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Mayor Of Casterbridge Essay, Research Paper

In Thomas Hardy? s The Mayor Of Casterbridge, Michael Henchard represents an

embodiment of the Classical? tragic hero. ? In Grecian literature, a tragic

hero is a well-known and well-thought-of person whose calamity normally involves

some sort of autumn from glorification. His ruin has been precipitated by his ain defect

of character or judgement, some error or series of errors that has serious

effects. A cardinal component is that the hero & # 8217 ; s experiences don & # 8217 ; t merely stop with

the error or calamity ; true tragic heroes must come to detect or

acknowledge what has happened to them and finally pay their branchings.

Surely such a description fits the hubristic Michael Henchard and maps out the

narrative of events set Forth in The Mayor Of Casterbridge. The definition of a

tragic hero includes his autumn from glorification, which in early twentieth century literature

would be social-class related. Henchard? s rapid diminution from Mayor to pauper

qualifies as such a autumn. It is even more of a calamity since there was so much

embarrassment and dirt environing his impairment from a pillar of the

town of Casterbridge. ? Everybody else, from the Mayor to the washwoman,

shone in new vesture harmonizing to agencies ; but Henchard had tenaciously retained the

fretted and weather-beaten garments of water under the bridge years. ? ( Page 261 ) His ragged

visual aspect at a royal emanation shows merely how deep he had fallen into

depression and limbo. Though modern use of the word? hero? indicates a

nobler character, at its roots a hero is merely the chief character of any narrative,

and non needfully a knight in reflecting armour. A tragic hero? s sad narrative comes

from his ain defects, and Michael Henchard was surely non missing in mistakes and

hapless judgements. Often he displays impulsiveness, which ever consequences in

conveying him closer to his death. As with selling his married woman, make up one’s minding to conceal

his past grudges, and purchasing over-priced grain, Henchard? s deficiency of

& gt ;

self-denial worsens each state of affairs. He is besides a really proud adult male, which turns

into simple obstinacy. On page 259 he indignantly proclaims: ? ? I? ll

welcome his royal Highness, or cipher shall! ? ? demoing his infantile demand for

control and high quality. His hapless judgement in covering with his feud with Donald

Farfrae shows what a weak character he truly is. All of Henchard? s offense

qualities bit by bit alienate all those around him. The concluding feature of a

tragic hero? s saga is his realisation of his error every bit good as the endurance

of the effects. In Henchard & # 8217 ; s instance, the original error was the sale of

his married woman Susan two decennaries prior. His affliction begins about instantly as

his error is realized ; he vows to abstain from intoxicant for twenty-one old ages

( ? ? & # 8230 ; being a twelvemonth for every twelvemonth that I have lived. ? ? Page 25 ) But, as

the reader begins to recognize, Henchard has merely gone through the gestures of

penitence, and every bit shortly as he is faced with hardship, his rougher qualities

still surface. ? & # 8230 ; it was still a portion of his [ Henchard? s ] nature to

extenuate nil, and live on as one of his ain worst accusers. ? ( Page 322 ) So

since his self-inflicted penalty is merely halfhearted, Hardy has Fate or

Consequence measure in to sufficiently burthen him with adversities until his decease.

The subject and spirit of calamity found a new vehicle in the novel in the 19th

century, its signifier being originally used merely in dramas. Thomas Hardy has been

quoted as comparing the rural scene of this and other of his novels to the

stark and simple scene of the Greek theatre, giving his novels something of

that play & # 8217 ; s strength and acuteness of focal point. This grimly pessimistic position of

adult male & # 8217 ; s nature qualifies Michael Henchard as a Classical Tragic Hero ; his ain

inner mistakes finally bring him down from his high station. Darkness and uncertainty

cover the narrative with Michael Henchard? s everlastingly unsolved and unpredictable

capacities for good, and for immorality.

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