The Importance of Character and a Good Name in 'The Mayor of Casterbridge'

735 Words Feb 6th, 2018 3 Pages
The story is centered on the life of Michael Henchard and his struggle with the consequence of a decision made as a young man in an inebriated state. The novel begins with Michael, his wife Susan, and their young daughter Elizabeth-Jane arriving in the town of Weyden-Priors on "Fair Day." Michael drinks too much and in a fit of temper auctions off his wife and child to a sailor for five guineas. Michael awakens the next day only to regret his intemperance and the behavior that resulted. He looks for his family, is unable to find them and along the way goes to a church and swears not to drink for 21years, his age at the time of the incident.

It is significant to note that originally Michael blames Susan for going off with the sailor, "Tis like Susan to show such idiotic simplicity. Meek - that meekness has done me more harm than the bittersweet temper" (p. 17). However his pledge not to drink indicates that he accepts some responsibility for his actions. Another noteworthy indication of Michael's character occurs on the same day. After he has sold his wife and child when he worries, "Did I tell my name last night or didn't I tell my name? (p.17). He is more as concerned with his reputation in a town that they had just wondered into than the fate of his family.

The story…
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