Character and Fate in "The Mayor of Casterbridge" by Thomas Hardy.

Essay by montanadevilUniversity, Bachelor'sA-, February 2003

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Character and Fate

In the book "The Mayor of Casterbridge" written by Thomas Hardy, the character Michael Henchard experiences a dramatic rise to grace and even more dramatic fall from it. He tries to demonstrate how fateful coincidences, character, and temperament act together in life to determine the outcome of a person's life.

Fate plays a very important part in "The Mayor of Casterbridge". Thomas Hardy uses the plot of the novel relies on number of coincidences. The key initial event in the novel is the arrival of Newson at the furmity tent as Henchard sells his wife. Farfrae "who might possibly have passed by without stopping" arrives in Casterbridge, just as Henchard is being criticized for the quality of his corn. Henchard brings his fate upon himself for after much persuasion he convinces Farfrae to stay and employs him which is an ironic twist of fate as one day it will be Farfrae who employs Henchard.

Henchard, as a magistrate, is in the court on the day when the furmity woman is on trial. This event like so many others is a fateful coincidence that changes Henchard's life forever. The cruel timings of fate occur many times throughout the novel, right up to the closing chapter when Elizabeth-Jane goes to see Henchard half an hour after he has died.

Even the weather seems to be fatefully against Henchard. Henchard's plans for the holiday are ruined by rain. Henchard jealous of Farfrae decides to ruin him financially. Henchard is not thinking clearly based on weather prophet's predictions for rain and encouraged by Jopp, he buys all the grain in Casterbridge. Unfortunately for him, the weather improves and the grain prices fall. As a result, Henchard is ruined by fate and his own foolishness. The weather in contrast aids...