Posted at 10.16.2018
What characteristics justify person who is viewed as a perfect and morally serious man by culture? In the book The Mayor of Casterbridge: A Story of a Man of Persona by Thomas Hardy, one who is apparently moral and of great personality is analyzed. The type involved is Michael Henchard, a guy who has risen from his low status as a hay-trusser to the top of modern culture as the mayor of his town. Hardy attempts to stand for Henchard as a "man of identity;" however, the consequences of his morality and personality stay ambiguous as the book progresses. Throughout the complete history of Henchard, it is clear that his morality is questionable and this his moral ambiguity is essential in the development of the plot of the novel.
Michael Henchard is a mysterious character inside the Mayor of Casterbridge. His motives and actions are of the utmost immorality, yet these are done with relatively good intentions. Hardy introduces Henchard at the commencement of the novel, saying, "The man was of fine shape, swarthy, and stern in aspect; and he confirmed in account a facial position so slightly inclined concerning be almost perpendicular" (Hardy 5). Obviously, Henchard seems to have faade of a man of character. It is evident that he aims to win over his peers with just how he provides himself day in and day trip. Alternatively, his foolish sense of self-confidence and fake exterior associated with an honorable man may be a result of a lack of true identity. During Henchard's act of providing his partner, the ambiguity of his moral attributes is exploited. For example, it is clear that if a man even considers reselling his wife, he is on the route to becoming viewed as an immoral man. In Henchard's case, however, the work can be viewed as beneficial for Susan as he reveals that he's not truly fit for maintaining a family group. The sailor's ability to pay for Susan works as confirmation that he is with the capacity of doing what Henchard cannot; the sailor is well equipped to providing Susan a life of comfort and bundle of money. Had Henchard understood this concept, the function would manage to being viewed as moral. Nevertheless, Henchard did not sell his better half therefore, negating any potential for him living up to his figure and moral expectancies. Upon this situation, literary critic John Goode explains, "Henchard is not self-evidently more deserving than as his fate treats him. But Henchard never learns to articulate this pessimism" (Goode 78). It really is clear that Henchard will not deserve to realize any positives to the series of incidents. Still, the positives of the situation do are present, making Henchard slightly close to personality and morality and so contributing to the moral ambiguity of Henchard all together. Henchard exhibits qualities that undoubtedly demonstrate moral as well. For example, his self-confidence and willpower to carefully turn his life around after the advertising of his partner is honorable on many levels. He remains sober from alcohol for twenty-one years and proves his features of leading a morally suitable life. Furthermore, he becomes the mayor of his town as a result of his new and real moral characteristics. As literary critic George Levine points out, "he is evidently a guy who, however securely his will maintains him under control, operates outside the limits that confine ordinary people" (Levine 184). Henchard definitely does embody the power and ability to get over hindrances which others cannot. Once he becomes committed to a goal, he'll not let anything stand in his way of success. Up to this point, it can be recognized that Henchard has truly moral motives; however, the actions which result from them are without the moral binding whatsoever. Another major occurrence which shows this is when Henchard lies to Elizabeth -Jane about him being her daddy. It is justified by Hardy as he says, "[Henchard] was the type man to whom some human thing for pouring out his high temperature upon-were it emotive or were it choleric-was almost essential" (Hardy 117). Without a doubt, Henchard thought that he was doing the right part of this situation, and it can be proven that he was. By showing this to Elizabeth-Jane, he is concealing her true and dishonorable personality and keeping her worthy of the devotion of good men such as Farfrae. Conversely, it is never morally appropriate to lie to anyone, especially to a person who is as near Henchard as Elizabeth-Jane is. Henchard obviously exhibits characteristics that continue to be morally ambiguous consequently of his good and honorable intentions.
The entire book revolves around Henchard's moral ambiguity. His activities and intentions move the story and create a fascinating opposition to the excellence of the type Farfrae. For instance, Hardy clarifies that, "Character is fateand Farfrae's character was just the reverse of Henchard's" (Hardy 109). Henchard was linked to fate all his life consequently of his being truly a man of figure. Furthermore, his persona and morality were indefinite and may be observed as bad as well nearly as good at various cases in the novel. Farfrae symbolizes everything Henchard aims to be. However, Henchard's activities while trying to realize Farfrae's excellence don't succeed since it is immoral to imitate someone else, especially for someone who is supposedly a guy of character. Levine explains, "Everywhere, of course, Farfrae works in order to represent a functional option to Henchard's egoist interest for the absolute" (Levine 188). Whereas morality comes in a natural way to Farfrae, it isn't always trouble-free for Henchard to acquire personality. Hardy uses these two character types as foils in order to give Henchard intuition to make himself a better man. The audience must come to realize and understand that if one aims to attain true personality and morality, she or he must turn to oneself and reach pure goodness independently. Hardy also uses Henchard's moral ambiguity showing that life is not founded entirely on one's ability to have personality and morality. For example, Levine points out, "But story is not merely-if it is also-a vehicle for the screen of 'personality. ' It is the means through which Hardy imposes a composition on the world and animates it" (Levine 180). For the novel as a whole, Henchard's moral ambiguity provides another dimension alive nowadays. At some things, it can be used as a dietary supplement to the crazy ride which life can take people on. Hardy helps it be clear that there is a significant difference between Henchard and Farfrae, and for that reason a notable difference in what's truly moral and what is not. Henchard's own quest for character moves the storyline and retains the reader engaged in the book; the book would be uneventful and unenlightening with no moral ambiguity of Henchard.
Hardy does not resist the temptation to produce Henchard to be always a man of moral ambiguity. On many occasions in the novel, the audience observes the good motives of Henchard, as well as his unpopular actions. At times, Henchard seems to have pure goodness, persona, and morality; however, there is no clear sign that he totally embodies these qualities to be "A Man of Figure. " Hardy allows the reader to ponder if anyone in this world can certainly be a man of character, and if it is possible to be solely good or purely evil. According to the life of Henchard, the odds of that happening are very thin.