Character and Fate in the Mayor of Casterbridge
International Journal of Language and Linguistics
Volume 5, Issue 4, July 2017, Pages: 99-104
Received: May 6, 2017; Accepted: May 19, 2017; Published: Jul. 13, 2017
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Qin Liu, School of Foreign Language, Yancheng Normal University, Yancheng, China
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The Mayor of Casterbridge is one of Thomas Hardy’s typical ‘Wessex novels’. This novel narrates a series of stories that happened after Henchard sold his wife when he was drunk at early 19 century England, Casterbridge. Combining with other Wessex novels we can summarize that Hardy believed that human fate was closely linked with character, it is “the novel of character and fate”. In traditional literature, a tragic hero is utterly vicious, but in The Mayor of Casterbridge, Michael Henchard is not the typical tragic man, he is a tragic hero. He was impulsive, arrogant and honest, ambitious at the same time. So the moral value supported his control over his wife, daughter and lover. By analyzing Henchard’ s defective character, we can safely come to the conclusion that Henchard is mainly responsible for his own tragedy which is inevitable for his own defective personalities. Apart from Henchard, Susan and Elisabeth are the female roles in the story who also have different fates because of their unique characters. For living environment, they were living in the same society when people have prejudices against women. For character, they were completly different. Compared with traditional woman, Susan, the mother, Hardy created a new model of female, Elisabeth, the daughter, who desired for freedom and explored for self-improvement. For their fates, Hardy believed that there was a kind of mysterious and unavoidable power that can change people’s life, and their different fates are the result of their different personalities. Susan as a tragic great mother, died miserably, and Elisabeth as an independent daughter, gained liberation and lived happily. This paper observes the human being from these two angles, the character and the fate, to deeply and systematically analyze the close relationship between fate and character in The Mayor of Casterbridge.
Character, Fate, The Mayor of Casterbridge
To cite this article
Qin Liu, Character and Fate in the Mayor of Casterbridge, International Journal of Language and Linguistics. Vol. 5, No. 4, 2017, pp. 99-104. doi: 10.11648/j.ijll.20170504.13
Copyright © 2017 Authors retain the copyright of this article.
This article is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License ( which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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