agrees. When it is time to leave with him, however, it happens that her fiancé Humphrey Gould returns. Now torn between two passions, she makes up her mind that she should be faithful to her promise by getting married to Humphrey. She tells Mattthäus that she has changed her mind and won’t go with him. Desperate and disappointed in his love, he leaves. Phyllis’ tragedy begins when her fiancé Humphrey tells her that he is already married in secret and that he cannot marry her. Her tragedy is completed when she sees her lover Mattthäus killed at the hands of the English authorities after being arrested. In a similar way, George Barnet of Fellow-Townsmen is destined to live apart from the woman he loved. Barnet is engaged to a girl named Lucy Savile but he breaks off with her in order to marry a lady of the family, who turns his life to misery. Shortly after they are married, Barnet regrets losing the woman he loved. As a consequence of their constant quarrels, Barnet moves to London leaving his wife behind. Lucy moves to live at Mr. Charles Downe’s as a governess to his children after the death of his wife. Afterwards, Barnet receives a letter informing him about the death of wife. He receives the news with pleasure thinking that his hopes of reuniting with Lucy are revived. Unfortunately, he receives a letter from his friend Cha... ... middle of paper ... ...ith her son and to her misery she is neglected by Swithin when he comes back. Unexpectedly, he offers to return to her and marry her in a way to compensate her for the sufferings he imposed on her and their son. However, she is shocked and dies of joy. This novel is described as Hardy's most complete treatment of the theme of love across the class and age boundaries (Shuttleworth, 1999). The story also reflects Hardy’s awareness of the suffering of the woman in the Victorian age. Lady Constantine has to marry an aging man just because to give her illegal son his name. This is because the Victorian society was male dominated and obsessed with the idea of woman virginity. Many critics have advocated the idea that the texts of Hardy address the low position of the woman in the Victorian society and the strict laws that tended to deprive the woman of her independence.
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