He writes to her, informing her that their marriage is off. He decides to abandon his search and makes his way to the town of Casterbridge.
Although he tries to atone for his youthful crimes, he focuses too much on his past misdeeds and enters a downward trajectory that embroils him in a fierce competition with a popular Scotchman named Donald Farfrae. Eighteen years later, Henchard has become a successful grain merchant and Mayor of Casterbridge, known for his staunch sobriety.
At the infamous furmity tent, they learn Henchard has moved to Casterbridge, where he has become a prosperous grain merchant and even mayor. When the price reaches five guineas, a sailor appears and agrees to the trade.
A version of the story was also filmed in as The Claimwith the setting changed to a town called Kingdom Come in the American West of the 19th Century. Read an in-depth analysis of Elizabeth-Jane Newson. But by this point she is in love with Farfrae, and they run away one weekend to get married.
Eventually, Susan learns that her marriage to Newson is illegal, but before she can remedy the situation Newson is lost at sea. He marries her and moves with his new family to Canada. He does not realise Henchard is his enemy, even though the town council and Elizabeth-Jane both warn him. When he awakes sober the next morning, Michael Henchard, the young farmer, realizes what he has done.
Henchard also keeps Lucetta a secret. Although Henchard never tells Lucetta exactly how he "lost" his wife, he does tell her he has a wife who is probably dead, but who may return. Michael Henchard, looking for something to drink, enters into a tent where an old woman is selling furmity, a liquid pudding made of boiled wheat, eggs, sugar, and spices.
He leaves Casterbridge broken-hearted. By the time Elizabeth-Jane, who months later is married to Donald Farfrae and reunited with Newson, goes looking for Henchard to forgive him, he has died and left a will requesting no funeral.
Hardy substantiates this idea by inserting an image of several horses lovingly rubbing their necks together after the ridiculous scene in the furmity tent. Henchard refuses to allow Elizabeth-Jane and Farfrae to see each other. When he realises they are gone, he swears never to touch liquor again for as many years as he has lived so far.
Lucetta, who by this point is pregnant, dies of an epileptic seizure. Drunk on rum-laced furmity he auctions her off, along with their baby daughter Elizabeth-Jane, to Richard Newson, a passing sailor, for five guineas.
Eighteen years later, Henchard has risen to become the mayor and the most accomplished corn merchant in the town of Casterbridge. Henchard finds the letters in his old house and reads some of them to Farfrae.
As he continues to drink, he bemoans his lot as a married man. Henchard meanwhile makes increasingly aggressive, risky business decisions that put him in financial danger.
Elizabeth-Jane bears the same name as the child born to Susan and Henchard, who actually dies shortly after Henchard sells Susan and his daughter.
He devises a plan for courting and marrying Susan again, and for adopting her daughter. Read an in-depth analysis of Michael Henchard. See Important Quotations Explained Summary: Besotted, Lucetta develops a relationship with him despite the risk.
Hiring Farfrae is a stroke of business genius for Henchard, who, although hardworking, is not well-educated. Lucetta is also attracted to Farfrae. Later, he asks Jopp, a former employee, to deliver the letters to Lucetta.
There, they hear that Henchard has gone to Casterbridge. He spends several months searching for his wife and child, proving that his remorse is not halfhearted. After a mile or so of walking, he stops and wonders if he told his name to anyone at the fair.
Henchard collapses for the night in the furmity tent. Later, Henchard challenges Farfrae to a fight to the death. Eventually they part company and Farfrae sets himself up as an independent merchant. Too late, they learn he has just died in the hotel where he had been living with the humblest of his former employees.Like most of Hardy's novels, The Mayor of Casterbridge is a tragedy – no matter what the main characters try to accomplish, the fates (or their own flaws) seem to get in the way.
The subtitle of the novel, "The Life and Death of a Man of Character," already tells us that Henchard will die at the end.
An Analysis of Thomas Hardy's The Mayor of Casterbridge Essay - An Analysis of The Mayor of Casterbridge The plot of The Mayor of Casterbridge, by Thomas. Quantifying Tonal Analysis in The Mayor of Casterbridge Mayor, we shall, therefore, explain the design of this larger study and the results we received from it.
To give the reader an adequate orientation to references in the interpretive history of the novel, we shall begin by concisely summarizing the plot. The narrator of The Mayor of Casterbridge focuses mainly on the four central characters: Michael Henchard, Elizabeth-Jane, Donald Farfrae, and Lucetta.
Michael Henchard - As the novel’s protagonist, Henchard is the “Man of Character” to whom the subtitle of The Mayor of Casterbridge alludes. When the novel opens, Henchard is a disconsolate twenty-one-year-old hay-trusser who, in a drunken rage, sells his wife and daughter at a county fair.
The Mayor of Casterbridge study guide contains a biography of Thomas Hardy, a complete e-text, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.Download