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Plot summary[ edit ] Henchard on the way to the fair with Susan and Elizabeth-Jane At a country fair near Casterbridge in Wessex Michael Henchard, a year-old hay-trusser, argues with his wife Susan. Drunk on rum-laced furmity he auctions her off, along with their baby daughter Elizabeth-Jane, to Richard Newson, a passing sailor, for five guineas.
Sober the next day, he is too late to recover his family. He vows never to touch liquor again for 21 years.
Lacking any means of support, Susan decides to seek out Henchard again, taking her daughter Elizabeth-Jane with her. Elizabeth-Jane believes Henchard to be a distant relative of her mother.
Susan discovers that Henchard has become a successful grain merchant and Mayor of Casterbridge, known for his staunch sobriety. He has avoided explaining the loss of his wife many years earlier, allowing people to assume he is a widower. Having long regretted his youthful foolishness, Henchard agrees to remarry Susan.
To prevent Elizabeth-Jane learning of their disgrace, the couple agree to act out a courtship as though they had met only recently. Henchard hires a young and energetic Scotsman, Donald Farfrae, as his corn factorrudely turning away a man named Jopp to whom he had already offered the job.
Farfrae is extremely successful in the role, and increasingly outshines his employer. When he catches the eye of Elizabeth-Jane, Henchard dismisses him and Farfrae sets himself up as an independent merchant.
Farfrae conducts himself with scrupulous honesty while Henchard makes increasingly erratic and risky business decisions.
Henchard becomes increasingly cold towards Elizabeth-Jane and she moves out to live with Miss Lucetta Templeman, a recent arrival to the town. Unknown to Elizabeth-Jane, Lucetta had previously had a relationship with Henchard which had resulted in her social ruin.
Now wealthy after receiving an inheritance, and learning that Henchard's wife had died, she hopes to marry him to recover her social position.
However, on meeting Farfrae she becomes attracted to him and he transfers his attentions to her. Henchard's financial difficulties persuade him that he should marry Lucetta quickly. But she is in love with Farfrae, and they run away one weekend to get married, not telling Henchard until after the fact.
Henchard's credit collapses and he goes bankrupt. Farfrae buys Henchard's old business and tries to help Henchard by employing him as a journeyman. Lucetta asks Henchard to return her old love letters, and Henchard asks Jopp to take them to her. Jopp, who still bears a grudge for having been cheated out of the position of factor, opens the letters and reads them out loud at an inn.
The townspeople publicly shame Henchard and Lucetta in a skimmington ride. Lucetta is so devastated by seeing the spectacle that she collapses, falls ill, and shortly afterwards dies.
The next day, Newson — who it transpires has not been lost at sea — arrives at Henchard's door asking for his daughter. Henchard is afraid of losing her companionship and tells Newson she is dead.
Newson leaves in sorrow.
The twenty-first year of Henchard's vow of abstinence is up, and he starts drinking again. Discovering some time later that he has been lied to, Newson returns to Casterbridge and Henchard disappears rather than risk confrontation.
She snubs him, and he departs for good. Regretting her coldness, and she and Farfrae set out to follow him. They arrive too late, and find that he has died alone in the countryside. He has left a will: The novel is set in the fictional town of Casterbridge, based on the town of Dorchester in Dorset.
In the opening sentence of the novel, Hardy writes that the events took place "before the nineteenth century had reached one-third of its span". The literary critic Dale Kramer saw it as being set somewhat later — in the late s, corresponding to Hardy's youth in Dorchester.
It was issued with a small print run of only copies. Hardy's portrait of Henchard — depressive, black-tempered, self-destructive but also lovable as a child is lovable — she considered one of his strongest achievements.The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy: An Appreciation The Mayor of Casterbridge is one of the major and most mature novels of Hardy.
Written during an advanced stage of his novelistic career, it possesses certain qualities of plot-construction, characterization, story telling and description, that go to make it what Richard Carpenter calls "in construction and force, Hardy's finest novel feelthefish.com “She had learned the lesson of renunciation and was as familiar with the wreck of each day's wishes as with the diurnal setting of the sun.” ― Thomas Hardy, The Mayor of Casterbridgefeelthefish.com Essay The Mayor Of Casterbridge By Thomas Hardy.
Throughout Thomas Hardy’s plot driven novel, The Mayor of Casterbridge, the true personalities of the characters shine forth based upon their responses to the obstacles that they face or the repercussions of their feelthefish.com://feelthefish.com · The Mayor of Casterbridge is written by Thomas Hardy in It is set in fictional town of Casterbridge and is a part of Hardy’s Wessex county.
Thomas Hardy started writing the book in and finished it in and writes within the book that the events took place “before the nineteenth century had reached one-third of its span”.feelthefish.com Narrative Technique in Hardy's The Mayor of Casterbridge The most provocative and striking narrative technique of Hardy in The Mayor of Casterbride is the presentation of a shockingly curious and curiously shocking event in the very beginning of the feelthefish.com://feelthefish.com The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy Thomas Hardy wrote the novel 'The Mayor of Casterbridge' in 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 feelthefish.com://feelthefish.com