Clandestine Meetings and Falls From Grace. the connections of character and setting in the Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy

Essay by pinkpollyannaHigh School, 11th gradeA-, April 2002

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Many people often find that they are deeply connected to a certain place or town. Such is the case in the novel the Mayor of Casterbridge written by Thomas Hardy. In Hardy's novel, character and setting are two conditions that are deeply tied. The main character in the novel is Michael Henchard. His personality is deeply tied to the Ring amphitheater in the town of Casterbridge. He uses it as a meeting place, and a place to hold conversations that are some how less than acceptable, just as the Ring amphitheater is no longer quite an acceptable place in the town. Henchard also uses the Ring for mock battles between him and the people in his life. It models and foreshadows his fall from grace, and mirror's his physical ailment's and eventual death after being scorned or forgotten.

The Maumbury Rings, as the Roman amphitheater was known, is in much disrepair and is used only for secretive meetings by the townspeople.

Hardy makes a point of stating that it is not used by lovers, only those with something to hide. This show's Henchard's concern with appearances, and how he feels that the selling of Susan was not above reproach. The Ring is also described as a desolate, decaying place. This also parallels Henchard's relationship with Susan, as in the past twenty years they had not been in contact. Where they meet in the amphitheater is also of significance. Instead of meeting in the shadow's or at the side, they choose to meet right in the middle, as a gladiator would have done in Roman times. Henchard is afraid of what Susan will demand, and afraid that she will reveal to the town their past together, ruining him, as the pride of a gladiator would also have been demolished if...