Thomas Hardy's The Mayor of Casterbridge Essay

Thomas Hardy's The Mayor of Casterbridge Essay

Length: 1448 words (4.1 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Thomas Hardy's The Mayor of Casterbridge.

Sex is so intertwined in our society that it pervades each facet,
including television, books, advertising, and conversation. Movies
like The Matrix toss in gratuitous sex because the audience nearly
expects it. Thomas Hardy's The Mayor of Casterbridge, therefore, is
exceptional in its lack of sexual situations. The subject of sexual
motivation and its inherent ambiguity with regard to Henchard's
actions is a topic that caught my attention from the very first pages
of The Mayor of Casterbridge. Continually in the novel there is
tension, but it is never described as sexual. Much the same, there are
countless marriages during the novel but no related sexual attraction
is discussed. The topics of sex and sexuality are simply expected in
most literature, because they are such dominant themes in everyday
life. Hence, the absence of sex is more noticeable than its inclusion
in this novel.

The Mayor of Casterbridgeopens with what I believe to be the single
most important event of the entire novel. Michael Henchard sells his
wife and daughter to a passing sailor for five guineas. This is a
perfect example of a dominant man, which sets the stage for Henchard's
character through the rest of the book. The portrayal of Michael and
Susan Henchard on their walk to Weydon-Priors reaffirms this dominant
man/victimized woman viewpoint. The sexual tension is evident both on
an emotional level, "perfect silence they preserved…the woman enjoyed
no society whatever from his presence" (5), and physically, "sometimes
the man's bent elbow almost touched her shoulder, for she kept as
close to his side as was possible without actual contact; but she
seemed to have no idea of taking h...


... middle of paper ...


...le cannot do in their own lives.

Works Cited

Hardy, T.The Mayor of Casterbridge (A Norton Critical Edition - 2nd
Edition)Phillip Mallett. New York: W. W. Norton & Company Ltd, 2001.

Showalter, E., "The Unmanning of the Mayor of Casterbridge" in The
Mayor of Casterbridge (A Norton Critical Edition - 2nd Edition). P.
Mallett. New York: W. W. Norton & Company Ltd, 2001. 391- 405.

Gregor, I., "A Man and His History" in The Mayor of Casterbridge (A
Norton Critical Edition - 2nd Edition). P. Mallett. New York: W.W.
Norton & Co., 2001. 382- 391.

Howe, I., "The Struggles of Men" in The Mayor of Casterbridge (A
Norton Critical Edition - 2nd Edition). P. Mallett. New York: W.W.
Norton & Co., 2001. 366- 380.

Langbaum, R. 'Minimisation of Sexuality' in The Mayor of Casterbridge
- Contemporary Critical Essays. J. Wolfreys. Macmillan Press, 2000.
116-131.

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

Essay on Human Destiny and Chance in Thomas Hardy's The Mayor of Casterbridge

- Human Destiny and Chance in Thomas Hardy's The Mayor of Casterbridge Present readers might perceive that Thomas Hardy's viewpoint in the novel The Mayor of Casterbridge is severe and depressing. However, most people adored Hardy during his living years. In an era when the Industrial Revolution was bringing dramatic and sometimes disturbing changes to England, he celebrated the nation's roots in its rustic past. In an era when new ideas like Darwin's theory of evolution challenged long established religious beliefs, Hardy showed that even the simplest people have, at all times, dealt with comparable eternal questions: How are humans to live....   [tags: The Mayor of Casterbridge Thomas Hardy Essays]

Powerful Essays
1227 words (3.5 pages)

Analysis of Characters from The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy Essay

- Analysis of Characters from The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy A young Scot who arrives in Casterbridge at about the same time as Susan and Elizabeth-Jane, Donald Farfrae becomes Michael Henchard’s business manager. He quickly becomes Henchard’s only trusted friend and, later, his adversary in both business and love. Hardy draws Farfrae as Henchard’s counterpart in every way. He is physically small, polite and charming, careful and controlled, forward thinking, and methodical. Whereas Henchard propels his fate through moments of rash behavior, Farfrae is cool and calculating in all he does....   [tags: The Mayor of Casterbridge Thomas Hardy Essays]

Powerful Essays
2110 words (6 pages)

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

- 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....   [tags: Thomas Hardy, The Mayor of Casterbridge]

Powerful Essays
885 words (2.5 pages)

Thomas Hardy's The Mayor of Casterbridge and Frank Norris' McTeague Essay

- Thomas Hardy's The Mayor of Casterbridge and Frank Norris' McTeague Thomas Hardy and Frank Norris are artists, painting portraits of men filled with character, that is distraught with regression. The Mayor of Casterbridge, by Thomas Hardy is a powerful and searching fable. Frank Norris’ McTeague is a documentation of the animalistic pursuit of empty dreams. Both authors withhold the protagonists of their dreams, in a grotesque world, which provides no sign of escape. Each emphasizes themes of greed and devolution, while carefully detailing character portraits....   [tags: Hardy Casterbridge Norris Mcteague Essays]

Powerful Essays
2055 words (5.9 pages)

The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy Essay

- The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy Thomas Hardy wrote the novel 'The Mayor of Casterbridge' in 1886. Two of the main characters, Donald Farfrae and Michael Henchard have a contrast in luck and Hardy uses characterisation, language, historical and social background and a craft in the structure of his novel to help bring across this point. During this essay I am going to comment upon how Hardy does this and further consider the view that, Farfrae's good fortune is a result of Henchard's ill luck....   [tags: Papers]

Powerful Essays
1518 words (4.3 pages)

The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy Essay

- "The Mayor of Casterbridge" In The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy, a person’s future lies in the hands of his or her past actions. The intelligent or ignorant decision that they make places an immediate or long-term effect on the rest of person’s life. Michael Henchard, whose interactions with the people of Casterbridge lead to his demise, is only one of the people who decide their own destiny through their actions. The decisions that the residents of Casterbridge make affect the rest of their lives....   [tags: essays research papers]

Powerful Essays
636 words (1.8 pages)

Thomas Hardy's The Mayor of Casterbridge Essay

- Thomas Hardy's The Mayor of Casterbridge. Sex is so intertwined in our society that it pervades each facet, including television, books, advertising, and conversation. Movies like The Matrix toss in gratuitous sex because the audience nearly expects it. Thomas Hardy's The Mayor of Casterbridge, therefore, is exceptional in its lack of sexual situations. The subject of sexual motivation and its inherent ambiguity with regard to Henchard's actions is a topic that caught my attention from the very first pages of The Mayor of Casterbridge....   [tags: English Literature]

Powerful Essays
1448 words (4.1 pages)

Essay on Setting and Symbols in The Mayor of Casterbridge

- Setting and Symbols in The Mayor of Casterbridge Modern critics consider Hardy a great writer and they consider The Mayor of Casterbridge one of Hardy¡¯s two great novels. Of all the Wessex¡¯s novels, however, this is the least typical. Although it makes much less use of the physical environment than do the others, we still cannot ignore the frequently use of symbols and setting in the novel. In my essay, I¡®ll analyze the function of the symbols and the setting in The Mayor of Casterbridge. The setting place of this novel is Casterbridge (England), a fictional town based on the city of Dorchester....   [tags: The Mayor of Casterbridge Thomas Hardy Essays]

Powerful Essays
1365 words (3.9 pages)

Essay about Setting of The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy

- Setting of The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy Hardy's The Mayor of Casterbridge does an excellent job of displaying Casterbridge's realistic Western England setting through the architectural buildings, the behavior of the townspeople, and the speech used throughout the novel. All of these aspects combined provide a particular environment Hardy called "Wessex" which infuses the work with reality and a life. The love which Hardy had, for architecture, is displayed throughout this novel with the descriptions of the surrounding countryside, the buildings, the commerce, the roads, and the amusements that make up the environment of Casterbridge....   [tags: Papers]

Free Essays
643 words (1.8 pages)

Setting in the Mayor Of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy Essay

- Setting in the Mayor Of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy The Mayor of Casterbridge is set in Dorchester, according to its geographical location, and many significant events occur in the public houses of the town and its historical earthwork - the Ring. It is easily visible that each of these places has the purpose that Hardy indicates. The Ring is called the Maumbury Ring; it was used locally as an amphitheatre and an execution ground. It is ridges and ditches of earthwork; Hardy describes, 'The amphitheatre was a huge circular enclosure, with a notch at opposite extremities of its diameter north and south', which is referred to abruptly as 'spittoon of Jotuns'....   [tags: Papers]

Powerful Essays
1117 words (3.2 pages)