Analysis of Characters from The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy

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Analysis of Characters from The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy

A young Scot who arrives in Casterbridge at about the same time as
Susan and Elizabeth-Jane, Donald Farfrae becomes Michael Henchard’s business manager. He quickly becomes Henchard’s only trusted friend and, later, his adversary in both business and love.

Hardy draws Farfrae as Henchard’s counterpart in every way. He is physically small, polite and charming, careful and controlled, forward thinking, and methodical. Whereas Henchard propels his fate through moments of rash behavior, Farfrae is cool and calculating in all he does. Although his personality is friendly and engaging, Farfrae maintains a certain detachment from people and events, always
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Farfrae’s careful approach to life wins him all that was once
Henchard’s: at Henchard’s bankruptcy sale, Farfrae buys his business, home, and furniture. He marries Henchard’s former lover and, after she dies, marries Elizabeth-Jane. Farfrae even becomes the highly respected and well-liked mayor of Casterbridge.

For Farfrae, though, the competition between Henchard and himself is never personal or meanspirited. When the destitute Henchard asks
Farfrae for a job, Farfrae hires him and makes sure that he himself never gives Henchard orders. Farfrae also offers to give Henchard any furniture or personal belongings that he would like to have back from the bankruptcy sale.

The Furmity Woman

The furmity woman runs the shop in which Michael, at the beginning of the novel, gets drunk and sells Susan. She appears again eighteen years later, when Susan and Elizabeth-Jane return to the village where the sale occurred to try to find Henchard. The furmity woman is still there and remembers that Henchard returned a year after the sale. She tells Susan that Henchard told her that he was moving to Casterbridge and that if a woman ever came asking for him, the furmity woman should pass on this information.

The furmity woman makes a final appearance in Casterbridge to seal
Henchard’s fate. Henchard is a judge, and the furmity woman, when brought before him on a public obscenity charge, recognizes him and tells the court about this
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