Theme Of Michael Henchard's Reputation In The Mayor Of Casterbridge

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In Thomas Hardy’s “The Mayor of Casterbridge”, Hardy focuses on the significance of a good reputation and on the effect caused by the consequences of bad deeds. Unlike the novel “Tess and the d’Urbervilles”, the protagonist in this novel is a man by the name Michael Henchard. From the beginning of the novel, Michael Henchard is presented to the reader as a drunk and a careless man. Henchard is irresponsible and in the beginning of the story, he gets so drunk that opens an auction and sells his wife and daughter for a small amount of money. Henchard sees it as a joke in the beginning but after he wakes up, he discovers that they are indeed gone and swears that he would not drink alcohol for another 21 years, which is the same amount of time…show more content…
Henchard once promised Lucetta that he would marry her and they have their history together. Once Susan dies, Lucetta comes seeking Henchard to marry him. When the town people find out that she and Henhcard used to have a relation together they decided to do a parade that unveils the love exchanged between Lucetta and Henchard. Even then, Henchard is worried about Lucetta, her reputation and the reaction by the people towards her. This reflects that the woman’s reputation is much more important than a man’s reputation in Victorian England. Like in the other novel “Tess of the d’Urbervilles”, the reputation of a woman is easily tainted and cannot be hidden; women cannot start their life over as if nothing has happened. Henchard is worried about Lucetta more than he is worried about himself. In addition, Lucetta seems as a romantic person that gets excited about the prospects of love without thinking about the relationship itself. When Lucetta waits to meet Henchard and ran into Farfrae, she quickly agrees to start a love relationship with Farfrae despite that she did not really know him. Perhaps this is a depiction of how women were portrayed in the pre industrialist era in Victorian England; they were spontaneous and romantic, taking decisions without thinking it through. Lucetta seems as a person who lives recklessly and in accordance with the moment rather than planning. She seems rather childish. Lucetta and Farfrae have a good relationship until the town people know about her past relationship with Henchard and decide to expose them. Relations without marriage were considered as a bad deed at that time, and because Lucetta does these shameful deeds in her past, her past is now catching up with
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