Casterbridge Essay

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Concerning Lucetta, the reader is thoroughly aware that she will not marry Henchard.

It is only the pitfalls and vicissitudes of their lives that provide interest and suspense.

Henchard’s former wife, love affair, and “daughter” are all mutually unable to coexist with the ever-impulsive tragic hero.

At the beginning of Mayor of Casterbridge, Hardy achieves a realistic relationship in which the common man of Hardy’s era is able to make with the lifelike Therefore, Lucetta recognizes Henchard’s hamartia, or his inability to deal with his tragic flaw.

In this vein there are also at least four overheard conversations: Lucetta overhears Henchard reading her letters, and she naturally fears that Donald will surmise her past history; Henchard, earlier, hides behind a stack of wheat and listens to Donald and Lucetta's passionate conversation; Donald and Lucetta listen intently to the two parting lovers in the market, thus uniting their spirits in a romantic bond; and finally, Henchard, once again from hiding, overhears Donald addressing Elizabeth-Jane in tender words and knows the meeting has ended with a kiss.

If the reader has assumed that these overheard conversations are melodramatic tricks, let him also note that such tricks are more melodramatic if the listener accidentally overhears.Although Henchard’s past may have caught up to him, Lucetta rejecting Henchard for his past is a bit more than karma.Henchard’s rejection is the beginning of the tragic hero’s phase called nemesis, where the hero’s fate is not totally deserved.Thus our interest in these characters is aroused in direct proportion to the catalytic effect that Henchard's character and behavior have in motivating their actions.Throughout the novel is felt the influence of King Lear, Shakespeare's massive tragedy.“Would Henchard let out the secret in his parting words? Lucetta had a terrible feeling that Henchard would somehow allow the townspeople to see her letters to him, one way or another.Henchard’s flaw caused the townspeople of Casterbridge, including Jopp, to create a skimmity-ride.The skimmity-ride ultimately leads to Lucetta’s death.Essentially, Lucetta’s death was shown as Henchard’s fault, thus making him an even greater tragic hero.One recalls that Lear rashly disowns his true and loving daughter, falls from the heights of regality into suffering and madness, and is briefly reconciled with her before his death.The realization of this structural parallel strengthens our knowledge that the unity of the work is predicated on Henchard's character.


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