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The Mayor of Casterbridge


Certainly, you find very few like Thomas Hardy when it comes to the novels in the late twentieth century. His novels are quite moving ones. One of them is The Mayor of Casterbridge. This surely is a masterpiece of Victorian literature! Major themes in the novel are that of remorse and a kind of redemption, if you may say so. Before I read this novel I did not know that character plays such an important role in deciding our fate. But as shown through the protagonist of the novel, our actions largely come out of our character. Being human, very often we do things that we later regret. The Mayor of Casterbridge revolves around such a man called Michael Henchard. This Henchard perhaps does the most notorious thing that a character in a fiction could do – he sells his wife!

The novel is surely about this character – as it bears a subtitle ‘Life and Death of a Man of Character’. However, what did Hardy mean by this subtitle play (full of irony till the beginning) we only get to know once we read the novel completely.

This is an intriguing novel with so many characters who appear, disappear and reappear without any prior notice by Thomas Hardy, the novelist. This fifteen-day-moon nature of the characters is quite unique in writing and it affects the story very much. The readers are always alert to find out what may come next. The characters Susan, Lucetta and Newson are the characters with this distinctive feature bestowed upon them by the author.

The plot us straight yet with so many complications as it progresses. The father is not the father – the daughter is not the daughter and no love is constant in the Casterbridge that Hardy has created in this novel. The Mayor of Casterbridge, per say, seems no man of moral at all…

This is one of the novels which go on to become almost immortal! It attracts you with so many reasons to read yet you cannot write them on paper or tell them exactly to any one. This one, I will say, is far better than the novels which claim to be ‘classic’. Hardy had a habit of doing something unusual and he did it in so many of his writings. The story of Michael Henchard will give you so many feelings – to support him, to abuse him, to hate him, to be kind to him and so many…

At last, a successful novel which a reader must read to understand how objective the life is towards poor humanity!

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