‘ I’ve not always been what I am now’In a fit of drunken anger Michael Henchard sells his wife and baby daughter for five guineas at a country fair Over the course of the following years he manages to establish himself as a respected and prosperous pillar of the community of Casterbridge but behind his success there always lurk the shameful secret of his past and a personality prone to self destructive pride and temper Subtitled ‘A Story of a Man of Character’ Hardy’s powerful and sympathetic study of the heroic but deeply flawed Henchard is also an intensely dramatic work tragically played out against the vivid backdrop of a close knit Dorsetshire town


10 thoughts on “The Mayor of Casterbridge The Life and Death of a Man of Character

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    this is hardy's most perfectly constructed novel there are others that are appealing to me am i allowed to say that? but this one is such a perfect cause and effect every action has a reaction kind of book that it should really be his most popular and successful instead of tess which by comparison is pure melodrama mayor is full of the trappings of melodrama convenient and inexplicable deaths characters long out of the picture returning at the least opportune times overheard conversations and love triangles and deathbed confessions and yet it is so much than that it is the long drawn out punishment of a man who makes an impulsive mistake tries to redeem himself and finds that when thomas hardy is writing your life it just isn't going to work out for you sorry this book has psychological insight than tess and henchard is a much complex and nuanced character than any found in tess' world tess' punishments result from her gender her innocence the hypocrisy of society and a mismanaged letter henchard is no ingenuenor is this like jude where a basically good but misguided man falls victim to circumstances michael henchard is an unlikeable character through and through but the fact that he tries to be a better man and even pulls it off for a while should be enough right? even though he is arrogant and hot tempered even though he sold his wife and baby in a drunken impulse? is he not even a candidate for redemption? he regrets his mistakes and even though he continues to make his awareness of his character flaws should be enough to avoid his fate right?nope this is hardyland hardy doesn't take kindly to people trying to rise above their circumstances nor does he take kindly to people getting off scot free from their mistakes good intentions or not tess and angel pay jude and sue pay and michael henchard will payalong with the very hardy esque theme of stay put and be good this book is another shining example of hardy's facility with descriptive prose involving pastoral settings and the idea of progress and its effect on the working mancoincidences abound but always acting as an agent of fate which was hardy's god fate is capricious but determined and there is no escaping it is why i love thomas hardycome to my blog