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Examine the appropriateness of the title of The Mayor of Casterbridge : What’s Up With the Character Theme


The title of The Mayor of Casterbridge

Ans:- Hardy gave various types of titles to his novels. Some of them are poetic and imaginative, such as- A pair of Blue Eyes, The Two on a Tower ‘Under the Greenwood Tree’, “The Return of Nature’ etc. The title of The Mayor of Casterbridge

Some of them are the names of the leading characters. such as Tess of the D’Urbervilles, Jude the Obscure, and The Mayor of Casterbridge.

The title of The Mayor of Casterbridge

The title of The Mayor of Casterbridge

Read more from English 2nd Year (click) Tess of the D’Urbervilles is named after its heroine. Tess who impresses us as one of the most tragic heroines in literature.

The Mayor of Casterbridge What’s Up With the Title

The same is with Jude the Obscure, Jude being the hero of the novel. But The Mayor of Casterbridge is different from the first-named two novels. It does not bear the name of the hero.

It is this absence of a name that a controversy has arisen as to the real hero of the novel. It may also be noted that the has the full of little as ‘The life and death of the Mayor of Casterbridge’.

A story of a man of Character, Apparently the novel has two titles, the main title, and the subtitle, strangely enough, both the titles are vague. Had it been the life and Death of Michael Henchard’ or ‘A story of Michael Henchard’ much of the controversy would not have arisen at all.

Character Theme in The Mayor of Casterbridge

Nevertheless, let us examine the appropriateness of the title of the novel

Coming to the title of the novel directly, it is apparent that the main title refers to the protagonist, and the sub-title indicates the theme.

So the title is comprehensive as well as suggestive. Now there are two chief male figures in the novel Michael Henchard and Donald Farfrae. Both become Mayors of the town. Casterbridge in their turns.

Both are men of character in their ways, Naturally, there has never been a controversy about the title of the novel.

Examine the appropriateness of the title of The Mayor of Casterbridge

But the word ‘death’ resolves this dispute, as it is Henchard who dies, and not Fatface.

Thus, without any conjecture, it is settled that the main title refers to Henchard.

The sub-title is much more controversial. The question arises whether or not Farface is a man of character in the sense than Henchard is.

Farfrae is no less a man of character than Henchard. Perhaps act times the letter degrades himself whereas the former is always full of human qualities.

But the tangles is resolved when it is seen that it is Henchard, and not Farfrae, who is the center of attraction throughout the novel. The crucial incident, the selling of Susan, being with Henchard.

Farfrae comes quite late in the novel. It is Henchard’s initial action that provides the plot its complication and it is Henchard’s fate that offers a resolution.

It is Henchard’s fiery temper and the impulsive decision that we are ever engrossed in. Farfrae is a mere pigmy beside him. Henchard never thinks of vice or evil after the foolish act of selling his wife for which he ever repents.

His misfortunes and ultimate fall arouse the feelings of pity and awe. He is more akin to the tragic hero in the Aristotelian sense. Other characters are mere shadows of his feats.

It Henchand is taken away, the novel will be trash. The nucleus of interest of the story is Michael Henchard. He is undoubtedly the central figure of the novel.

Let us now consider how far Henchard is a man “of character.

The title of The Mayor of Casterbridge

The title of The Mayor of Casterbridge

Hardy’s interpretation of character seems to be different from what is generally understood by it. This man of character is one who has strongly marked qualities and principles of thought, actions, and feelings.

It is immaterial that he is full of wisdom or folly, goodness, or badness. A man of character is one who captures the attention of people.not only in his rise but also in his fall.

The Mayor of Casterbridge title

Michael Henchard is such a man. He is a swift striding, an unfettered giant of impulse. yet with subline fowers of self-control; fierce, but sinless.” He is a man of volcanic stuff with a haughty imperious will, insensate pride and self-reliance, and passionate love and hatred. The title of The Mayor of Casterbridge

END

The title of The Mayor of Casterbridge

The title of The Mayor of Casterbridge

 

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