The Mayor Of Casterbridge By Michael Henchard

2106 Words9 Pages
When the pair of Michael and Susan Henchard are reunited after years of separation, Henchard exhibits a commitment to his redemption after he shamelessly sold her in the early years of their marriage. He financially provides for Susan by buying her a cottage and informally courts her, as he presumes this will rectify his past. His constituents in Casterbridge are rather nonplussed at his sudden romantic inclination; however, the true nature of his actions is revealed only in narration and not in action. Thomas Hardy ushers in Michael Henchard as a unique subset of the Victorian Gentleman in his 1886 novel, The Mayor of Casterbridge. The limitations and rather restrictive standards of Victorian social class have dominated Michael Henchard’s limited individuality. Henchard’s stability and livelihood is tied exclusively to his position in Casterbridge. His raw passion for community is unfettered by any notion of family or womanly pursuits; he is solely concerned with his status in the hierarchy of the Victorian town. These pursuits hinder a desired gentlemanly character and produces a figure of political hunger and masculinity that is clouded by depression and denial. The inclusion of a middle class into the Victorian Era brought about changes in both the political and social practices of small towns like Casterbridge. Henchard is a self-made man who dominates his office as Mayor despite his relatively dismal upbringing. At the beginning of the novel, Michael Henchard totes
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