Essay about The Mayor Of Casterbridge : Life And Death Of A Man

Essay about The Mayor Of Casterbridge : Life And Death Of A Man

Length: 885 words (2.5 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

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, Henchard swears an oath to “avoid all strong liquors for the space of twenty-one years” (Hardy) and then embarks on a search that lasts several months. The first part of Henchard’s attempt to right his wrong — the swearing of an oath— shows that Henchard is trying to remove what he sees as the root of his problem which shows a distinct want to change. The second part of Henchard’s atonement — the months long search—displays a type of perseverance that anyone can relate to and admire. [Insert Colcluding Sentense]
The instance of Henchard’s unjust treatment of other regards his step-daughter, Elizabeth Jane. When Susan and Henchard are reunited, Henchard believes that Elizabeth Jane is his biological daughter and does his best to provide all that ...


... middle of paper ...


...tead 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 level.
Even with Henchard’s initial introduction as an evil man, looking at his efforts to make things right garner him more sympathy than outright hate. In his dealings with Susan, Elizabeth Jane, and Lucetta Templeman, Henchard is always sincere in his attempts to reverse the wrong he has done. In the end, the reader’s exposure to Henchard’s perseverance and his honest intentions make him more human and thus more relatable. Overall, Henchard’s series of faults categorize him as more of a “man of character” than an immoral one.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Life and Death of the Mayor of Casterbridge: A Story of a Man of Character

- George Meredith had once written that “In tragic life God wot (knows)/ No villain need be. Passions spin the plot: / We are betrayed by what is false within.” What he implied was that it is not so much circumstances but rather the character of the protagonist which often lets them down and allows emotion to get the upper hand over rational thought. Meredith’s lines can very much be applied to the protagonist of Thomas Hardy’s novel which is popularly referred to as The Mayor of Casterbridge -Michael Henchard who has all the elements of a traditional tragic hero....   [tags: Character Analysis]

Better Essays
1298 words (3.7 pages)

Pessimism In The Mayor Of Casterbridge Essay

- In the most basic form of philosophy, people observe the world through one of two lenses, either through optimism or pessimism. Optimists wholeheartedly believe that life is purely enjoyable; they see a beneficial aspect in every possible scenario. Pessimism is the contrary, the negative lens. People who classify themselves as pessimists tend to assume that to exist is to suffer; they believe that with each passing moment more and more opportunity arises for unbearable misery. Both schools of thought are undeniably incorrect....   [tags: Thomas Hardy, The Mayor of Casterbridge]

Better Essays
1412 words (4 pages)

Essay about The Mayor of Casterbridge: Social Standards

- The Mayor of Casterbridge: Social Standards What kind of person auctions off their wife and baby. In The Mayor of Casterbridge, Thomas Hardy explores the personality of a man, Michael Henchard, who hands his family off to a stranger, Richard Newsom, for a mere five guineas. Oblivious to the consequences of such an act, Michael Henchard, intoxicated, lets go of his wife, Susan, and daughter, Elizabeth-Jane, who remain silent and unsure of what lies ahead. Just beginning his struggle in accepting standards of society, Michael Henchard realizes the disastrous effects of alcohol and promises to never drink again for twenty-one years....   [tags: Mayor of Casterbridge Essays]

Better Essays
861 words (2.5 pages)

The Mayor of Casterbridge Essay

- The Mayor of Casterbridge The Mayor of Casterbridge, which was subtitled The Life and Death of a Man of Character, was written by Thomas Hardy. The book’s main focus is “the spiritual and material career of Micheal Henchard, whose governing inclinations are tragically at war with each other” (Penguin Classics, Blurb). Henchard, in a fit of drunkenness, has decided to sell his wife and daughter at a fair. Afterwards, Henchard becomes a wealthy man and the mayor of the town Casterbridge....   [tags: Free Essays Online]

Free Essays
792 words (2.3 pages)

Death : Death And The Death Of Death Essay

- Why do always assume what someone is from when we first hear about them. A lot of us end up assuming what someone looks like as well as what they might be like. We always do this and it just isn't right to do that. We do the exact same with Death. Though not everyone will do this, there are some who will. Death is not all that his name says, but were blind to see past that. Thesis: Death is a not that bad of guy as the story tells is side of the story. Death does many things when taking the dead to the afterlife....   [tags: Death, Soul, Life, Reincarnation, Spirit]

Better Essays
1294 words (3.7 pages)

Henchard's Personality in The Mayor of Casterbridge Essay

- Henchard's Personality in The Mayor of Casterbridge Introduction Michael Henchard begins the novel by entering Casterbridge 'with the walk of a skilled countryman'. He starts his life at badly, as he sells his wife to a young gentle sailor called Newson. His impression changes, as he becomes a wealthy corn merchant and the Mayor of Casterbridge. 25 years later, he ends up with his life in tatters, and eventually dying alone. In this coursework, I will be discussing Henchard's personality, and the reasons for his success and his deterioration in life....   [tags: Papers]

Better Essays
1660 words (4.7 pages)

Michael Henchard's Life in The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy Essay

- Michael Henchard's Life in The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy Whilst studying 'The Mayor of Casterbridge' it is noticeable from a fairly early stage that the title statement is ambivalent. We can clearly see that he suffered a great number of disasters, but he also achieved success to a higher level than most. When looking at his position before arriving in Casterbridge and for a while prior to his status boost, it is clear just how much his status has grown. When Michael arrived in Casterbridge he was a 'journeyman hay-trusser.' From this position he managed to work on his status Worth explaining how until he was a churchwarden, magistrate and the town...   [tags: Papers]

Free Essays
724 words (2.1 pages)

Essay on Thomos Hardy The Mayor Of Cast

- Thomas Harding does an admirable job narrating the, The Life and Death of The Mayor of Casterbridge, Mr. Henchard, as well as the various other characters that influenced the phases of Mr. Henchard's downfall to prosperity and than again to his self-inflicted destruction. As self-inflicted as King Saul's death in Samuel 1 in the Bible. The narrative of King Saul's life follow comparable steps as Mr. Henchard's. In both narratives both men engage in a trusted consanguinity with another man who were existent for the majority of the protagonists' chronicle....   [tags: essays research papers]

Free Essays
1161 words (3.3 pages)

An Analysis of Thomas Hardy's The Mayor of Casterbridge Essay

- An Analysis of The Mayor of Casterbridge The plot of The Mayor of Casterbridge, by Thomas Hardy, can often be confusing and difficult to follow. The pages of this novel are filled with sex, scandal, and alcohol, but it provides for a very interesting and unique story. It all begins one day in the large Wessex village of Weydon-Priors. Michael Henchard, a young hay-trusser looking for work, enters the village with his wife and infant daughter. What follows next, is certainly a little out of the ordinary, and this book provides and interesting plot, that is sure to brighten up any boring day....   [tags: essays research papers]

Better Essays
1053 words (3 pages)

Essay on The Setting of The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy

- The Setting of The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy Henchard's fate was strongly rooted in his character. He has several character flaws that contributed to the break down of every relationship he had. At the beginning of the novel it is his temper that starts the whole story off. At the fair in Weydon - Priors, he becomes angry with his wife while he is drunk. Henchard tries to sell her because he believes that it is Susan's and the child's fault that he is not successful. This is evidently not the first time....   [tags: Papers]

Free Essays
460 words (1.3 pages)